Shape Best In Fitness Awards 2023: Best Workout Gear

Find expert picks for the best yoga mat, Pilates equipment, and more for the 2023 Shape Best In Fitness Awards.

Alo / The Ness / Manduka.

Sometimes, it's the little things that make all the difference in your workout. Example: a thin, slippery, easily scuffed yoga mat vs. a cushioned, no-slip mat that makes savasana truly restorative. Here, Shape editors and experts share their trusted go-tos for the best workout gear that can get you that much closer to reaching your goals.

Best Versatile Exercise Mat: Alo Warrior Mat

Though this mat is technically marketed for use during yoga, it’s tough enough to handle your high-impact, cardio-intense workouts. The 5mm-thick mat offers plenty of cushioning to keep your joints protected and is more than six feet long, so you won’t end up flat on your face during a round of burpees. It’s also made to be slip-free no matter how sweaty your palms get.

Warrior Mat
Alo Warrior Mat $128.00

Expert Review: “This is my all-time favorite mat. It offers an amazing grip even when I’m drenched from sweat and is perfect when you are exploring handstands. It’s very thick and oversized so you can practice yoga or work out with that added comfort and support.” — Phyllicia Bonanno, yoga and meditation instructor and Sweat trainer

Best Pilates Ring: Calia Pilates Ring

This 14-inch Pilates ring is perfect for adding resistance to your pliés, bridges, and leg lifts. The padded inner and outer grips keep your hands, thighs, and knees comfortable and protected as you sweat and strengthen.

Pilates Ring
Calia Pilates Ring $30.00

Expert Review: “The colors offered are great for in-studio and at-home [workouts]. Because the tones are muted, even if I forget to clean up after my workout, my space still looks put together.” — Bonanno

Best Pilates Ball: P.Volve P.Ball

This inflatable Pilates ball comes with an adjustable, removable resistance band to hold it in place. When placed between your thighs or under your low back, the round shape provides instability, making muscles work even harder during every exercise.

P.Ball
P.Volve P.Ball $60.00

Expert Review: "I use this ball to amp up Pilates and barre workouts at home. I love that I can secure it on my legs with the resistance band to prevent it from slipping between my thighs during tough moves or use it without the resistance band. Plus, it's easy to inflate with the included hand pump and needle." Christie Calucchia, Shape news editor

Best Yoga Block: Alo Uplifting Yoga Block

Whether you’re in need of additional stability or a deeper stretch, this lightweight, firm yoga block with beveled edges will support you through practice. The prop is available in 10 different colors, so you’re sure to find one that matches perfectly with your space.

Uplifting Yoga Blocks
Alo Uplifting Yoga Block $28.00

Expert Review: “These yoga blocks are soft enough for use in Yin poses and firm enough for arm balance practice. They are durable and withstand time; I’ve had mine for years and they still look brand new.” — Bonanno

Best Yoga Strap: Sweaty Betty x Yogi Bare Stretch Strap

Made from soft woven cotton, this nearly six-foot-long yoga strap will help you sink deeper into any stretch or start your own flexibility practice if touching your toes is still slightly out of reach. The strong yet gentle cotton and just-right width of the strap (40 mm) make this a winner.

Stretch Strap
Sweaty Betty Yogi Bare Stretch Strap $19.00

Expert Review: “This strap is great for many functions. Its stretch capability offers a bit of slack and resistance to your yoga practice. The perfect strap for all levels of yoga practitioners.” — Bonanno

Best Yoga Mat: Manduka Pro Yoga Mat

Manduka is known for its high-quality yoga mats that are built to last a lifetime (seriously, they come with a lifetime guarantee). The Manduka Pro yoga mat option includes the brand's signature dot pattern on one side to keep it from slipping on the floor while a textured top layer keeps hands and feet comfortably in place in any pose. It also offers 6mm of cushion.

Pro Yoga Mat
Manduka Pro Yoga Mat $129.00

Expert review: "My yoga instructor recommended this mat to me when I started getting more serious about my practice in 2013. I've had it (and used it regularly!) ever since. So far, it's shown no signs of damage and is just as grippy and cushioned as it was when I first bought it almost a decade ago." — Calucchia

Best Balance Trainer: BodySport Balance Disc

Fitness newbies and pros alike can feel confident using this balance trainer, which has one grippy side and one smooth side and can be inflated to 1 inch or 2 inches to alter the difficulty of your workout. The prop is strong enough to sit on and large enough to comfortably stand on with both feet. 

Balance Disc
BodySport Balance Disc $26.00

Expert Review: “As a former cross country runner in high school and college, I’ve had my fair share of sprained ankles. I’ve used this disc many times for rehabilitation on sprained ankles, and more recently for injury prevention.” — Bridget O’Carroll, founder of Studio Qila

Best Mini Trampoline: The Ness Trampoline

Designed by JumpSport, a mainstay brand in professional fitness studios, this trampoline features elastic cords rather than springs for a smooth bounce. Each can be adjusted to one of three firmness settings, and the trampoline rests on non-marking silicone leg caps to keep it in place and still prevent unsightly scuffs on your floor.

The Ness Trampoline
The Ness Trampoline $500.00

Expert Review: “Even as a trampoline newbie, I was able to keep up with fancy footwork during a class, since this trampoline had just the right amount of bounce. It felt sturdy under my feet as I alternated between higher and lower jumps, and it's nice and compact, which is a plus if you're adding it to your home gym.”Renee Cherry, Shape associate editor

Best Pull-Up Bar: Iron Gym Pull-Up Bar

No need for a complete weight rack when you have this easy-to-install pull-up bar, which securely attaches to any door frame for an instant home gym. Specifically, Iron Gym's pull-up bar has an adjustable width, and no screws are required for assembly, making it super easy to get started using it.

Upper-Body Workout Bar
Iron Gym Pull-Up Bar $24.00

Expert Review: "This pull-up bar is also easy to install and has comfortable handgrips." Kayla Jeter, NASM-certified personal trainer and certified functional strength coach

Best Core-Strengthening Accessory: 10 Pound Bala Power Ring

With options for 5, 8, 10, or 15 pounds, this weighted hoop is coated with soft silicone for a pleasant grip. At the 10-pound weight, its versatile shape makes it a go-to for Russian twists, squats with chest presses, woodchops, and even swings when kettlebells aren't available.

The Power Ring
Bala 10 Pound Power Ring $89.00

Expert Review: "When I first got the Power Ring, I wasn't really sure what to use it for. Turns out, the answer is almost anything. I love it for adding spice to my core workouts — it's surprisingly comfy for weighted planks and bear crawls — and it's easy for my smaller hands to grip." Kristen Geil, NASM-certified personal trainer and Shape senior fitness editor

Best Resistance Bands with Handles: Rogue Fitness Tube Bands

With six different weight options to choose from, Rogue Fitness Tube Bands are the complete package for anyone looking for a starter resistance band set. The best part: They're actually comfortable to hold, thanks to textured-grip handles that don't cut into your skin.

Tube Bands
Rogue Fitness Rogue Tube Bands $22.00

Expert Review: "A great variety in resistance allows these bands to be used from your warm-up to your actual workout. They also feel really durable, so the concern of snapping a band doesn’t distract from the workout." — Jeter

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