Resistance bands are made from long rubber tubing with handles at each end. They range in level of difficulty by color, typically with green being the lowest resistance and blue or sometimes gray/yellow/orange being the highest. This might change depending on brand. You can use resistance bands for a variety of arm exercises, and I’ve also incorporated them into abdominal and leg exercises. They range in price, but you can find them at amazon.com for $10-15 dollars.
A similar principle to resistance bands, versa bands are small circular pieces of flexible material, kind of like large rubber bands. They also range in resistance by color, with green being the easiest and blue the hardest, and can be purchased for about $7. I like to use red because you can fit in more reps than with blue. These are excellent for glute and hip exercises. Try amazon.com.
Stability balls are one of my favorite pieces of equipment because they are so versatile. You can use them for abs, glutes, hips, quads, cardio, and arms. These will range in size. Taller individuals will be more comfortable with a larger stability ball. If you are female of average height (like me!) medium (~65 cm) works just fine. I rarely use small because they are a bit more limited. Stability balls will range in price from a low of about $25 to as high as almost $50. You can find them at amazon.com or sportsauthority.com.
These are an absolute necessity. If you have nothing else, get some weights. I typically use 5 lbs for lighter weights and 10 lbs for heavier, but it can be really beneficial to give yourself a range so that you can modify as needed or “graduate” to heavier weights as you get better at your exercises. Obviously, weights are primarily used for arm exercises, but having smaller (not lighter, smaller) sized weights can make integrated workouts easier than using big bars or machines. Adding weights to any exercise will increase the number of calories you burn and also tone at the same time. I highly recommend weights that have a rubber exterior (like these) rather than regular metal; they are more comfortable for your hands and less slippery when you sweat (I know, gross). You should be able to get these at any sports store.
Gliders are small discs that you can place under one or both feet to slide along the floor. The sliding motion forces you to press the feet down into the floor, working the inner and outer thighs. These are a patented product, and can only be purchased here. BUT, if you don’t want to spend that money, you can use paper plates or old washcloths as substitutes (as long as you don’t mind them sliding all over the floor).
These are long bars that are weighted. The advantage to using body bars over free weights is that the bars distribute the weight over a greater length. This will help give you better balance/stability, but won’t challenge these areas as much. I don’t typically use the body bars, as there isn’t much I can’t also do with weights. They are also very expensive ($60-$100). I’d recommend them for people who struggle with some balance exercises, but you can typically modify balance challenging exercises by griping onto a chair or wall. The weight amount is up to you. These can be found in any sports store or on amazon.com.
The bosu looks like a stability ball that is cut in half and fitted with a hard base. These are great for toning and balance. You can use them to increase the challenge on crunches, push-ups, and several leg exercises. They are more expensive, at about $75-$150, but they will make even the most mundane exercises more difficult.
Small Exercise Balls
These are small, unweighted rubber balls. You can even use a small child’s inflatable toy ball (about the size of a soccer ball). They are great for abdominal and glute variations, and relatively cheap depending on where you purchase them (sports stores or even Walmart/Target).
These are basketball sized weighted balls. I rarely use them, but they are great for exercises involving two people and can be good for abs and arms. These will range in price from $25-$70 or so in sports stores or amazon.com.
I use a step in almost every class. You can modify by adding or taking away risers underneath it (I like to use two). These are great for both cardio and floor exercises. These range in price from $26-$200, but the really cheap ones tend to be worse quality. I recommend one like this if you are planning to invest in your own.
A mat is just a great thing to have. I like to use it at the end of my classes. Sometimes the mats at gyms are beaten up and dirty, so it’s nice to have your own. Mats provide padding for any kind of floor exercise. You can get them for $15-$35 on amazon.com or any sports store. The one I have is a Valeo Mat in light purple (pictured).