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It’s true. The Doors knew it. You know it. Strange days have found us. Where we once were able to go freely from gym to gym and studio to studio for exercise and training, we're now looking for ways to build our own home gyms to maintain our once-rigorous workout schedule. The home gym has been a topic of conversation for some time, especially now, when at-home fitness routines have become the norm, and we’ve all taken to our own form of personal training. (I mean, who else is going to push you to do one more squat in your living room if you’re not motivated to do it yourself? Luckily, there is a cure for that, but let’s save that for another time.)
If you’re lucky enough to find a dumbbell these days, congrats. Same goes for resistance bands, adjustable bench press machines, and really any form of certified home gym equipment... The market has been depleted, Amazon is sold out, and even the rentals from your favorite gym are probably gone. That said, you’re probably wondering, “How do I get crafty? What are some weirder gym equipment solutions that could work? How do I still get my exercise on if my home gym is just a yoga mat in my single-room loft?” Ah, my friend, we have the fitness solutions you need right here. So, buckle up, break out your paper plates (you’ll see why in a second), grab a bottle of wine (not for that), and get ready for some new weight training, cardio, and strength-building routines that only require what’s around your house currently (and an open mind).
These are the top 10 at-home gym equipment ideas (plus 3 extra because we love you):
According to Healio, off-premise alcohol sales were up 55% in the third week of March 2020 (compared to the same time last year), which means, you may have either some full (or empty) bottles of your favorite vintage lying around.
With your wine bottle, you can recreate almost all your weight training exercises, from squat thrusts and chest presses, to kettlebell swings (careful not to drop it) and medicine ball passes.
When “this all started,” you no doubt went out and bought more than a few cans of soup for good measure and “just in case.” Maybe you got what you wanted and went through your cans already, but if you’re like me and now have off-brand SpaghettiOs's sitting in your cupboard, you can put those to use in your home gym.
Try holding a few cans when doing bicep curls, shoulder sculpts, and even in your cardio routine. Why not take your soup for a run and hold a few cans next time you sneak in a few-mile run? Talk about making training delicious, amirite?
As stated, finding dumbbells online right now can prove to be a little difficult. This should, of course, not deter you from still getting your squat on and your strength training in order.
Grab a couple of books, ranging in page count (and, therefore, weight), and try a literary bench press or two. We heard that Herman Melville wrote Moby Dick specifically because it made for the perfect goblet squat weight when you’re without actual home gym equipment. (NOTE: This fact has not been verified.) Now, you add War & Peace to the mix of home gym necessities, and you’re going to be seeing the tone in no time.
You’re going to have to wash your clothes at some point, right? Whether it’s every single time you leave your house and come back, or every-so-often, you’re going to go through laundry detergent. So, using it as one of your adjustable weight substitutes is quite convenient.
Detergent too heavy for another squat rep? Time to do the delicates. Still too heavy for a 10-set bench press? Try the heavy-duty cycle. Without proper exercise equipment, your linens may be cleaner than they have ever been before. Silver linings, right?
If you don’t have a dumbbell at your ready (and don’t want to spend the money right now), grab a backpack or a reusable grocery bag and fill it up to add weight to your favorite exercises. Curls? Yes. Rows? Definitely. Another option: add a bit of extra weight to other movements like squats, lunges, and push-ups by wearing your filled backpack.
A barbell works great at the gym but is much harder to store and use at home. So, if you’re missing exercises like deadlifts, chest presses, or rows, grab a suitcase, fill it up, and get to work. Pro tip: When you’re able to travel again (hopefully soon), you can use this on-the-go piece of “equipment” in your hotel room or at the airport.
Personally, my dogs have always been a source of cardio. Even if I have proper home gym equipment, I walk my dogs two times a day just to get out of the house and get my blood moving. Since COVID-19 started, I have been walking them three to four times per day. And, when I get bored, I’m now trying to use them as weights, given they’re both around 70 pounds.
Sliders are a great workout and crucial to many fitness routines. If your home gym is without official sliders, grab a few paper plates and get to work.
Find a carpeted space if you can, throw those plates down, and try out some sliding burpees, side slide climbs, and sliding thigh slimmers. For safety, please do not eat off the plates afterward.
If you have hardwood or tiled floors, paper plates may not move easily. Instead, try dish towels or even paper towels (if you can find them at Costco) to get your slide on.
Head to your local hardware store to find the right length(s) for you. Most of the time, bungees are rounded—so make sure you secure them, so they don't roll. Step on top, then use the cords to add resistance to curls, rows, and shoulder presses.
Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee, Muhammad-Ali-from-home style. No, you don't need a bag to get a great boxing workout. Instead, focus on form, watch yourself in the mirror, and go for it. Brace your core while you jab and uppercut your way to toned arms.
Need to stretch out your muscles after a good workout? Don’t have a resistance band or bungee cords? Enter leggings. We all have an old pair laying around somewhere, and the best part? They’re soft and stretchy.
