When I teach a core class with a mat, hand weights (dumbbells), and gliders, my clients know it’s going to be intense. Some of my best workouts are with just a few simple pieces of fitness equipment. Having the expensive “fancy stuff” doesn’t mean you get a better workout. In fact, the five listed below are essential tools for any training. As a single mom with three daughters, I understand having a tight budget and managing your money wisely. So we do what we can with what we have. This challenge is is to break your routine, NOT to break your bank.
So what’s good out there? I’ve outlined five essential tools that meet a unique criteria:
- They are $25 or less. Good fitness equipment doesn’t have to be expensive to be effective.
- They have more than one way to use them. Most exercise equipment should have more than one use.
- They don’t take up a lot of space. You should be able to place it in your closet or under your desk.
Your challenge: invest in ONE piece of fitness equipment for your home. Don’t be surprised if your kids and significant other want to partake in the fun. 🙂
I’ve outlined a few exercises you can do with each tool. Don’t worry if the exercise descriptions are a bit overwhelming. Next week we have a workout challenge that will incorporate these movements and will include videos to make it easy to follow.
Top five pieces of fitness equipment for your home:
1. HAND WEIGHTS
One pair of handheld weights* — 8 lbs is good — $10 (set of 3 pair for $25)
Hand weights can be found almost anywhere. 8 pounds is a good place to start since you can do squats, arm exercises, and upper body exercises with them. If you want to buy a second pair, I suggest 12-15 lbs. Hand weights are awesome for upper body strengthening, but are also useful for enhancing core work.
If you have never heard of gliding discs, you may chuckle to see that they are glorified paper plates and their website is a bit cheesy. But don’t laugh at them too much because these guys do an amazing job at engaging your core. If you want a strong core, gliders are a wonderful investment. They have two kinds: one for carpet (plastic) and one for wood floors (felt). Pair of gliders = $12. You can also get them on Amazon. Gliders are ideal for core strengthening and an amazing upper body workout.
3. STABILITY BALL** (aka, physio ball)
There are a few sizes to choose from. It will cost up to $20. To get the right size, your knees should be bent 90 degrees when you sit tall on the ball. If you have an air compressor it makes inflating the ball a lot easier. The ball can be used for planks, push ups, wall squats and a bridge pose.
A must for frequent travelers for its light weight and versatility. There are various strengths and different colors for a variety of intensities. Usually, green is easiest, then red, blue, black, and grey is the heaviest. I think red and blue are good colors to start with. Individual bands cost $5-15. They also have sets for reasonable prices. Check the band regularly for look for wear and tear. Throw it away when you see a rip – you don’t want it snapping on you. These bands can be used for squats, bicep curls, twists, and posture exercises.
5. YOGA MAT**
Buying a yoga mat is a special day because you will spend on a lot of time on it. Prices vary widely on yoga mats and can easily cost over $100. Know that the $25 mat is a perfect start. My teenage daughter kept borrowing my mat, so I got her a $25 yoga mat from amazon and she loves it. It is a nice color and has a fun design. Yoga mats are incredibly versatile, as they can be used for core exercises, stretching, strength training, and of course, yoga.
** Team Better Favorites – used by the writers as well as the founders at Team Better.
Other investments that are good, but didn’t quite fit the criteria:
- TRX — more expensive; cost about $175 but by far the best piece of equipment around. The number of exercises you can do on the TRX is practically infinite. It’s my ‘go to’ tool for my own training. You can shop around and find them cheaper.
- Pull up bar — not expensive, but you can only do a couple exercises on it.
- Bosu — great core and balance tool but are a little expensive. $100-125.
- New running shoes — your feet will love you, as will your knees and back. Take a look at your current running shoes and ask your body how they are treating you. Good running shoes are $100+
If you have been looking into revamping your home gym, here are a few other resources. Can’t stress enough that the tools listed above are essential and just happen to be worth every penny.
Design your own home gym https://www.acefitness.org/acefit/fitness-fact-article/2588/how-to-design-your-own-home-gym/