I’ve been loyal to my gym for over a year now, but I used to be an avid home workout gal. While I’ve paired down my home gym collection over the years, I keep enough around that I can grab a quick workout at home when needed. Here are my must haves for a home gym (especially if you’re working with limited space):
Mini Loop Bands: These little bands are NO JOKE. I have a similar set of 5 different resistances. You can loop a lower resistance around your wrists in plank position (try moving your hands out-out-in-in) or around your ankles or thighs for a wide side squat. You’ll definitely feel the burn, and quick.
Resistance Bands: Much like the loop bands, these pack a lot of punch and take up very little space. I prefer to use these resistance band sets for upper body, while I find the mini loop bands are super effective for lower body.
Roller Massager: This is an awesome post-workout recovery tool, I personally prefer it to foam rolling for certain muscle groups. Though there are several roller massager options (you’ll find tons with multiple “wheels” or little nodes), I really love this foam version by TheraBand; you can get pretty aggressive with your muscles without bruising (which I often find to be a problem with the more elaborate designs).
A Few Good Home Workout Videos. While it’s not my dream workout, I love video workouts for the fact that they provide a consistent experience. My go-to home workout video is Chalene Johnson’s TurboFire (from BeachBody, the folks the behind P90X and Insanity crazes). TurboFire has a kick-boxing/dance vibe - which I dig. The workouts range from 15 - 55 minutes; my favorite being the quick HIIT workouts. These are great for when I need an effective workout in a pinch and don’t want to fuss with programming something myself.
Yoga Blocks. A couple of good yoga blocks can serve many purposes from helping to increase the impact of a stretch to using them to elevate hands or feet to make push ups more challenging. Personally, if my hamstrings are tight, I like to use blocks to stand on to increase the intensity of a forward fold stretch.
While these are my “must haves” I do have a couple “nice to haves” that I’d get if I worked out at home more regularly (and had more space) - here they are:
Nice To Haves
Bowflex SelectTech Dumbbells. True story, I admired these dumbbells for at least two years before finally tracking down a gently used set at an affordable price. These replace an entire set of dumbbells, and thensome (the weights adjust from 5-52 lb increments; there’s also a larger set that goes up to 90 lbs). I love them because they’re versatile and take up very little space. While I do own them, personally, I’ve only included them in the “nice to haves” because they are pricey and might not be practical for everyone.
Bosu Balance Trainer. I love working on a Bosu at the gym. These little guys are amazing for testing your balance in upper, lower, and core exercises alike.
Liebert Equalizer Bars. I won’t lie, I’ve never even used these things. But I’ve seen several fitness pros demo exercises on these compact bars, and I’m interested.
Though maybe someday I’ll have a little home gym with all of the goodies, I’m super satisfied with the workouts I get in now using simple equipment like resistance bands, resistance loops and Bowflex SelectTechs. Even though I primarily get my workouts in through the gym where I am a member, having the minimum supplies I need to get a quick workout in at home on the days where I can’t make it out to the gym is important. I think these few, simple and affordable items do the trick!