7 best tools to build a kick-ass home gym
You’re geared up from head to toe in the latest Rhone apparel--the Reign Tech Short Sleeve on your back, the Mako Short on your legs and the Everyday Active Essentials socks on your feet. You walk by the mirror, give yourself a nod of approval because looking good, humbly acknowledging it, and feeling good make any day better.
Now it’s just time to put that gear to work. While looking good is a first step, now it’s time to work just as hard.
You’ve realized that this work from home stint is going to hang over our heads for a little while longer. And maybe, depending on where you live, your gym is still closed, or you’re not comfortable going there even if it weren’t.
Let’s take a look at the 7 Best Tools to Build a Kick Ass Home Gym giving you no more excuses to push back on the workouts themselves. Yes, yes, your bodyweight circuit can certainly do wonders, and those circuits have certainly been embraced under our roof, but if your pushup and air squat routine has gotten a bit stale, I’m here to help.
Let’s start with a set of dumbbells. And since space is likely an issue for most – without the ability or room to have a variety of sizes of dumbbells, wouldn’t it be great to have an adjustable dumbbell? Oh, yes – it would.
That’s where Power Blocks come in to play. These have been around for decades and have stood the test of time. I remember seeing ads for them in the fitness magazines I’d buy in the 90’s.
There are several models available on their site, ranging in weight from 5-90 lbs with the simple adjustment of a pin. These are durable, offer a wide range of resistance, making it the perfect tool if you’re exercising with someone else who may need different weights and can add a nice change of pace to your workouts. These should be a staple for any home gym to expand your workout regimen from the basic body weight circuit.
OK, I. Am. LOVING this piece of equipment. Loving.
Rowing is one of the most effective full body forms of exercise available. But, admittedly, commitment can be a challenge – enter Hydrow, which offers live and on-demand virtual, athlete-led rows that are broadcasted from waterways across the globe, along with a whole slew of other types of workouts (yoga, resistance, etc), bringing the gym right into your home. The rower also doesn’t take up much room, keeping a low profile for this uber effective, interactive and fun workout tool.
Speaking of low profile, effective exercise tools that are perfect for your house, TRX is at the top. With the slogan “make your body your machine” TRX, created by a Navy SEAL as a way to keep his men in shape when out on missions, has now become one of the most simple and effective home exercise tools available. At first glance, it may seem intimidating – two exercise straps with handles – but their extensive exercise database online makes use a cinch and truly allows you to get a full body workout in whenever you can and makes exercises more challenging by adding instability and with a simple shift in body position. “Instability forces muscles to work harder. This tool also forces you to work in different plains of movement; we spend so much time with traditional movements, TRX forces your body to move in unique ways” says Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC.
If you’re wondering how to hang this thing in your house; well, it is possible to secure an anchor to your ceiling to use it, but they also sell a less invasive door anchor, so any space that has a door can be used as a “base” for this tool.
Resistance bands – just like many of the tools above – can take your hum drum body weight circuit to the next level. The bands range in “size” or resistance from 15 – 200 lbs, so these can truly challenge you in a unique way but can also assist with exercises, like pullups, that may otherwise not be possible on their own. They’re also great for mobility drills, stretching and are portable, to boot. If short on time, I’ll often ramp up my body weight circuit by adding a bit more resistance and for me, these have also been a fantastic addition to my stretching game, enabling me to safely push (and pull) a little further than I could without the bands.
This is by far the best tool to relieve any stress, frustration and general anger – all under the guise of exercise. Kids frustrating you? Your partner? Maybe it’s that 3 hour zoom call where you co-worker Would. Never. Stop. Talking. Enter the slam ball, which not only ramps your heart rate up like no other, but also is an incredible effective stress reliever (unless you have neighbors below you, then you might make some enemies – which at that point you can bring this tool outdoors).
TRX recently expanded their tool set and created this Slam Ball. There’s a variety of others on the market and many are great; to me, this one is easy to grip – even with sweaty hands – and ranges in weight from 6 to 50 lbs.
A solid, adjustable bench can add so much versatility to your workout, a quality adjustable one is worth the few hundred dollars. After all, how else will you get to do the most famous “Monday exercise” of all time – bench? I kid, but it is nice to have the ability to add in some exercises, using those adjustable dumbbells – like presses, rows and other seated variations.
There are certainly many options available here, but we’ve had this one for a bit and are very happy with it. In fact, in addition to my regular workouts, I’ve set a goal to do 3,650 pullups this year (along with 3,650 pushups and 3,650 body weight squats). If you want to do the math, that’s 10 of each every single day. It’s amazing how that seemingly large goal can be chunked down to a much, more, manageable solution. I digress.
Having a pull up bar for a door in your house is a great way to add a very effective exercise to your routine with the different grips most of the home pull bars offer, it is a nice, unique challenge for your body. Bonus – if you haven’t yet worked up to do full, body weight pullups, you can use the resistance bands suggested above to give you a little assist.
And, there you have it. Seven, very effective tools to have a kick ass workout in the comfort of your own home. Let me know what you try!