To stay fit during this quarantine, you really don’t need to buy any specialized equipment. You can do a lot with body weight. And if you are looking for external resistance, household objects work just fine. However, a little bit of fitness equipment might make your life a lot easier (and your workouts a lot harder). Not everyone wants to think about repurposing their laundry detergent as free weights or loading up a backpack with soup cans. And while those tools work, there are lightweight, inexpensive pieces of equipment out there that are made for home use. Below are my favorite pieces of equipment for home workouts.
BC Strength Glute Loops
It can be difficult to target the gluteus medius (upper glute) without external resistance. A glute band, like this one, makes it easy. There are a lot of different glute bands out there, but this is the highest quality band that I have used. It does not bunch up or roll around on your legs, which is a serious problem with cheaper glute bands. These are also the strongest bands I have ever used. Even the weakest band on the website was significantly heavier than the heaviest band I owned previously. (If you are a beginner and would like a lighter band, this alternative is also very high quality and provides less resistance.)
Glute bands can be used for a wide variety of exercises, such as hip abductions, squats, hip thrusts, glute bridges, and fire hydrants. They will make any leg workout feel much harder. I have been using mine at home, but I also take it to the gym. This is a piece of equipment that you can continue to use even when this quarantine is over.
Long Resistance Bands
Glute Loops have their uses, but longer resistance bands like this one are extremely versatile. You can use these for squats, good mornings, upright rows, hip thrusts, face pulls, bicep curls, and more. You can hook it onto a sturdy piece of furniture, a door handle, or under your feet for certain exercises. These can also be used for pull up assistance if you have a pull up bar. Just like the glute loops, these longer bands store really easily and are super lightweight, so you’ll be able to bring them to the gym later on.
A Few Dumbbells
If you have the space, just a couple of dumbbells can be very useful! You can absolutely substitute dumbbells for household objects, but dumbbells will be easier to grip and you will be able to do your workout without sacrificing your laundry detergent. You don’t need a whole set. Think about the dumbbells you use most often when you have access to a gym. During the last few weeks, my 10 pound and 25 pound dumbbells have come in handy. Instead of increasing the weight over time, increase the reps or number of sets. Also consider getting a set of adjustable dumbbells. They are much more versatile and won’t take up as much space. I don’t have a specific brand to recommend. At this point, your decision will probably be based off of which brand has dumbbells in stock!
A Yoga Mat
You can certainly do your exercises directly on the floor, but it might not be very comfortable. Many body weight exercises involve lying on the ground or starting from a plank position. If you are trying to workout in your backyard, you might be dealing with rocks, dirt, or wet grass. An inexpensive mat can provide you with a lot of comfort. I have been using this one for my outdoor workouts. It is relatively inexpensive and fairly high quality. For exercises on my knees, I usually fold the mat in half for extra comfort. When the gyms reopen, you will be able to bring your own yoga mat with you instead of relying on the ten year old communal mats your gym provides.
TRX Suspension Trainer
The TRX is a little more expensive than the other items on this list, but it is a very valuable piece of equipment. The TRX allows you to leverage your body weight in different ways for a more effective body weight workout. With just body weight, it can be difficult to target certain muscle groups such as the back, biceps, and hamstrings. On a TRX suspension trainer, you can do rows, bicep curls, and hamstring curls. The TRX is also fantastic for core workouts and is an excellent tool for cardio when space is limited. You can perform hundreds of different exercise variations with the TRX. Many exercises are easy to regress or progress just by changing the angle you stand at. The TRX is also extremely portable and easy to set up anywhere. It can be anchored on a door frame, pole, tree, or mounted on a wall or ceiling. If you are lucky enough to have a private outdoor space, the TRX is a perfect way to workout outside.
Bring your best mindset to your at home workouts! It can be difficult to transition into a training mindset when you have been home all day. Make sure that the transition between your workday (or Netflix marathon) and your workout is clear. Change your clothes. (Yes, even if you are already wearing sweatpants.) Eat a nutritious pre-workout snack. Set up a corner of your household or any outdoor space specifically for your fitness routine (if you can). Treat your new home gym like a real gym!