Keeping up with a fitness routine is a challenge, especially if you have to drive to the gym every day to work out. Instead, why not consider putting together a home gym? With the following 10 pieces of equipment, you can easily keep your body swimsuit-ready all year.
You could always go outside for a walk, but when the weather is disagreeable, it’s best to have a treadmill, so you can still work up a sweat. Plus, a treadmill’s suspension system makes it lower impact than exercising outside on concrete sidewalks; your joints won’t complain as much when you transition from walking to running on a treadmill. If a treadmill isn’t your style, opt for an elliptical instead. It’s a great low-impact machine that’s ideal for cardio workouts.
2. Stability Ball
A stability ball can help you tone your core and work on your balance. It can even substitute as a bench for some types of weightlifting exercises. Don’t pick up the first ball you see on the shelf. Get one that’s sized for your body. This will make exercises more effective, and it will reduce strain on your lower back. If you’re under 4’8″, get a 45cm ball. If you’re 4’8″ to 5’3″, get a 55cm ball. Folks that are 5’4″ to 5’10” should choose a 65cm ball. Taller people should use a 75cm ball.
Dumbbells are one of the most versatile exercise tools out there. They can be used for a large variety of exercises. Get dumbbells in a range of weights depending on your current fitness level and your ultimate fitness goals. To stay organized, buy all your dumbbells from the same brand, so they’ll all fit nicely on any organizer you buy.
4. Resistance Bands
Resistance bands are fantastic for toning. You can use them to make squats more challenging, firm up your arms, or give your shoulders more definition. Shorter resistance bands are great for toning your glutes and inner thighs. Get bands in several resistance levels, so you’re ready for anything.
5. Jump Rope
Jumping rope is one of the best cardio exercises. It’s also great for improving your coordination. When you want to tone your arms in addition to working up a cardio sweat, use a weighted jump rope. Alternatively, buy a wire jump rope that will help you increase your speed. Challenge yourself by counting how many jumps you can make in a five-minute period. Always be striving to break your personal record.
Make sure your jump rope is the right length for your height. For a woman of average height, a 9-foot jump rope should suffice. If you’re shorter than 5’4″, get an 8-foot jump rope.
6. Plyo Box
Jumping on a plyo box is a great way to increase agility and improve strength. Even if you need lower impact exercises, though, the box will still be useful to you. You can use it for stair-stepping exercises, bench dips, squatting, and more.
If you’re handy with wood, you can build your own box. You can also buy one from a fitness retailer. Some may even come with level raisers you can use when you’re ready to increase the intensity of your workout.
7. Barbell and Weight Plates
A long barbell is perfect for building strength across your body. You can use it for bench presses, squats, power cleans, deadlifts, and so much more. Pay attention to the diameter of the barbell; you want one that’s easy for you to grasp. Also, think about the barbell’s weight. Forty-five pounds is standard, but that’s for extremely sturdy barbells that are meant to support hundreds of extra pounds. Lighter barbells are available for folks who aren’t looking for that kind of intensity. Buy weight plates, too, so you can add weight for certain exercises.
When you’re doing yoga, crunches, stretches, or any other floor exercises, you probably don’t want to do them on a hard and potentially dirty floor. A mat will give you a bit of cushioning and extra stability as you’re working on your body. Mats come in different thicknesses, materials, textures, and levels of stickiness. You might buy a couple of different mats and see how they perform when you’re doing all your favorite exercises.
9. Medicine Ball
A medicine ball is another versatile tool. There are exercises you can do with it that can help you strengthen your core, legs, arms, and everything else. You’ll see improved endurance and perhaps even improved balance, depending on which exercises you do. Start out with a low-weight medicine ball and work your way up to heavier ones as you gain physical ability.
10. Audio and Visual Equipment
A home gym isn’t complete without the right technology. Buy a TV for your home gym, so you can stream workout videos or watch your collection of workout DVDs. Having an on-screen professional with you through your workout can provide the motivational boost you need.
Don’t forget the music! Having a great stereo system for your home gym, along with a playlist of your favorite high-tempo songs, is going to make your workouts fly by. Alternatively, you can buy a good pair of sweat-resistant Bluetooth headphones and use them along with your phone to get the music you need to liven up your exercise routine.
Creating a home gym is one of the best decisions you can make for your health. When you have the right gym equipment, you can get the body you’ve always wanted without setting foot outside your door.