There are more customized workout options available for folks today than ever before…and none of them are cheap. A single SoulCycle class costs $34. A monthly membership at a CrossFit box can be two bills easy. Even your standard big box gym costs around $100 a month. I’m not knocking any of those options. Each are great ways to get an outstanding workout, the benefits of which range from improved performance at work to a better sex life.
But if those options are out of your budget, or if you’d just like to spend some more of your discretionary income on things like food and booze or clothes, you can assemble an effective home gym with just a few items. Even if you live in a tiny home, you can pull it off since all of the equipment below can fit in a backpack. Plus, there’s a certain satisfaction that comes when people ask where you work out after they see you get all ripped and responding that you just train at home.
Here are the five things you need to have a fully-functioning home gym.
Many people think the only exercise you can do with kettlebells is swinging it between your legs and over your head, but it’s an incredibly versatile piece of equipment, even if you only have one (although two come in handy). Doing Olympic lifts like cleans and snatches with a kettlebell really forces you to focus on your balance and the mechanics of the lift. And the Turkish get-up is a move that you will hate, but will use nearly every muscle in your body. Even the standard plank can be elevated with a kettlebell by balancing on the handle instead of with your hands on the floor.
2. JUMP ROPE
Anybody remember Jump Rope For Heart? Where you and your fellow elementary school classmates would just jump rope all afternoon for charity. Well, turns out that was one of the most effective cardio exercises you can do, so it’s worth revisiting. Jumping rope for 10 minutes is the cardiovascular equivalent of running for 30. And since your body basically wants to fall over every time you jump, you utilize all your stabilizer muscles to stay upright. Getting the coordination may take awhile at first, but once you get it down, you’ll start looking like Floyd Mayweather on 24/7.
3. TRAINING MAT
You could make do without the mat, but if you are a renter who cares about a security deposit that’s not the best course of action. If you get something too thin like a yoga mat, that won’t really do anything, but you also want a mat that provides you with a stable enough platform so you don’t feel like you’re standing in a bouncy castle. You also want one that doesn’t slip so that you don’t look like a centipede every time you do a situp.
4. TRX HOME SUSPENSION TRAINER
The TRX was invented by a former Navy SEAL commando to keep his team fit wherever they were deployed. There are plenty of products out there the promise a total-body workout, but this one really delivers. If you think you can do pushups, wait until you try them on the TRX. The fact that you are fighting to maintain your balance changes the entire dynamic of the exercise. And the core exercises you can do with this thing are even more gut-blasting. Even though you are only using your bodyweight, you can customize the resistance to suit your fitness level by adjusting the length of the straps.
5. PULL-UP BAR
Pull-ups are perhaps the most effective workout you can do for your upper body. So even if the thought of doing one is too much to bear, start wrapping your head around it, because it’s the key to getting in great shape. (And if one is out of the question, get some resistance bands to help.) There are cheaper versions that attach to your door frame, but the strength of them can be a little shaky. Better to stick with something that’s secure and won’t rip the molding around your door frame out. You can also use the bar for stretching and ab exercises and also to mount the TRX.