In addition to the home workout equipment essentials (dumbbells, stability ball and exercise mat), there are a few other pieces highly I recommend you purchase to crank up your home workouts. Like the first three pieces I suggested, these ones shouldn’t break the bank either! Here they are:
Resistance tubes are the perfect compliment to dumbbells for strength training. That’s because tubes are elastic and can provide resistance from virtually any direction, where dumbbells only give you resistance in the direction of gravity (vertical). By anchoring a tube to a door, you can perform movements such as twisting from side to side, pulling against resistance from above, even simulating a baseball or golf swing – movements you can’t do effectively with dumbbells. By using resistance tubes along with dumbbells, your choices of strength training exercises are practically limitless.
Resistance tubes are available in a variety of designs, the most common being a long hollow tube with a handle at each end. Other designs include a figure eight loop, ankle cuffs, bands (big rubber bands) and flat bands (aka: therapy bands). Each type comes in various thicknesses – the thickest being the most difficult. Resistance tubes are also color-coded, based on their resistance level. However, each manufacturer color codes its tubes differently, so if you’re mixing brands, make sure it’s the resistance level you need.
For starters, I suggest purchasing the longer tubes with the handles – I use them a lot. Be sure to get at least 3 different resistances, which range from very light to very heavy. Also, grab a door anchor strap (about $5) – it turns any sturdy door into a high-tech cable machine. Three tubes and the door anchor will run you abut $40. As far as brands go, I’m a big fan of Spri Products (www.Spriproducts.com). I’ve been using their tubes for about 20 years – they’re top quality. One more quick note about resistance tubes: they’re great for traveling. (They beat packing dumbbells in your carry-on bag!)
Balance Discs (aka: Disc Pillows)
Balance discs are very useful pieces of home workout equipment that you’ll want to add to your collection. They’re not only effective for improving your balance and core strength, they also help strengthen and stabilize your ankle, knee, hip and shoulder joints. Just about any exercise where you’re standing, kneeling or sitting can double as a balance and stabilization drill using balance discs. (They’re great for making pushups more challenging!)
Balance discs are available in different sizes, but I prefer the ones that are about 14” in diameter. You can adjust their level of instability by varying the amount of air that you pump into them. Like all home workout equipment, I recommend you go for quality. (Check out www.Performbetter.com – they have good ones.) I recommend buying two discs, which will set you back about fifty bucks and are well worth it.
Adjustable Weight Bench
You can definitely get away with not having one of these, but an adjustable weight bench is a great addition to any home gym. Adjustable benches typically have about 5 or 6 different position settings ranging from 0 degrees (flat) to 90 degrees (straight up). Being able to set the bench to different positions makes it possible to perform many more strength exercises, versus using only a standard flat bench or stability ball.
An adjustable weight bench especially comes in handy if you’re going to be hoisting up heavy weights. Believe me – you don’t want to lose your balance while lying on a stability ball, holding 80 pound dumbbells over your face! If you have the space and a little extra cash on hand, I suggest you spring for one.
New adjustable weight benches can get pricey ($250 – $500) – particularly the heavy duty ones. Now, there’s absolutely no reason to purchase a commercial grade bench, but I don’t recommend you get a light, flimsy one either. Make sure that it has some weight to it and feels durable. It’s definitely an item you can buy used – craigslist, house sales or used sporting goods stores should have exactly what you need for pennies on the dollar. You should easily be able to find a decent used one for under a hundred bucks.
That pretty much does it for my “essential” home workout equipment series. Those are all the pieces (dumbbells, stability ball, exercise mat, resistance tubes, balance discs and an adjustable bench) that I highly recommend you have in your workout equipment toy box. Depending on your specific exercise goals, however, you may need more or less equipment – these are simply the pieces of workout equipment that I found (over the years) to be most useful for myself and my private clients.
There’s no question that there are other valuable pieces of home workout equipment available (medicine balls, Bosu ball, agility ladder, etc.) – the list goes on and on. I’ll certainly be covering all the good ones in future posts, but to label anything else “essential” might be a bit of a push.
I hope that helps,
PaulShare With Friends: