There’s no reason you can’t get in shape this spring. Get a great strength workout at home, with just a few inexpensive tools.
Studio 5 Health and Fitness Contributor Melanie Douglass shares the five “must have” tools for an at-home strength routine.
Having workout tools at home allows you to workout any time, any day, dressed in whatever you want, and without having to spend a dime on gas or babysitters! Even if you workout at a gym or with a trainer, having a few tools at home is an absolute lifesaver for those crazy days when you can’t make it to the gym. That happens to me all all the time! I start out the day dressed for a workout… the day gets crazy and pretty soon its 10:00 p.m. and I find myself working out in my living room while I watch the evening news. And a $5.00 resistance tube saved the day!
#1: Heavier Dumbbells
Why: Most people buy dumbbells that are too light to really make a difference in total body strength and tone. It’s good to have a light set – like 3 – 5 pounds – but it’s also essential, and more effective, to have a good heavy set, like 8 – 12 pounds. Use the heavier weights for basic arm, chest, back or shoulder exercises. Do fewer reps and go slower to really define your muscles and boost metabolism.
What you can do with them: bicep curls, triceps overhead extension, lateral raise, bent over rows, chest press.
Where to find: Anywhere. Walmart has a good set that contains a 3-, 5- and 8-pound set of dumbbells. Walmart Dumbbells
Average cost: $10 – $30
#2: Weighted Calf Sleeve or Ankle Weights
Why: Ankle weights are back and better than ever! They used to be taboo because people used them for walking. But used for strength training and power plyometrics, these simple tools add twice the intensity!
What you can do with them: Left lifts, burpees, squats, lunges, leg bridge.
Where to find: Amazon.com, Walmart, Sears, Walgreens
Average cost: $20
#3: Resistance Tube
Why: The cheapest, most useful tool you’ll ever use! I love resistance tubes for total body training. They work great in any location, even a hotel! Tubes can be held in various positions to increase or decrease the intensity to they work for diverse fitness levels.
What you can do with it: kneeling shoulder presses, bicep curls with lunges, triceps presses, outer/inner thigh presses, chest fly, back rows.
Average cost: $5 – $10
#4: Stability Ball
Why: Because a stability ball allows you to take any basic move (like a crunch, push up, squat, etc) and do it on an unstable surface to not only train the muscles at hand… but also every muscle in your core. Stability balls recruit more muscles and help increase calorie burn. Plus they help us improve functional fitness so we are stronger in every day activities and more resistant to falls and injury.
What you can do with it: tons of core work like crunches, planks, push ups, roll outs, plus leg work and plyometric power moves.
Average cost: $8
#5: Jump Rope
Why: Because a jump rope offers a fabulous calorie burn! In fact, jumping rope burns 3 times as many calories as walking at a brisk pace! Try doing 30 seconds to 1 minute of jump roping between your strength movements. It’s a great way to interval train and keep you sweating and burning the most calories possible. Plus, mixing it with strength training means you only have to jump rope for a few seconds, so you can do it!
What you can do with it: alternate 1 minute of jump rope between your strength exercises. You can skip slowly if you don’t want to jump, hop on one leg or just jump rope. Your own body weight acts as a way to strength train your legs!
Where to find:
www.nordictrack.com for nicer versions… but you can find them anywhere.
Average cost: $2 – $20