Don't let COVID-19 ruin your workouts! Here are some budget-friendly workout equipment options for you to set up your home gym.
Hopefully you've stocked up on your toilet paper by now, and maybe other necessities as well (dog food, wine, and coffee seemed to be the big necessities in our household)! But have you considered what social distancing or self-quarantine will mean for your workouts? If not, I've put together a list of some of my favorite budget-friendly workout equipment that will help you crush at-home workouts and not lose all your gains in the event that the gym closes or you're stuck in self-isolation for weeks on end. If you already have a fully outfitted home or garage gym, then you're probably all set. But if you're looking to add some equipment to your home gym or just want a few items that you can use until the pandemic is over, this list of resources should help you out!
1. Suspension trainer (such as the TRX). If you're going to buy only one item, this is the one I'd get. Using just the TRX, you can get an excellent total body workout. It's relatively cheap (especially if you buy a knock off brand), space-efficient, and is something you can pack and take with you when you travel (you know, whenever we can all safely travel again).
Here is a link to the TRX on Amazon.
**Many other brands and similar products are also available on Amazon.
2. Bench, box, or sturdy chair. This might be something that you already have in your house and you don't even need to buy. Just having some type of sturdy elevated surface such as a box or bench can allow you to do so many different exercises. In my opinion, a bench would be most versatile as it's something you can lay on for things like bench press (if you have a bar or dumbbells), as well as step or jump on. But really, having any type of sturdy elevated surface will open up lots of new exercises or movements. To give you some ideas, here's a list of some exercises that you can do using a box, bench, or chair that require no other equipment:
incline or decline push-ups
single leg squats
Bulgarian split squats
3. Dumbbells or kettlebells. This will probably be the most expensive item on this list. But even having just a couple sets of dumbbells at various weights can open up a ton of new exercise options for you. If you have the money, an adjustable weight dumbbell set might be a good option for you. Examples include these Bowflex Adjustable Dumbbells or these PowerBlocks.
If you're looking for something cheaper, check your local used sporting goods store (such as Play It Again Sports) for used equipment, or even check Craigslist or the FB Marketplace in your local area. It's usually pretty easy to find used dumbbells or kettlebells, and this will save you a lot of money versus buying them new. Also, keep in mind that you do not need a full set that consists of every weight at small pound increments. In my own home gym, my husband and I can both get effective workouts from only 5 dumbbell weights - 5s, 12s, 20s, 35s, 55s. Figure out what weights you commonly used, and buy a couple sets within this range.
4. Mini bands and/or therabands. I use both of these all the time with my physical therapy patients because they are great for so many different rehab exercises. If you're only buying a few items for your home gym, I'd prioritize the other items listed above. But I included the mini bands and therabands because I think they're a great addition to the items above and are also useful for anyone that wants to focus on rehab/prehab. Additionally, they're super inexpensive and budget-friendly!
When choosing mini bands, make sure they are either 9 or 10 inches. Most of these bands are 12 inches, and I find this is too big and less effective. Here is a good 9" mini band set.
Therabands are incredibly versatile. If you do an online search for theraband or resistance band exercises, you will get hundreds of results. They are available in various resistances, such as this light-moderate resistance set or this heavy resistance set.
I'd love to hear what other home gym equipment you recommend! Please comment below with your ideas. Also message me or comment below if you need exercise ideas using these different items!