By: Jeremiah Rowe,BS, CSCS, CPPS, USAW – Head Strength Coach of Case Specific Wellness
Let me start this article with a “congratulations” to everyone out there with their own home gym. You guys are the doomsday preppers of the fitness world and you didn’t even know it! Of course, who could have known that in 2020 we’d be faced with a plague-like situation unlike anything we’ve seen in the last 100 years (barring others that have arisen with less impact, shout-out Ebola, Zika, and Swine Flu).
Economic factors aside, I find myself pleasantly surprised by the amount of disappointment that I’ve seen, not from a lack of social interaction, not from a restriction on restaurant access, but because of gym shut-downs. I’d say this has easily been the biggest inconvenience that I’ve heard complaints from, and I have to say that it’s refreshing. I’m undoubtedly biased being in the fitness industry myself, but I love the level of priority that I’ve seen placed on physical fitness for so many. I’ve even seen facilities that are renting out their equipment to members while shut down. That is SO FREAKING COOL.
Now, with that in mind, not all of us were well-prepared for such restrictions on access to fitness equipment, and not every gym is able to rent out equipment to their members. I’ve spent a lot of time writing and filming at-home exercise programs for people that only have access to minimal equipment. A few of those, with more to come, can be accessed here:
Since there’s no apparent end in sight for this virus, though, I wanted to find a more comprehensive way to help everyone suffering from the loss of their beloved fitness centers. I thought it might be beneficial to create a list of some at-home fitness equipment that I think will be useful to have, not only in times of worldwide shutdown, but when travelling, during off-hours for your facility, and maybe when you’re just feeling motivated at home and want to “get after it.” At the time of writing this, I’m alarmed at the number of items that are sold out, as well as the price gouging on what Is available. Take these as recommendations , but don’t be afraid to look elsewhere for similar pieces that are more affordable.
Doorway Suspension Training System
Overview: One of the toughest challenges that I’ve faced with writing at-home workouts is finding a way to do pulling movements. Without some kind of bands/straps, options can be highly limited. The link included is for a full kit that includes a few adaptable pieces that make it multi-functional.
Price: This kit is listed at $64.99. Like I said, it has extras included. All I will say is that I got a set of doorway straps at TJ Maxx for $12.
Tubing Band Kit
Overview: Again, this kid includes a variety of different bands and parts that allow for many uses/resistances. The price seems high at face value, but if you ever priced out resistance bands, this is great value considering what you get.
Overview: Any of my clients will tell you how often we use these kinds of bands during our sessions. At first they seem one-dimensional, but you’d be surprised at how many ways there are to use them for a great workout! At the time I’m writing this, there are only two color options left in stock. I hope they restock them quickly. I suggest getting a few oranges, a purple, and a red, at least.
A Doorway Pull-Up Bar
Overview: Most people who are new to training can’t do pull-ups. Don’t let that get in your head. Even if you can’t do them, these door frame-mounting bars make great anchors for bands and suspension trainers to do other vertical pulling movements. Also, those loop bands I just mentioned above? They make for a great accessory to help you do pull-ups when attached to the bar and looped under your feet/knees.
Price: This model is listed at $56.99. It appealed to me because it has the elevated handles that get you out of the doorway. I will gladly admit this isn’t necessary. A simple model will work just fine. Also, look around. I bought mine at DICK’s for about $15.
Overview: Ah, adjustable dumbbells. The quintessential tool for a basic home gym; the crème de la crème; the upper echelon of at home equipment… aaaaaaaaaaaand the priciest, by far. Look, no one NEEDS these for their home work-outs, but you open Pandora’s Box to an entirely new universe of options if you have them. I personally prefer PowerBlock brand to Bowflex. However, they’re on EXTREME backorder right now because of shut-downs in Minnesota, where they’re made, as well as everyone else across the globe buying up their stock. So if you’re in a rush and committed to the home-gym life, Bowflex is here for you. Aside from that, you might check Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist in your area.
Price: $329.99 for a 5-50lb kit.
Overview: It feels good to add these to this list. The price is right and the exercise options are endless with them. For those of you who live in a home with hardwood floors, a couple of dish towels will work just fine.
Overview: This is one of those ones that could be an immensely useful tool in your arsenal. Med balls are great for conditioning work that is low-impact on your joints. There are a million variations of exercises using them, and I like the bounciness of this type of ball for allowing maximal speed in exercises that require slamming.
Price: I’m listing this ball because I trust the SPRI brand, but feel free to look at other, cheaper options. The 10lb ball is listed at around $51
I hope that you choose to pick up some of these pieces, and I’d love to hear your feedback on other equipment that you find essential! I’m sure I missed something that I’ll kick myself for later, but I wanted to post this ASAP to get my suggestions out there for all of you! Good luck and stay healthy!