The Best Conditioning Equipment for Your Home Gym
In recent years, working out from home has become increasingly popular, and with the current pandemic putting millions into lockdown, home conditioning equipment is booming.
However, for most people, including experienced fitness buffs, working out from home is a new experience, and knowing where to start can be daunting. There's the question of what exercise programs to perform, and then the big dilemma, what home conditioning equipment do I need?
Let’s review the five best pieces of fitness equipment for cardio endurance. We’ll also detail proven strategies to promote fat loss and increase strength.
1. Heavy Bag
The heavy bag offers an excellent full-body workout at an affordable price. It takes up minimal space and packs a real punch. Many athletes use heavy bags because of the variety of fitness training they offer.
Heavy bags are fantastic for strength and conditioning as well as fat loss.
Workouts You Can Perform on a Heavy Bag
Heavy bags offer various workouts ranging from HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) to shadow and kickboxing.
A full-body workout that incorporates kicks and punches is a straightforward start for beginners and allows the body to adapt to the intensity these exercises require.
Other workouts that can be performed are:
- Shadowboxing, which is a good way to start a session and serves as a warm-up
- Drills such as straight punches, jabs, and cross combos
- Circuit training
- Slip, roll combos
Build Strength with a Heavy Bag
The heavy bag is an excellent piece of conditioning equipment and a terrific way to build strength. The bags force the body to engage multiple muscle groups resulting in a challenging full-body workout.
The muscles used are the primary groups such as abs, shoulders, back, chest, and arms. The heavy bag also targets the leg muscles providing an exceptional lower body workout.
Fat Loss and the Heavy Bag
In the same way, the heavy bag builds strength, it simultaneously helps to promote fat loss.
That's because when you activate your primary muscles groups, your metabolism speeds up, allowing you to burn more calories during and after the exercise has finished.
A recent study showed that shadow boxing using the high-intensity interval training method was significantly more effective at helping promote fat loss than walking. 
Heavy Bag Recommendations
The best heavy bag brands on the market are made from high quality materials that are durable and last for years. Brands such as Everlast, RDX, and Ringsider, and Powerhide are some of the best bags for conditioning fitness.
2. Rowing Machine
Rowing machines have become increasingly favored in the conditioning equipment niche and are an excellent way to improve overall strength and fitness.
Workouts You Can Perform on a Row Machine
Depending on the rowing machine you purchase, you'll find various fitness programs which are challenging, interactive, and, most importantly, fun.
The top brands like Hydrow and CITYROW come with monthly subscription fees that give users access to live sessions along with an extensive library of on-demand classes.
Rowing: A Good Alternative to Running and Swimming
Unlike running, which takes a heavy toll on the body, rowing is classified as a low-impact sport. This means there’s a significant decrease in your risk of injury and an increase in your productive training time. Studies also show that rowing elicits a lower heart rate than running for the equivalent intensity. 
Swimming, like rowing, is also a low-impact sport; however, the downside with swimming is you need to pay expensive membership and coaching fees to get the full benefit. You can easily replace your swimming workouts with a rowing workout.
Row Machine Recommendations
As mentioned, rowing and other conditioning equipment have seen a boom in recent years, and you won't be let down when looking for one.
Brands such as Hydrow, Concept2, Ergatta, and NordicTrack manufacture quality gym equipment with fitness programs designed and delivered by professional trainers.
3. Assault Bike
These fitness and conditioning bikes look like something out of Mad Max, but some of the world's top athletes routinely use them during fitness programs.
Workouts You Can Perform on an Assault Bike
The assault bike offers users the opportunity to let their imagination run wild; there's no limit to the workouts you can perform.
Longer activities in the 30-to-45-minute range improve your cardiovascular fitness, while shorter, more intense workouts are geared toward strength and conditioning.
Benefits of Assault Bikes
The assault bike has two significant benefits. First, they provide a full-body workout compared to a standard bike. Secondly, the low-impact design is perfect for those recovering from injury or new to training.
Improve Your Cardio with an Assault Bike
Regular fitness is essential for lowering your blood pressure and controlling your weight. The assault bike provides a great full-body workout, improving your cardiovascular system and strengthening your muscles.
Assault Bike Recommendations
The best assault bikes are manufactured by reputable names with a history in home gym equipment. Companies like Schwinn, Airbike Elite, Rogue, and Taurus all offer bikes designed to take real punishment.
As the name suggests, sandbags are long-lasting bags designed to be filled with sand and used during fitness and conditioning sessions to increase strength.
Types of Sandbags
The sandbag comes in several different shapes and sizes and allows users to perform exercises not possible with traditional weights.
Bags with handles, tube-style bags, and butterfly bags are excellent alternatives to the more conventional GORUCK and Atlas Stone models.
Sandbags are a Great Investment
Sandbags are incredibly popular with all tiers of athletes; they are easy to transport, can be altered in weight to suit fitness levels, and require no coaching.
Sandbags are also relatively cheap compared to other conditioning equipment and make an excellent long-term investment.
Sandbags and Full Body Workouts
Sandbags are popular amongst those looking to improve the stabilizing muscles, and they offer a full-body workout. Performing exercises like push squats, where you squat down, lift the bag, and throw, is perfect for engaging the entire body.
Running or walking with the sandbag is another excellent option and provides a challenging full-body workout.
The kettlebell is made from cast iron or durable plastic and is spherical with a handle on top. The kettlebell has been popular in Russia and used in Strongman competitions for many years.
Benefits of Kettlebell Training
Kettlebells are popular because you can kill 4 or 5 birds with one stone. When performing kettlebell training, balance, core strength, cardiovascular fitness, flexibility, and explosiveness are all targeted. (3)
The kettlebell flow is an activity where you perform multiple movements in one sequence. Flows are great for people who have limited time, and because you can repeat the sequences, you end up with a workout that challenges even the fittest of people.
Kettlebells for Strength and Conditioning
The vast majority of kettlebell exercises require an overhead movement that engages the core muscles responsible for regulating your breathing. Kettlebells also increase your heart rate, which in turn improves your cardiovascular fitness.
Best Kettlebell Exercises for Fat Loss and Strength
Believe it or not, Kettlebells are excellent for fat loss and building overall strength and conditioning.
Exercises that help promote fat loss and increase strength:
- Farmer’s Walk
- The Clean and Press
- The Goblet Squat
- One-Arm Swings and
- The Windmill
- Cheema BS, Davies TB, Stewart M, Papalia S, Atlantis E. The feasibility and effectiveness of high-intensity boxing training versus moderate-intensity brisk walking in adults with abdominal obesity: a pilot study. BMC Sports Sci Med Rehabil. 2015;7:3. Published 2015 Jan 16. doi:10.1186/2052-1847-7-3.
- Yoshiga CC, Higuchi M. Heart rate is lower during ergometer rowing than during treadmill running. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2002;87(2):97-100. doi:10.1007/s00421-002-0599-z
- Lake JP, Lauder MA. Kettlebell swing training improves maximal and explosive strength. J Strength Cond Res. 2012;26(8):2228-2233. doi:10.1519/JSC.0b013e31825c2c9b