10 Must-Have Pieces of At-Home Training Equipment: Why Not Get in Shape While You're Stuck at Home?
Most gyms and fitness centers shut down when the coronavirus pandemic hit, and many of them have yet to reopen. Even in places where the gyms are back up and running, fitness enthusiasts have found that there are better ways to stay in shape and meet their health and wellness goals. The best way to go about it is to buy some equipment and start a home gym. Read on to find out about ten pieces of at-home training equipment that should be considered must-have items for any home gym.
- A Functional Training System
Functional training systems (FTSs) cost more than some types of at-home gym equipment, but they offer a full package in return. An FTS has a tiny footprint but offers plenty of space to maximize the range of motion and makes it easier to work on everything from core strength and stability to balance and coordination. With the right functional training system, home fitness enthusiasts won't need much else in terms of large equipment.
Precor makes an excellent FTS that is well worth the money, and TK Star has Precor cables that make it easy to make minor repairs so that home gym owners can make the most of their investments.
- A Non-Slip Exercise Mat
Some people think exercise mats are just for yoga. They're missing out. Exercise mats provide a safe, comfortable, and non-slip surface for performing strength training exercises and stretches. Yoga mats are usually quite affordable, so it's worth spending the extra money for one that's durable, heavy, stable, and thick enough to provide maximum comfort. Just make sure it's not so thick that it feels like feet and other body parts get stuck in the foam.
- A Doorway Pull-Up Bar
Pull-up bars are excellent for working on upper body strength. They use the weight of the person's body to tone back, shoulder, chest, and arm muscles. Plus, it's easy to isolate different muscle groups by changing hand positions on the bar. People who are just getting into adopting better home fitness habits now may feel discouraged about pull-ups, but they shouldn't. Just add resistance bands for a pull-up assist.
- Core Sliders
Core sliders look a little like Frisbees, but they're much more helpful for keeping in shape. Fitness enthusiasts can use them to take their core routines to a new level by strengthening different major muscle groups like the glutes, legs, and inner or outer thighs. They increase intensity without adding unnecessary impact, which means less risk to the joints and fewer complaints from downstairs neighbors. Try core sliders to maximize the impact of side-lunges, push-up variations, plank jacks, speed skaters, and mountain climbers. Just make sure to buy sliders designed for either hardwood or carpeted floors depending on where they will be used.
- A Power Wheel
The Lifeline Power Wheel looks a little like the bottom part of a stationary bicycle, but it's actually a far more versatile piece of equipment designed for strength training. The Power Wheel can be used for upper or lower body training, core training, and more. It features a multi-directional wheel and pedals that double as padded handgrips to maximize versatility. Use the Power Wheel to get more out of any bodyweight exercise.
- Resistance Bands
Resistance bands are a must-have item for any home gym. They're affordable, small, versatile, and perfect for people of all athletic abilities. A favorite of personal trainers, they can be used to work out the arms, legs, and core without any need to change equipment. It's wise to buy a full set since resistance bands vary significantly in size and tension levels, and most people need to switch between different bands as they increase their fitness levels.
- A Dumbbell Set
Dumbbells also referred to as free weights, are some of the most frequently used pieces of home exercise equipment. They're durable, versatile, and extremely space-efficient. Personal trainers can recommend hundreds of different exercises that can be performed or enhanced by a pair of dumbbells. Try starting out with bicep curls and chest presses before moving on to squats, deadlifts, or tricep kickbacks.
- Ankle and Wrist Weights
Those who have never tried working out with ankle or wrist weights often underestimate how much of an added challenge they pose. Just two to five pounds of weight can really ramp up any workout routine. They're perfect for adding an extra challenge to any yoga, Pilates, or bodyweight workout, and the best part is, they take up next to no space when they're not in use. Just make sure to avoid some common misuses that can lead to muscle imbalances.
- A Jump Rope
Some people associate jump ropes with childhood, but high-quality speed jump ropes were not designed to be toys. They're essential cardio training tools that give workout buffs a fantastic alternative to running or cycling. Those with downstairs neighbors may want to consider taking their jump rope routines outdoors to the yard or a nearby park, though, if they want to maintain a good relationship.
- A Stationary Bicycle
Cycling is one of the most effective cardio activities around, and it's very low-impact. Not everybody has access to a conveniently located bike path, but there's no need to drive miles out of the city to get in a good bout of cycling. Buying a stationary bicycle is a perfect alternative. Many of today's stationary bikes have advanced features like heart rate monitoring and added resistance, making it easier to take that cardio workout to the next level.
The Bottom Line
Even as gyms and fitness centers reopen, many Americans will choose to continue exercising at home. Having a well-equipped home gym is more convenient, less awkward for those who don't enjoy the social aspects of a gym membership, and takes away all excuses to avoid those daily exercise routines. Start by buying just a few pieces of equipment, then purchase new items that will fit the space and meet your needs.