At-Home Workouts: 5 Essential Items for a Home Gym
Experts name their picks for the fitness equipment you need to build a home gym.
Top 5 Items You Need for At-Home Workouts continued...
At-Home Workout Item 3: Balance Equipment
What Is It: Equipment that challenges your balance while you perform
other activities, such as lifting weights or doing crunches.
Benefits: Improves balance, strength in the "core" muscles of the
trunk, muscle stamina, and posture. Also encourages better interaction between
all muscle groups.
Choices -- $50-$150: Burst-resistant stability balls, soft foam
exercise pads; wobble boards; gel-based balance beams.(Balls are sold by the
height of the intended user, and range in size from 45 to 75 cm. Foam pads come
in a variety of lengths, but are generally about the size of an exercise mat --
about 5 feet x 3 feet. Wobble boards and balance beams require about 20
square feet of space. )
Choices -- Under $30: Non-burst-resistant stability balls; disc
pillows; balance dome.
Trainers' Recommendations: "I like stability balls and the foam pads.
They are inexpensive, don't take a whole lot of room, and can provide a variety
of workout options," says Bottesch. While she says both work best when
used along with free weights or dumbbells, they can also be used to help
increase the effectiveness of simple exercises such as crunches.
At-Home Workout Item 4: Flexibility Training Gear
What Is It: Equipment designed to help increase muscle flexibility,
which in turn may help you to use other pieces of equipment more easily and
Benefits: Better muscle tone; better functional fitness; reduced risk
Choices -- $200 and over:
Pilates machine; stretch machine. (You'll need 35 to 50
Choices -- $50 and under: Slant board; stretching bands; foam rollers; mat and towel (10 to 20
Trainers' Recommendations: "I personally love the foam rollers -- 4-
to 6-foot-long rolls of extremely dense foam that you can lie on or use under
your legs or arms to help break up adhesions and allow underlying muscles
tissue to stretch ... to a greater degree without hurting yourself," says
At-Home Workout Item No. 5: Guidance
What Is It: Whether it comes from a personal trainer or a
how-to DVD, instruction is an essential part of any beginner's home gym.