Best Portable Exercise Equipment
You can’t always make it to the gym, and working out at home isn’t always the ideal solution either.
That’s why you need the option to take your workout sessions with you wherever you go, be it the park, the beach, or anywhere else you could train.
Portable exercise equipment provides just such an option, and can help you achieve your strength and fitness goals regardless of the circumstances.
👑 Our Pick for Best Overall
⭐ Our Other Top Portable Exercise Equipment
- Best of the Best: Gorilla Bow Resistance Bands and Bar System
- Runner Up: OYO Personal Gym
- Best for Pushups: Perfect Fitness Perfect Pushup Elite
Best Portable Exercise Equipment Reviews
Gorilla Bow Resistance Bands and Bar System (👑 Top Pick)
The Gorilla Bow resistance bands and bar system is an innovative personal gym which in our view is the best portable exercise equipment around.
Why just have a number of resistance bands when you can combine them all into a clever system designed to make workouts challenging and straightforward?
That’s exactly what this unique bow design from Gorilla Fitness does. It takes a piece of equipment which is already one of the best when it comes to training on the go, and it makes it even better. By adding the bow frame to use with the resistance bands, Gorilla Fitness have made the experience even more intense and more akin to using equipment you’d find in the gym.
Aside from looking downright impressive and making it look like you rock a bow and arrow for all of your home and outdoor workouts, this personal gym has many benefits. For a start, it’s not only going to help you to build strong lats and bulging biceps, as you can target every major muscle group with it.
Not only can you work each major muscle group, but you can do so to the same extent that you would in the gym as you can be met with as many as 300lbs of resistance if you so desire. Likewise, if you’re just starting out, you can opt for a lower resistance level and work your way up as you progress with your workouts.
As a result, in this neat bow personal gym from Gorilla Fitness you have a piece of portable exercise equipment that’s ideal for the beginner and the veteran gym goer alike. In fact, it’s so enjoyable and challenging that you might find that you prefer using it to going to the gym.
The one thing to keep in mind is that you will need enough space to store the bow away securely, so make sure you have a large bag or a car you can stash it in before you invest.
- Includes 4 resistance bands
- Up to 300 lbs resistance
- Lightweight bow design
- Includes band wrap and a carry bag
OYO Personal Gym (🥈 Runner Up)
Next up, and a close runner up to the Gorilla Bow, is this alternative personal gym from OYO.
A slightly more affordable option than the Gorilla bow, this personal gym from OYO is no less effective in delivering great results. While it might look like an odd device at first, before long you’ll fall in love with this personal gym as it will keep your workouts challenging wherever you are.
This personal gym is compact enough to take with you not only to the park and beach, but also the office or a hotel room if you’re traveling. The resistance of this equipment comes from weight plates, unlike the Gorilla Bow which uses resistance bands. As a result, any fears you have over whether you can get a challenging strength workout session should be put at rest.
Whether this is your first foray into strength training or you’re a seasoned pro, you should be satisfied with the level of resistance as you can put on weight packs in increments of 5 and 10lbs up to 25lbs. While this means it won’t offer the same challenge as a Gorilla Bow, it’s still incredibly effective for a high volume of reps and a cardio-intensive routine.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of this personal gym from OYO though is the sheer number of exercises available to the user. If you enjoy trying new exercises all the time and keeping things fresh, then this is the perfect equipment for you. OYO claims that there are over 197 exercises you can do with its personal gym, and there are 60 workout videos to help you figure out which ones best align with your fitness goals. This makes it easy to come up with fun and flexible workout routines that you can do no matter where you are or what happens.
This is definitely one of those pieces of exercise equipment that will have you doubting whether you need to splurge on that expensive gym membership. Oh, and in case you were still on the fence about the effectiveness of this personal gym, the Spiraflex technology it was constructed with has been used by NASA for over 10 years to keep astronauts in top shape. In fact, the space exploration company conducted studies and found that this SpiraFlex technology is as effective as free weights when it comes to building muscle. If that isn’t convincing, I don’t know what is.
