When you walk into a big time fitness facility, there is a ton of glitz and glamour; variable resistance machines (i.e. Nautilus), treadmills, ellipticals, bikes, free weights, etc. For the average person who walks into a facility for the first time, these things can be extremely confusing and overwhelming. Questions that I commonly get asked as a personal trainer can range from, “How many of these machines should I use?” to“ How do you turn on the treadmill?” These are legitimate questions and concerns for someone who doesn’t know what to do at the gym.
So say you don’t like to be overwhelmed by all of the equipment in the gym or the huge morning and evening crowds. The question you should be asking is, “What should I have at my own home to improve my quality of life”? There are a few things that everyone should have even if you do workout at a health club, but can’t always get in due a busy work schedule, kids or overall time constraints. Here is a list of my Top 5 pieces of at home fitness equipment that is best for you!
1. What you need to know is that the best piece of fitness equipment is… YOURSELF!
There are hundreds of body weight exercises that you can do from the comfort of your own home without any fancy piece of fitness equipment. Not only are they functional but can be done in a variety of different ways and everywhere. Here are a few sample exercises:
- Body weight squats
- Push ups
- Front Plank
- Walking lunge
- Body Weight Split Squats
2. A set of adjustable dumbbells are a must (i.e. Bowflex Select Tech or PowerBlock Elites). The weight that you choose should be relative to your strength levels, yet challenging enough to adhere to your fitness goals. Your body is an extremely adaptable machine; if you consistently do the same routine you will no longer get much physiological benefit out of it (GAS). Adding resistance to your once body weight exercises will further increase the gains in strength you have made. Several sets of dumbbells are also a great alternative, but can take up much space and become pricier in the long run. These adjustable dumbbells can range from $100 to $700. Here are a few sample dumbbell exercises:
- Goblet Squats
- Floor Press
- Seated Dumbell Russian Twists
- Dumbell Walking Lunges
- Standing Dumbbell Overhead Press
3. The Kettlebell is one of the most functional pieces of fitness equipment out there! Since the center of mass is extended beyond the hand, this facilitates swinging movements. Done properly, Kettlebell exercises can engage your entire CORE building strength and endurance. Yet, learning how to use them properly is the difficulty. Always consult a professional when learning new exercises. Prices vary depending on the weight of the Kettlebell you buy, but you’re looking to spend between $20 and $180 per Kettlebell. Here are a few sample exercises:
- Kettlebell Swing
- Kettlebell Snatch
- Kettlebell Clean and Jerk
- Kettlebell Turkish Get-Up
- Kettlebell Sumo Deadlift High Pull
4. The TRX Suspension Trainer is one of the most complete pieces of fitness equipment that I’ve come across. With over 150 different exercises, this piece of equipment can give you a full body workout without adding in a single other piece of training equipment. Designed by a Navy Seal, the TRX Suspension Trainer got more recognition in the Sport Conditioning realm but is a great buy for everyone. Easy to set up; the TRX comes with a training video and instructions on the how to use it. This can range from $150 to $200+ depending on the package you buy. And did I mention that it’s extremely portable for those travel workouts? Here are a few of my favorite TRX exercises:
- TRX inverted row
- TRX Chest Press
- TRX Suspended Lunge
- TRX Suspended Plank
- TRX Pistol Squat
5. The final piece to your home gym is one of the best if not the best piece of aerobic equipment. And no, it’s not a treadmill or an elliptical but a Rowing Ergometer! A Rowing Ergometer or “Erg” for short, resembles Watercraft Rowing; a low impact cardiovascular option that is safe on the joints and connective tissue. Proper form is crucial with this piece of equipment because low back injury is the most common injury when using the Rowing Ergometer. In addition to being low impact, this piece of equipment is a great weight loss option, which is a byproduct of the high fitness levels attained from its use. Prices can range from $150 to $1300. Another benefit to the Erg is its compact size and light weight frame.
If you are thinking of developing a home gym, these pieces of equipment are a fantastic place to start! As always, please advise a professional on how to use equipment that you are unfamiliar with. The next question I ask you is how can these things impact your fitness goals? Send me your questions and comments, as I will be glad to answer!