8 Affordable Pieces of Home Gym Equipment
The biggest roadblocks to a regular exercise habit are cost, availability and time commitment. Maybe a gym membership is too expensive. Maybe there are no gyms close to where you live or work. Maybe you are a mom or dad juggling work and kids, or someone who simply works incredibly long hours with little time to spare for travel to and from a gym plus the actual workout time. Maybe you can’t afford to invest in expensive exercise machines and equipment so you can work out at home.
Working out at home is a solution to some of these constraints, and you can afford the basic elements of a home gym.
A workout mat is an affordable investment that will allow your feet to grip the rubber for stabilization when you perform a range of exercises. It also provides a padded surface for plyometric exercises like jumping jacks. If yoga is your forte, then a mat will provide a safe surface for your moves. Most sturdy mats cost under $35.
Jump ropes are all the rage because they allow you to get a moderate to strenuous aerobic workout for minimal costs. You can also jump rope in any open space, indoors or outdoors. Take a lesson from a boxer’s playbook – this exercise modality is not just for kids. A weighted rope is often easier to work with and many cost under $25.
Exercise bands come in all shapes and levels, and are usually color-coded so you can recognize the amount of tension they offer. Many elastic bands and Thera-bands (flat elastic bands) come in packs of two or three and are quite affordable. Make sure to follow the directions so you maintain the bands and prevent the rubber from cracking due to weather fluctuations.
A step can be a great way to incorporate increasing levels of challenge to your workout. They come in molded plastic, pressed foam or other materials, and also have a variety of price points. Performing a lunge on the floor is one level of challenge. When you add an inclined surface, it can make the move even more challenging. Steps can also be used in lieu of a workout bench, so you can perform certain chest and upper body exercise that require your body to be supine and off the ground, for full range of motion. There are some that allow stacking for greater height options and most fit in a closet or under a bed.
An ab wheel can allow you to work your core abdominal muscles effectively, adding another level to basic crunches. You hold on to two grips located on either side of a small rubber wheel, and extend your body from a kneeling position to full length and then roll it back in. Many prototypes cost under $20. Just make sure you have no back issues and consider this tool more appropriate for moderate to advanced exercisers.
Stability balls, those large blown up colored rubber balls, allow you to perform sit ups and crunches on a more forgiving surface. You can also perform core strengthening exercises when you sit on the ball with only one leg on the floor. The ball can also be held as a “weight” when you perform plies and squat exercises. You can also put the large ball between your straight legs as you lie on your back on the mat, so you can work your inner thigh muscles by squeezing them against the resistance of the rubber ball. Some people also sit on the balls at their workstation to improve core muscle strength while at work.
One or two sets of free weights can be added to your home gym set up so you can perform a variety of upper body exercises, with or without lower body exercise moves. Compound exercises like “a lunge with a bicep curl” are especially challenging. Buy a light set and a heavy set so you can do a variety of levels of exercise.
Foam rollers have become popular tools for your stretching period. You can roll different parts of your body on the rollers to self-massage, and self-roll the rollers on the upper parts of your leg to help increase circulation and to massage specific areas of your body during your stretch period.
Music or DVDs are the mainstay of a good workout for most people, providing motivation and guidance. You can also follow TV or online fitness programming or YouTube instructional videos as well.
Also check out: Top Fitness Trend Predictions for 2016
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