- Over 197 exercises
- Weight plates stack up to 25lbs resistance
- Includes OYO Fitness Club membership
- Access over 60 exercise videos
- Includes leg and door anchors and nutrition guide
- Uses SpinaFlex technology which is endorsed by NASA
Perfect Fitness Perfect Pushup Elite (💪🏽 Best for Pushups)
If you’re into bodyweight movements, and pushups in particular, then you’ll love the Perfect Fitness Perfect Pushup Elite.
While these two stands may not look like much at first sight, they are actually incredible fitness tools which can help take your bodyweight workouts to the next level. They’re also very easy to pack in a backpack or small bag and take to the park, or simply use at home or in a hotel room. The great thing about these stands is that the only space you need is the space that you normally need to do a pushup, which should be just about any indoor room.
Regardless of the muscle-building benefits you can get with these stands, first and foremost they make doing pushups more fun. There’s something about holding the stands to do a pushup that is so much more rewarding that doing them palm down on the floor. As a result it’s a great way to keep pushups fresh and exciting, especially given how many varieties there are.
Then there’s the rotation. With these stands you can rotate the wrists using the steel ball-bearing system, and in doing so, activate and engage more muscles than you would in a standard pushup. This creates the possibility of getting more from your bodyweight workouts, and can lead to bigger arms and an increase in functional strength.
Another big plus is the ergonomic grip of the handles. The last thing you want when you hit the floor to do some pushups is to feel even more uncomfortable than you need to. While some pushup stand grips can dig into your palms, these ergonomic handles will feel firm but fair as they distribute the weight evenly.
If you think these stands won’t make much of a difference and can’t lead to serious upper body muscle development, then you’re mistaken. Once you’ve mastered the regular pushup, that’s when the real challenge begins. From there you can increase the difficulty by playing around with hand positioning, leg positioning, and for a real extra challenge you can raise your legs for an incline pushup.
The best part about this portable exercise equipment though is probably the low price tag. If you want something compact to supplement your current bodyweight workouts and don’t need a whole personal gym system, then these stands will do the trick.
- Two rotating pushups stands
- Smooth steel ball-bearing rotation system
- Ergonomic grip
Ultimate Guide to Portable Exercise Equipment
One of the most important factors in determining what portable exercise equipment is right for you is your personal preferences when it comes to working out.
While you might become enamoured with the idea of using something like a jump rope to improve your cardio endurance, if you end up not liking it as much as you thought, then it could just sit in the closet gathering dust.
That’s why versatile equipment is a great choice since you aren’t restricted to doing just one exercise or movement when you use it.
Stick to what you enjoy if possible, and that way you reduce the risk of being disappointed in the long run.
1. Fitness Goals
If you don’t know your fitness goals, you can’t expect to make the right decision when it comes to selecting exercise equipment.
By fitness goals, we’re referring to what exactly you hope to get out of working out.
Do you want to lose weight?
Are you trying to increase your cardio endurance?
Would you like to build muscle and strength?
If you answered yes to one or more of these questions then you can start to build a picture of what it is you will need to achieve that goal.
Not all portable equipment will serve you, and it’s by asking yourself what your fitness goals are that you can better ascertain what would be a smart investment for you.
If your primary goal is improving your cardiovascular endurance, then there are a few portable devices that can help you to that end.
While personal gyms and weights aren’t going to serve you as much for this goal, there are some pieces of equipment that can.
One example is the jump rope.
A classic piece of exercise equipment that you may associate more with school than building cardio endurance, but you’d be surprised at how effective it can be if you use it consistently.
A jump rope is one of those things you can bring with your pretty much wherever you go too. Although it’s certainly suited to outdoor environments due to the inevitable noise you will make through jumping.
If your main reason for wanting to invest in portable exercise equipment is weight loss, then you’ll have plenty of options to choose from.
One of the most interesting things about losing weight through exercise is that it doesn’t have to be through traditional cardio like running or cycling.
In fact, one of the best ways to shed those pounds is to get a challenging strength workout so you can build muscle.
With that in mind, any of the portable personal gyms you see like the Gorilla Bow and the one by OYO will be fit for the purpose of weight loss.
The jump rope is another obvious piece of portable equipment that will help you burn off calories quickly.
In order to build functional strength, you will want to recreate real-world movements in the form of pushing and pulling.
As a result, pushups can be an incredible bodyweight movement to build this kind of strength.
Even better, using pushup stands like those offered by Perfect Fitness will provide more intensity and increase the potential for strength gains too.
