Looking to buy a gym membership? You might not have to. In fact, you might already live in a potential gym – all you need is a bit of space in your home and the right equipment. (Setting aside some time for exercise is also key).
While exercise equipment at gyms can be high-end (and out of reach financially for some people), it doesn’t have to be that way when you’re choosing equipment for your home. You can create an ideal setup without breaking the bank, while still getting all the health benefits of an effective workout. Here are some ideas…
Start By Grounding Yourself
The exercise mat is one of the most versatile – not to mention inexpensive – items you can add to a home gym. It serves as a way to make floor exercises a lot more comfortable and easy on the joints, and that includes everything from doing yoga to sit-ups.
SELF suggests you should look for an exercise/yoga mat that has sufficient thickness for a hard surface. (If you can feel the surface of the floor pressing hard against your knees through your mat, then it’s probably not the best choice). The source says an exercise mat is also ideal for working out in the backyard – in this case you might want one that’s designed for this purpose made of thick rubber (which also works better on uneven surfaces).
Have a Ball
Okay, so working out may not be a party, but it doesn’t have to be boring, either. One easy and affordable addition to the home gym is what’s known as a “medicine ball,” which looks kind of like a basketball – but heavier.
This ball can be used in a number of exercises to add resistance to build core strength, and can also be helpful for balance routines, notes Cheapism.com. The source notes the textured surface makes it easy to grip, and some of these medicine balls will also bounce on solid surfaces. Greatist.com conveniently has an extensive list of exercises targeting all areas of the body that you can perform with a medicine ball.
Join The Resistance
BestProducts.com says resistance bands are a “fit chick’s BFF” (take that as you will) because of how versatile they are. But more importantly, it notes that these lightweight and inexpensive bands can be used in a wide range of exercise routines – including resistance training and for muscle recovery.
The site mentions resistance bands by brand name (Fit Simplify Resistance Loop Exercise Bands) which retail for around $10 U.S. It touts this particular band for its durability (“these bands will last you for years”) and the fact they come as a set of five with a carrying case, an ebook and access to online workout videos.
Get a Jump On Fitness
Remember skipping in the playground when you were a kid? Sure it was fun back then, but you probably didn’t know you were training to apply these skills to your home gym as an adult.
A jump rope typically costs less than $20, according to MoneyCrashers.com, and they deliver a “killer cardio workout” that can be done anywhere (including your basement – just make sure the ceiling is high enough for jumping). The site suggests incorporating jump-roping into interval training (intense activity with a break in between each set), rather than trying to cram in a 30-minute continuous session from the start.
Put On The Kettle(bells)
No, a modern kettle bell really has nothing to do with a kettle or a bell, for that matter. (If you’re really that interested, you can read more about the origin of the name here). They refer to a particular type of weight with a flat bottom that incorporates a textured handgrip with sweaty palms in mind.
Kettlebells come in different weights, so choose one that’s not too light and not too heavy (“active” men and women can apparently start with 18-pounds). However, you can view KettlebellsUSA.com for a more in-depth guide to selecting the right kettlebells based on your desired activities and fitness level.
Glide Into Better Shape
Have you ever heard of a gliding disc? Well, you have now (you’re welcome.) SELF says gliding disks are a “one of those training tools that are way more challenging than they look.” They’re also inexpensive – the source suggests CHICMODA Gliding Discs Core Sliders (for use on hardwood or even carpet thanks to plastic/fabric on either side) that retail online for around $9 U.S.
The premise of a gliding disc is somewhat explained by their name. The source says you place them under feet or hands for exercises such as plank-to-pikes, and these sliding discs add challenge because you have to push downwards on them while moving horizontally. It also notes that your muscles will have to work harder to keep you stabilized during routines.
You’re On a Roll Now
BestProducts.com urges you not to overlook the benefits of a foam roller for your home gym. Not only do these rollers fit well into the inexpensive category, but they may also offer some therapeutic benefits, adds the source.
The source points to research that suggests using a foam roller after you’ve completed a workout can help provide relief for post-exercise muscle aches, while improving range of motion. “Loosening tight muscles using just your body weight is like an effective sports massage without the hefty price tag,” it adds. (However, don’t rule out the benefits of a massage from a human).
Keep Your Chin Up
If you like the chin-up bars at the gym, there’s no reason why you can’t have them at home. Cheapism.com says you can score a doorway chin-up/pull-up bar for around $18 U.S. online that has weight-bearing brackets that allow it to handle up to 220-pounds (100-kg) when installed correctly.
The site points to the Sunny Health & Fitness Doorway Chin Up Pull Up Bar, which is also adjustable in length and features a chrome-plated steel bar for durability. It also has non-slip foam grips to help take some of the strain off your hands. Aside from pull-ups, you can position the bar lower to assist with push-ups.
Heavy Bags Are a Hit
BestProducts.com says adding a heavy bag like the kind you’d see in a boxing gym is a good idea. It suggests the Nevatear heavy bag from Everlast, which is says is 40-pounds and “awesome to have for a kickass at-home routine.”
You can choose other weights of heavy bags (the general rule is to choose one that’s roughly half your weight and is at least 4-feet tall for adults), but the site adds they are suitable whether you’re training for a boxing match or just working off a bad day at work.
Mirror Your Best Self
This one isn’t a piece of exercise equipment per se, but SELF still felt a full-length mirror needed to be mentioned. While you might get a bit of a workout carefully lugging the box to your basement gym, the real purpose here is to ensure you’re keeping the right form when performing routines.
Making sure you’re doing all the moves properly can help prevent the risk of injury while you’re building strength, notes the source. Also, think of all the workout-selfie opportunities without feeling self-conscious at the gym!