If you were already working out before the shutdown, then like me, you were stuck having to create the perfect home gym to stay on track of your fitness goals. For many of us, this didn’t come soon enough. It took me about 3 months to finally realize that gyms were not opening any time soon. In California, as soon as they opened, they closed a week later! After gaining 8lbs the first 3 months of quarantine I realized it was time to figure out a home gym solution. Everything listed in this post are the actual products I purchased to put together my home gym with limited space. None of these products are sponsored but they do use my Amazon affiliate links since they were all purchased on Amazon.
The Sunny Stationary Bike is a great cardio solution that does not take up a ton of space.
The first piece of equipment I needed was a cardio machine. At the gym I used a huge cybrex and that just wasn’t going to work. I missed the boat when all my neighbors were selling their old ellipticals and they also take up too much space. My solution was to get a low-cost Stationary Bike. I asked around in Facebook groups and there were tons of recommendations for these Sunny bikes on Amazon. I have been using this stationary bike almost every day and it has been great. It’s also heavy and sturdy enough to wrap my resistance bands around! I also purchased a really great phone/ipad holder (my first one broke) and a very handy water bottle holder to place on the bike.
Exercise Bands take up very little space and are great for strength training and warm-ups.
Next, every gym should have some basic resistance bands for both upper and lower body exercises. A set of bands take up very little space and can easily be hidden in a basket. The upper body resistance bands I use for a 15 minute warm up doing individual exercises for each muscle group. I work out my arms and chest/back on separate days. It’s important to get a set of bands with varying resistance and make sure to get bands that are strong and won’t break. I wrap my bands around my stationary bike which allows me to do a wide variety of exercises. My home is currently under renovation and not photo-friendly, but I promise to do some exercise demo’s when its finished!
For your legs you”ll want to get circle bands you can wrap around your thighs. It’s important to get thick strong bands that are comfortable and wont fold down. These are amazing for squats and leg lifts. They will increase the resistance and burn you feel on both your glutes and outer thighs. One of my favorite exercises to use these bands with are side steps. First you’ll kick your leg out to the side so your stance is nice and wide. Then squat, bring your legs together and repeat. In a small space you can do these back and forth or go down the entire hallway of your home. I usually do 20 on each side.
Step up your warmup and exercises with a vibration plate.
If you want to step up your exercise game, try doing your exercises on top of a vibration plate that also oscillates. These machines are widely known for their health benefits by increasing bone density, improving balance, and assisting in the release of toxins. It can also help with sore muscles and back pain as well as boost your heart rate and increase the intensity of your exercises. I decided to get one of these plates to add some diversity to my workouts and increase their intensity. They also don’t take up much space and can slide under your bed.
Vibration plates are also great for rehabilitation. My poor mom just broke both her hips in less than 8 months. She broke her right hip about 7 months ago and was finally almost back to her normal self. Then a few days ago she broke her left hip. I plan on sending them one of these vibration plates to help increase her bone density and balance. For rehabilitation, they are very easy to use. You can literally just stand on it and practice lift each foot slightly off the ground to balance. You can also step on and step off the plate.
When you’re ready to get serious, you will need a heavy weight set.
If you really want to drop the pounds and keep up with your gym workouts, it is absolutely essential you have heavy weights. It took me months to find an amazing set of weights that didn’t break the bank. If you’ve been searching for heavy free weights then you already know they are completely sold out and harder to find than toilet paper right now! This adjustable weight set by Fortech has been amazing and even has a kettlebell attachment. Once I finally got back to lifting heavier weights again, I lost an additional 4lbs in two weeks! Also, be sure to get the 66lb weight set. 44lbs will not be enough and you want a set that will give you plenty of options.
If you’re a woman, do not be turned off by lifting heavy weights. It is the number one factor in my fitness routine that is essential for losing weight. Your body is made of Muscle, Fat, Water, and Bone. You need to have an increased percentage of muscle in order to have a decrease in fat. This cannot happen unless you are lifting heavy weights and consuming enough protein.
If you want more variety, I love this Pilates Bar that incorporates resistance bands.
I can tend do get bored and like variety with my workouts. I actually own a pilates reformer in my home, but due to our remodel, I had to store it in my garage. I found this Pilates Bar and selected it because of the 5 star reviews and ability to add additional resistance. I originally purchase a different bar with only one band and it was not heavy enough. Many of the other bands also had reviews that they snapped and this pilates bar seems to be constructed better.
I have also figured out how to mimic many of the pilates exercises I do on my machine. I take the bar and wedge it behind my workout bench. I lay on the ground with a soft ball behind my head, strap in my feet, and grab onto the bar behind me. Then I do leg circles and other leg exercises that mimic leg springs on The Cadillac. I also use this bar to do leg lift abdominal exercises, Russian Twists with the bar, and various leg kicks. Be sure to purchase this Pilates Bar which comes with a variety of bands with varying weight. The bar with only one band is not heavy enough to offer a decent amount of resistance.
Now if you really want to splurge and have the extra room, you may want to just get an actual pilates machine. They are actually pretty affordable if you purchase the Aero Pilates machine which is only $240. It also folds and can be stored away. I own this and it has served me well for over 5 years. Over the years I’ve purchased different attachments like the leg stands and jump board. Unfortunately, however, since we are in the middle of a remodel, I had to put it in the garage to make room for the mattress I’ve been sleeping on in my gym!
Every Home Gym Needs a Variety of Fitness Balls
Finally, everyone needs a variety of fitness balls. One of my favorites is this small air-filled exercise ball which is perfect for a variety of abdominal exercises. You can pass the ball back and forth between your hands and your feet or put the bowl behind you to do traditional sit-ups. Then there are also the giant exercise balls that everyone is already familiar with which offer a great variety of more challenging exercises. They can also take the place of a bench to do exercises like bench presses and seated exercises. The instability of sitting on the ball will trigger your muscles to work harder and will naturally engage your abdominals to help keep you balanced.
Hopefully with these tips you’re on your way to creating the perfect home gym and getting back in shape. Be sure to also check out some of our other tips like How to Lose Weight Without Counting Calories.
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