Something like the Gorilla Bow would be good too, as it takes existing bodyweight movements and adds a lot of resistance to them.
If developing muscle mass is the goal, then you’re definitely going to want to invest in a heavy-duty personal gym.
If you want to achieve your goal through a series of different exercises to keep things fresh, then the OYO personal gym is a great option.
If you prefer to do less reps of a few exercises instead, then the Gorilla Bow could be the best option for you.
Whichever piece of equipment you decide to invest in, if the goal is building muscle mass then you’ll need to work with increasing loads of resistance to make good progress.
That’s partly what makes personal gyms so popular, they can be used with a variety of levels of resistance.
Related: Best Exercise Mat
2. Personal Preferences
Another important factor which should play into your decision-making process is your personal preferences.
Say you’ve worked out that your fitness goal is to build strength. That’s all well and good, but chances are you have a preferred method for doing so.
Investing in some exercise equipment hoping that you will like it can be a risk, so you want to base the purchase decision on what’s worked for you in the past.
For example, if you don’t tend to enjoy doing pushups or don’t do them very regularly, it’s unlikely that you will start doing them everyday if you invest in the Perfect Fitness pushup stands.
You should try to base your decision as much on what you know about yourself as possible.
When you’re at the gym what do you gravitate towards?
Do you like cardio machines like the stationary bike and treadmill, do you prefer using strength-building machines with weight plates or wire resistance?
While the Gorilla Bow offers you plenty of band resistance, you might find this less enjoyable than working with weight plates.
The OYO personal gym offers a similar experience but with weight plates instead of band resistance, so this is the better option if you prefer working with weight plates.
Make a decision that makes most sense for you, not the one which seems like a good idea because other people like it.
There are portable exercise equipment options whatever your budget, so rest assured you can find something however much money you have to spend.
However, if you’re looking for a personal gym for less than $100 or so, you might have to lower your expectations.
Generally they don’t go for much less than this price tag, as the Gorilla Bow and OYO personal gym prove.
That doesn’t mean you can’t get anything though, aim for the next best thing.
If you do a lot of pushups, then the Perfect Fitness stands are an affordable purchase that can increase your potential gains with the bodyweight movement.
You also shouldn’t splash money out on something that you aren’t entirely sure about.
We’ve all done it at one point or another, whether it’s fitness equipment or something else. Bought the product that looked cool and got rave reviews, only to find that it was soon relegated to the cupboard after just a few uses.
I personally have an ab roller that’s gathering dust at home. Not because it’s a bad piece of workout equipment, but because I bought it with unrealistic expectations of how much I would use it.
Really sit down and ask yourself how often you can see yourself using the exercise equipment, and whether or not you’re just making the investment as a magic pill to bigger arms or stronger legs.
There are no magic pills in fitness, just tools which can help you make progress towards your goals.
Related: How to Eat Healthy While Traveling
Frequently Asked Questions About Portable Exercise Equipment
What is the most effective exercise equipment?
The most effective exercise equipment is whatever aligns best with your strength and fitness goals.
If your goal is to increase your stamina and improve your cardiovascular endurance, then your best bet is a skipping rope.
If, on the other hand, your goal is to build muscle mass and strength, then you could go for anything from a personal gym to equipment like pushup bars which make bodyweight movements more challenging.
What is the best compact exercise machine?
The best compact exercise machine that’s also portable is the Gorilla Bow home gym system.
The Gorilla Bow home gym is the perfect compact kit to take with you to the park or beach and get a full body workout in.
Featuring adjustable resistance up to an impressive 300 lbs, you won’t be sacrificing anything by using this home gym instead of a real one.
What is the best home gym for the money?
The best home gym for the money that you can take with you has to be the OYO personal gym.
This nifty piece of kit is a whole gym in itself. It provides up to 25 lbs of resistance, and allows you to do a wide range of bodyweight movements with added difficulty.
Whether you want to workout at home, at the office, or at the beach you can do so with this compact exercise machine.
Related: Best Foam Roller
A Final Word from Energetic Lifestyle
Selecting the perfect portable exercise equipment isn’t so much a question of what is good as it is what will work for you.
You need to invest in equipment that you can see yourself using on a regular basis otherwise it will end up being a waste of money.