Here are pieces of home-workout equipment that don’t cost much, don’t take up much space and provide a variety of good workouts to improve your fitness in the comfort of your bedroom, basement or living room.
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There are lots of cool exercises to be done on an exercise ball (also known as a Swiss ball), but the one made by SKLZ in Carlsbad, CA, comes with an excellent twist: It has a variety of exercises printed right on the ball. I’ve found these guidelines are great motivation for doing more than using the ball for simple crunches.
Core Training Wheels
Some big ab crunch machine isn’t the answer to training your core, but these are training wheels that can take you to a new level. Your core is what holds you together, joining top and bottom and making it solid. These devices come in a number of varieties and can give you a rock-solid midsection.
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There are a ton of different exercises to be done with resistance bands, and one of my favorites is the wood chop, since I don’t have a big, expensive cable machine in my basement.
If you’re going to get a jump rope, you should spend a few bucks and get a good one. These are great for accelerating the hell out of your heart rate, teaching you coordination and skill, and adding a plyometric component to your regimen that builds your leg power.
Prolonged sitting is seriously bad for you, and North Americans rack up a metric sh*t-ton of TV time, which is why I think you need an exercise mat near your TV to inspire you to get up every once in a while and move a bit. But what to do? That’s why a mat with exercises printed right on it is the best bet.
They’re dumbbells, yes, but what makes these special is two things: You get a lot of different weight selections for less money than a bunch of individual weights, and they take up a lot less space than a full set.
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Free-Standing Punching Bag
I’ve had a Wavemaster in my basement for several years. They’re affordable, durable and can easily be rolled into a corner. Fill it with water and beat the hell out of it. There is merit in being skilled at throwing a hard punch or kick, because you never know when you might need it.
The TRX strap was developed by a Navy SEAL to stay “mission ready” on the road. They’re portable and effective. I have one in my basement, and it rocks. I use it at least three times a week in conjunction with all my free weights. Since I have a permanent setup, I opted for the ceiling anchor, which I do advise if you don’t mind holes in your ceiling. The TRX does unclip, so it’s not always hanging there. Otherwise, you can get it with a door anchor.