Tools for the Home Exerciser

June 26, 2011

Exercise is good for everybody, but not everyone can afford a gym membership. I was looking it up yesterday with one of our members
where I work: our prices have not gone up since 2005! We were both pretty surprised by that, but my point for today is although they haven’t gone up, it’s still a good chunk of money to shell out. More and more people are starting to purchase the equipment so they can workout at home. Each program that one finds is going to require different pieces of equipment, but I have included a list of things I consider essential for the home workout. Also, I have tried to provide at least one alternative that may be something you already have!

Lacrosse Ball

A lacrosse ball is a hard rubber ball that is great for self-massage! I don’t think anybody can claim one of these is too expensive for the home gym. You can buy these balls off the internet for just a couple of bucks. An alternative would be to use a tennis ball or a baseball. I don’t think either of these are as good as a lacrosse ball, but chances are you have at least one of them laying around the house. My lacrosse ball is carried in my kit for work, but I have balls laying around the house as well.

These are great for working on massaging your calves, your feet, your shoulders, etc. Really, you can use them on the bigger muscles as well, but I like them for little areas of the body. Many of us develop knots in our fascia and muscles over time due to posture, daily activities, and exercise. We use these tools to work out those knots.

Foam Roller

A foam roller is used for much the same as well the lacrosse ball, but I prefer it for the bigger muscles. There are a variety of them out there and they can be had for about $20 or you can get much more expensive items if you choose. If you look online, you can find all sorts of programs designed for these. Mobility is key to our daily activities and these self-massage tools are just one way to keep your muscles and fascia ready to go! I’ve heard of using a baseball bat or PVC piping, but I don’t think I’ll be doing that myself..

Kettlebell

As featured in my “What is THAT” article, you’ve probably figured out I like the kettlebell. Personally I do believe this is the best piece of equipment I own. Yeah, that’s really not saying much since I don’t have a ton of equipment at home, but I use these all the time. I actually bought my sister one for Christmas; who knows if she actually uses it or not?!?!

I have a 31-pounder for using at home. Goblet Squats, Swings, Snatches, etc—you can do all sorts and with this weight, I think it’s perfect for at home. I use bigger ones in the gym sometimes, but 30 pounds is pretty good for most. The kettlebell is easily portable and takes up little space. For the number of exercises you can use with this thing, I think it’s definitely worth it! Dumbbells are an alternative if you can’t afford a kettlebell and have dumbbells sitting around. I don’t do many exercises that would call for dumbbells so I don’t have them at home, but I started my kettlebell training using a dumbbell.

Mini-bands

Mini-bands are cheap rubber loops that are excellent for body-weight activities. Monster Walks and lateral movements are a great use for these things. Look, you’re going to pay more for having these things shipped than you will for the product themselves! They come in 3 or 4 different strengths and colors. These are great for working on those glutes! I promise you: you need to work on your glutes!

Stretching Straps

Flexibility is another crucial part of every workout. I guess I wouldn’t consider this a mandatory piece of equipment, but I find I get a much better stretch with one. The one I have at home is called a Stretch Band and it is about 3”

wide and has some elastic webbing. There is also the Stretch Strap which is smaller webbing with multiple loops for putting your foot into as well as grabbing ahold of the strap. Without these items, you could use a towel, a belt, or a bedsheet to get the same benefits!

Timers

Personally I use the GymBoss interval timer for many of my interval workouts. Otherwise a stopwatch will work just fine. I know the Ipod and Iphone all have apps now that can act as interval timers and you can also find them online. I like the GymBoss because I can customize the time and it’s easily portable.  A regular stopwatch works, but then you have to watch the time so you know when to switch exercises!

Simple list of some simple pieces of equipment for you to use at home! Definitely not an all-inclusive list and nowhere near everything I
use for my workouts normally, but definitely a good start for the home user! With the exception of the lacrosse ball, all of my fitness tools have come from PerformBetter.com—I don’t think you can go wrong there!

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