Easy and affordable “home gym” equipment
When I first started working out at home, I had ZERO idea of how to exercise at home on my own, without any “real equipment”!
I knew where to find easy workout routines online, which required no equipment.
I was also pretty good (most of the time) at motivating myself to exercise…
But I still did not know what kind of equipment I needed for a better home workout!
So, I did a lot of research and asked my Cardiac Rehab instructors and gym bunny friends for their advice.
Here are the top five pieces of equipment that I have discovered, which you can (easily and affordably) add to your home gym.
Start getting healthier and building the body you want NOW!
Resistance bands are used for various purposes, both at home and in the gym.
These stretchy bands can be used either as a loop or a single piece and are available in many different sizes and resistance strengths.
Great for muscle workouts, strength training and as an added level to cardiovascular training, resistance bands are very multi-functional and are one of the core pieces of equipment used in home workouts.
Exercising at home can get quite simple after a while, but there are many guides and videos to show you a variety of different ways to use them on all of your body parts.
Waxzaa kindly sent me their resistance bands to try out at home.
Given that I tore a ligament in my ankle a few months ago and also have Osteoarthritis, I have been quite resistant (no pun intended!) to use resistance bands or any kind of fitness equipment.
I didn’t want to do any more damage to my ankle!
With that said though, I knew I had a two month wait before I would see a physiotherapist about my ankle, so…
I gave them a go!
I was SUPER happy with how gentle and easy – and effective they were!
The pack comes fully stocked with:
- 3 short bands of different levels (light, medium, hard)
- 1 long band
- Helpful instruction manual with exercise suggestions
- Cute netted storage bag
This was the first step to me trying to improve the strength of my ankle…and I actually think it is working!
Grab yours for only £10.99 – or use my discount: Waxzaa50 for a HUGE 50% OFF!
Here are some effective exercises you can do with resistance bands:
- Sitting ankle stretch / Sitting row (The best exercise for my ankle strengthening right now!)
Sitting flat on the floor, stretch your legs out forward, pointing your toes up. Wrap the band around your foot and hold the resistance. Slowly point your toes forward and then bring them back toward you.
You can see me trying this exercise with my own Waxzaa bands in the photo below.
The squat is one of the most Universal and most-used fitness exercises, because it is so good! Make it more difficult by wrapping your thighs with a smaller band. Feel the extra resistance when you squat downwards.
Lay on your side with one leg on top of the other, toes pointed. Wrap a band around your ankles / lower calves and leaving one leg on the floor, raise the other towards the ceiling. Stretch the band as far as you can, lower your leg and repeat. Do this on both sides.
- Bicep curls
Do this exercise like normal bicep curls, but stand on a (long) resistance band and pull the band up in your hands (as you would a pair of dumbells, or your hands in a normal bicep curl.
- Russian twist
Balance on your bottom with your legs slightly bent and raised in front of you. Wrap a band around the bottom of your feet (legs together) and twist your upper body to the left, while pulling the resistance band as you go. Then twist to the right and keep repeating.
Dumbells and Kettlebells
Dumbells are probably the most simple way to get a muscle workout for your arms at home!
Pretty much everyone who does their exercise at home owns a pair of dumbells. What’s more – they actually use them in all of their workout sessions.
Did you know that dumbells don’t only strengthen your biceps and triceps? Yep, it’s true! You can also use them to help reduce back fat, bingo wings and other spot areas.
Or, when working on legs, you can hold a pair of dumbells (or a kettlebell) to make the exercise more difficult.
Here are some great dumbell exercises you can do at home:
- Bicep curls
Hold the dumbell in each hand and curl each one up to your shoulder at a time, keeping the top of your arm still.
- Outward punches
Hold the dumbells to your body and punch out, alternating your hands.
- Overhead punches
Hold the dumbells to your body and punch up, alternating your hands.
Move as if you are pulling an arrow from a bow-and-arrow.
- Bent over row
Keeping your legs slightly bent, lean forward with a straight back and “row” with both hands at the same time.
- Deltoid raises
With your dumbells in each hand, keep your arms to your sides – wrists facing inwards, and slowly raise your straight arms outwards and upwards to your shoulder height.
Kettlebells are also an unsung hero in cardio workouts.
They are varying weights and sizes, and can be used in the same way as dumbell workouts, or in their own moves.
Some very useful kettlebell workouts include:
- Goblet squat
Squats, whilst holding the kettlebell still in front of you.
- Walking lunges
Exactly that, but swap the kettlebell across to each hand on each lunge
- Kettlebell swings
Stand straight, holding the kettlebell straight out in front of you. Swing it down and backwards through your legs, with your back straight as you bend forward.
