So you’ve decided to start a personal trainer business, and you’re getting pumped. Time for an important step: stocking up on tools of the trade.

You don’t need a fully equipped home gym to launch it, but as your business grows, you may want to expand the services you offer. This guide covers you every step of the way—from a minimalist mobile business to a small but fully equipped fitness studio.

Essential personal trainer tools

Stopwatch

Price: $10 – $25

Why you need it: A stopwatch is indispensable for timing everything from cardio warmups to your client’s new planking personal record. Sure, you could use your phone. But tapping away at your iPhone during a client session looks unprofessional — and there's a lot to be said for having a dedicated tool for the job. Besides, simple digital timers can be had cheaply, so why not? Pro tip: Invest in a multi-pack to save on the per-unit cost; at some point, you’re sure to misplace one.

Weight scale

Price: $20 – $40

Why you need it: Whether you’re tracking clients’ gains or losses, a $20 bathroom scale will do the trick. Pricier digital models may offer more in the way of accuracy and sturdiness, present well to clients, and can sync to a client's phone via Bluetooth. You may see scales claiming to measure body fat. Don’t bother: it’s a gimmick.

Measuring tape

Price: $5 – $10

Why you need it: The kind of measuring tape grandma used for her sewing projects is just fine for measuring biceps bulge or belly fat. If you spend a bit more, you can find closed-loop tape specifically designed for measuring limbs and waistlines.

First aid kit 

Price: $15 – $100

Why you need it: If you’re lucky, the most serious injury you’ll ever need to treat is a heel blister or a scraped shin. But freak accidents happen, and it never hurts to be safe. First aid kits range widely in price depending on size. If you’ve had CPR training—not a bad idea, both for your clients’ safety and your personal bona fides—consider a larger kit that includes a CPR mask.

Mobile fitness equipment for personal trainers

Whether you’re doing in-home personal training, facilitating lunchtime workouts at an office, or meeting clients at the gym, this is the essential mobile fitness equipment you need to get started.

Yoga/stretching mats

Price: $20 – $40

Why you need it: Paper-thin yoga mats are inexpensive and abundant; for the sake of your clients’ comfort, consider something thicker. For around $40, you can find a portable, foldable gym mat that offers more cushioning than your standard yoga roll-up. 

Foam rollers

Price: $25 – $40

Why you need it: For warm-ups and to aid recovery post workout, foam rollers are pretty much a must for any personal trainer. Smooth foam rollers start at around $25, but you’ll likely spend $35 or more for a model with bumps. Are the bumps essential for thorough myofascial relief? Or is this just another case of the Big Bump industry taking advantage of consumers? You decide.

Resistance bands

Price: $20 – $35

Why you need it: Resistance band exercises are especially appropriate for elderly clients or those recovering from injuries. They’re also a handy tool for warming up, and even the bulkiest weightlifters use them to stay warm between hard sets. A full set shouldn’t cost more than $35, but expect to replace it after a few years’ use and abuse.

Core sliders

Price: $10 – $15

Why you need it: These simple disks add challenge to bodyweight exercises. While not strictly essential, if you’re planning to start off your personal training business with minimalist exercise routines, they’ll diversify the kind of training you can offer.

Jump rope

Price: $10 – $15

Why you need it: Jumping is an old school cardio and agility routine that’s seen a resurgence in popularity thanks to the fitness boxing trend. If you’re training clients outside, a jump rope guarantees you’ll always have an alternative warm-up routine to running laps around the park.

Gym bag

Price: $30 – $50

Why you need it: You need something to haul your workout gear, and a tattered IKEA tote doesn’t give off the most professional vibe. Sticking to no-name brands, you should be able to find a large, sturdy gym bag for no more than $50. If you've already got an old-school bag you've been using for years, stick with it — it could add character to your personal brand.

Equipment for your personal training gym at home

If you have space available, and some cash to invest in equipment, a home-based fitness studio could save you from gym fees and time spent commuting. Below, you’ll find everything you need for a complete personal trainer equipment kit.

Even if you do plan on meeting clients in a shared gym or fitness studio, consider using this as a checklist of essential gear.

Squat rack

Price: $150 – $1000

Why you need it: If you’re training clients with a barbell, an adjustable squat rack is a must-have. At the bottom of the price range, you’ll get a set of stands for squats and bench press. If you're good to spend $500 or more, you’ll get a power rack that may include a pull up bar and other features.

Barbell 

Price: $75 – $250

Why you need it: Essential for basic, old school weightlifting. Consider buying both a 35 pound and a 45 pound barbell if you have the cash: you’ll have more flexibility training clients at different levels of fitness.

Weight plates

Price: $400+ 

Why you need it: For $400, you should be able to buy about 280 pounds of Olympic plates. Take your clients’ immediate fitness needs into account before splurging: you can always add more to your collection later.

