Mic asked the experts which products they depend on most.
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Everyone’s been there: you pay for an expensive gym membership, convinced you’ll use it constantly, and then you just… don’t. There’s no shame in that game — it can be difficult to find time and motivation. But, you definitely don’t want to lose money on a service you don’t use.
Instead of shelling out every month, you can just invest in these inexpensive at-home workout products; each one comes with a specific recommendation from a certified trainer, so you know it’ll help you get the results you want.
A steel club for safer strength training
Hannah Shine, an AFA-certified personal trainer, health coach, and manager at HourglassWaist, loves this steel club for safer strength training. She says that steel clubs “can be used for a variety of exercises, including overhead presses, squats, lunges, and rotational movements. They are [a] versatile and portable piece of equipment that can be used for at-home workouts.” With a rounded grip and evenly balanced weight, this tool gives you just the right amount of control, helping you steer clear of injuries.
This balance board that helps you build core strength
Pick up this balance board if you want to improve your stability and core strength, which can help with a number of other practices, from surfing to ballet to walking down the street. It can help “improve balance, strengthen the core, increase muscle strength, and improve cardio fitness,” says Shine. Plus, this model features an antiskid surface that won’t slip while you balance.
A barbell bomb with endless possibilities
Kyle Divine, the creative director of Kaizen DIY Gym, loves this barbell bomb for its effectiveness and compact size, calling it “undeniably the best bang for your buck!” So what does it do? According to Divine, it “serves as a portable base for landmine exercises with a barbell. The exercises that can be done with it are virtually limitless.” This model comes with a take-anywhere device that makes it portable, and Divine thinks it’s “amazing that a single piece of molded foam and a barbell can allow someone to get a full body workout with so much variety.”
These heavy duty wood gymnastic rings
For a full-body burn that won’t break the bank, Divine loves these heavy-duty wood gymnastic rings. “The height is easily adjustable and the exercises are virtually endless — rows, dips, push-ups, knee raise, bicep curls, pull-ups, flies, L-sits, toes to rings — and the instability of the rings really works the body’s stabilizers muscles and core,” he says, adding that “Everyone should have a pair of these!” The adjustable straps allow you to choose the length that’s best for your height, and the serrated buckles ensure that the rings will stay put while you sweat.
These classic & beloved dumbbells
With over 3,500 five-star reviews, these classic and beloved dumbbells are a staple for a reason. Marnie Kunz, NASM-certified trainer, run coach, and founder of Runstreet.com, recommends that you keep a pair at home for a workout you can complete anytime: “A pair of dumbbells is a great staple item for any home gym and you can do a variety of strength training exercises with them, from lunges and squats to the chest press and shoulder press.” If you’re worried about scratching your floors, these dumbbells are a great option, since they’re encased in rubber to protect the surfaces they touch.
A looped resistance band for muscle definition & repair
John Lindala, MS PES and the Director of Fitness at Flight Live Inc, loves this looped resistance band for a lower-body workout that seriously burns. “The strap is amazing for getting the glutes to fire in a variety of movement patterns,” says Lindala. “Since a lot of my work involves pain relief/performance enhancement the strap is vital for floor work we do.” This one comes in black, but you can also get it in a stars and stripes pattern.
This inflatable exercise ball that’s perfect for pilates
Another one of Lindala’s favorites is an inflatable exercise ball, since it’s a perfect Pilates companion that helps build core strength. Says Lindala, “The ball is a great prop for providing variety to core workouts in all planes.” You can even use it for a little healthy competition: “I have a running bet of a gift certificate for two to the restaurant of my client’s choice if they can pop the ball between their knees while holding a bridge. (Haven’t paid yet!)”
These low-impact core sliders that work your whole body
For a joint-friendly workout that’s cost-effective, these low-impact core sliders come highly recommended by personal trainer Karina Inkster. The owner of K.I. Health & Fitness shares, “Core sliders aren’t just for core training! These inexpensive sliders work on any type of flooring,” from carpet to laminate. So how should you use them? Inkster recommends “moves like mountain climbers, body saws, and plank jacks, but they can also be used for hamstring curls and glute bridge variations.”
