In these tough times with so many businesses being closed due to Covid-19 jobs have been cut and lots of people have had to cut back on their budgets, and if you’re like me the best way to relieve stress is a good workout where you can sweat out your frustration and worries. Which means you still want to exercise and the gyms aren’t open.
So what’s the next step?
Go buy some cheap home exercise equipment that doesn’t take up a lot of space. But what do you get? I will walk you through some basic equipment you could pick up that will allow you to exercise where ever you like, and even give you a few exercises you could do with a few of the pieces of equipment.
Start With a Good Base
Most people are going to tell you that a bench is necessary for any gym but like the title says we are looking for cheap home exercise equipment, and if you’ve ever seen a bench that is light on the wallet it is also light on quality. So skip the bench and find a good quality physio ball, or sometimes called exercise or yoga balls. Most people will want to get one in the 26″ (65cm) range. If you are above average height then get one that is a little larger like 30″ (75cm) and smaller like 22″ (55cm) if you are below average height.
A physio ball can be used for so many exercises and in my opinion it is one of the most versatile pieces of equipment that you can have at home. A quick YouTube search will get you several full body workouts using just this one piece of equipment. I like to use it as a bench though when I am doing exercises with dumbbells like a chest press, you don’t just get a workout on your chest but also on your core while you are trying to stabilize the ball underneath you.
If you happen to be working from home like so many of us in these times then it can also double as your office chair during the day, they even have bases available so the ball doesn’t roll away every time you stand up from your desk. You will find your core will get stronger just from sitting on the ball and keeping good posture while you work at your desk.
Add a Little Resistance
The best way to gain a little muscle and get the best workout you can, is to add resistance to your training. There are a few different ways to achieve this, body weight training (which I will touch on later), dumbbells or kettlebells and resistance bands like the ones sold at the Human Trainer.
First let’s talk about resistance bands, since as far as cheap home exercise equipment goes it doesn’t get much more versatile than this. You could get a set of assorted different strength resistance bands with a couple handles on each end and an anchor strap to hook it to something for a pretty low cost. Any exercise you could do at a commercial gym with a cable machine you can achieve at home with resistance bands. They are so versatile and if you find the heaviest band isn’t enough you can double them up, or add more as you see fit.
Next for resistance training is a set of dumbbells, a kettlebell or even a set of weighted medicine balls. To me this comes down to personal preference, pick the one you think you would get the most use out of or fits your budget the best. Obviously if you can afford it then a few different sizes of either would allow you more versatility in your workouts. They can all be used in the same ways for the same effect.
If you decide on medicine balls you can put them in a heavy-duty bag or backpack and grabbing the handles you now have a kettlebell or dumbbell. You can use a single dumbbell as a kettlebell by grabbing one of the weights on the end or even as a small barbell if you grab either end.
Find a Place to Gain Some Height
The next thing to consider is body weight exercises, most of these can be done on the floor or with the physio ball. But a crucial piece of equipment for this style of workout is a Pull-up Bar. There are several companies producing the style that attaches to the top of your door frame and if used properly these work pretty good. One draw back to this style is you need to be very careful that you don’t swing too much or you may cause the bar to slip off. Another style attaches to a couple of wall studs with screws, these usually cost a little more but they are more durable and more sturdy.
One style I will recommend you stay away from is the telescopic door frame pull up bars, they look like a shower curtain bar that goes in your door way and they don’t offer very much stability. I know we are looking for cheap home exercise equipment and these are usually the lowest on price but the safety of my tailbone is worth a few dollars more.
Another way to get a good workout using your body weight is with a suspension trainer. The great thing about these is their versatility, you can take it with you when you travel, take it out to the park and hang it from a tree or even take it along when you go camping, the possibilities really are endless. Suspension trainers are one of my favorite pieces of equipment for body weight training just because of all the different exercises you can do with them. I like the master kit offered by The Human Trainer since it comes with all the accessories you could need as well as a Human Trainer DVD to follow along to.
Would You Believe That’s It?
With the above equipment you have a pretty good, affordable gym that you can do so many exercises with. I will give you some “luxury” items that might add a little variety to help you stay motivated, after all, I know it can be difficult to workout at home some days. Skipping ropes or even a small trampoline are a good way to add some variety and can be a great cardio workout. A Bosu Balance Trainer or plyometrics box can add a little diversity but they are both an added cost that isn’t all that necessary. My favorite luxury item is a padded mat, they are definitely a nice to have that doesn’t add any value other than a little comfort, but I have one in my gym and I use it all the time. You may be more inclined to lay on the ground and do a couple more reps if you have a little padding between you and the floor.
Many people think they need to have a big elaborate set up to get a good workout from home. After reading this you should know that isn’t true, with the proper planning and the proper exercises you can get the same results as anyone working out at a commercial gym, and better results than the ones at home making excuses for not being able to exercise.
No exceptions, no excuses! Now get out there and find the better you!