The Kit List Every Personal Trainer Needs

Personal Training Equipment

What’s the best fitness equipment for personal trainers to use? A common question any trainer has asked themselves. Well, keep reading because we interviewed over 100 top personal trainers from across the UK to find out what personal training gear they couldn’t live without.

The research was compiled on behalf of all trainers. A kit list is essential for any trainer, particularly any freelance trainers. It makes a big difference and could be the difference between a client thinking you’re a bit amateur to giving you glowing reviews and referring more clients your way. So let’s not just buy any old rubbish. Check out our recommendations and of course, let us know your thoughts too.

It’s of course possible to create successful training programmes by only using body-weight exercises. These include things like sit ups, push ups, pull ups, lunges and the like. However, any personal trainer who wants longevity and success in the industry knows that effectively all clients can benefit from using relevant equipment to assist with a comprehensive exercise programme.

With the thousands of different equipment options available today such as balance pads, jump ropes, sliders and kettlebells, deciding which equipment you need can quickly become a confusing task.

The key is to always look for quality equipment that is safe, effective, lightweight, compact, durable and of course, fun for your clients.

So let’s break this down. Let’s put the client first. What equipment is going to satisfy the needs of the client?

Forget brands and copying what that trainer in your gym is using. This is about delivering a service that will exceed the clients’ expectations. A good kit list can immediately give you a head start and get the client motivated. Personal training is a business and does need investment – but a good kit list doesn’t need to cost a fortune. We’ve done the research so you don’t have to.

Where to Start?

Regardless of your specialty, there are some items that you simply can’t ignore. All these should fit in the boot of your car and can be incorporated in any workout.

Start with the basics – these items are crucial for any personal trainer.

Mobile Kit List

  • Stopwatch – Don’t forget your stopwatch. Sure, your phone may be able to record time but having a reliable stopwatch is a lot more convenient and means you don’t have to be messing around on your phone during a workout. Being able to record and track the progress on certain exercises will mean it’s clear to see how someone is improving over time. Simply showing this improvement to a client can be all the motivation they need to sign up for more sessions.
  • Resistance Bands – Very versatile and useful in so many exercises. Helpful for beginners through to professional athletes. They come in varying resistance so be sure to get a nice selection to use with your clients. Resistance bands can be incorporated in a lot of exercises and help add more alternative options to regular workouts meaning this is a useful tool in the kit bag! The bigger and stronger your clients are, the thicker bands you need. They can also be used to assist in certain exercises. Wrapping the band around the pull-up bar and resting your knees on the band will help you do pull-ups. This is great for beginners to assist with these kind of exercises.
  • Foam Roller – These are becoming a must in any personal trainer’s kit bag. These foam rollers help towards improving a client’s mobility. With better flexibility, your clients will notice major improvements in their squats, deadliest, pushups, etc. They can also be perfect to help offer a little massage at the end of a workout. Why not get a little more business savvy and include an optional 10 minute massage session at the end of client workouts for an extra 10%? An easy upsell and something that clients would more than likely sign-up for. If your foam roller costs you £10-20 and can make you an extra 10% on each session, that’s quite simply a very wise investment.
  • Exercise Mat – Exercise mats aryoga maten’t just for yoga teachers, they are another vital piece of fitness equipment for any personal trainer. It can be particularly useful if you’re thinking of taking sessions outside or if you want to focus on stretching. Exercise mats can also be great if you are doing a group class and what to give every participant enough space.
  • Skipping Rope – If you want to inject some intense cardio into a workout then skipping is your answer. The fact boxers incorporate skipping so much into their workouts demonstrates the effectiveness of this activity. Often ignored, the skipping/jump ropes should always be in that gym bag. Below is a video of 50 variations you can do with a skipping rope. 

  •  Balance BoardThese balance balls/boards are very versatile and can be very beneficial for beginner clients. As your body tries to stabilize while doing an exercise, it forces the core to work extra hard. If getting a six pack is on your client’s wish list then think about adding one of these to your kit list!
  • Medicine Ball – Look out for double grip medicine balls as these are even more versatile. Medicine balls can be incorporated into many exercises for all levels. The ‘squat and throw’ exercise really does offer a complete full body workout, perfect for anyone wanting a quick session! Incorporating a medicine ball can be great for training athletes as well due to requiring ball handling skills. Spending an hour throwing a medicine ball around will suddenly make throwing around a rugby ball a lot easier! Every trainer we spoke to who helps coach sports team put medicine balls close to the top of their list!
  • Suspension Trainer – Using body-weight exercises to get clients fsuspension-trainerit and healthy is a great practice for any personal trainer. Suspension trainers have become increasingly popular in recent years and for good reason to. These are extremely mobile friendly and you can easily incorporate them into many different workouts. They force you to push against your own body weight so one set is appropriate for all clients, regardless of their strength or experience. This means they are a great piece of gym equipment to add to our ever growing kit list.
  •  Weighted Vest – A somewhat wild card entry into the list but I know some trainers swear by these products. Weighted jackets, belts, and straps can add significant weight to a client during a workout. This can be great for a long term client where you may want to show how your services are still needed and how you can evolve their regular training to make it even more challenging. Popular with sportsman, training in weighted clothing makes everything seem so much easier once you take it off. Anyone training someone for a sport should definitely think about these accessories.
  • Battle Ropes – Battle ropes are becoming a popular piece of equipment in every gym these days. Trainers can incorporate them into high intensity workouts and they become an invaluable tool for conditioning. Although battle ropes offer a pretty tough workout, clients usually find them fun and enjoyable. It’s something different from the normal routine and it’s this type of equipment that can keep them coming back for more! Watch Brett from The Art of Manliness demonstrate just a few cool exercises you can get stuck into!

