This Top 5 will cover one of my most asked questions at work – “what sort of exercise equipment should I have?” Honestly, this question really depends on your goals and your resources (aka gyms/studio memberships) you have outside of your home. However, I think there are a few basic things everyone that wants to maintain an active lifestyle should have.
These equipment items are very basic, store easily, and can come in handy for many different “at-home” routines. Not mentioned in the list, but still a very excellent resistance and toning tool is free. FREE (one of my favorite words). Body weight is an excellent resistance tool to incorporate into any toning or HIIT cardio regime. Keep in mind that body weight can only go so far with toning and sculpting goals, but the way you fit body weight training routines into your exercise activities can have a big impact.
Again, this list is in no particular order. I linked each image with the purchasing website or a link to a similar product!
See previous blog post “(Foam) Rolling Into the Weekend” to remind yourself of my love of foam rollers. I think having this piece of equipment is a necessity for anyone that engages in any regular exercise, training, physical activity. Potentially even more paramount for endurance athletes to help keep their muscular and myofascial system mobile
Exercise Mat/Yoga Mat
Mats are a necessity to home exercise programs. I honestly used to not have one and I’d just use my floor. BUT this is not ideal and can sometimes even lead to getting hurt. Some core exercise on your back can definitely add too much hard pressure through your spine if you are on uncarpeted floor. OR if you have carpet, the carpet may be dirty (yuck) and then you have bits of dirt on your sweaty back. I mean am I making a case for a mat or WHAT!?
Medium & Heavy Free Weights
I like to keep 2 sets of weights at home. A medium/light and heavy set (for me personally) are beneficial for any DVDs or YouTube routines. Having a full set is ideal for long term sculpting and strength training programs, but I’m only talking essentials here. You can use these free weights add a dimension of difficulty for everyday routines you may do at home. And just 2 sets can be very easily stored away.
Resistance loops are probably the most under appreciated cheap and easy exercise pieces to have. They are SO useful for upper body and lower body. Loop these babies around your thighs for squats, lunges, donkey kicks, clamshells (!), etc etc. They are also great at adding resistance to the upper body. For someone that lives in a small space, I appreciate exercise equipment that is easily stow-able.
Don’t be afraid of a kettle bell. I know a lot of people that are intimidated by kettle bells because that get a rep for being a strenuous piece of equipment. Yes, kettle bells can be a-may-zing for getting the heart rate up and slaying major calories. But, they are also useful for performing beneficial core and trunk stabilization exercises. Kettle bell swings for cardio (make sure you use good form to avoid injury) and Turkish Get Ups for core stabilization – my two favs.