Posted by Peak Sports
There's No Place Like Home
For those who enjoy regular exercise, fitness centers are a dream-come-true that offer means of improving physical health and reducing stress. Unfortunately, fitness centers sometimes experience closures for maintenance or public health reasons, leaving health enthusiasts in the community without one of their favorite resources. So, what happens when the gym is closed?
Luckily, building a home workout station can be practical and affordable and, depending on your available space and exercise goals, you may even find yourself working out from home a little more frequently. This post will cover some of my favorite pieces of equipment for home use based on versatility and price.
1: Resistance Bands
Resistance bands might be the most versatile exercise equipment of all, allowing you to work virtually every muscle with a wide range of resistance. The versatility of resistance bands allows you to perform everything from gentle rehabilitation exercise (example: Theraband, Power Systems) to heavy strength training (example: Serious Steel). There are several different styles and thicknesses of bands, but the basic principle is the same: pick a thickness that allows you to create the feeling of "muscle burn" while maintaining safe exercise form.
Price range: $5 - $20 each
2: The Kettlebell
The kettlebell has been widely used by athletes for centuries, and for good reason. Because it is ergonomically unique in ways that make it ideal for many types of training, the kettlebell allows you to perform a library of exercises without using much space in your home gym. Since the design is simply a weighted ball and handle, the brand doesn't really matter here - just make sure you have a few different kettlebell weights to progress your exercise accordingly.
Price range: $25 (~10 pounds) - $200 (~150 pounds)
3: Swiss Ball (AKA Exercise Ball, Stability Ball)
The Swiss ball is a great addition to any home gym, particularly for performing core exercises. Because of their bouncy nature, Swiss balls create an unstable surface to exercise on while sitting or supine (on your back); they also work great for performing squats or single-leg squats against a wall, which is a great way to improve your body mechanics. Bonus: the Swiss ball serves as a great intermittent replacement for your desk chair to improve your posture.
Price range: $20 - $40
4: Hanging Straps
Hanging straps (example: TRX Straps) are both incredibly unique and practical, allowing you to perform an array of exercises using your body weight. The straps essentially act as a leverage point for work to be performed in nearly all positions - and the exercise possibilities for both beginners and experts are endless. However, due to their high price point they are ranked below more accessible choices like resistance bands.
Price range (TRX) $120 - $180
5: Jump Rope
The jump rope might just be the most cost-effective option for cardiovascular exercise ever invented. Because the jump rope forces the user to perform small hops, most of us can begin feeling the effects within thirty seconds of use. When purchasing a jump rope, go for quality over quantity, making sure the jump rope is sized appropriately for your height; you may also look for one that uses ball bearings in the handles to increase ease of use. Caveat: the jump rope requires some prerequisite fitness, so avoid this one if you're prone to injuries or just starting your fitness journey.
Price range: $10 - $30
-Dumbbells - Great for progressive weight training
-Furniture Sliders - Ideal for improving eccentric control and core endurance
-Pull-Up Bar - One of the best ways to improve strength through a functional movement
-Barbell - The ultimate strength and power training tool (experienced users only)
Disclosure: I am not affiliated with any brands suggested above.
Author: Alex is a staff Physical Therapist at Peak Sports and Spine in Bellevue, WA. He is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist with a passion for exercise and weight training for whole-body health and wellness.