We are in a global pandemic now, asked to close our bricks and mortar businesses and this of course includes gyms, big and small.
But just because your gym is closed doesn’t mean you have an excuse to skip your workouts. In fact, now, it is more important than ever to stay healthy.
Staying fit can keep you healthy physically, but exercise also boosts your mental and spiritual health, too. During any stressful time, it’s important not to give up on your fitness routine just because you can’t get to the gym, attend an exercise class or play an organized sport.
And now that you are mostly stuck inside during this ‘stay at home’ phase of the pandemic it may be worth it to invest in a few key pieces of equipment that will get you through these difficult times.
First and foremost, I have to say, you don’t need to buy anything. There is no shortage of exercises you can do with your own body weight. But having some bonus equipment at your disposal gives you more exercise options, allows you to add resistance as you get stronger, and gives your workouts more variety, so you (and your muscles) won’t get bored of the same old, same old routine.
So without further ado, here is my top 5 list of home gym equipment basics to get you started.
(Again, none of this is essential, just suggestions, because your home workout space should be customized to you. Choose what you need based on your own personal workout habits and routines.)
1. Workout Mat
At it’s simplest level, you need a dedicated space to workout. A mat can be that for you. Plus it makes exercises way more comfortable, whether you are doing ab work on your back, or planking our forearms. Plus, if you are doing yoga, you need a mat that will prevent you from slipping and sliding around. Plus, you can also bring your mat to the backyard to take your workout outdoors.
2. Resistance Bands
Resistance bands are great because they’re lightweight, inexpensive, and don’t take a lot of room to store. They are a great way to add extra challenge to lower body exercises. The tighter the band, the greater the resistance.
A set of dumbells opens up a world of opportunity when it comes to at home workouts. Not sure what weight to get? That’s a tough question, it depends on how strong you are of course! I would suggest starting with one heavy dumbell (12 – 20 lbs) and one medium weight one (8-12 lbs). If you want to work both sides at the same time, you will need to buy a set but you can get away with working one side at a time.
And while it’s great to have lighter weights around for exercises that target smaller muscle groups (like triceps extensions), you can get crafty without ’em if you’re on a budget.
4. Stability Ball
A stability ball is a great additional piece of equipment that can be used for so many exercises and can even double as your weight bench. The biggest draw back is it’s size. If you don’t have a dedicated area for your workout equipment it takes up a lot of space.
One of the areas of your body that gets most neglected in your at home workouts is your back. A TRX is a great tool to have around so you can work your back muscles in a safe and effective way. Its great because it is small and portable and can even be taken out of doors. You just need a strong place to anchor it.
6. ADD ON: Skipping Rope
There are a lot of ways to get your heart rate up but a skipping rope is a great tool for that. Cheap and small enough to store in a drawer a skipping rope works both your upper and lower body and gets your heart rate up in a matter of seconds.
7. ADD ON: Technology
If you aren’t one to work out alone you will need to have access to some kind of technology to keep you motivated! This means you need to have access to a strong wifi connection so you can access your favourite music playlist, some great speakers and access to your screen if you are watching a video or have a trainer taking you through your workouts.