If you are just starting out on your health and fitness journey, the amount of options for workouts and exercise equipment can be very overwhelming! How does one even know where to start? Fortunately, there are a lot of resources out there that can help you figure it out! However, keep in mind that what works for some people doesn’t always work for others. The goal is to find workouts that are both effective and enjoyable! Sometimes that can include using equipment but it doesn’t always have to!
My name is Sarah Kunkler and I am a Personal Trainer with Swamp Fitness. We train clients mostly in their homes and there are actually a surprising number of workouts that can be done just using the weight of one’s own body as resistance. Squats, lunges, pushups, pull-ups, and planks are all really good examples of exercises that don’t require any equipment!
However, if you’re a beginner and interested in purchasing a few items for your home gym, here are a few very affordable examples that are a great place to start!
I highly recommend resistance bands because of their versatility. They can be used for extra resistance to many body weight exercises as well as for flexibility and mobility work. Most sets come with 3-5 bands offering a variety of resistance options with just one purchase. They are easily portable and storable and are actually safer to use than traditional dumbbells! They can be used to modify or intensify a lot of common body weight exercises, as well as to assist in stretching and recovery work. (Having trouble doing push-ups? Check out this video with a Push-Up Modification using resistance bands!)
A stability ball is a great tool for adding a little extra flair to your body weight exercises. It also promotes balance, good posture and is great for strengthening your core! While most people think of the “core” as just the abdominal muscles, it actually also includes the lower back, hips, and pelvis. Having a strong core helps with injury prevention, stability and posture, and easing lower back pain.
The jump rope is great to have on hand for little bursts of cardio! If you’re working out at home, jumping rope gets your heart pumping quickly while also helping with coordination and agility! It’s also very portable and doesn’t require much space to use!
Adjustable Dumbbells Or 2 Sets Of Dumbbells
Even if you are primarily using resistance bands as a beginner, I still find it beneficial to have a few sets of dumbbells. I recommend one light pair and one heavier pair, but, as with everything, the specific weights you should get will depend on your current fitness level and goals. You can use the lighter set for extra weight during cardio (carry them on a walk) and then use heavier set for free weight or stability ball exercises. I’d also like to mention there are adjustable dumbbell sets you can buy as well. These are going to be a little more expensive but can be adjusted from 5 up to 75 pounds. They could be a great option for some people, but once again, it will depend on the goals of the individual. (Need a starter exercise? Check out this video on the Bicep Curl!)
Pull-Ups are a compound exercise, meaning they work multiple muscle groups simultaneously. While excellent for efficiency, pull-ups are admittedly a pretty tough move, especially for those just starting out. However, with the use of resistance bands, you can start off easy! Go at your own pace, progress, and you’ll be able to do them on your own in no time! (Check out this video to see how!) In addition to using it for pull-ups, the bar can also provide a stationary location to loop a resistance band, further increasing the variety of options for your strength training regimen.
There are so many types and styles of equipment available these days. These are just a few that could help give you a jump start on your health and fitness journey! The most important thing is to find something that you ENJOY! There are way too many options to spend time doing exercises you hate!
If you’re looking for a little health and fitness guidance or just want to chat about your goals, I’d love to hear from you! Check out our website for more information or to schedule a call!
Swamp Fitness Director of Operations
NASM Certified Personal Trainer