4th May 2017.
When was the last time you made it to the gym for a two-hour-long full body workout? It sounds like a good idea in theory ? especially if you imagine making trips to the gym a regular occurrence. In reality, though, that often just isn't possible. Work, family, and other obligations can all combine to make it hard to fit exercise into your schedule. However, it's important to include physical activity in every day. The science is clear on this: daily exercise lengthens life and reduces the risk of disease over the long term. So how can you work out when you don't have the time?
Why not bring the gym home instead of going to the gym? By stocking up on the right types of equipment, you can build your own powerful home workout. Whether you have an afternoon off to devote to exercise or just 30 minutes in front of the television, you can still develop your fitness. With that in mind, what kinds of equipment should populate this home gym? You'll want to stick only to items that will offer the best workout. Look at the following five items that belong in every "home gym," then start thinking about when you can make time for healthy exercise!
Dumbbells are a must for any home gym
There is a seriously huge amount of variety possible when working out with dumbbells. You can use them
to provide resistance and train muscles in your core, arms, back, and even your legs. Best of all, they don't take up very much space, so it's easy to keep them around the house. A quick look around YouTube will yield many potential workout ideas you can follow. When you only have a limited amount of time to work out, use dumbbells for strength and power training.
What about when you want to move up to heavier weights? Instead of replacing your set, consider investing in an adjustable set of dumbbells to start. These allow you to add or remove weights directly to the object itself, much like a bench press bar in the gym. It's an easy way to save even more space while building some future challenges into your workout plan. Eventually, you can work up to using the full amount of weight possible.
Resistance bands offer quick, versatile exercises
Have you ever seen a resistance band before? Depending on the type, they might just look like a giant
rubber band. They aren't for keeping things stuck together, though; instead, you can use them in many workout contexts. In fact, there are potentially hundreds of different exercises you can perform with resistance bands. They come in a variety of strengths and lengths, so you can choose one that fits your workout needs.
What do you do with them? Stretching them out can require considerable force. Your body must work against and overcome this "resistance" to achieve a stretch. Therefore, you can use them to complement your strength training work with dumbbells. You can also use them alone; for example, you might loop one end under your feet while in a squatting position. Now try to stand up ? you'll find it's not so easy! With time and effort, your body will develop more strength. As a versatile, inexpensive, and low profile option, it has a lot to offer.
What can you do with kettlebells?
A kettlebell is a large, weighted ball with a handle attached to one end. You would often use these in
swinging and leaping exercises that work on many muscles at once. Using kettlebells can also be an excellent way to burn many calories during a workout. The idea is to use the momentum created by swinging or lifting the kettlebell to train your body. You must work hard to redirect that momentum and transfer force into the proper movements. On the surface, it might sound easy ? but it quickly becomes apparent that it's anything but when you begin.
Use a kettlebell occasionally to do more than just gain a stronger body. It can help you improve your posture, too. Through consistent use, you can develop toned arm and back muscles while gaining a better sense of how you carry yourself. Similar to the other items on this list, they're also wonderful for a quick workout during short periods of downtime.
Stability balls also yield many exercise opportunities
You've probably seen stability (or exercise) balls before; they're a popular staple at many gyms, and they commonly appear in fitness advertising. These giant bouncy balls are excellent for training your fitness,
though. They too have many applications, and there are plenty of ways to try exercising with one. Basic exercises, such as planks and push-ups, become more challenging ? and more rewarding ? when performed with a stability ball. Just how much might surprise you, too.
You can also pick them up and use them while performing squats, or use them to make curls more challenging. However, do note that you must size the ball appropriately for your body. Those with very limited storage space might find it difficult to keep the always-inflated ball around. However, if you have the living space for one, it makes an excellent addition to your home gym.
Try a plyometrics or step aerobics box
Want to get serious about your cardio? Consider step aerobics. Plyometrics ? or training which involves lots of jumping ? also require the use of similar sturdy boxes. Whichever one you choose, pick a workout
appropriate for accompanying the equipment. Step aerobics have plenty of benefits, and they're useful for developing some basic cardio endurance. The most vigorous aerobics routines can leave you sweaty and spent. In other words, it's an ideal workout.
Many athletes use plyometrics to develop explosive muscle power and train multiple parts of the body at once. These exercises often involve jumping onto the box then back off again rapidly, or alternating feet while jumping. It requires some practice to understand, but once you get into it, you might not want to stop. Best of all, these boxes aren't very expensive ? you could even consider making your own out of raw materials. It's easy to kill 30 minutes doing aerobics while watching your favourite TV programme.
Additional thoughts for an easier home workout
In addition to the key equipment above, there are some other items you might want to keep around to make your workout more comfortable. While not required, setting the stage for your exercise with the right considerations can make you more likely to begin. So, what else might you want?
Start by grabbing a good yoga mat. Whether you do yoga or not, the soft but non-slip surface is excellent for stretching and warming up before exercise, especially when you have a hard floor surface, e.g. hardwood, instead of carpet. Next, consider getting a jump rope. When you want to warm up or just mix up your cardio routine a bit, this is a good way to elevate your heart rate into the target zone quickly. Consider foam rollers too, which help relax knots in your muscles and are excellent for limbering up before you grab your kettlebell.
Take care to clear a wide enough area for your exercise. You don't want to break a family heirloom in your excitement accidentally! Besides space, consider keeping a good view of the TV. If boredom is a problem for you, this will help you maximise your home workout's effectiveness.
Start building your miniature home gym today
Food for thought: with a home gym containing all the above equipment, you can begin burning calories and even shedding weight right at home. Ideally, you should always continue to challenge yourself. Are your resistance bands no longer providing the right amount of resistance? Move up to the next level. The same goes for kettlebells and other weights. Always strive to push your body just a little further beyond its limits. That's how we grow, and it's how we develop superior lifelong fitness. Whatever your preferred exercise style, there is a way to adapt it to a short-period workout at home. What will your routine look like?