So we’ve all seen numerous commercials on late night television for fitness products that will sculpt you into a fitness model in 10 minutes. Hopefully we all realize that that’s complete BS. There are no quick fixes and no miracle transformations. Sorry Shakeweight and Flexbelt, you will not help anyone. There are however some truly great home fitness products that will actually get you in better shape. Here are the Top 10 that we at Fitness and Fuel LA recommend.
High Density Foam Roller
In our opinion, a foam roller is vital to any fitness regime. It should be used both pre and post exercise to break down lactic acid, minimize muscular soreness & alleviate potential injury causing tightness. Using a good quality foam roller is like having your own personal masseuse on call 24 hours a day to provide myofascial release as well as deep tissue massage.
Jumping rope is one of the simplest forms of cardiovascular exercise one can do. If you’re setting up a home gym on a shoestring budget, skip the expensive cardio machine and just but a good quality speed rope. Jumping rope will quickly get your heart rate raise for a warm-up or is excellent for use doing High Intensity Interval Training. As an added bonus, jumping rope will help tone and sculpt your calf muscles like no other exercise can.
Swiss Ball, Stability Ball, Exercise Ball, Physio Ball…same thing. All at-home exercisers should own one whatever you want to call it. A stability ball can be used in multiple ways. It can be a support to replace a bench for strength training exercises, used to do abdominal and lower back work and can also be efficient for several leg exercises. They typically come in the following sizes: 55cm, 65cm & 75cm, which measures the diameter of the inflated ball. Make sure you get a size that is appropriate for you, too big or too small will greatly affect the way in which you can effectively use it.
Resistance Band Kit
No space or $ for a cable machine? Resistance bands are the next best option. You can do just about any exercise that you could on a cable machine using elastic bands, handles and anchor points. Chest flies, no problem, lat-pulldowns, no problem. As an added bonus, the bands provide elastic resistance so can be used for speed and power movements too, which a traditional weight stack cable machine cannot.
Another essential staple for any home gym, the BOSU is a very versatile piece of equipment. It can be used for core exercises, balance exercises, plyometrics or our particular favorite, burpees with an overhead BOSU lift. *the Bosu is my wife, Whitney’s favorite piece. If our home was on fire she’d undoubtedly cross a burning path to save our pets and the Bosu before going in for me.
Pull Up Bar
While a pull up bar may not give you the completely ripped physique that many of the ads show, it is still an affordable, easy to install and useful piece. Pull-ups are one of the best exercises for building back and biceps strength. Can’t do a pull-up? No problem, add in a heavy duty elastic resistance band to add support and you’ll be able to get the them cranked out. One of our clients had a goal to be able to do 10 pull-ups, we recommended that he get a pull up bar for his house and that every time he walked by the doorway with the bar, do as many pull-ups as he could. 2 months later he could do a set of 10 unassisted pull-ups. Proud of you, buddy!
These genius devices were originally designed to aid in moving heavy furniture without lifting it. Luckily, they are also great for fitness. These lil friction minimizing gems permit sliding movements such as lateral lunges, sliding push ups, knees to chest. Just be sure to start slowly and get a feel for the level of slickness on your given floor.
A full set of dumbbells is challenging when your home gym space is limited. These adjustable dumbbells take up the space of a single set of dumbbells but offer weights ranging from 5-90lbs. Use them the same way you would any regular dumbbell but save a ton of space.
Another space saver, these ladders fold up and store in a small bag. Use the ladders to improve agility, foot speed, coordination as well as anaerobic fitness.
Cross Core Suspension Trainer
The cross core or other suspension trainers are also very versatile and offer many uses without taking up room, in fact they can be taken down and stored in a bag no bigger than a CD wallet. Suspend the trainer from a bar, a tree or any other anchor point, failing that, use the include attachment and suspend it from any doorframe (just make sure you lock the door so that no one opens it causing you to fall). Use it for exercises including chest press, flies, inverted rows, bicep curls, triceps press, squats and jackknives.