I have been working out in one form or another for more than 60 years. My venues have included:
- Barbells, a bench and squat racks in my garage at age 18
- YMCA workouts
- Nautilus workouts
- Bodybuilding clubs
- College weight room workouts
- Home workouts (for the last 20 years)
This post will suggest equipment for home workouts, with due consideration to space, cost and convenience issues. My equipment now includes:
- Inversion table
- Resistance cords (or bands)
- Bullworker items
- Abdominal device
- Push-up board
- Exercise ball
My lengthy experience has enabled me to construct programs without personal trainers or other guidance. I have a YMCA membership, but hardly use it. My preference is to do a quick but intense workout every day before breakfast. Before my workout, I generally go outside for an early morning walk, which is more for fresh air than for serious cardio.
My workouts alternate chest- back- arms one day with calves-abdominals-neck the next day. This is very specific to my needs.
NO EQUIPMENT IS NEEDED, INITIALLY
Actually, no equipment is ever needed, though using only bodyweight for long periods of time may become somewhat boring. But anyone (with reasonable physical health and with your doctor’s advice) can at least do the following:
- Go outside for a brisk walk
- Do push-ups (even on your knees if necessary)
- Crunches – lying down and face up, raise your shoulders from the surface repeatedly with bent knees. Do not allow your shoulders to completely rest. Keep them about an inch above the surface.
- Planks – lying down and face down, support your body by your forearms and toes. Start with 30 seconds. This is an isometric exercise.
- Squats – from a standing position, bend your knees into a squat position and repeat
The above routine will provide a great beginner exercise program. You can always lengthen the walks and add repetitions to the push-ups, crunches and squats – or add time to the planks.
Please be aware – cardio benefits are derived from the outside walk, but also from the resistance exercises, especially as you progress and are able to do them more quickly and with less rest time.
The crunch is shown below:
And here is the plank:
SPACE-SAVING ITEMS FOR LESS THAN $100
It is very likely that enthusiastic fitness people will soon want equipment, as they feel a need for variety in their workouts. It is easy to accomplish this without heavy expenditures or large, bulky items.
Here are some choices from Amazon. (I am an Amazon affiliate and, as such, I may earn from qualifying purchases. This has no effect on pricing). Click on the links below and then scroll around as you see fit:
- Light dumbbells with stand
- Adjustable dumbbell
- Resistance bands
- Push-up board
- Abdominal training device – to simplify crunches and sit-ups
- Exercise ball – for stability, balance, yoga. Pump included
- Workout video– 12 exercise videos, training guide and nutrition plan
ADDING MORE SOPHISTICATION
Bullworker products provide the capability of both isotonic and isometric resistance movements. I use the Steel Bow and Bow Classic. These are high quality, portable items that may challenge veterans as well as newcomers. The Steel Bow is shown below.
Dick’s Sporting Goods has been my preferred source for workout equipment, golf clubs / accessories, tennis gear and sportswear for several decades. For workouts at home, they have the best in cardio equipment – treadmills, stationary bicycles and the like. The link above will take you to their entire inventory of sporting goods and fitness items. Look for current discounts.
The Total Gym, as promoted by Chuck Norris, is a time-honored piece of home equipment. Check out the latest adaptations.
The Mirror interactive home gym may be the ultimate workout partner on the market. Thousands of classes are available for home workouts. Please click on the link to learn more about it.
I personally prefer the convenience of home workouts over going to a gym, having done both for many years. My morning workouts are done in less than 30 minutes, though my walks outside or on my treadmill may add more time. At least, I can control that time.
Also, I never liked to wait on others to finish up with a machine before I could get involved. Sometimes the wait would be more than 10 minutes. Socializing with others was fun, but often this could take priority over the workout at gyms.
As seen above, you may spend no money, a little money or significant money on the equipment for home workouts. In any event, not much space is needed. For example, the Mirror requires only 2 feet of wall space in width and will blend in with your decor when not in use.
Please remember – the American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of aerobic activity per week (or 75 minutes of vigorous activity) and at least 2 days per week of resistance training. I do 7 days of resistance training per week and about 100 minutes of aerobic activity (though not vigorous because of bad knees). All of us can do better!
Please leave me any comments or questions in the “Comments” section below. Or email me, firstname.lastname@example.org.