Essential Equipment for Home Gym
Working out at the gym is fun, social and versatile- that said if you’re committed it can be equally as rewarding and effective to train at home.
There are many benefits to having a home gym: no waiting on equipment, membership fees, or travel to the gym. In fact you’ll have very little excuse to miss a workout again!RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
A home gym is not the preserve of the rich and famous and with relatively little investment you can create a space that will provide as challenging a workout as any you would find in a commercial gym.
Here’s some essential equipment for a home gym and ideas for exercises you can do to get fit, strong and healthy while taking up a minimal amount of space in your place!
Not just for kids or boxers, skipping ropes are fun, portable and cost effective. Skipping provides a full body workout that builds strength, co-ordination and cardiovascular fitness by working multiple muscle groups simultaneously.
When it comes to buying a rope there are different types, and speed ropes are good to start with. It’s important to select the right length of rope for your height to perform the exercises safely.
1. Take a handle of the rope in each hand and stand with both feet in front of it
2. Rotate your forearms to lift the rope over your head
3. Jump with both feet to clear the rope
4. Skip moderately for 1 minute, then as fast as you can for 20 seconds, with 10 seconds rest, repeat for a further four minutes
Good for: Cardiovascular fitness, quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, shoulders and abdominals
Pull up bar
Pull ups and chin ups are advanced compound exercises that use your body weight as resistance to work multiple joints at once. The difference between the two: pull ups utilise a wide overhand grip and are harder to perform than chin ups which use a close underhand grip.
Home pull up bars are portable and can be fixed to walls or hung off door frames. They range in quality and price; when purchasing a bar check it can support your body-weight and look for relevant user reviews to help you to decide on the best one for you.
1. Reach up and grab the bar with a narrow underhand grip
2. Hang for a moment, arms extended
3. Pull yourself up, try to touch your chin or upper chest to the bar
4. Lower yourself down to your starting position, avoid swinging your body
Good for: Back, shoulders, and biceps
Kettlebells are versatile weights that can be used for resistance, cardio and strength training. They are a great substitute for dumbbells and barbells and because of their shape you can use momentum to further engage your muscles during your workout.
The cost is relative to the size, it’s advisable to build your collection as your training progresses so you don’t need to spend a lot of money at once. The correct size will depend on how you plan to use it and your current lifting ability.
1. Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart, toes turned out
2. Use an overhand grip to hold the kettlebell with both hands
3. Lower your body down towards the floor, until your thighs are parallel
4. Push through your heels to stand back up
Good for: glutes, quadriceps, inner thighs and hamstrings
Swiss balls aka ‘fitness balls’, ‘stability balls’, ‘exercise balls’ are large inflatable balls that improve strength, balance and flexibility. They are also good for the progression of basic moves like press ups, crunches and planks by creating an unstable training surface.
Swiss balls come in three sizes and it’s important to choose the correct size for your height. As a general rule of thumb, you should be able to sit upright with your feet flat on the floor, with hips and knees at 90 degree angles.
1. Lie on your back, legs extended and arms by your side
2. Rest your heels on the top of the ball
3. Lift your hips off the floor, feet flat on top ball move your heels towards your hips
4. Lower yourself down as you return to your starting position
Good for: Hamstrings, glutes and calves
Resistance bands are inexpensive, portable and can be used in place of dumbbells. They help to increase the intensity of body weight exercises and are also used in rehabilitation and Pilates.
For your home gym, select the tube shaped bands with handles. They are often available in packs of various lengths and strengths so you can pick the right one for your ability at any given time.
Standing bicep curls
1. Stand on the band with feet shoulder width apart, hold a handle in each hand
2. Arms by your sides, ensure the length of the band is equal on each side
3. Palms facing up, bend your elbows and raise both your hands toward your shoulders
4. Squeeze your biceps and return to your starting position
Good for: Biceps and forearms
A home advantage
For the seasoned gym goer a home gym offers a change of scene and continuity on days you can’t get to a gym. For those new to fitness, starting out at home can help to develop confidence and build a fitness habit. It’s also a great way for anyone to set a healthy example to loved ones.
Remember that the same safety rules apply at home as at the gym. Observe good form throughout, train on safe surfaces, use an appropriate space and warm up and cool down. If unsure of what exercises to do, consult a fitness professional for advice or a demonstration before beginning your programme.