This adjustable jump rope that builds endurance
Inkster loves this adjustable jump rope for its convenience and effectiveness, sharing, “A jump rope is extremely portable for travel or outdoor workouts. It provides excellent ‘bang for your buck’ when it comes to getting in a really challenging workout in a short amount of time.” This particular jump rope is built to last, featuring a braided steel wire that’s coated with durable PVC.
A premium jump rope for the fast & the furious
“If you want to take your rope jumping to the next level, you’ll need a thin cable speed rope,” adds Inkster. This premium jump rope is a fantastic option since it’s made with 360-degree ball bearings and anti-slip grips that let you focus on your stamina, coordination, and speed. You might even learn some cool tricks along the way: “This will allow you to do double- and triple-unders, and perform jumps much faster than a PVC rope,” Inkster notes.
These hanging straps that strengthen your core
Alex Randall, certified personal trainer and founder/CEO of Revel Sports, recommends these hanging straps for the ultimate core workout: “These straps are designed with rip-resistant and padded arm supports for optimal ab workouts. With extra-wide and adjustable straps, they are comfortable to use and provide perfect support throughout your ab workout.” Attach them to your pull-up bar to strengthen and define your core with your body weight.
A medicine ball that helps you get a grip
According to Randall, this medicine ball is “the perfect weight training and stability tool for any workout routine.” He especially loves that “each ball is crafted from a durable leather material with a nonslip grip for enhanced control and stability.” You can use it for strength training, pilates, and extra-spicy cardio.
This balance disc that builds strength while you WFH
Caroline Grainger, an ISSA-certified personal trainer, knows the importance of keeping your core engaged at your desk; she recommends this balance disc as a smaller piece with a big payoff and tends to prefer these to most other products. When you’re finished working for the day, take your disc to the gym to level up your strength and balance exercises.
This extra-thick yoga mat that’s light & portable
When it comes to your home fitness routine, you need the right mat — just ask Phung D. Tran, ACSM-certified exercise physiologist and founder of Be Active Is Easy. Tran recommends this extra-thick yoga mat for its high quality, saying “The brand produces durable mats that work and last a long time.” This one provides enough cushion to support you on any surface, from hardwood to tile and everything in between.
These rotating pushup handles with an ergonomic design
If planks and pushups tend to strain your wrists, give these rotating pushup handles a try. Not only is Matt Haas a certified personal trainer, but he’s also a professional firefighter and paramedic, and he swears by them: “These handles take so much of the pressure off of your wrists when doing push-ups. They rotate so you can maintain natural alignment with your wrists and elbows, and take the strain off of the joints.” The ergonomic design actually engages more muscles in your arms, shoulders, and chest than you might otherwise use, making for a more effective workout.
These squat wedges that help reduce the risk of injury
Give these wedges a try if you want to squat low without hurting your ankles or knees. Haas recommends them for a number of exercises, sharing that he “recently started using these slant boards when I do squats, split squats, and lunges. These wedges allow for a deeper range of motion and take the stress off the ankles.” They’re also great for calf stretches, helping release tension you might not have noticed otherwise.
A 3D textured foam roller that feels like a legit massage
Haas loves his foam roller for an effective stretch, “especially [after] lower body workouts.” This particular model features a 3D texture that’s meant to replicate the feeling of a massage as it relieves tight and tense muscles. Use it as often as you like — its heavy-duty construction ensures it’ll last a long time.
A balance pad for pros & beginners alike
Whether you’re a workout novice or a seasoned pro, this balance pad can improve your stability and core strength. Whitney Berger, the founder of WhitFit NYC, is a huge fan: “Destabilized surface helps improve balance, strengthen the core, and more. Can be used standing up but also kneeling on them.” They’re an amazing choice for a home gym setup, since “they are nonstick and take up very little space to store.”
This weighted hoop with an adjustable rope
Berger is obsessed with this weighted hoop, which is a fun playground-inspired way to work out. “You wear it on your hips, there’s a weighted ball that you do the hula, and voila! Honestly, this is so fun,” she shares. Oh — and it doubles as a massage ring, which feels amazing on your lower back.
A weighted vest that makes walking a major workout
Matt Claes, founder and head coach at Weight Loss Made Practical, loves this weighted vest for its ability to turn a moderate walk into a more challenging workout: “Weighted vests can also be used to make cardiovascular workouts like walking and running more challenging.” So when would you choose this vest over a resistance band? According to Claes, “one of their benefits over resistance bands is that you just strap on the weighted vest and you can get started.”