Rachel Simhon of Bodyworks DW even used a pair of leggings to help out one of her clients virtually: "I did some jaw releases with [a client] and showed her how to move her neck with some support of like different tools that she had around. We used a pair of leggings—we improvised with a lot of different household objects to try to get her a little bit of relief."
Long story short, get creative. Wrap that bad boy around your foot and stretch those hammys to the sky, and maybe just book an appointment with Bodyworks (under “Appointments” and “Video Visits”) if you want to use it on your neck...
Sometimes home gym equipment does more than just bolster your strength training routine. In fact, if you have an emotional bond with your home gym, your kids should fit nicely into your exercise scenarios.
Depending on their age, you can find a range of workouts to do with your kids. Have infants? Try bicep curls with them in their car seats. Toddlers? Just chase them around and feel the cardio burn. Preteens? Might as well call them “resistance bands” because getting them to do anything will be a lesson in patience. Teens and up? Incorporate them into your daily exercise. Pull-up bar challenges are always fun as a family, right?
Finally, when it comes down to it, at the end of the day, you just need yourself. So long as you maintain motivation and determination, you can view yourself as your own home gym with every piece of equipment you need to work out attached. Whether it be air squats, Chaturangas, or bicycle crunches, bodyweight is the new equipment.
While the times are trying, silver linings are presenting themselves daily. Remember: keeping an open and motivated mind, as well as digging into your ingenuity and creativity, can help sustain you and your health—both mental and physical. Home gym or not, the equipment is right there.
Want to book a virtual workout and try out your new “equipment”? Browse Mindbody to find classes!
That’s something I never expected to hear. Think about it: we join gyms and studios because of their equipment, instructors, space, community (and AC, of course). But who’s to say we can’t get all that—or at least most of it—with virtual and online classes, too? In this new wave of wellness, we’re all switching up our fitness routines as we switch up our everyday schedules and habits. It’s not just in-studio or at-home anymore. It’s in-studio, at-home, at the park, beach, parking lot, rooftop...virtual, hybrid, Instagram Live, online, on-demand, and so much more. As we’re adapting, adjusting, finding our groove, etc., online gym memberships enter the fray. Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?
There are tons of benefits to an online gym membership, especially right now.
Let’s break this down:
1. Scheduling convenience
A virtual/online gym fitness membership is a monthly subscription that gives you access to tons of live stream fitness classes you can take anywhere, from studios across the globe. These fitness studios offer tons of at-home workouts, group exercise, and one-on-one training sessions to choose from, no matter your exercise program or fitness level. With so many options, it’s easy to find one that fits your schedule. Whether you want to fit in a morning flow before work, combat that afternoon slump with some cardio, squeeze in some strength training before dinner, or wind down with an evening barre class, you can pick and choose classes to fit your fitness routine.
2. Minimizing exposure to COVID-19
And because they’re online, you can take these classes from the comfort of your home (or wherever you are), thus minimizing your exposure to COVID-19 and eliminating your commute to the gym or studio. By now, many of us have our designated “workout spot,” whether it’s an actual weight room, a quick scooch of the coffee table, or a grassy area in the backyard. Maybe you’re comfortable here... maybe you’ve even learned to love it.
With an online gym membership, you can stay in your safe space/comfy workout spot. Or, you can go somewhere new (local park, beach spot, a different area of the house, you know). You can access these virtual, live stream fitness classes from any device, so you can prop up your phone, laptop, or tablet wherever you want to go, or roll out your mat in front of the big screen TV in your living room.
We all have our favorite, go-to workouts. But sometimes, it feels good to switch it up (especially right now). Working from home all day, many of us are craving some variety and excitement, and an online gym membership can definitely help with that. According to our recent poll about COVID’s effect on our fitness routines, 64% of you have tried new online workouts since the start of the pandemic—I know I have. Maybe it’s because trying new things is easier in the comfort of our homes, maybe we’re finally able to try some classes we normally can’t find locally, or maybe we’re all just bored out of our minds...I don’t know. But I’m excited about it.
With an online gym membership, you can get that spice you’re looking for easily. Start out your Monday by hitting some HIIT, ease your sore muscles with some Restorative Yoga, and end the week with some dance cardio to pretend you’re at the club. The world is yours.
4. Working out without a commute
My favorite part? No commute. There are literally no more excuses when it comes to skipping workouts. No traffic, no schedule conflicts, no fear of returning to the studio. You don’t even have to worry about packing a gym bag with a change of clothes and shower supplies or prepping a snack or protein shake to bring to work. Just shut your computer, throw on some leggings, and get to work.
Community—the element of online fitness memberships we don’t often think of. When we go into studios, we understand the beauty of a fitness community. We’re greeted by our instructors, we chat with others in the class, and we all sweat together and encourage each other throughout. But working out at home is different... or is it?
We can do workouts on our own at home all we want, but we’re definitely going to miss out on the community aspect we all know and love. But, with live stream classes, we can create a different kind of community. The beauty of it? It’s not just your neighbors anymore. Anyone with an online fitness membership can join these classes, regardless of where they’re located in relation to the studio, so you can be working out alongside people from all over the world—now that’s something I can get behind.