Dumbbell set

Price: $250 – $650+

Why you need it: For simple hex dumbbells with a stand, $250 will get you about 150 pounds total, and $650 will get you 250 pounds. As with barbell plates, only buy what you need right now.

Cardio machine

Price: $280 – $400

Why you need it: Most clients will prefer warming up on a machine over other methods. At the low end of the price range you’ll find basic magnetic resistance exercise bikes. If you’d prefer a rowing machine, expect to pay $400 or more for the satisfying slosh of water resistance.

Incline Bench

Price: $100 – $150

Why you need it: For less than $100, you can buy a simple flat bench—but it will seriously limit the exercises you can do. Invest in an adjustable incline bench for the full range of presses, flys, and rows.

Kettlebells

Price: $60 – $200+

Why you need it: Essential bootcamp gear, a set of kettlebells starts at $60 for a 5/10/15 pound set. Adding on heavier weights will cost more.

Suspension trainer

Price: $70 – $140+

Why you need it: Suspension training is a low impact bodyweight exercise suited for clients who may not be ready for weights. Name brand suspension trainers (TRX) cost more, but include a 2 year warranty.

Cleaning kit

Price: $115+

Why you need it: To keep your home gym clean, a heavy duty mop and bucket combo, some spray bottles, cleaning rags, and disinfectant spray are essential personal trainer supplies.

Gym flooring

Price: $125+

Why you need it: Interlocking floor pads protect your equipment and your flooring, and lessen the impact of long periods spent standing (your lower back will thank you). For $125, you should be able to cover 48 square feet, or a six by eight foot area.

Fan

Price: $60

Why you need it: Air circulation cuts down on moisture buildup, wicks away sweat, and dries just-mopped floors. For $60, you’ll get an industrial model that should weather long-term use.

Essential digital tools for personal trainers

Resistance bands and foam rollers will only get you so far. The success of your personal trainer business depends on keeping organized and marketing your services. That’s where digital tools come in.

Seriously: don’t skimp on this part of your business. Apps and online services make it easier than ever to manage your back-office and market yourself, but for maximum effectiveness, you need to start using them on Day One.

Here are the essential digital tools you need to get your personal training business up and running.

Personal training organizers

Client relationship management (CRM)

Price: $20 – 50/month (or included with a $9 or $39 Durable subscription)

Why you need it: Client relationship management (CRM) software tracks all the info you need for each of your clients: services you’ve provided, payments they’ve made, contact information, and more. It not only allows you to provide better one-on-one service, but gives you high-level insights into your clientele.

Invoicing

Price: $15/month (or included with any Durable subscription)

Why you need it: Invoicing by hand using templates eats up time and can make getting paid a hassle. An invoicing tool—like Durable’s invoice builder—lets you quickly prepare and send invoices, and gives clients the option to pay by credit card.

Accounting/bookkeeping

Price: $15/month

Why you need it: Keeping on top of bookkeeping lets you track how your business is performing. It’s also essential for filing taxes. Tools like Quickbooks Online start at $15 a month.

A business bank account

Price: Free

Why you need it: A separate checking account for your personal training business ensures your personal and business transactions won’t get mixed up, and makes bookkeeping simpler. With Durable you can set up an in-app bank account that connects directly to the rest of your platform.

Personal trainer marketing tools

Social media scheduler

Price: $5/month

Why you need it: An active social media presence gives your business visibility online and helps new clients connect. With a scheduling app like Buffer or Hootsuite, you can prepare posts in advance, schedule them, and have them published simultaneously on multiple platforms.

Google Ads

Price: $10/day

Why you (may) need it: Google Ads may seem like a hefty investment, but when it comes to targeting local searches—people in your area looking for a personal trainer—it’s a powerful tool. If you have the budget, $10 per day will let you test the waters. Got writer's block? Use Durable's free Google Ad AI writer.

Business name generator

Price: Free from Durable

Why you need it: Working under a brand name—rather than your own, personal name—may add an air of legitimacy to your business. Also, it makes it simpler to sub-contract other trainers later on. Take Durable’s AI name generator for a spin: in seconds, it will generate a unique, memorable name for your business. Don’t like it? Hit refresh and get a new one. Our name generator is part of Durable’s AI Website Builder.

Website builder

Price: Free from Durable

Why you need it: Durable’s AI website builder creates your personal training website in 30 seconds. With attractive design and graphics, smart copy, and the freedom to edit anything, it can save you from spending hundreds of dollars on a freelancer. Try out our free AI website builder now, or have a look at our personal training website template.

Conclusion

Once you’ve budgeted for the tools you need to start your personal training business, you’re that much closer to launching. For next steps, check out our complete guide to starting a personal training business.