- Bent over rows
Same as the dumbell moves, but with both hands on the single kettlebell.
- Around the belly pass
Knees slightly bent, pass the dumbell around your belly and back from hand-to-hand.
Get in the position for normal push ups, but with your hands leaning on the kettlebells. Instead of lowering your body into a push up, pull one kettlebell up toward your shoulders and place it back down. Alternate hands using two kettlebells in this exercise.
Balance discs are under-rated!
Exercise at home can sometimes get quite…boring, as you often don’t have the same “Ooomph!” and motivation as when going to the gym.
Using a balance disc is an easy way to enjoy your fave show on tv whilst you have fun working out. Yay!
You should always be careful when using this piece of equipment, especially if you have pre-existing medical complaints.
A balance disc works your core and limb muscles. It is much more strenuous than doing anything on a stable floor surface.
The two main types of balance discs, are literally a flat disc on a ball-type bottom, or a large inflatable rounded pad.
Some exercises you can do on your balance disc are:
- The most simple
Just stand and balance! Use only one leg for more difficulty. This is normally how many beginners start on their balance disc, so they can get the hang of the balancing, before trying anything else too strenuous.
Normal squats, just a lot more difficult while trying to keep your balance on a balance disc!
- Single leg lunge
Like a normal lunge, but you don’t move forward. Just put your foot on the balance disc and lean into it as if doing a lunge.
Try doing an elevated plank or push-ups.
- Oblique twist
Sit on your disc and lean slightly backwards (with a straight back). Move a kettlebell or heavier dumbell from your left to right, and back again. Only twist from the waist up, but remember to keep your back straight.
- Side plank
Like a normal plank, but sideways. Imagine laying on your side, but with your forearm only on the disc.
For a low-impact workout, give aerobic steps a try.
Perfect for an effective cardiovascular workout, without the stress on your joints.
Aerobic steps are regularly used in workouts for people who exercise at home and can be used for a variety of things.
Regularly doing different exercises on your steps can lead to strength building, weight loss and increased cardiovascular health.
Some great exercises to do on aerobic steps include:
- Walking steps
For a more simple and easy start, just walk slow steps up and down, alternating legs.
- Running steps
Same as above, but faster!
- Squat pop-over
With one foot on the floor and one on the steps, do a squat. Step both feet on the steps and put the other foot on the floor. Squat and repeat.
Normal push-ups, but a bit harder. Put your feet up on the steps and your hands on the floor. Feel the extra burn!
Stand both feet on the floor. Jump both feet at the same time onto the step and straight back down again. Repeat.
- Walking knee lift
Stand on the floor with your left foot on the step. As you stand up on the step with your left foot, bring your right knee up to your hip level. Repeat 10 times and change sides.
Exercise Ball (Yoga Ball)
You may have heard that some people are beginning to swap their normal computer desk chair over for an exercise ball? Yes, it is true!
Balancing on an unstable surface, rather than keeping your bottom in one place with no effort, obviously requires more effort. You use your back, engage your core and pelvic muscles and your abdominal area also gets in on the action.
This is the easiest way you can get a workout at home – even if just a minor one.
Luckily, you won’t be buying your exercise ball to only use it as a chair though! It also has a ton of other uses, as it’s name suggests.
Here are some fun exercises to do with your exercise ball:
- Ball cycle
Imagine doing a normal cycle where you lay on the floor, legs up and “cycle”. Do that here, but with the ball rolling between your feet. It is much harder to squeeze your feet together whilst doing this exercise and engages more muscles.
- Knee-to-knee crunch
Toes pointed on the floor, body straight from heel to head, hands straight down holding your exercise ball. Bring your knees up toward your chest / the ball, while keeping your back straight.
Feet flat on the floor, back laying (flat) on the ball. Do a crunch as you normally would, but try to stay with your bottom on the ball without falling off.
- Leg lowers
If your exercise ball is not too big, you can try this exercise at home. Lay flat on the floor and hold the ball between your feel. Lift your feet (legs straight the whole time) straight up so you end up in a 90-degree angle. Lower them back down and repeat.
Ball between your feet, back on the floor in a 90-degree angle. Slowly move your feet (and the ball) to the left, then lean it over to the right and back etc.
- Ball pass
Lay flat on the floor, ball in your hands, stretched out on the floor. Pass the ball up over your head and raise your legs straight up to a 90-degree angle. Pass the ball from your hands to in-between your feet. Lower your feet (and the ball) to the floor, and then raise them back up to pass the ball back to your hands. Lower your hands backwards to the floor and repeat.
Photo by Maryjoy Caballero on Unsplash
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