Over the last two years many people have shifted to working out at home. While this may seem like a limitation or even a great excuse not to exercise, there is actually a lot we can accomplish from our living room when it comes to health and fitness. Plus, your living room doesn’t have a membership fee!
Home based workouts can be done without any equipment, such as yoga or strength training using body weight, or you can go all out and have a squat rack in the garage, an elliptical in the basement and a kettle bell in the living room. The tools you have at your disposal are typically determined by how much space you have and how much you want to spend. I believe that with a few simple pieces of equipment you can make the most of any size space on a budget, it just takes some creative thinking!
Here is the list of my favourite and most versatile at home fitness tools in order of approximate cost. None of these are necessities, they are simply tools you may choose to add to your toolbox based on your goals and needs.
1) YouTube, $0
Online workout videos have become increasingly popular throughout the pandemic and while there are many you can purchase subscriptions for, YouTube offers a lot of free, quality content. You can search by style of training and duration to find something to fit your schedule. For a sample of yoga classes I suggest Yoga with Adriene.
2) Kitchen Chair, $0
Since you likely already have a chair we are going to count this as cost-free exercise equipment. Resting a hand on a chair during balance work can provide support, or we can use it as a platform for a high step-up or for a tricep dip. We can even use it as an exercise bench to do seated bicep curls or band work. For greater versatility I prefer a chair without arm rests. Simple and effective!
3) Resistance Bands, $4
Resistance bands come in many styles such as loop bands, long ribbon styles or even bands with handles. These are all effective for strength and flexibility training and take up very little space in a drawer or basket. You can even find them at Dollarama!
4) Foam Roller, $20
Foam rollers have a cylindrical shape and are primarily used for a type of massage called self myofascial release. Using your body weight over the roller, pressure is applied to tight muscles to help them to relax and improve mobility. Rollers can also be used to aid in stretching and as a balance aid when stood on one end, a great progression from the sturdy kitchen chair.
5) Weights, $30+
While you can do a lot with body weight and the equipment listed above you might need some heavier loads to progress your strength training. Items you have at home, such as 4L milk jugs, a sand bag or that ridiculously heavy textbook from 20 years ago, can all be used to add resistance to a movement at no cost. However, you may need something more challenging or to be able to adjust the weight incrementally. This is where dumbbells, weight plates and/or kettlebells come in. Whether you have space for one weight or ten, be sure to choose something that is highly versatile and allows for progression. For example, if I only have room for one kettlebell I would choose a weight that I can use safely for squats, lunges, hip thrusts and a row. If I chose a weight that is heavy enough that I can use for a squat, but I can’t use it for a row or other movement it is not very versatile, and therefore not a great investment for me. If you are planning to purchase just a few weights consider buying second hand for a better deal and keep in mind that heavier weights tend to cost more.
6) Mirror $40+
Exercising in front of a mirror is a great way to become more self aware and can help to improve your movement patterns. Ideally we want a mirror that allows our whole body to be seen from being on the floor to standing, and through a full range of movement.
7) Escape Deck 2.0 $210
This is a well engineered piece of equipment with many uses that can be collapsed and stored under a bed. It is a combination of a low step, high step, workout bench and angled seat all in one! It also has cut outs to hook resistance bands to and a small storage compartment. This is a great tool for those looking to add some variety or challenge in a small space. Check it out here.
8) Adjustable Dumbbells, $250+
Purchasing a set of dumbbells that includes multiple sizes can take up a lot of space and the costs add up quickly. This is why I love adjustable dumbbells! There are several manufactures and styles, but essentially you have a dumbbell with an adjustment dial that allows you to choose how much weight you want to pick up. With this system you can have a dumbbell that ranges from 2.5 lbs to 52.5 lbs and only takes up about 1.5 square feet of space. If you want to make a big investment you can purchase a pair, however even with a single dumbbell you open up tons of possibilities.
If you would like to make the most out of your at home workouts please reach out and I can help you create a program that suits your space, equipment and goals.