With endless reasons to work out – increased happiness, decreased stress, stronger cardiac function and decreased metabolic syndrome – why is it still such a drag to hit the gym? For many people, staying at home and relaxing has more appeal than heading to the gym for a hardcore workout. But alas, there’s a solution – creating an at-home gym! This article shares the culmination of research of the most popular and effective pieces of workout equipment that people use in their homes.
1. Medicine Ball
A medicine ball is not the bouncy inflated exercise ball that can be seen in place of office chairs for ergonomically focused office employees. Medicine balls typically weigh between 2-25 pounds and are appropriate for use in children, rehab patients, or elite athletes. The varying size and weight of medicine balls provides flexibility in desired workout levels allowing for safe yet challenging workouts. The versatility and safety of the medicine ball is a main reason why so many people prefer this piece of workout equipment in their homes.
The concept of the medicine ball has been used since the 1800’s when people used to fill bags (or animal skin) with sand to use as workout equipment. Today, people rave about the effectiveness of medicine balls for rehabilitation or strength training due to the variety of exercises that can be performed with the medicine ball. Lunges, twists, sit-ups, squats, swings, deadlifts, jumps, push-ups, shoulder presses, triceps extensions, and biceps curls are just a few of the workouts available with the medicine ball. In addition, the size of the medicine ball is perfect for a small, at-home gym as the medicine ball can be easily stored on a shelf or put away in a closet.
2. Heavy Bags
Heavy Bags are similar in style and purpose as punching bags, boxing bags, or MMA bags, yet there are slight differences in the weight, length, core makeup, and hanging methods of these bags. All types of “heavy bags” are popular home workout equipment that can provide a highly aerobic method of exercising which strengthens the heart muscles and circulatory system. These sturdy, cylindrical bags allow people to improve coordination, core stability and strength while eliminating stress. Another popular reason to have a heavy bag as a piece of home workout equipment is the benefit of learning self-defense techniques which subsequently increases personal confidence levels – in addition to creating a toned, muscular body.
3. Rowing Machine
Rowing machines are a popular way to burn calories at a home-gym. People who want to lose weight are drawn to this piece of equipment because rowing machines strengthen the entire body by building muscle, improving cardiovascular health, and increasing endurance levels. For those who have never tried a rowing machine, it may appear that the arms conduct much of the work, but this piece of equipment largely benefits the lower portion of the body: quads, calves, and gluts are highly involved in rowing machine workouts. Rowing machines are easy on your back and joints; this is important for people who are recovering from injuries or for those who want to prevent future injuries!
4. Exercise Mat
While an exercise mat may not appear to be the most “hardcore” piece of machinery to transform a body into the epitome of health and fitness, significant research has proven the effectiveness of working out on an exercise mat. This popular piece of home workout gear is essential to increasing flexibility, conducting yoga, doing ab workouts, strength training, and more. People who love exercise mats report increased athletic performance due to a protection from injury. The strength training and yoga exercises that can be done on this mat lead to better levels of metabolism, increased muscle tone, and improved respiration, energy, vitality, and cardiovascular health. Don’t underestimate the power and importance of increasing strength, harmony, and awareness within your body via yoga on an exercise mat. The physical, mental, and emotional benefits of floor exercises are attractive to all levels of exercisers, making it a versatile piece of equipment for a home gym.
It’s important to find a piece of workout equipment that gives a full body workout and is easy on your joints. The elliptical is the most popular piece of home workout equipment that addresses the upper and lower body simultaneously. Most popular for its high rate of calorie burning, the elliptical has helped people tone their legs, chest, backs, arms, shoulders, and abs through its smooth yet tension-filled movements. Ellipticals are appropriate for all levels of athletes and all types of people looking to sweat, feel better emotionally, improve their cardiovascular function, and strengthen their muscles. According to a study conducted by Harvard Health, people can burn 400 calories in 30 minutes while working out on an elliptical. This non-impact cardiovascular workout can be adjusted to increase or decrease incline, stride length, and resistance.
Reports have shown that people with ellipticals in their home gyms are pleased with the ease of use and rhythm of this machine. Ellipticals are comfortable to use as the person exercises on this machine in a standing position with a straight spine; the knees, hips and ankles are aligned allowing for an equal distribution of weight between the heels and balls of the feet; and the handrails facilitate a smooth, controlled motion involving the entire body.
Image Sources: Toro Magazine, Stack.com, Thrive, IronCompany, MyFitnessPal