By Corey Lewis, CPT, CSCS
It’s been hard for me to focus these past couple of months after the pandemic hit. Stores closed; coffeeshops too. And the most challenging part for me: the gyms closed. After trying to work out at home, I realized I needed some equipment to stay active since I didn’t think the gyms would be reopening any time soon. And since regular physical activity is necessary for leading a healthy lifestyle, I knew I needed to do something to keep up with my wellness goals. So I’ve made a list of home gym essentials to level up my home workout routine.
Although the Black Swan movie is a great one and Natalie Portman did an outstanding job, I love the Black Swan Yoga Mat a bit more.
This mat is absolutely amazing. It’s reversible, it’s open-cell, made of high-quality polyurethane rubber. And the best thing about it is that it’s non-slip. I’ve tried so many other yoga mats for stretching, and none comes even close to the Black Swan.
You might disagree with me on this one, but I love hopping on the scale more often than not. I am loving this FitTrack Dara Scale. They call it a scale, but it’s so much more than just a weight measurement tool. Its super smart features measure your BMI, visceral fat, muscle mass, bone mass, and 13 other things in your body.
It’s made for all body types, and it is kid-friendly—meaning you can track your kids as they grow and monitor their health.
Some might argue that kettlebell is not that important for a home gym, but I say it’s essential if you want to include every muscle in your workout routine. While some exercises could be done with dumbbells instead of a kettlebell, there are unique movements that can only be done with a kettlebell.
Including a kettlebell in your workout routine will not only benefit your muscles—it will improve your stamina, as well.
Many exercises can be done with dumbbells, so having them in your home gym is a must. Having a couple of sizes in your collection will take your workout to the next level.
While the hex-shaped dumbbells with a rubber coating are more durable, you can’t go wrong with any shape you buy. I prefer these because I’ve noticed the other ones become slippery as soon as I start breaking a sweat. The hex-shaped ones have an excellent grip, so it won’t be slipping through your grip while you’re doing your dumbbell plank rows.
Resistance bands will make an enormous difference to your workouts. They are often underestimated, but it is my opinion that they are essential to your home gym.
Because they’re so versatile, you can incorporate them into basically any workout. They’re especially useful for the leg and booty day or if you want to add a little resistance to your at-home arm work-out routine.
When you hear the name, you’re probably wondering why a simple ball would be essential in your home gym. Well, I have news for you they are the perfect tool for working your core muscles, increasing strength, and improving balance.
Also called balance balls, fitness balls, Swiss balls, or exercise balls, they are a great tool to improve your endurance. It’s great for your back exercises, too.
Apart from the workout role, the stability ball is good to use as a chair when you’re working. The instability that it creates makes your core work at all times, firming up your six-pack while improving your posture, as well.
Although you don’t technically need it to work out, music is known to improve mood and help brain function and focus. So be sure to equip your home gym with a speaker. You don’t need anything large; a small wireless speaker will do, as long as you can hear the music while you work out. Make sure you create a specific playlist of the songs that inspire and encourage you to keep your spirit lifted while exercising.
There are many apps you can download to automate your training playlist.
Jump rope makes me think of childhood. I guess that’s why I love it so much, but it’s also a great addition to my home gym. I use it during my warm-up sessions to bring my heart rate up and warm up my muscles. It works literally every muscle in your body—that’s why, especially if you’re a beginner, you won’t be able to do many jumps. Just keep practicing, and you’ll get to 100 jumps in no time.
When I talk about cardio workouts, I can’t think of a better way to break a sweat while having fun than to jump on the plyo-box. And although it’s great for jumping, you can also increase your heart rate by slowly stepping on it while lifting one leg at a time, squatting, doing sidekicks, and performing other low-impact exercises.Plyo-boxes are created to improve your strength, power, and explosiveness, making it an excellent tool for your strength workout routine.
If you’re not sure whether the plyo-box is for you, you can easily try making one yourself. All you need is some plywood, measuring tape, wood glue, and a couple of screws. You will be incorporating it into your work out within minutes.
Throw it, carry it, do a couple of sit-ups with it—anything goes. There are many variations to the workouts you could do with a medicine ball. Its versatility makes it a prime candidate for this list of home gym essentials. It is a perfect tool for plyometric exercises, too.
Make sure you buy a soft medicine ball to make it easier for you when you’re throwing it or catching it. When it comes to weight, always opt for a lighter one, because most of the medicine ball exercises have an emphasis on speed and power.