Equipment for home workouts- what do you really need?
With just a minimal investment, you can set yourself up quite happily to start training at home. Not only will you save on membership fees at the local gym, there’s never any waiting for equipment and you save on travel time. Winning.
Before you get started buying things for your training program, here’s what you’ll need:
Space. Don’t squish into an existing space if you can avoid it. Create an area where your movement isn’t restricted and you’re not a danger to yourself or others. This could mean rearranging a spare room, part of your living room or garage – but creating a safe, inviting area is a must!
Equipment. Get basic, versatile equipment. Purchase the best quality you can afford – especially when it comes to things like benches, balls and dumbbells.
Plan. You need to follow a progressive, sustainable long-term plan. Don’t go too hard, too fast. We create plans for people starting back or starting up – I want clients to have balanced programs that focus on conditioning and then building. I can make one just for you or you can join my group program. Check them out here.
My top picks?
The criteria: Equipment needs to be functional and versatile. It can't take up TOO much space and must be able to be used for a wide variety of workouts and training styles.
You need weights.
And dumbbells can be used instead of barbells, kettlebells and gym equipment moves. They do EVERYTHING but can be packed away into quite a small space. They will last and last – simply purchase additional plates to make them heavier as you progress.
There are a few different types of adjustable dumbbell so check them all out before purchasing individual weights.
A set of 3kg dumbbells may be inexpensive but it won’t get you far.
Essential for releasing tight, hard working muscles – before and after your workout. Foam Rolling is actually a form of self myofascial release. Or SMR.
If you train regularly, chances are you’re tight in places and that’s where SMR comes in. It can improve flexibility, function, performance, and reduce injuries. And it’s simple. I use my roller to help my muscles return to their normal, soft-tissue extensibility. It doesn’t take long, you can do it at home and it’s easy to maintain.
FOR A STRONG, FUNCTIONAL AND BEAUTIFUL BACK, NO OTHER BACK EXERCISE CAN COMPETE WITH THE PULL-UP.
Yes, essential. I think of the pull-up as the squat of the upper body. Put it somewhere you’re tempted to use it each time you go past it.
Use a resistance or power band to help support you until you're strong enough to lift your own body weight. Power-bands can provide resistance or support – great when you’re building pull-up strength but you take with you to the beach or park for a workout too. They can be used for so much!
Don't want to try weights? Try upping body weight movements with Suspension or Ring Training.
Cheaper than a TR-X and I think superior with the double anchor points (TR-X has just one and from my experience, it's a pain in the proverbial). Suspension Trainers are fairly low cost versus most other pieces of equipment. The portability and limited space requirement make them very popular for home workouts.
A suspension trainer consists of two nylon straps or ropes with a handle at each end. These join together and the unit attaches to an anchor point overhead. You can use a door, branch, or just about anything that can keep it fixed. You slip your hands or feet onto or over the handles in various combinations. You then usually keep some part of your body connected to the ground to perform the exercises.
Use in a doorway or get an anchor point such as the one pictured.
But wait! There's more..
Got Space? More Ideas...
If you're wanting to train at home to focus on your goal, think about adding these items too.
1. Treadmill or Bike. You can buy good quality treadmills that fold away when not in use. Or invest in a bike – I use spin bikes at my place. They tend to be designed to be more like a ‘real’ bike in both seating arrangements and postural alignment. Or if you have a bike already, get a wind trainer. A wind trainer converts your road bike into an exercise bike at home.
I love these round mats but there so many to choose from. To find the right exercise mat for you, take into account the type of mat as well as the material. Some mats are designed specifically for yoga or Pilates, and these tend to be thinner and lighter than your average exercise mat. For a mat that’s designed for use with cardio exercises, you need a thicker exercise mat. Most fitness mats are at least 1/2-inch thick and can withstand basic cardio exercises.
Most mats are made with vinyl or PVC foam, and are generally durable and easy to clean. PVC mats generally don’t have a strong initial odour. Rubber and latex mats tend to grip floors well, and can be a less expensive option. If you have sensitive skin, however, you may want to consider a mat that isn’t made from rubber or latex. Try cork or hemp instead.
3. Workout Bench
You can use this for all manner of exercises – from dips and step-ups to chest press. Again, a highly versatile piece of equipment that will be the cornerstone of your home gym workouts. An adjustable bench, like the one pictured, gives you even more training options than just a flat bench - and it's only a few dollars more.
4. Exercise Ball.
Look for a quality, anti-burst ball. Exercise balls up the ante and provide a fun and challenging way to do perform training. And if you can’t afford a bench when you get started, get a ball. Most movements can be modified to work on a ball.
Make Your Own Equipment
How about some fun and cheap DIY Gym Equipment ideas?
An awesome addition to any home gym. You can make a Kettlebell equivalent instead of buying more equipment. It will cost you around $10-$20.
A Weighted Fit-ball
There are some amazing and challenging movements you can do with a weighted ball. Make your own at home…
How to make it and see below for all the exercises you can do with it…
Make your own medicine ball.
An old basketball gets a new life…and you save a packet on buying more equipment. Win.