Essentials for a Home Work Out Kit
We offer a great priced work out kit (we sell one for $250) with what we feel like everyone should have at home. With the following equipment you can get a great full body workout:
- balance ball
- yoga mat
- set of resistance bands that range from light to heavy
- circular resistance bands
- set of 5 or 8 lb dumbbell weights
- heart rate monitor
I’ll review each piece in a little more detail to help you understand why we recommend these pieces.
The balance ball or exercise ball: These are great tools to engage your core muscles (abdominals, obliques, lower back) and to test your other stabilizer muscles. Because of the nature of the ball, you really have to use a set of muscles you don’t usually work when lying on a stationary bench or the ground. Your body has to use all your core and stabilizer muscles to keep you from rolling off the ball! No worries if you do roll off when you start exercising with the balance ball, it happens to me all the time. We don’t often use these muscles unless you are a tight-walk roper or regularly walk on sheets of ice. There are a lot of resources for exercises that can be done with the balance ball and as always, we’d love to show you the many exercises we know and love during a coaching session.
The yoga mat: Having a mat accessible will help you to avoid injury by helping to cushion you as you do any floor exercises. Yoga mats are also non slip which is useful when doing yoga and pilates moves that require long periods of holding positions to ensure you don’t slip and pull something.
Resistance bands: There are two different kinds of bands. There are the ones that have handles attached like the first picture, or ones that come with interchangeable handles. Both are equivalent in use. Resistance bands, especially when you get a range of strengths, is like having a range of free weights from about 1 lb all the way up to 30 or 40 lbs. You can do most exercises you could do with dumbbells with the resistance bands. The great thing about them is that they weigh practically nothing so they are great to travel with, give you a great resistance workout without the joint impact that free weights can cause and have low risk of injury. Yes, occasionally you can lose your grip and the band can whip away from you and potentially hit you or someone else, but that is much less dangerous than dropping a 25 lb weight on your foot. I absolutely LOVE working with the resistance bands and recommend everyone have a set of these for home. If you can afford and have the room for an entire free weight/dumbbell set great – but they can be very expensive and difficult to move around.
Circular resistance bands: The regular resistance bands are great for upper body exercises but we can’t forget about our lower body! These circular bands give a killer workout to your inner/outer thighs, glutes, and quads and hamstrings. They get pretty much every muscle group in your legs and hips other than your calves. These are a fantastic tool to ensure you get an entire workout from head to toe at home.
Set of dumbbells: Depending on your fitness level and experience with weights will determine what size of dumbbells to get. I recommend for a woman who has never touched weights in her life to get one set of 5 lb weights and one set of 8lb weights. For someone who has lifted, I’d recommend one set of 8 lb and one set of 10 or 12 lb weights. If you’ve been lifting for a while, you may benefit from a set of 10, 15, and 20 lb weights. If you have a nice range of resistance bands you can supplement the weights in-between if the jumps are too much. I know I raved about the resistance bands and I do truly love them, however you can’t perform ALL the same exercises with them that you can with dumbbells. So to really get a full range of possible exercises I recommend having some dumbbells at home.
Heart rate monitor: This entire post so far has been focusing on weight/resistance training, but don’t think we have forgotten about the ever important cardiovascular exercises! For overall fitness and especially weight loss, it is very important to get our heart rates raised for 20-30 minutes per day for at least 3-5 days per week. Whether you run, swim, dance, run up and down your stairs, do jumping jacks, kick box, chase your kids around the house or clean, it is very important for you to know if you are pushing yourself hard enough. When you are weight training you know you are getting stronger because you can watch yourself increase your repetitions and weight when the exercise become too easy because you are stronger. Cardio is a different game. A lot of us continue doing the same ‘ol cardio routine for months or even years. Your heart and lungs are also muscles and get stronger and more fit and need to be worked harder over time to continue to increase your cardiovascular fitness and reap the same benefits. Of course once you’ve hit an optimal level you can then continue the same regimen, but until then you need to continue to push yourself. You won’t see any changes if you don’t.
That is where the heart rate monitor come in. The pictures about show a super cute polar heart rate monitor. (They carry a lot of different models and colors.) The monitors come with two pieces: the watch that shows your heart rate, calculates the calories you have burned based on your gender, weight and heart rate, and displays a lot of other useful information, and the band that you strap around your chest under your bust that picks up your heart rate and transmits the data to your watch and even to some cardio equipment (if it is designed with polar technology). Being able to watch your heart rate WHILE you exercise ensures that you push yourself and stay in the optimal heart rate range for your age. If you’re like me sometimes I get distracted while I do my cardio and I know when that happens I am not pushing myself. However when I wear my monitor, the watch beeps at me when my heart rate drops too low! It reminds me to step it up (or if I’m super gung-ho step it down) to get my heart rate in the optimal range. I recommend anyone who is serious about their health and fitness goals to invest in a heart rate monitor.
I hope this post gave you some ideas and a direction to go when purchasing equipment for your at home fitness kit. Like always, feel free to comment if you’ve had any experience with the equipment mentioned and contact us for a free initial consultation if you need help creating and executing a health and fitness program.