There’s nothing like a good workout to get you feeling healthy, happy and strong. If you prefer to work out in private or don’t want to shell out money on a gym membership, a home gym is the perfect way to exercise to your heart’s content. Depending on how you want to train, you’ll need specific equipment and accessories to get the most out of your exercise routine. You’ll also want to ensure your home gym is free from distractions that will cut your training session short. A full-length mirror is also recommended so you can watch your technique and form to help prevent injuries. Don’t forget to track your training schedule on paper or on a whiteboard for an extra dose of motivation and a more structured and therefore more beneficial workout.
Lose weight with a combination of resistance training and cardio in your home gym.
Most professionals recommend pairing a cardio workout with resistance training to help you slim down. This keeps the body from getting used to just a cardio workout and helps tone and define muscles. Here are a few recommended fitness items to get you started:
• Jump rope: Don’t mistake this for a child’s toy. Skipping with a jump rope is a great cardio workout that also strengthens your core.
• A stability or Bosu ball: These help you build core strength and improve your balance. They’re perfect for a variety of exercises, including crunches, squats, hip extensions and more. Make sure yours is burst resistant.
• Dumbbells: Look for an adjustable set or grab three different weights you think you’ll use most often.
• Resistance bands: These simple exercise assistants are a cheaper alternative to a machine. Depending on their design and how you use them, you can utilize resistance bands for both leg and shoulder exercises.
• Treadmill: If you’re a runner at heart, a treadmill is your best friend. Be aware that higher-end models tend to provide a softer surface to run on.
• Stationary bike: Cycling doesn’t have to just focus on your thighs and calves. With a good spinning workout, you can also focus on your arms and core. Grab some music and create your own routine complete with hills, sprints and on-the-bike push-ups.
• Elliptical: An elliptical machine can provide a unique training session, but be sure yours is designed for your height as many models can’t be adjusted.
Build your fitness power with strength training.
You don’t have to be a bodybuilder to enjoy strength training. Mixing it in with cardio and resistance training can add variety to your workouts, while simply focusing on lifting weights can improve your strength and muscle tone, plus help protect your joints from injuries. If muscle gain is your goal, grab these hot items for your home gym:
• Adjustable weight bench: With more options than a flat bench, an adjustable weight bench is perfect for working the maximum number of muscle groups. It will also save you money when you don’t have to buy an incline, decline and flat bench.
• Barbell: Keep building your strength with a quality barbell set. Look for one with revolving sleeves and a variety of plates.
• Medicine ball: The medicine ball is the perfect remedy against a lazy workout. Try one while doing rotational lunges or push-ups for a challenge.
• Kettlebell set: A set of kettlebells is a great companion for training that focuses on squats and curls. Their unique design can test your strength more than dumbbells.
Improve your flexibility with Pilates and yoga.
You can reduce stress and increase your flexibility with a yoga or Pilates routine. Other benefits to these two increasingly popular workouts are improved posture and reduced back pain. If that sounds like a wonderful thing, here’s how to get started with your at-home Pilates or yoga studio:
• Yoga mat: Mats are a necessity if you’re working out on a hard floor. They can also help protect carpet and keep your skin from getting those annoying carpet fiber impressions. Along with protection and a softer surface, they’ll reduce any chance of slipping, which is important when it’s time to hold that crow pose.
• Pilates machine: If you’re a Pilates pro, you may consider adding a machine or “reformer” that helps your body flex and bend in a variety of poses.
• Foam roller: A foam roller is great after a tough workout. By rolling different areas of your body over it you can help break up scar tissue, improve your range of motion and increase blood flow.
• Ambiance: Don’t forget to improve your workout and enhance your Zen with items like scented candles, soothing music and more.
Accessorize your home gym.
You may find certain items make your home gym routine more comfortable or challenging. Items like ankle weights, a weighted vest, a pull-up bar and a weightlifting belt can add another dimension to your training. Additions like gym mats and gym gloves will provide comfort, which makes you more willing to get back in there and challenge yourself.
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