Home Sweet Home
Life is going to be different, post-CoVid, now that we have all experienced the liberty of working from home. I must admit, I for one relish the prospect of a better work-life-balance in the future. However, with this new found flexible working, my gym-life-balance is going to be a challenge. For this reason, I have been slowly equipping my perfect home gym. Which to be honest has kept me sane during the lockdown months.
With limited space and not wishing to break the bank, I have had to be smart with the equipment I use. Equally, I did not want to use heavy weights as besides the floor not being designed for such loads, I also wanted to train alone safely.
In this post I wanted to share with you some of the key equipment I have at home, other than the standard weight plates and Dumbells (which is a given). Over the next few weeks I will post some workouts using limited equipment such as these and perhaps demonstrate that training from home can be both varied and effective, regardless of your goals.
Strength training equipment
This piece of equipment I swear by, since it is versatile yet does not take up much space; indeed it can be removed and packed away when not in use since is only attached to the wall using small brackets. Incidentally, it can be used for floor exercising too, to equal affect.
Personally I have found this to be central to many of my workouts these days. I tend to use it to perform Pullups, Dips, Leg Raise etc, although there are a miriad of other exercises that can also be done, as shown in the link here.
The frame is relatively inexpensive (around £100), especially when you consider the price of weights these days! There are a number of makes on the market, but whichever version you choose, ensure it is study with sound padding. I chose this one from Amazon since it featured an added ring to hook a punch-bag or pulley-system (see below).
For me a Bench is a must-have apparatus for any home gym. There are many available, but whichever you choose, make sure that is stable and well padded. Ideally one which allows you to incline or decline easily, as this will enable more variety of exercises; and light-weight, unless you want a workout just to move it around.
Besides the usual suspects, such as Bench Press and Lying Flys, I find a bench useful for a variety of Leg exercises (such as step-ups) and Stomach/Core routines. To be honest, without a bench you limit what you can do in any routine.
Although most workout routines do not require it, sometimes using a pulley system (such as the one shown above) can add variety. I chose this one, because it comes with a number of accessories which I have incorporated into my workout. Pulleys are great for exercises such as Lateral Pull-downs, Tricep Press and Seated Rows, to name just a few. NB. This system requires a pullup bar or ring attachment (much like discussed above).
Functional training equipment
Besides their convenience, using Kettlebells add a different aspect to training with weights and can be particularly useful for core workouts (more on this later). For most Kettlebell workouts, only low and moderate weights are needed, so no need to spend on large sets. Personally, I prefer to use Iron kettlebells as they are more compact and durable – but there are plenty of options on the market.
Resistance bands are a versitile item to aid some exercises (e.g. Pull-ups) but also for adding resistance for full-body workouts. It is important to choose a long band, which delivers a constant resistance over a wide-range. The choice of band depends on your body-weight and/or strength; but most suppliers provide charts to help with resistance level. I bought mine from Starwood Sports as this is a thick, 2m long band and seems good quality.
In a later post, I will demonstrate a full-workout using Resistance bands alone.
Hopefully I have shown that a home-gym need not be expensive or require much space. With the correct equipment, such as those listed here, a full-body workout can performed or adapted (with a little ingenuity).
Personally, having now equipped my home-gym during lockdown, I feel satisfied I can train effectively anytime I wish. Given the likely new work-from-home culture, I may end up supplementing or perhaps a completely replacing my gym membership; especially as I prefer to train alone. One thing is for sure, it will certainly save me a few bucks!