 Studio Gym List

The mobile list really refers to items you can fit in your car and either take to a gym, a client’s house, the park, or anywhere you train your clients. The focus is on mobility and being able to have great tools and equipment at your fingertips.

This next list is for those looking to go to the next level. Perhaps you want to convert your garage into your very own personal training centre. Perhaps you’ve rented out a studio.

This might mean you want to add some slightly bigger fitness equipment in and give it the professional look. You’re not trying to compete against globo gym down the road, instead invest in clever equipment that will make you stand out and equipment that will get results for your clients.

  • Kettlebells – A selection of kettlebells is also very useful for training. You could definitely look to add some light kettlebells in your car but if you’ve got a space like your own studio then getting a wide selection of kettlebells would be great. Working the body as a unit, as in real life, instead of separating it out into parts, results in an increase in calorie expenditure, cardiovascular fitness, real-world functional strength and flexibility. There are so many different exercises you can do with kettlebells – the video below demonstrates the popular kettlebell swing.

  • Dumbbells – Dumbbells are the backbone to a gym and should certainly be included in a personal trainers’ arsenal. Dumbbells are cheap, easy to store and offer some of the best exercises for every body part. Talk to any athlete or bodybuilder and dumbbell exercises will feature.
  • Pull-Up Bar – Pull-Ups aren’t just something you did in gym class back at school. Without the pull-up bar, you’re missing out on two of the most important patterns: pulling and rowing. You can also tie resistance bands around the pull up bar to make pull-ups easier for any client struggling. Being able to do pull-ups and press-ups are clear signs of fitness so improving your clients ability to pull their own body weight up is a great starting point. 
  • sand-bagsSandbags – Another wildcard entry and may seem a bit hardcore for an average personal trainer right? Well, this may be true, but I hope by now, you’ve appreciated this advice isn’t for the average trainer, it’s for the trainer who wants to separate themselves from the crowd and build up a reputation of success. It’s about getting clients comfortable with the uncomfortable. Squatting with a sandbag is going to feel different than squatting with a bar so helps keep clients on their toes and helps get results quicker.
  • Sound System – music plays a big part in personal training. Pick the right music and it can help keep everyone motivated. This means you need a sound system that can handle the challenge. You want to find a good playlist that will help complement your workouts. Music is very important during group classes but even one-on-one sessions can benefit from some inspirational music playing in the background.
  • Vibration Plates – A relatively new piece of fitness equipment, vibration plates have been getting golden reviews from around the world. Vibration plates are a unique piece of equipment that can train all levels of fitness. It forces more muscles to work hard which will help get results.
  • Olympic Weights – A good Olympic bar with as many weights are your clients can handle is also a must. This forms the foundation for the classic muscle building exercises like bench press, deadlifts, and squats. Speaking of squats…
  • Squat Rack and Bench – The godfather of the gym equipment kit list! Squat racks and benches are important pieces of equipment. If space is an issue then buying items that offer diversity is key. Try looking for benches you can adjust the incline as well. 

weight lifting equipment


  • Cardio Equipment – treadmills, bikes, stair climbers, etc. These can all be pretty large and expensive but if you’re looking to create your very own little fitness haven where you can train clients and create a long-term fitness business then you’ll need to buy this type of equipment.
  • Exercise Ball – Another gym classic and for good reason. Exercise balls force your abs and stabilising muscles to kick in and help support your body. Strengthening these muscles are very important as you use them in most exercises so this should have a positive effect on other body parts as well. 

Anything else?

Well, yes – of course. This list doesn’t cover everything but it’s what top personal trainers across the UK recommend. This is based on experience of training clients and knowing what works and what clients tend to enjoy the most.

As you grow and progress your personal training business then you can look to expand and update your kit bag.

But remember, fancy stash and equipment only go so far – quality training comes for the trainer themselves so make sure you’ve got some kick ass sessions to use this equipment in.

Hope you find this useful,


Rob Turp

4 Responses to “The Kit List Every Personal Trainer Needs

  • I love that Art of Manliness video with the Battles Ropes! I’ve seen so many people use them, I think I might have to get some soon.

    • Fitness Team
      3 years ago

      yeah absolutely – Art of Manliness make some great videos. Good luck with the battleropes. Let me know how you get on 🙂

  • James McCay
    3 years ago

    A good kit-list is so important. if people are paying you to train them, they are going to expect good equipment. Having mobile equipment is definitely important too.

  • I’d say that a personal trainer is only as good as their equipment! They should know what things they need to bring in order to yield the best results from their specific clients. Also, I would want to look for one that has their own equipment. Not everyone has dumbbells or resistance bands.

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