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From exercise mats to dumbbells, a few essential items in your home gym can help improve your strength and core. Image Credit: Pexels/Andres Ayrton

When we think of exercise, running, swimming and cycling are often at the top of the list. But some of the most rewarding workouts happen when you engage in structured, repetitive movements that create lean, strong muscles. Strength training helps you transform your body, increases your metabolism, improves your ability to do everyday activities, and protects your joints from injury.

"In strength training, we're training our body to create connections with as many muscle fibres as possible. It's proven to have many positive outcomes," said Darko Nikolic, a coach and strength trainer with PTD Fitness in Dubai. "A busy office worker could do chest presses with 10kg dumbbells at home, squats with body or additional weight and even pushups."

Start small and light, advises Nikolic, if you're looking to incorporate weights as a beginner. Moving from lighter to heavier load, and gradually raising the intensity, is the most sustainable and safest way to go. "Beginners at home can opt for a set of barbells, dumbbells with weighted plates, a multifunctional squat rack and a bench that has incline, decline and straight options," he added.

We bring you a curated list of strength training equipment that is essential in every home gym. Get these delivered to you as early as tomorrow with Amazon Prime.

1. Best Workout Mat: BalanceFrom Puzzle Exercise Mat

A good exercise mat should be comfortable, supportive, have enough grip to keep you from slipping and should be easy to clean and carry. BalanceFrom's interlocking EVA (Ethylene Vinyl Acetate) tiles meet all these requirements – with half an inch thickness on each, they mimic the flooring in gyms. Protect your floor with 48 square feet of this mat for workouts that involve heavy weights, and carry out your pre- and post-workout stretches in comfort.

2. Best Kettlebell: Prosports Vinyl Kettlebell with Firm Grip Handle, 8kg

According to kettlebell makers Kettle Bell USA, the average, active man and woman can start with a kettlebell between 8kg and 12kg. By using kettlebells together or individually, you can hit almost every muscle group in the body by squatting, swinging, pulling or pushing them. Nikolic calls them "an amazing piece of equipment" that can be used for all combinations of full body training. Pick the size you need with Prosports, which makes solid cast iron kettlebells, with ergonomic handles for easy portability, and scratch-free vinyl coating to prevent rusting.

3. Best Squat Rack: Sunny Health & Fitness Power Zone Squat Stand - Black, One Size

A squat rack or a power cage aids in heavy lifting, acts as storage for barbells and comes with an overhead bar for pull-ups. This versatile, sturdy equipment supports up to 365kgs of barbell weight and even has safety spotter arms to catch the weights when squat lifting. Tuck your bench under the stand and carry out bench presses with confidence, knowing that the safety arms are just overhead. The pull-up bar at the top is even reversible and adjustable, letting you experiment with eight different positions. Five-star reviews attest to the rack's impressive stability and quality.

Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh56.15 for 12 months with select banks. Add professional installation service for free.

4. Best Dumbbell and Barbell Set: Skyland Unisex Adult Cast Iron Dumbbell Set

Precisely target muscles in your body with this adjustable dumbbell and barbell box set. Easy to assemble and disassemble, the entire 50kg set includes one barbell rod, two dumbbell bars, cast iron weight plates ranging from 0.5 to 5kgs, and star locks for added security. Stack the ends of the bars with the preferred number of plates to gradually increase the load over time. With anti-skid rubber grip and textured surface, you can ensure you get in your high-intensity workouts without fear of injury.

5. Best Medicine Ball: SKLZ Trainer Med Ball - Self Coaching Medicine Ball

Training with medicine balls has been around since the ancient Greeks discovered the many health benefits of exercising with weighted balls. One of the oldest forms of strength training, it’s used to improve health, speed and endurance. SKLZ medicine ball weighs about 3.6kg and includes visuals with exercise sets and repetitions as part of a patented program designed by the US-based athletic training company, EXOS. Add it to your training regimen and watch your body transform.

6. Best Ab Roller: Sports Research Ab Wheel Roller with Knee Pad

It’s time to get toned – give your core a workout to remember, and tone your abdomen, arms and back with the ab wheel. Three inches thick, it offers great stability, and its ergonomically designed handles ensure you don’t slip when you’re in the middle of a workout. A handy knee pad protects your knees and a workout guide helps you correct your form as you perform targeted core-shaping exercises.

Warranty: The manufacturer offers a one-year warranty.

7. Best Bench: PASYOU Adjustable Weight Bench

With a sturdy base and adjustable angles, a workout bench is an underrated, but significant part of strength training exercises. This PASYOU bench is designed with seven back positions (up to 190-degree angle), so you can get in a wide range of upper and lower body exercises, like chest presses and biceps curls using bar weights. High-density foam padding makes sure you have a secure seat and helps reduce muscle fatigue as you work out.

Bonus: Add professional installation service for free.

8. Best Pull-Up Bar: Max Strength - Multifunctional Wall Mounted Horizontal Bar

A great way to improve upper body strength, pull-up bars help you work the muscles of your biceps, lats, upper back and core. A neutral grip, with palms facing each other, targets the muscles of your forearm, while a supinated grip, with palms facing you, targets your biceps. The Max Strength wall-mounted station is designed for pull-ups, dips and chin-ups with multiple non-slip handles. For all the cushioning in the right places when dipping, the station is fixed with back and arm pads, too.

9. Best Suspension Trainer: TRX GO Suspension Trainer System

Finally, a training system that can be used literally anywhere – whether you’re at a park and can attach it to a tree, or you’re at home and want to use it on the doorway. With training straps and anchors, this system helps you use your own body weight and the Earth’s gravity to get results. By just changing your body position, you can increase or decrease the difficulty level of your exercise. It’s also excellent for strengthening core muscles. This particular kit comes with six months’ free access to the TRX Premium app, which you can use to try out fast, fun and effective workouts.

Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh65.15 for 12 months with select banks.

Our recommendations are independently chosen by Gulf News editors. If you decide to shop through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission, as we are part of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.