Time, or lack of thereof, is always given as the first excuse for not working out or not going to the gym. Surprising, isn’t it? Not the gym membership cost, but time! Time that we spend browsing the net, creeping on facebook or watching cheesy TV shows. I don’t buy this time excuse – it is just lack of motivation or need to exercise. If this is your excuse, then any home fitness equipment or accessories will just become clothes-hangers and dust collectors, so don’t even bother.
I am not a fan of home gyms in general, unless you are extremely motivated, knowledgeable about what you need, have enough space, know how to take care of the equipment and what safely precautions to take. Home gym equipment is not cheap either.
However, sometimes you just cannot make it to the gym or to your exercise class, but still want to squeeze in a nice workout, and in this case there are a lot of inexpensive accessories that can spice up you squats and burpees and add variety and intensity to your home sessions.
Here are some of my personal favorites:
- Pull-up bar. This will be probably my top pick and my most favorite piece of home gym equipment. I am using an Irongym bar but I know there are many other brands out there. It is very easy to assemble and it slips onto your door frame. To start with, pull-ups are one of the best and greatly under-rated exercises to develop upper body strength. This bar can also be used for elevated deep push-ups, dips and hanging leg raises. The bar is pretty safe and does not damage your doorway. Instructions specify that its maximum weight capacity is 300 pounds or around 135 kg, so be careful if you are heavier than that or planning to to weighted pull-ups. I also would not recommend to do kipping pull-ups using door-frame bars like this.
- Jump rope is another long-time favorite of mine. Jump rope can give you one of the best cardio workouts ever. Its very challenging and has so many variations and progressions, you will never get bored.
- Push-up bars are great to add variety to your push-ups and dips. They increase the range of motion and allow you go down much deeper than with the normal push-up. They are also great if you experience wrist discomfort with normal push-ups as they help neutralize the wrist angle.
- Medicine balls come in different sizes and weights so you can always chose the one that suits your fitness level. This little germ can also be utilized in so many different workouts – core and abdominal exercises, squads, burpees, push-ups, balance workouts.
- Kettlebells come to us from Russia and their original weight was around 16 kg. Now you can find them in different weights and different colors and use them for your home workouts to improve strength and endurance. It does take some time to learn and develop kettlebell skills, but once you are comfortable with them – they are fun and very challenging. As a rule, kettlebell workouts involve a large number of repetitions and yo need to be very careful with them if you have any shoulder and wrist problems or weak core muscles and back.
- Swiss ball might not be a good option for smaller spaces, but if you have a place where it can be tucked away and stored – go for it. It can be incorporated in many workouts and will challenge your core and involve more muscle that firm surface workouts. You will need to select the right pressure for the ball – the harder the ball the more difficult the exercise will be.
Another thing that you might consider getting is a timer or stopwatch that can be used for tabata or any other timed high-intensity interval workouts.
What kind of accessories to you use for home workouts?