Our Top 5: Home Fitness Equipment
So, the idea of a fully equipped gym is a great thing but as a trainer, I can tell you that most of the programmes I design for my clients need minimal equipment and often only a few meters of space on the floor.
There are hundreds of body weight and floor exercises that challenge your entire system without using any additional weight: anyone who has ever used press up’s or hollow holds in their routine will understand.
However for the sake of adding a bit of variety there are a number of great, inexpensive pieces of fitness equipment that can add a great deal to your home workout.
Here are my top 5:
1. A resistance band
These are great for mobility, activation work and helping to shape the legs. There are loads of different exercises you can use but a few of my own favourites are banded squats, banded glute bridges and banded leg raises. Resistance bands vary in that you can get traditional bands with handles which allow for an upper body workout also but mini bands are certainly my personal favourite because you can out them around your legs and knees (avoiding the knee caps obviously) for mobility and activation. Make sure you get a couple of different sizes/strengths so that you can use them for different exercises depending on the muscles being activated and/or trained.
2. A set of light and medium dumbbells.
Dumbbells can be used in multiple ways to work the entire muscular system. They can be used to add load to any movement and mechanical stress is one of the central components involved in muscular adaptations. These adaptation are necessary whatever your goal: for weight loss, the more muscle you have the more calories you will burn just maintaining normal bodily functions, for strength we need to stress the musculature so that it adapts and gets stronger and for that ‘toned’ look we need to increase the size of the muscle underneath the skin and adipose tissue while decreasing body fat.
You can hold dumbbells in your hands when you are training legs or you can challenge your body to move them from point A to point B using your upper body muscles. They also force you to engage and activate your core when held in certain positions. These are the two ways you can utilise a set of light/medium dumbbells to add variety to your home workout routine.
3. A light/medium or heavy Kettlebells
While specific kettlebell exercises like the swing and get up are advanced and should be practiced under supervision, they can also simply act like dumbbells and just add mechanical stress or ‘load’ to any movement. They are also excellent for core activation if held at the chest during leg exercises or overhead. If you are confident in Olympic lifting techniques and auxiliary exercises they can add a great deal of cardiovascular work to a HIIT regime but again this is quite advanced. They are a great multi-purpose addition to your home gym and while the heavier ones can be pricey, the light and medium weights are usually very reasonable.
4. A Bosu balance trainer.
These are brilliant for adding variety and indeed some fun, to home workouts. They are fantastic for adding an element of stability to many exercises. Split squats with your back foot on the ball for example are great for challenging your core stabilisers and lower back. Your core is used to keep you upright and stable every moment of your day so its importance cannot be underestimated. You can also use the Bosu in a number of plank variations which are very challenging: try the ‘stir the pot’ exercise with the flat side of the Bosu facing up. You can also use it as a weight in full body exercises like squat to press or plyometric/ combination movements like a burpee to overhead press.
5. A Fitness Ball
Hack squats, glute bridges, back extensions and seated upper body exercises are all great movements using a fitness ball but it can also simply act like a bench without taking up so much space. Get a holder for it to sit on when it’s not in use and it will sit tidily in the corner. It’s also great for challenging core exercises which involve elevating the feet or the upper body.
These are just a few of my personal favourites but if you would like some more advice of programme design use the link below to book a consultation at Rogue Fitness and we will see what we can do for you.