Thank you to Diane Raymond for this guest post.
Think you need lots of space (and money), to kit out your home gym? Think again. Some of my favorite “tools of the trade” cost very little, require minimal space, are easy to use, and in some cases, are portable, making them great travel companions too!
The little purple discs that can help you achieve great results. Gliding discs, made of high-tech polymer, resemble plastic plates, and when placed under the ball of the foot, make lunges much harder, and very effective. Because they are light weight, and can be used to strengthen and tone virtually any muscle group on the body, they are idea for travel, or for toting to the gym, as well as regular, in-home use. A set of discs that includes instructional videos only costs around $24, making them a bargain as well.
For a more challenging workout, consider investing in the TRX, which is a suspension training system originally developed for the Navy Seals. The TRX made its mainstream debut several years ago and has become one of the fastest selling strength training tools for both novices and hard-core fitness buffs. It is a total body strengthening and conditioning tool that is a snap to assemble. It weighs less than 2lbs, sets up in under 1 minute, and you can use it in the hotel room, outdoors, at the gym. Options are nearly endless.
Sometimes, the simple, tried and true toys make the most sense for home use. Easy to store and use, jump ropes come in varying lengths, and some are even weighted – making them a touch more difficult (insert “mean trainer” grin here). If you haven’t jumped in some time, you will definitely feel your calf muscles talking back to you. Don’t listen – they’ll become accustomed to this form of cardio in no time.
Originally designed for use in physical therapy offices as a rehabilitation tool, resistance tubing is one of the fitness industry’s most used pieces of equipment. Tubes are versatile, portable, challenging, and cheap. I even recommend to clients who are purchasing tubing to buy two or three: one for home, one for the car (you never know when you’ll be at the playground with the kids and looking for something to do), and one for your suitcase. That’s right, just stick one in your suitcase and leave it there. Next time you travel, you’ll have a great tool for toning and strengthening, right in your hotel room. Any exercise you do at the gym with either dumbbells, cables, or fixed machines…you can do with tubing.
Cost: $8 will get you a nice quality tube.
It looks so simple, yet it can do so much. Every home needs a stability ball. Use the ball in the same way you would a weight bench. Since balls have a tendency to roll, you will be forced to engage your core and improve your balance – or fall off. Use the ball alone, or with weighted resistance, such as BodyBars, dumbbells, resistance tubing, cables…you get the picture.
Diane Raymond is an ACE-certified personal trainer and the owner of Blue Sky Gym, a personal training business specializing in outdoor and in home personal training, lifestyle and weight management coaching, workshops and educational resources. She is a noted consultant, workshop presenter and freelance writer. Check out her daily musings about training, health, and personal fitness at Diane Raymond’s Blue Sky Blog and Fit Girl in the City