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Beginning on the path of working out. If you've decided that you want to try to work out at home, there area few things that we'd recommend you start out with. See below for a few ideas to get started.
If you’ve decided that you want to start working out, and the best way for you to do so is at home, then you’re going to want a few pieces of equipment. You don’t have to go all out to work out at home. In fact, outside of having a space to work out in, you don’t really need anything else to get started.
That being said, there are a few items that I’d recommend you have at home to make your work out a little more intense, and to get the best out of your time. If you’re looking for a more involved article on building out a home gym, check out the next article in this series for more advanced equipment.
Don’t overspend for expensive equipment
The top tip is that you should not overspend, especially if you’ve haven’t had a consistent workout routine in the past. Spending a bunch of money for nice equipment when you’re not sure how well you’re going to stick with it is a probably a poor decision - once you are committed and consistently working out, then it may be worth it to invest it a bit more money in your home setup.
Must have equipment
There are 4 items that I recommend you start with at home in order to get a good workout, but not take up too much room in the house.
A yoga mat is useful for so many different exercises, and it will help to set your location and help you get into the right frame of mind for your workout. I use my yoga mat on a daily basis for different exercises that I do. Even if you’re not doing yoga, a yoga mat is great for stretching before and after workouts. It’s also great for using in body weight exercises.
Furthermore, if you’ve never done yoga before, it’s one of the hardest workouts you’ll ever do. In fact, it’s one of the few exercises that I’ve tried that I absolutely dread and avoid, because it is so much work. If you can stand it, definitely do yoga on a regular basis. There are lots of great routines on Youtube to get you started.
You don’t need huge weights to help increase the intensity of a home workout. If you can only choose one, I like the 5lb or 10lb variations. Grab these when you’re doing any type of arm exercise or leg exercises. Any amount of added weight is going to really help you to feel the moves that you’re completing.
One of my favorite workouts with these hand weights are an upper body workout. Lift the weights straight up in front of you, and then move them so your arms are held out straight to your side (like your an airplane). Bring them back to in front of you before lowering the weights. Do that a few times and you’ll really start to feel the burn.
Push up bars
My push up bars have gotten so much use over the years that I really need to replace them. The foam part on the handles is ripping off (the kids got to them) but I just keep using them. Once the foam is totally gone, I’m sure I’ll replace them.
While these are really meant to get deeper on your push-ups, they have a lot of other great uses. If you’re doing yoga, I’ve used them like yoga blocks in the past. I also like to use them for planks and side planks. I also like using them for a downward dog type exercise where I use them to workout my shoulders (like a shoulder push up).
The other thing that’s really great about the cheap version that I have, and that I recommend you get as well, is that you can break them down and pack them in your luggage. I take these with me on almost every trip that I take as they don’t take up much room in my luggage, and I don’t have to worry about what equipment might be at the location we’ll be at.
If you haven't jumped rope since grade school, then be prepared to be utterly tired after a short workout. There are several great videos out there for getting started on skipping rope for your exercise, and I'd highly recommend them if you don't have a lot of time for your workout. 20 minutes of jumping up and down is a great way to get that heart pumping.
Other recommended equipment
I really like these to build up my grip strength. If you’re doing any type of weight training, then these will help you to better grip the bars and dumbbells. They’ll also help you to open bottles. These can be used throughout the day - they are rarely found with my other workout equipment as I moved them through the house as I do other activities. I’d highly recommend picking up a pair of these for your home use.
I began my home workout journey with a few different resistance bands, and I’ve used a few different variations over the years. While these won’t give you the best workout, they’re great for not taking up a lot of room, and they’re better than nothing. There are plenty of videos on how to use these bands, and they’re featured as an option in the popular workout program P90X.
I find the bands a bit awkward sometimes to use, but I still would rather use them than nothing at all. I really like using them on leg workouts the most.
My kids love this ball. It gets kicked around the house a bunch and we use it in a simple dodgeball like game as well. Of course, that’s not what it’s meant for - it’s obviously meant for yoga. As mentioned previously, I dread yoga, and don’t do a lot of it.
I like to use this ball for core workouts. It’s also one of the items that I like to use in combination with the hand weights that I recommended earlier. You can use this to do flys (lay on your back on it and extend your arms out with the weights) and back flys. I like to do crunches and other similar workouts on this ball. It forces you to engage your core muscles which will help in everyday activities.
Another small item that provides excellent results. I use this twice a week for ab exercises, and it always provides a solid workout to my core. An ab roller is a simple item that will really help strengthen that core.
Don't overspend on workout equipment when you're starting out. More important is to get into a habit of working out. Once you're in that mode, then you can start considering larger items.
Looking to upgrade your workout at home? Check out the next article in this series.