7 things you need to get your home gym going

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  • Home gyms don't have to be large, spacious rooms, kitted out with expensive apparatus.
  • Those wanting to buy 'home gym' equipment should assess their fitness needs before spending a lot of money.
  • Items from your pantry, for instance, are great weight-training substitutes.

Home gyms became popular during the Covid-19 lockdowns when health and fitness establishments were temporarily forced to shut their doors.

Before lockdown levels were eased, people were forced to work out in their yards, spare rooms, garages, or any other free space on their property. 

Some health and fitness clubs took their group classes to a virtual platform, and numerous personal trainers have done the same.

Many people started enjoying the convenience of working out in the privacy of their homes, making a home gym seem like an attractive option.  

Some people bought major machinery like treadmills, air bikes, and large multi-gym systems, while others opted for smaller, cheaper pieces of equipment like free-weights and resistance bands, or opted for functional training.

Where to begin

Most of us don't have the kind of space we can convert into a home gym, but there are "staple" pieces of equipment that won't need a dedicated room.

1. Exercise mat

This is your foundation. An exercise mat makes your workout surface much more comfortable. And they come in a variety of thicknesses, depending on your needs.

2. Skipping rope

A skipping rope is always a good investment, particularly if you want a thorough cardio workout without heavy machinery like a treadmill, stationary bike, or step machine.

3. Set of dumbbells

A simple pair of dumbbells go a long way when you're doing toning exercises and improving strength and mobility. They also help with functional exercises. Get a set of soft-touch bells, or with varying plates as using different weights is important.

4. Kettlebell

Invest in a kettlebell if you can. It is a piece of equipment you can use in many dynamic ways. Because you can fuse cardio and strength training, it provides a better workout than dumbbells on their own. 

5. Stability ball/Exercise ball

A giant bouncy ball does take up a lot of space, but if you're planning to do Pilates or yoga, it's an essential piece of equipment. If you're aiming for strength, it's a good tool to help build your core.

6. Resistance bands

Those little rubber bands may look harmless, but don't let that fool you. They're excellent, not only for beginners who are intimidated by free weights but also for seasoned gym bunnies. These humble bands can really test your muscle strength and stability; they're also reasonably priced and easy to store.

7. Foam roller

This piece of equipment can help your body with releasing tension and reducing your risk of injury. It also helps reduce muscle stiffness and soreness after a training session.

No equipment, no worries

Many people aren't able to buy equipment, but it's easy to work around not having an actual dumbbell, sandbag or medicine ball.

There are numerous objects around the house you can use on your fitness journey – many of which can be found in your pantry.

Fitness mogul and entrepreneur, Rushda Moosajee, also known as Rushtush, says that cardio should be the foundation of your routine and that you should get a minimum of three heart-racing sessions every week.

She adds that you don't need a gym to get your heart pumping and that there are high-intensity interval training (HIIT) plans, skipping, walking, jogging, running, and dancing.

When it comes to weight training, she has a number of tips on what to use instead of dumbbells, kettlebells or gliders: You can use water, milk or detergent bottles (refilled with water), canned foods, bags of rice or flour as weights, and paper plates of towels in place of gliders.

READ | The benefits of skipping your way through your exercise routine

READ | Working off your quarantine weight gain

WATCH | Why faster is not always better in workouts

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