Want to get fit but have no time for the gym? Or maybe you just don't want to pay the overpriced membership fees to that big fancy gym. Whatever the reason, not getting to a gym is not an excuse to avoid a work out. If you're looking to pump up in the privacy of your own home we have you covered. Below are some of the most basic, but very important pieces of exercise equipment everyone should own if they are looking to get – and stay – in shape.
Doorway Pull-Up Bar
A good pull-up bar will only set you back about $30 and it's one of those pieces of equipment that will never wear out or need replacement. A pull-up bar will allow you to practice pull ups and get that upper body strength without ever hitting the gym or an outdoor fitness park. Because it is in your doorway you will see it every day – a good reminder that you have to do them. But when buying one remember to get one that fits your door frame. Some older frames will not accommodate a pull-up bar.
Adding a medicine ball to your exercises is a great way to make them more challenging. They are very versatile and allow for a more athletic-style form of training, as opposed to bodybuilding training. Many of them are big and a bit awkward to work with but that makes your ab exercises and stretches that much more challenging. They are also good when used in conjunction with hand weights as a balance-challenging weight bench. When you sit or lie across a stability ball you are engaging all the core muscles and will help you work your way to a toned body with better posture, more-defined abs and a healthy spine with less back pain. They vary in price according to the size you buy but a 4 pound ball costs about $70. A 14 pound ball will set you back about $100.
Kettlebells are similar to medicine balls because they are a multi-purpose piece of equipment. And they will last a long time so you likely will never have to worry about replacing them unless you want a different weight. Depending on the weight you get you could be looking at spending between $20 and $100. But everyone should have one because they are great for doing swings and front squats. It's recommended that women start with a 12 or 16 pound kettlebell, or 25 to 35 if they're more advanced. Men can start with 25 to 35 pounds, or 50 or more if they've worked with them previously.
Jump ropes are a simple, yet effective piece of workout equipment. They can be used anywhere at anytime and, because they are small, they can easily fit in your suitcase if you're going on a trip. They are a great way to boost your calorie burn, endurance levels and coordination. And, of course, they are cheap. Most ropes cost about $7.
Rolling on a piece of foam is a great way to keep your body injury-free and is, perhaps, one of the most important additions to your home gym because they work your muscles and boost recovery so you can work harder during your workout. They are also great at helping with shin splints if you are prone to them. They cost between $10 to $20.
These bands are good for beginners and advanced athletes. Rubberized resistance bands will help you build muscle just like hand weights do and they are easy to store and take with you when your travel. You can increase the resistance by folding them lengthwise or shortening the band. But remember, when using these bands you must make sure each movement is controlled so you maximize muscle toning and avoid any possible injuries. Cost will depend on the size you get but most are in the $20 range.
Dumbbells or hand weights are good for building muscle and sculpting your body. One pair each of 3-pound and 5-pound weights will be good enough to get you started on a beginning strength-training plan. When your strength improves you can add more weight. Price will depend on the weight you choose but most 3 to 4-pound weights will cost about $20.
This may not sound like a must-have but it is. An exercise mat will help cushion you from a hard floor and will give you more support than a carpet when you're working on your abs, floor exercises and warmup stretches. They range in colour and in price depending what you choose. Most range in price from $20 to $50. But if you are looking for extra large ones you could spend hundreds of dollars.