What equipment do personal trainers need? | Exercise.com Learn: Your Fitness Business Resource

What equipment do personal trainers need?

Tyler Spraul is the director of UX and the head trainer for Exercise.com. He has his Bachelor of Science degree in pre-medicine and is an NSCA-certified strength and conditioning specialist. He is a former All-American soccer player and still coaches soccer today. In his free time, he enjoys reading, learning, and living the dad life. He has been featured in Shape, Healthline, HuffPost, Women's...

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UPDATED: Aug 25, 2020

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Get the Basics...
  • Some personal trainers swear by bodyweight exercises for achieving fitness goals.
  • As an independent trainer, it’s important that you spend your money wisely.
  • Flooring is one of the most important pieces of equipment you can buy.
  • Personal trainers need to think about exercise equipment as a business investment.

If you could design your dream studio, what type of equipment would you have? As a personal trainer, you certainly have plenty of choices.

While it’s true some personal trainers swear by functional training, experienced trainers know that all clients see better results by incorporating exercise equipment into their exercise program.

With so many options available today, deciding which equipment you need can be overwhelming. To make things easier, we’ve compiled a list of the most important pieces of equipment every personal trainer should have in their fitness arsenal.

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As an independent personal trainer, you need to spend your money wisely, especially when you are just starting out. Most pieces of exercise equipment will pay for themselves over time, so it will be a worthwhile investment in the long-run.

Stability Straps

Great for body-weight exercises, you can attach these straps to almost anything. They work well for functional training programs.

Medicine Balls

Medicine balls come in a variety of weights and sizes, which makes it easy to customize exercise routines for all of your clients.

Jump Rope

Jump ropes are perfect for quick, high-energy cardio sessions. Great for both indoor and outdoor use, this mobile-friendly piece of equipment not only builds stamina and endurance, but it’s also inexpensive and can be found in most stores.

For your more advanced clients, a weighted jump rope works well for quick, high-intensity cardio blasts.

Resistance Bands

These oversized rubber bands allow your clients to add resistance to almost any movement. Resistance bands are highly versatile and allow for flexibility and functionality.


Dumbbells are a mainstay in the fitness world. They’re fairly inexpensive and just about every type of client will benefit from using them.

Flooring and Gym Mats

Flooring probably isn’t at the top of your equipment list, but it should be. Your clients need a space where they can get on the floor to stretch comfortably. Look for gym mats that are durable, insulated, and stay put when in use.

Foam Rollers

Foam rollers work extremely well as a myofascial release tool, which will do wonders to improve your client’s mobility. With increased flexibility, your clients will see major improvements when they perform squats and deadlifts.

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Portable Bench or Step

A portable step or bench is an inexpensive, multi-functional piece of exercise equipment that can be used for a variety of exercises. Clients can use it for step-ups, calf raises, and lunges. They’re also the perfect platform when performing dumbbell benches presses or any other exercise that’s usually done on a workout bench.

A Stopwatch

Even if your phone has a timer, a dedicated stopwatch will go a long way when measuring your clients’ progress. Furthermore, you want to avoid having your clients think you are playing on your phone during a training session. A simple stopwatch works well when timing your clients’ planks or how fast they run a mile.

Measuring Tape and Fat Calipers

Tracking your clients’ progress is important. If you overlook this step, your clients may fail to see their success and in turn, may lose the motivation to continue. Body fat calipers and measuring tapes are inexpensive, but they provide immeasurable value. Use these tools to monitor your clients’ progress and make adjustments to their program as needed.

Invest Wisely

As you can see, most of the items we listed are basic and are typically found in private studios and home gyms. Each item is reasonably priced with a high level of functionality and portability. If you can only buy one or two of the items mentioned above, you’ll still be off to an excellent start. By properly investing in your business, both your clients and bank account will thank you.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How do I start a personal training business?

Starting a business begins with conducting a lot of research. Check out this article for more info.

Should personal trainers work in a gym before starting a business?

Not necessarily. However, working in an already established gym may help you gain valuable experience that you can transfer to your own business in the future.

Do I need insurance if I start my own business?

Yes. In order to protect yourself from various legal troubles, you should be insured. 

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