It’s pretty apparent by this point that COVID isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Along with the banana bread movement and TP shortage, at-home gyms have been another hallmark of this pandemic. Many gyms are open, but everyone has a different comfort level with going into public and being in close proximity to other people—especially in an environment where people are huffing & puffing more than usual. At the beginning of COVID, the weather was warmer and running/walking/biking outside was a great exercise option for those looking to avoid the gym. But as the colder months are upon us, and for those not wanting to brave running in below-freezing temps, at-home gyms will likely continue to be popular. To someone new to the home workouts scene or struggling with limited space, this might seem incredibly intimidating. But have no fear—below I’ve compiled a brief guide on tips for a budget-friendly and space-efficient at-home gym to keep you moving through the winter months.
My top 5 pieces of at-home gym equipment
When it comes to equipment, the name of the game is versatility. Chances are, you’re probably not wanting to drop a bunch of money on stocking up your at-home gym. And you likely don’t have a ton of room either. So finding equipment that can be used in many different ways will optimize your money and space. Here are 5 of my favorite pieces of home gym equipment.
- The TRX strap is arguably one of the most versatile pieces of workout equipment on the market. If you’re not familiar with what TRX is, I’ll link their website here. The strap suspends from your ceiling or a doorway and is infinitely adjustable. It also comes with a handy guide of dozens of different exercises you can do on it. There are entire workout classes out there that utilize only this piece of equipment (many can be found on YouTube), and since it’s easily adjustable, within those exercises you can also vary the level of difficulty. It’s a super efficient way to work everything from upper body to lower body to core from one piece of equipment.
- Kettlebells are another incredibly versatile piece of equipment. There are so many ways to get in a killer workout with just one kettlebell, and they take up hardly any room. If you’re just starting out, one medium-size kettlebell should get the job done. But if you’re wanting to take it one step further, I would also invest in a light one and a heavy one as well. The possibilities with these 3 kettlebells are endless. Think goblet squats, kettlebell swings, RDLs, Turkish get-ups, unilateral work, overhead stability drills, clean-and-press, farmer carries, step-ups…..you get the picture.
- Plyo Box. This one may seem silly, but trust me, this is an easy way to add a lot of variability to your workouts. A 24-30” sturdy box is great for box jumps, weighted step-ups, decline or elevated push-ups, box squats, Bulgarian split-squats, tricep dips, toe taps…the list goes on. And if you don’t feel like going out and buying one, they are pretty easy to build.
- Resistance bands are inexpensive and take up virtually no space, making them a staple for a home gym. There are many great brands out there, but I personally love the PerformBetter resistance bands for their quality and durability (site linked here). I’d recommend getting a few different sizes and varying levels of resistance. Loop one around your thighs during squats or monster walks, attach one to a doorway or piece of furniture for pallof presses, tricep extensions, and rows, or put one around your wrists for banded bear crawls.
- Foam roller. Ok, so this isn’t technically a piece of workout equipment, but I’m a chiropractor, so you know I had to throw this one in there. 😉 Everyone should be required to have a good high-density foam roller on hand, in my humble opinion. Again, a foam roller does not take up much space and is one of my favorite recovery tools, especially for the price point. It makes it easy to work on mobility from head to toe, and it’s a fraction of the cost of a massage gun. And if you’re already going to the effort of working out, you might as well make the effort to warm up and recover properly as well. I promise you’ll thank me in the long run.
Hopefully this gets the creative juices flowing for your at-home gym and gives you some guidance on what’s worth buying amidst all the different equipment out there on the market. If you still need ideas or are struggling to best utilize your space, I’d be happy to chat and give you some pointers. If COVID has taught us anything, it’s that health is wealth. Exercise plays an absolutely vital role in a healthy immune system (as well as a whole slew of other things), and staying moving through the winter months will set you up for success as we navigate not only COVID, but seasonal depression, holiday stress, and the many other challenges this season brings. I’m rooting for ya, friends. Happy exercising, and you can reach me via the contact tab with any questions.