Hello friends from quarantine. Sigh.
So the gyms are closed. You can’t take your favorite in studio class with me.
While you don’t really need equipment to get a great workout – there’s so much your own body weight can do – it really does help you to motivate, challenge your muscles, and it’s just fun to have some new toys.
Here’s where I’d start in terms of purchasing essentials for your new home gym. This suggested equipment is reasonably attractive and has a small footprint, so you can store it in a closet or easily move it around.
If you’re going to invest in dumbbells (they aren’t cheap), spring for the “little black dress” of dumbbells that will hold up forever, look professional, and are easy to match for when you decide to build on. Classic hex dumbbells look great on a small home rack. Go for 2 – 5 sets of small, medium, and heavy weights. For me I’d have 5’s, 8’s, 12’s, and 15’s for a good starter set. I wish these didn’t have an obvious logo on the ends, but Amazon is pretty well cleaned out of plain hexes at the time of publishing this post. You might want to recheck before purchasing.
A stability ball can be used in place of a bench for presses, a multitude of ab exercises, hamstring curls, and so much more. You can even sit on it while you work at your desk for better posture (and more fun :). I recommend most getting a 65cm ball and very tall folks going for a 75cm ball. 55cm is pretty small.
A 6lb or 8lb medicine ball is hands-down one of my favorite pieces of home equipment. You can slam with them, woodchop, do push-ups, soccer toe taps, pullovers, imaginary jump shots, walking lunges, etc. etc., etc. I also personally prefer using a medicine ball over a foam roller for self-myofascial release – I find the density works so much better and the shape of the ball gets nice and deep into the tissue. I’ve legit had my same personal medicine ball for 12 years and it looks and has held up great.
Minibands provide a ton of bang for the buck – they’re terrific for working your legs and glutes, develop the stabilizers that protect your knees, and encourage your body to activate the glutes – essential in preventing back pain. Miniband exercises are also great cardio! The “Glute Guy” Bret Contreras created his own miniband which is also a great choice.
BRAIDED EXERCISE BANDS
I love working with exercise bands to burn out my muscles. I’d invest in a good band over dumbbells if I had to choose. But don’t just buy any band – the braided bands are a must! These are the best because they are so sturdy and last for YEARS. Do not buy cheaper bands, they will snap and youch, does it hurt. These are currently sold out on Amazon unfortunately.
Yes, you can pretend jump rope, but actually jumping rope is infinitely harder, a terrific calorie burn, and fun. They’re a great finisher to a heavy lifting circuit or just 2 minutes will give you an energy burst when you’re feeling an energy slump. Do not waste your money on expensive jump ropes! My favorite jump ropes are called licorice ropes and they look super cheap but they are THE BEST. You can get them HERE. You can also find adjustable jump ropes from Sportime HERE – I realize you might not need a set of six, but they’re so colorful…and maybe you can spread the love to your favorite people and get them hopping too!
Pull-ups are exercise gold! I love that you can just crank out a few every time you walk past a doorway. And this bar is great because you can just put it away when you’re done. It might smudge up your doorway a bit, but it’s nothing a Magic Eraser can’t fix.
If you really want to focus even more on glute/leg movement, I bought one of these Booty Sprouts and have really been digging it because you can use it for a variety of things – like bulgarian split squats, a bench press, and as a squat target in addition to being a hip thrust machine. Doing hip thrusts on a medicine ball gives a fantastic burn as well, so this is more of a fun home toy for extra emphasis.
Don’t forget the beauty of a few sprints to the end of your street. Just sprint for you life to the end of your block, walk back, and do it again.