Must-Have Fitness Gear

Here's some basic must have fitness gear for home use.
To make exercising at home easier, invest in basic equipment. Then test out your new fitness gear with some simple workout techniques.

Your schedule is packed, and you can’t always make it to the gym. But you’re lacking the space and equipment to exercise properly at home. What should you do?

Having the right gear is super important. I bought hiking socks before hiking in Yellowstone National Park, and they made a huge difference—my hiking boots were suddenly the most comfortable shoes I owned.

Here are some suggestions for inexpensive, easy-to-store gear, so you can do a quick workout at home when you don’t have time to go to the gym.

Yoga Mat

The first item that I think is critical to own is a good yoga mat. I prefer something that has a little padding, so when you’re on your knees, you don’t have to fold over the side of the mat or use a blanket.

My favorite mat exercise is one that can be layered. Start on your hands and knees in a cat-cow yoga position. Inhale and look toward the ceiling. While holding in your abs, let your back curve. Exhale and arch through your spine. This is Level 1. Level 2 is stopping, moving through the spine, and going into a neutral spine—your spine should have a tiny arch at the base by your tailbone, but that’s it. From here, take your right arm out in front of you and lift your left leg behind you. Balance here for at least five breaths. Repeat on the other side. Going even further, Level 3, take your right arm out to the right and take your left leg up and out to the left. Stacking hips over knees is the challenge here.

Light Weights

I also think everyone should own at least 5 lb. and 8 lb. sets of weights. If you typically lift heavier weights, opt for two heavier sets, but I think it’s always good to have a lighter set than you normally use.

A quick arm workout starts with simple bicep curls, but keep your elbows tucked in at your sides. Take the weights up for two counts and down for two counts. Layering on from here, take the weights up for two, down for two, out and up to the side for two, and down and in for two, making a “W” shape. Try this for 90 seconds.

Exercise Ball

I recently replaced my small playground ball, which I love for crunches. Using a ball has a way of targeting the abs better than a standard crunch.

Start by sitting on your mat with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Place the ball behind your back just above where your pants start. Try different arm positions for your crunches. You can lift your arms up by your ears and put your hands together. If this position is too difficult, cross your arms over your chest, or put your hands behind your head. Lift your low back up off the ball slightly as you crunch forward. Exhale back to the ball, keeping your tailbone tucked and your abs pulled in. Repeat for 90 seconds. If you want a bit more intensity, straighten your legs out in front of you.

Illustration by Andriy Yankovskyy

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