Six Home Fitness Tools You Wanna Own
As a busy mom myself, I can completely relate to the mom’s out there who can’t get to the gym as regularly as they would like to despite their best laid plans.
Scene: You sat down on Sunday evening and mapped out your entire week. You made sure to section off the appropriate time for training sessions each day at the gym near you. Your excited to get started because you took initiative and are making things happen. Your fitness goals are officially in sight and ready to become your reality because you are organized.
Then life happens. Between the toddler crisis that inevitably shows up, the home projects that never go away and the work obligations that have to get done yesterday, you realize that hour long session you planned for at the gym may have to be postponed. Yet again. You had the best laid plans, good for you...but life and its constant ebb and flow of loved ones, priorities, projects and happenings, got in the way.
Well, ladies…here’s a new plan.
Here are my top six must-have home fitness tools you wanna own to “gym-it” right from the convenience of your own living room, no matter what your day looks like.
1. The ‘quick starter’ aka the Jump Rope.
My first must-have, the jump rope. This is easily way less expensive than a treadmill or spin bike and something you can take with you anywhere, even pack in a suitcase. I consider the jump rope to be an essential because of the many improvements it delivers to your fitness as a whole. It improves coordination, it decreases potential foot and ankle injuries, it's a great calorie burner, and improves breathing efficiency and cardiovascular health. That’s just skimming the surface of its benefits.
This is a great tool to use as your general warm up to increase your body’s overall temperature, which is important for training preparation. It’s also handy for those times in the day when you have extra energy that you need to expend. Just pickup the jump rope, head outside and start jumping until your sweaty and good!
For me, 4 sets of 30 reps per set with a 10 second rest in between sets, does the trick of getting the body warmed up in prep for training.
2. Kettlebells are poetry.
The power of the kettlebell is epic. This one piece of equipment though demur in appearance, can be used in so many different ways to target the body as a whole or the body in isolation. Kettlebell training can be entire body situation, activating your primary muscle group, secondary and stabilizing muscles in unison so that you get a total body workout.
Kettlebells are known for improving overall total body strength as it uses many different major muscle groups to keep the body stable as you move. It also trains core power, which is a major stability factor during performance, as well as balance, flexibility and coordination. This simple instrument when used dynamically will add grit to your training session in the way of load AND functionality.
3. The OG’s: Dumbbells.
I won’t spend too much time here because dumbbells are the original players. Essential in any home gym. Believe it or not, any exercise you do with a machine in a gym, you can achieve the same effect, better even, with dumbbells. I’m a huge supporter of dumbbell training for its many obvious and not so obvious benefits. Dumbbell training offers a great, full body, total-activation approach to building muscles.
Similar to Kettlebell training, working with dumbbells not only trains the primary muscle group you’re focusing on, but the supporting stabilizer and secondary muscle groups too, giving your muscles a more holistic training experience. You’re simply using more of your body during training when you train with dumbbells as apposed to machines. Adding this tool to your arsenal is a no-brainer and a game changer.
4. Resistance Band Set, you're one stop shop.
Okay, technically the resistance band set is considered a couple of items in one since I’m talking about getting a set instead of just one band, but hear my logic on this. I humbly believe that resistance bands are probably one of the most ingenious fitness tools to have ever been created. They are simple, easy to use, and very portable. You would be surprised to discover just how many fundamental exercises you can do with a good resistance band set. Even more than that, just about everything you can do with a machine at the gym AND a good dumbbell set, you can achieve with a resistance band set as well. All you have to do is learn the different arrangements using the bands to achieve the exercise of your choice, and you’re ready to go.
A great training tip to keep in mind is that as your strength increases you can use the bands in unison with the dumbbells for added resistance, thereby accelerating your muscle gains.
5. A Yoga Mat.
This is another tool I won’t spend too much time on because the benefits are obvious. A yoga mat removes the hesitation to explore different training surfaces possible to you, such as training outside in your backyard, your patio, living room floor, drive way or neighborhood park.
Now the often overlooked benefits of a good yoga mat are derived from its actual design. The non-slip grip of a good yoga mat means you are able to fully focus on the move you’re performing. This way slipping while performing the exercise becomes a non-issue. You also don’t have to ponder about the potential uncomfortableness of the surface you are training on since the mat creates a nice, agreeable barrier. Doing any exercise on a yoga mat just “feels” better than doing that same exercise on the cold surface of most floors. This means better focus while training. A major win in my book!
6. The Foam Roller, your recovery tool.
As active women, we put our bodies through so much in the way of exercise and general life. Our bodies need consistent maintenance to perform optimally. This is why a foam roller is a must-have in my book for home fitness tools you wanna own. A foam roller gives you a home version of massage therapy, which when done regularly, conditions your body and increases your performance in and out of the gym.
Without getting all medical "jargon-y," here's the short version. Foam rolling helps you to move better by releasing tightness in the muscles that often occurs as a result of consistent training. Regular foam rolling helps to reduce pain and muscle soreness by massaging and releasing the lactic acid buildup located in and around your working muscles. Consistent foam rolling, coupled with static and dynamic stretching, can also help you recover faster from training. It aids the natural healing process in your muscles and lengthens you muscles, which means greater mobility and range of motion during training.
The true benefit here with this tool is not with it being used during your training, but as an essential part of your recovery, post training. Even on your off days, getting in a good home foam roll session is always considered a great idea!
Okay, so there it is. My top six essential home fitness tools for “gym-ing it” at home. I could add one or two more tools here for “thorough-ness” sake, but I won’t. I’ll stop there because I believe in keeping it simple. With these six tools in your possession, you’ll be working out at home like a pro and you’ll be able to stay on track whether you’re at home or in the gym.
Happy Home-Gym-ing! :)