There’s never been a greater opportunity to own a gym… at home, in your basement, garage or whatever free room you designate as the workout oasis.
We are right smack dab in the middle of a MASSIVE evolution in strength and conditioning.
10 years ago, a consumer’s options build a home gym was limited to basic overpriced fitness equipment. Barbells, plates, dumbells and maybe kettlebells if you were in the inner circles of such a training tool were it. All of these tools were being offered by a handful of companies at a premium pricepoint.
If you did buy equipment back then now you had to figure out how to use it. Unless you received training coaching from a personal trainer at a gym, the instructions for use were limited.
I can hop over to Instagram, search “#kettlebells” get results in less than 1-second with MILLIONS of people giving 60-second exercise demonstrations. It’s mind blowing how accessible information is at the moment.
Now, with mobile devices, we can learn anything, anywhere at anytime.
The evolution of lower-cost manufacturing methods, innovative design, competition in the marketplace along with incredible outreach of the internet (YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, blogs, etc) has made working out at home as good (or better) than joining a brick and mortar gym.
I’m conscious of the fact we all have unique financial situations. Not everyone has an extra $3,000 sitting in the bank to throw at fitness equipment, so I recommend building up the inventory slowly if you’re unsure.
Longevity-wise, investing in iron-based fitness equipment like dumbells, barbells, and kettlebells should last you a lifetime.
A $80 kettlebell spread across 30 years doesn’t seem so expensive anymore. The following is a compiled list of impactful training tools that I use and recommend.
The following is an ever changing comprehensive list of quality fitness equipment that I use and recommend if training at home is of interest to you.
Ask questions if you have them.
Strength and Conditioning Equipment…
The effectiveness of kettlebell training is undeniable, supported by lab data and thousands of personal case studies (self-testing is an amazing tool to leverage).
If you wanted to practice a minimalist approach to fitness, you could organize an entire training program around body weight training and two kettlebell drills:
Brute Force Sandbags
Equipment to you can slam…
Slamballs (no bounce)
The slam ball is a must-have for developing upper body power. Overhead floor slams and various rotational/chest press throws make this piece of equipment essential. Unless you’re looking for a ball that rebounds, I suggest buying “no bounce” option, it will save your face. No bounce balls are also suitable for throwing against brick and mortar walls (rotational and chest press throws).
Equipment to workout while traveling…
Suspension trainers are the most portable piece of exercise equipment on the market. Leveraging bodyweight, angles and body position will re-invent your workouts. If you’re looking to get a workout in while traveling, pack your suspension trainer and you’ll never be without.
A nice pair of gymnastics rings can perform many of the same functions as a nice suspension trainer. However, drills like muscle ups, dips and push-ups might feel much better using a pair of rings. Gymnastics training is the hottest trend in fitness right now, and anyone who’s explored even the simplest of gymnastics drills can attest to the difficulty (and effectiveness) of such training. Amazing functional body builder.
Stretch Bands/Resistance Bands
Until the portable cable machine is invented, resistance bands will remain an effective alternative. Shoulder pre-hab, anti-rotation core training and warm-up activation drills are all great exercises to use with stretch bands or nice pair of resistance bands. Mini stretch bands are fantastic for turning on the hip muscles pre-workout.
Large stretch bands are perfect for assistance into chin-ups/pull-ups, or increasing the load for push-ups and squats.
Soft-Tissue/Massage/Trigger Point/Recovery Tools
Traveling can leave your body a mess. Travel hard and recover hard. Taking care of your body before and after the workout is vital for long-term participation in fitness. If you’re working out consistently, aches and pains are a guarantee. 5-10 minutes of self soft-tissue work most days of the week will help maintain movement integrity and keep you feeling good. Don’t go overboard, no need to roll your muscles over a metal pipe to get relief… more extreme doesn’t mean better relief. Progress your soft tissue maintenance in a targeted, gradual and intelligent way.
Fitness Trackers/Heart Rate Monitors
When trying to assess your pre-workout state or intra-workout efforts, perception is not always reality. Assessing your resting heart rate upon waking is a great way to find out if today should be a training day or a rest day.
Tracking heart rate during steady state exercise or high intensity interval training will give you valuable feedback about effort, rest periods, time to recovery, distance covered, speed, etc.
Tools to increase resistance, naturally…
Looking to increase the challenge of bodyweight training? Add a weight vest! The weight vest leverages the foundational fitness principle of progressive loading. Weight vests the a hands-free, natural way to add load to exercises. Best paired with: squat variations, vertical pulling, horizontal pulling, push-ups, lunges, long-distance walking.
Air bikes are a slam dunk piece of cardio equipment, and one of the “Cardio Triad” best cardio conditioning tools known to man. a slam dunk training apparatus.
Air bikes are a low-impact, high reward cardio conditioning tool. Whether you riding for recovery or performance, the workout variations are nearly limitless. Current generation air bikes have experienced vast improvements in design, material composition and workout tracking technology. The following bikes are commercial-grade, yet priced for home ownership.
As I write this, these are the 3 top choices for air bikes (Xebex, LifeCore and Schwinn). If this changes, revisions will be made. I’ve included all 3 so you can keep an eye on discounts, as they do fluctuate throughout the year. While there are subtle design differences, they are merely to avoid patent infringements.
Make your purchase based on best price
The LifeCore Assault Bike was discounted to $799 w/ free Prime 2-day Shipping during Black Friday/Cyber Monday.
*** While you could find older models of the original Schwinn Airdyne on Craigslist for $150-$200 a bike, I will caution you from experience these bikes will break in time. Nothing against Schwinn, but the older bikes were not designed for abuse. My old Airdyne lasted several years before it died, literally. Finding repair parts, repair instructions is a hassle, I decided it was time to move on. RIP.
Current generation bikes underwent key revisions design and material choice, which drastically improved durability while keeping the torturous training effect. God bless innovation.
3 years ago, the rowing ergometer peaked my curiosity but was foreign to my own training. Now, rowing is a mainstay cardio activity for me.
The rowing ergometer is also on the coveted “Cardio Triad” equipment list.
If you’ve never owned a rower, you’re in for a treat. Concept 2’s Model D (and Model E) rowers are the go to for collegiate and professional rowing programs, so you can bet they are built to be abused.
Concept 2 Rower Model D
Staying strict with your rest periods might be a lesson in how much time can be wasted in the gym. When the timer sounds, work commences.
The GymBoss interval timer is the simplest interval timer available, I’ve used it for years. Set your work, rest periods, rounds, alarm volume/length and start your workout.