These resistance bands perfect for jetsetters
Certified sports nutritionist and online fitness coach Allison Sizemore is a fan of these resistance bands for people who are always on the go. “These travel very well, weigh almost nothing, and allow you to work things like the glutes and rear delts, which are difficult to do without some sort of equipment,” says Sizemore; “I often recommend clients bring these along if they have almost no space in their luggage when traveling but still want to do some sort of strength training while they are on the road.” Each of these five bands features a different resistance level, from light to heavy.
This chin-up bar you can install in your doorway
Looking to build upper body strength? Joshua Mattie, a certified fitness trainer and staff member at Biker’s Rights, recommends this chin-up bar: “I personally love the Ally Peaks Pull-Up Bar, which is both affordable and durable.” Thanks to its easy installation process, you can set it up in your doorway with no screws and no damage to your home.
These travel gliders that come in their own bag
Brett Kirkland, a personal trainer and the owner of Zone 105, lists these gliders as one of his favorite at-home products. They’re especially helpful when you want to adjust a particular move, since “they add an element to the exercise that will help you modify or increase the degree of difficulty.” And if your floor isn’t completely smooth or slippery, you can still glide to your heart’s content: “[The] amazing thing about these ones, in particular, is that they can [be] used on carpet or hardwood!” What sets these apart is the fact that they can support up to 400 pounds, and come in their own bag perfect for travel.
These suspension trainers that you can just lock in
Just lock these suspension trainers into a secure hanging point, and you’ll be feeling the burn in no time. Jeremy Kring, MS and CSCS, appreciates their versatility: “The suspension trainer is one of the best purchases you can make because you can train every major muscle of the body, they take up little space, and they’re easy to use.” They may look intimidating, but in actuality, “what makes them truly special is they’re equally as great for the person just starting out as they are for the advanced user.”
An adjustable kettlebell with 7 weight combinations
Mix and match the weights on this adjustable kettlebell for a burn that’s tailored to your body. Kring recommends it for a variety of full-body exercises, explaining that “the adjustable kettlebell opens up a new way of challenging the muscle. They’re great for things like kettlebell swings, squats, windmills, hip thrusts, and presses.” It features an easy-grip handle that’s kind to wrists and fingers, and its flat base makes for easy storage without tipping over.
This ab wheel that helps make your core super strong
Stephanie Thomas is a certified personal trainer, health/nutrition coach, yoga teacher, and weight management specialist, and she swears by this ab wheel for a super strong core. She says that “this classic ab tool is a must-have if you really want to test your core strength.” Her tip for first-time users? “Be very careful while using it to protect your lower back and keep your core engaged the entire time.”
A smart water bottle that lights up as a reminder
If you struggle to stay hydrated, give this smart water bottle a try. Thomas knows it’s easy to forget about your water bottle throughout the day, which is why she recommends this one “to clients who have a hard time drinking enough water every day. This bottle makes it fun by lighting up to give you a gentle reminder to drink. Plus you get access to their app so you get even more reminders and customization for your water intake goals.”
This fitness journal that helps you track your progress
Celebrate the goals that you’re working towards with this fitness journal, which helps you track your progress and stay motivated. While there are plenty of apps designed to do just that, Thomas is a fan of the physical version: “I love tracking my fitness goals on my phone, but there’s just something about writing on actual paper. I love the motivation I feel when I start a new fitness journal,” she says.
This weighted bar available in 8 sizes
According to Thomas, this weighted bar is “so fun to use at home.” She continues, “It’s nice they don’t take up a lot of space and they’re easier to use than barbells.” This model is made from durable steel that won’t bend or break, even over time, and its breathable foam surface keeps your hands comfortable while you work out. Choose from eight sizes, or just buy more than one — you’ll be glad you did.
A book that’ll remind you that rest is important after a workout
Even the toughest workout routine requires you to rest afterward; that’s when your body (and mind) heal. Thomas actually authored this book on the topic, which is a good read for all at-home athletes: “With over 100 different tips, this book will be your go-to tool to help you incorporate more rest in your life,” she says. When you’re done with your workout, you can put away your new equipment, shower off, and unwind with this read.
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