Covid-19 hit the fitness industry hard. Gyms have been closed since mid-March and in many states they will be in the last phase of reopening. As a personal trainer and group fitness instructor, I have been inundated with texts from clients, family and friends asking how they can work out effectively at home. I want to help and despite the reality that I miss my classes, my clients, my coworkers and high fives and hugs there are real alternatives! I, like many of you, miss the variety of equipment and classes gyms offer but want to assure you that with a few simple and affordable pieces of equipment you can keep your training on track.
I guarantee everyone has at least one piece of resistance equipment already – YOU! Your own body weight provides excellent resistance. Think of a push-up; many top trainers regard this as a near-perfect exercise. Take a look around you– what other things are already in your house, like stairs, a chair, or water jugs? Be creative. I often train clients at their homes, and some of them do have beautifully equipped home gyms, but I also train people with nothing but the little bag of tricks I bring with me – below are my top 5 inexpensive training equipment.
Top 5 At Home Resistance Training Tools
Resistance Bands (with door anchor)
Resistance bands are excellent for upper body exercises like chest fly’s, rows, triceps extensions and biceps curls.
Stability balls are excellent for core work, hamstring extensions and you can use it like a bench for exercises like dumbbell chest press. If you’re between 5’ and 5’5” you’ll want to get a 55-cm ball, it you’re over 5’6” get a 65-cm ball.
Dumbbells can be expensive, but you may only need one or two pairs depending on what type of training you are doing. I recommend getting one light pair (3 lbs.- 5 lbs. and a heavier pair 8 lbs.- 12 lbs.). If you have already have a heavier lifting program you may need add heavier weights or a bar with weight plates.
Fabric Loop Bands
Unlike rubber loop bands that can get twisted, fabric loop bands are great for squats, glute kickbacks and lateral step outs.
Gliders (or paper plates)
Using gliders or paper plates will increase the intensity of exercises like lunges, hip bridges and knee tucks. Using a glider is also a good way to mimic exercises you do on the Pilates reformer like.
*The items listed above come with exercise instruction charts and with a quick search on Instagram you will find a variety of workouts for each piece of equipment.
Cardio exercises like walking, biking, swimming and hiking are obviously ideal options if your climate allows. If you need to do cardio training at home you can find many cardio workout options online, everything from kickboxing to cardio hip hop dance. One of my favorite free online workout sites is Pop Sugar.
It is important in these times (and always for our mental health) to focus on the good and what we have to be grateful for. To stay positive focus on these benefits of working out at home:
- No $$$ membership fees.
- Nobody cares what you look like (you can work out in your pajamas).
- No wasted time driving to and from the gym.
- No waiting in line to use sweaty equipment.
- No excuses that the gym is closed – if you’re up at 3 a.m., you can do it then.