Chicago has a huge fitness community with workouts taking place in settings ranging from the lakefront to national “big box” gyms to boutique studios. You can find some of the country’s best workouts in Chicago, but sometimes working out at home may be the best option for you. Whether it’s timing, weather or a lack of motivation to leave the house, having the right equipment to work out at home can save the day.
To make your workout as effective as possible, make sure you’re prepped with the essentials. These are the seven things you need in your home gym!
Handheld dumbbells are one of the first things you should invest in for your home gym. As you progress from bodyweight exercises, you’ll need to add weight to your movements to continue improving your fitness. Have a range of light to heavy weights for different exercises, or buy one pair that allows you to adjust the weight as you go. Some options include this dumbbell setthat has a range of weights or this adjustable dumbbell set. Dumbells can be used to add challenge to exercises like squats and lunges or to do targeted moves like biceps curls or overhead presses.
Resistance bands are an inexpensive way to add fire to your workout. Similar to dumbbells, bands take bodyweight exercises to the next level by requiring you to push past added resistance. You can buy a pack of bands of varying resistance levels or you can increase/decrease it yourself depending on what type of band you have and how you hold it.
If your home has carpet, you may be able to forgo a mat, but for hardwood floors this is a must when performing floor exercises. Carpeted floors may also be aggravating for your skin, so making sure you have a dedicated yoga mat or exercise mat will help make those home workouts more comfortable.
Jump ropes allow you to get some cardio in between strength and resistance work. If you’re tired of doing burpees or jumping jacks all the time, pick up a jump rope! In addition to getting your heart rate up, all that jumping helps you work out those calves.
Depending on the types of workouts you’re doing, equipment such as a medicine ball or a kettbell will allow you to add more exercises into your routines. Medicine balls offer a different type of workout than dumbbells and you can perform things like ball slams, wall balls, and medicine ball burpees. Be sure to choose a durable wall for wall balls … Kettlebells also have their own equipment-specific exercises such as kettlebell swings that aren’t replicable with other equipment.
Having a stopwatch or timer is good for keeping track of rounds or intervals. There are many free smartphone apps that offer programmable timers for any kind of workout, but your phone likely comes with a stopwatch that you can use to keep track of your rest and your work.
You are the most important part of your home gym. One, because you need to show up and two, because there are so many exercises that require only your bodyweight to be effective, like these no-equipment workouts featured on aSweatLife.com. From overall cardio to working specific muscle groups, your body is capable of performing a kick-butt workout all on its own.
What’s one piece of equipment you want to add to your home gym?
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