Working out can be a challenge. Finding the motivation to get off the couch can be the greatest. While working out at home is convenient, many find they need the gym atmosphere to get them in the right mindset. For others making the trip to the gym can make that challenge more difficult. There are pros and cons to working out in a gym or at home. Even if you love working out at the gym, there are days when there just isn't enough time. Maybe you hate the feeling that everyone is staring at you and you’re uncomfortable getting sweaty and gross in such a public setting. I feel your pain! Enter the Home Gym. With a few inexpensive pieces of equipment and your own body weight you can get an intense, effective workout without ever leaving the house!
So what do you need to get started? Believe it or not... it doesn't take much. I know how overwhelming it can be when you see a parade of the latest new exercise product that promise to get you into THE best shape of your life in 5 easy minutes every time you turn on the TV. Most are gimmicky crap that won't do much but collect dust or serve as a conversational piece at your next party. Here is a list of my favorite tried and true tools I use myself and with my clients, that can help you take your home workout to the next level. Click on the equipment names for purchasing suggestions. I do not receive any commission for these products, it's simply an introduction to the equipment and to give an idea on their average price point.
1. Exercise bands.
These fabulous things come in a variety of styles. With the addition of a door attachment you have the ability to perform hundreds of exercises and target just about every body part. Everyone has their own personal preference when it comes to the style of band they use. I've included three different styles so you can choose which is best for you.
~Standard Bands: These are the most commonly used exercise bands that come with handles in a variety of thicknesses. Some brands allow you to switch the bands between the handles, while others have permanently attached handles.
~ Flat bands: These bands come in a variety of thicknesses and are very light, portable, and versatile. By wrapping these around your hands you can control the length and tension for the exercises. They can also be tied and used around the legs for inner and outer thigh and glute exercises.
~ Large loops: Popular with the Crossfit community, these bands are great for more advanced strength training as they tend to be much thicker than the standard or flat bands. The continuous loop design make them easy to use with squats and lunges. They are also great when used as a pullup assist.
~ Mini loops: Great for lower body and glute exercises, as well as training or improving proper form.
2. Exercise ball/Balance ball/Swiss ball
If you're looking to take your core and stability workout up a notch, this is the tool for you! The Swiss ball is available in a variety of sizes for different heights, so be sure to choose the right ball for your height. If you are going to be using your ball for strength/weight training as well it is recommended that you choose a ball one size larger to accommodate the added weight.
45 cm for under 5'
55 cm for 5'-5'6"
65 cm for 5'6"-6'
75 cm for 6'-6'8"
85 cm for 6'8" and above
3. Jump Rope
I can remember jumping rope for hours as a kid! I had all but forgotten about the humble jump rope. Take a cue from the boxing community and add this into your workouts for an unbeatable cardio workout. Adding in 30-60 second intervals of jumping rope between strength exercises will take your workout to the next level!
4. Pull-up Bar
Without a doubt, the pullup/chin up is one of the best back exercises. When paired with a chair, or band assist, the pull up can be performed by almost anyone! The pull-up bar can also be used for some pretty amazing hanging core exercises as well. The new doorway pullup design bar allows you to get in a good workout anywhere you've got a door without the commitment of permanent installation! I personally love the challenge of pull-ups!
5. Suspension Trainer
The all in one gym! A suspension trainer is SUPER portable! Use this in your home, or take this with you on vacation, business trips, to your local park and get an amazing total body workout with just one piece of equipment. This will challenge your core, and give you a full body workout that is easy on your joints... not to mention it's REALLY fun!
And there you have it! That’s all it takes to create a wide variety of home workouts! No expensive Nautilus needed! No more excuses! Build your own home gym and take your fitness to the next level!