Exercise and movement can move mountains if you are struggling with arthritis. Getting the most out of your workouts is dependent on the equipment you have. The top arthritis exercise equipment includes hip resistance bands, kettlebell, sandbell, TRX straps, and more. This exercise equipment can be powerful to help you build strength to support your joints with arthritis-friendly exercises.
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As a physical therapist, I often get asked, what equipment is necessary to make strength gains with osteoarthritis.
I recommend the following budget friendly equipment to get the right amount of resistance to continue to make gains. Home gyms don’t have to be full of expensive equipment to be effective. There are certain pieces of exercise equipment that will bring you more bang for your buck.
I have been working with people suffering from osteoarthritis pain for the past few years. I have perfected this list for arthritis-friendly exercise equipment and cannot wait to share it with you.
Exercise is one of the best things you can do to combat osteoarthritis pain. If you want more details on the benefits of exercise with osteoarthritis, read the post here.
Top Arthritis Exercise equipment you need in your home gym
I personally love the kettlebell because there are many different exercises you can use with one simple tool. It is different from a dumbbell because the handle and the bell shape allows for safe, dynamic movements.
According to the 18 benefits of using a kettlebell, “By regularly doing kettlebell workouts, you will rapidly develop the major muscles of your hips, core, shoulders, and neck too…and these are all vital aspects of having good posture and a strong backside.”
Kettlebells allow you to combine movements which leads to increased stamina as well as increased calorie burn. This then helps fuel fat loss which is important when dealing with osteoarthritis.
These muscles are extremely important especially with knee, low back, or hip arthritis. Our favorite kettlebell exercises include kettlebell goblet squats, kettlebell deadlifts, kettlebell swings, and kettlebell overhead press. Watch the video below for examples on how to complete these above exercises.
The weight you choose is dependent on your fitness level. A 10lb or 15lb kettlebell would be appropriate if you are just starting out. We have had clients work up to a 25lb and even 35lb after working with us for 8-10 visits.
The nice thing about kettlebells is you can have a lighter weight that you use for overhead presses and upper body exercises and a heavier bell you can use for deadlifts, swings, and other leg exercises.
Budget: 15lb kettlebell: ~$30
2. Suspension straps (TRX bands)
I love suspension straps, especially when you are starting out with exercise. Adding support to exercises can help to decrease pain and improve range of motion.
These straps can easily hang from any door in your home, providing bodyweight support to common exercises like squats and lunges that are typically painful with arthritis.
The TRX bands incorporate core strength with almost every exercise due to the set up and the instability of the straps.
You can complete upper body, lower body, and full body exercises. You can also add in dynamic exercises such as jumping and balance exercises which can dramatically help reduce joint pain.
The video below shows some of my favorite movements with these straps. You can find more exercises in this blog post.
You can find these bands here. It is a steal for how beneficial these bands are and are a must for arthritis exercise equipment.
Suspension straps: ~$80-$100
3. Hip Circle Resistance Bands
These bands are an absolute must for arthritis pain relief. We love using this small circle resistance bands for lower body exercises to help strengthen the muscles that typically get neglected.
Adding these bands to exercises like squats can improve form and help to decrease knee pain. You can use these bands to help improve posture and upper body strength as well to help with shoulder and neck osteoarthritis.
These bands typically come in sets of 5 with varying resistances. We usually use the lighter resistance bands for upper body exercises and the heavier resistance for lower body exercises.
Here are some examples of the best exercises to improve your posture along with building upper body strength using one of these resistance bands. We can get creative with these and improve aerobic capacity and stamina too.
You can get a set HERE and they are a must have.
Resistance bands: ~$20
This piece of exercise equipment is great to challenge grip strength, especially if you have a history of hand osteoarthritis. Grip strength is extremely important for longevity. Recently there has been research about the importance of grip strength in correlation with other health markers.
For example, “Researchers say grip strength can predict your overall strength and health, as well as your risk of cardiovascular disease. As you age, the stronger your grip, the more likely you are to survive diseases like cancer.”
The sandbell is similar to a kettlebell but is a soft sack full of small beads that gives it weight. This is a great alternative if you have a difficult time holding onto dumbbells because of hand pain.
If you have never heard of the sandbell, watch the video below to see sample exercises and how the sandbell works. Essentially, you hang onto the beads in the bell through the exercise. Since the bell is soft, you can complete throws and slams- which you aren’t able to do with dumbbells or kettlebells.
We would recommend 8-10lb bags for beginner to moderate fitness levels. People of moderate-advanced fitness level may be able to use 12-15lb bags.
An 8lb bag costs approximately $30 and can be used in supplementation with the other arthritis exercise equipment listed in this post. At this price, we would highly recommend adding one of these to your collection. Get a sandbell here.
Sandbell 8lb: $30
5. Hand strengtheners
Speaking of grip strength, there are specific tools you can use to improve your hand strength and maintain finger mobility. This is extremely important if you are beginning to have signs of osteoarthritis in your hands.
These tools are very inexpensive and are worth having accessible during the day so you can continue to promote blood flow in your hands. It is important to keep your fingers mobile so you can keep function for opening jars, holding onto grandkids, and holding onto smaller objects.
These tools below are great to help with grip strength and they offer different levels of resistance. Most that are experiencing symptoms of osteoarthritis will likely stay with the lower resistances to avoid flaring up pain or over-stressing the muscles.
This variety pack is one that we recommend due to the variety of tools that are included and you can’t beat the price! Get the variety pack here for under $20.
Hand strengtheners: ~$15
6. Resistance bands
The longer resistance bands or “stretchy bands” are extremely important to help with core and upper body strength, both vital for proper posture. If you are dealing with arthritis in your spine or in your shoulder, these are a must have.
These resistance bands are commonly used in physical therapy for all sorts of conditions. They are especially important for osteoarthritis pain relief when used correctly by adding resistance through range of motion.
There are also lots of core exercises you can do with these resistance bands too! There is a video below that shows examples of exercises you can do for a stronger core. Your core is the foundation for almost all movement so it is important to pay attention to!
These resistance bands usually come in a pack of 3-5 different resistances. You typically only need about 3 different resistances. These run between $10-$20 and can be a great addition to a home gym. We use these bands mostly for warm up and cool downs. We like this pack the best, you can get them here.
Resistance bands: ~$15
Total: $180-200 for 6 items!
These 6 tools are a great way to start a home gym that will be the best bang for your buck, especially for arthritis friendly exercises. The idea is to be able to complete bodyweight exercises before adding weight. We recommend starting with the TRX straps and hip circle resistance bands and progressing to the kettlebells and sandbell.
If you are looking for more guidance on how to get started, check out our free 4 day Kickstart Your Arthritis Adventure Challenge. You’ll learn how to get back to movin’ and groovin’ without flaring up your arthritis pain.
The challenge includes 4 days of workouts including how to get started, how to improve your stamina, introduction to strength training and more!
I have created this program so you can finally feel what it’s like to move again despite osteoarthritis. Movement can be one of the most powerful ways to cope and regain confidence in yourself. Let’s get to it!
Disclaimer: This post is for general informational purposes only. It should not be used to self-diagnose and it is not a substitute for a medical exam, cure, treatment, diagnosis, and prescription or recommendation. It does not create a doctor-patient relationship between Dr. Kuhn and you. You should not make any change in your health regimen or diet before first consulting a physician and obtaining a medical exam, diagnosis, and recommendation. Move Well Age Well, LLC and Dr. Alyssa Kuhn, PT, DPT are not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any conclusions drawn, services or product you obtain through this video or site.
This article contains affiliate links that pay us a small commission without any cost to you.