Home Gym

5 Essentials for Your Home Gym

Here we are at the beginning of a New Year when we start to think about setting goals and making this year better than the last. Not to mention the dreaded “R” word – but we’ve all made them… “Lose weight”, “Quit smoking”, “Start working out… again”, “Get in shape”, “Drink more water”, “Eat Better”, etc. However, each one of these popular New Year’s… oops, almost said it… GOALS have one big benefit in common – BETTER HEALTH.

At this point it is widely known and accepted that physical activity and a healthy lifestyle go hand in hand. According to the CDC, adults over 18 years of age need 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity weekly along with weight training activities that work all major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week. That may sound like a lot at first, but remember, we are setting goals here, and something is certainly better than nothing.

So how can you start your journey to better health in 2017? If you can’t get to a gym on a regular basis, there are still plenty of exercises that you can do with a few pieces of simple equipment in your own home. You don’t have to have spend thousands of dollars on a BowFlex or a Treadmill to create a “home gym”. Here are a few basic and affordable items to get you started:

Mats

You probably don’t want to be lying directly on the floor of your garage or spare bedroom while you are working up a sweat. An exercise mat provides excellent support during basic floor exercises such as crunches, push-ups, sit ups, and leg lifts.

If you prefer Yoga as a workout either at home or away consider a mat specifically for your practice. A Yoga mat is safer to use than a generic mat as the secure and textured surface will ensure that neither you nor the mat slips during practice. Even if you aren’t a “yogi” just yet, but you might want to be in the future, a Yoga mat can still provide a good base of support for floor exercises.

Foam Roller

While you are lying or sitting on your mat, you might also think about working on your flexibility. Adding a foam roller to your pre-workout stretching routine will help you increase blood flow to the muscle and lead to greater flexibility and range of motion. Post-workout foam rolling is a great way to promote circulation and reduce lactic acid build up in muscular tissue after a hard workout.

Foam rolling is a form of self-myofascial release (SMR) that mimics the feel and benefits of a deep tissue massage. Mid length (18”) and long (36”) round rollers offer better surface area and support for both small and large muscle groups.

If you are new to foam rolling techniques or are turned off by the phrase “deep tissue massage”, start out with the Closed Cell Foam Roller or the Triggerpoint CORE Foam Roller. This will provide you a lighter SMR experience.  The High Density Foam Roller is firmer than its Closed Cell counterpart and provides durable support for moderate intensity SMR.

For a more intense massage, check out The GRID. With its hollow core and Distrodensity™ zones, the GRID offers a unique and durable solution for self-myofascial release.

Resistance Bands

You can find them in use almost anywhere from a physical therapy clinic to an athletic training room. Perhaps it is due to the fact that Versa-Loops  and Versa-Tubes are some of the most lightweight, versatile, and portable solutions for resistance training. Versa-Tubes are not only available in different resistance levels, but also in different lengths to accommodate user height. The Versa-Tube Short is great for users 5’ tall or less, while the Versa-Tube Long is great for users over 6’. Or check out the next generation of resistance tubes from Power Systems – the Premium Versa-Tube PLUS! The double tube design of the Premium Versa-Tube PLUS provides peace of mind without changing range of motion or resistance for optimum performance.

Not sure which resistance level is right for you? No worries. Here is a quick reference chart to help you decide. The range is based on stretching the tube up to three times its resting length.

Color Approx. lbs of Force Range
Orange 4 – 8 lbs
Light Green 5 – 13 lbs
Red 8 – 16 lbs
Light Blue 11 – 22 lbs
Purple 13 – 27 lbs
Gray 15 – 31 lbs

If you are looking for more traditional resistance training equipment, Power Systems offers a wide selection of kettlebells and dumbbells that can complement and add variety to your resistance training routine.
No gym is complete without resistance bands. Not to mention that you can take them with you when you travel! Check out the complete Versa-Tube Kit for one of each resistance bundled at a discounted price!

Stability Ball

It has been called many things… “Yoga Ball”, “Swiss Ball”, “Exercise Ball” … we call it a VersaBall. These can be used for a variety of exercises from core training, to flexibility, to body weight training. You can even reap the benefits from swapping one out for your desk chair. Check out the blog post on Promotive Active Sitting for a full list of benefits.

One of the most common questions about stability balls is, “how do I know what size I need?” Choose a stability ball based on your height.

Ball Diameter User Height
45 cm (17.7”) 4’6” to 5’0”
55 cm (21.6”) 5’1” to 5’7”
65 cm (25.5”) 5’8” to 6’1”
75 cm (29.5”) 6’2” to 6’7”

Technology

Fitness technology has grown exponentially over the past few years. The range of products seems to increase each year in both variety and accessibility to the public. Many of the devices that were once reserved for the clinical setting are now small, sleek, and portable and found on wrists and smartphones. Withings products offer a variety of fitness trackers that can track your steps, calories burned, heart rate, distance traveled, and so much more! Both Withings activity trackers and body scales link to your smartphone and your MyFitnessPal food diary via the FREE Health Mate app.

Tracking your fitness goals and progress with technology can be fun! Choose an option that meets your needs, be consistent, and you might just develop a healthy habit or two before Spring.

These are just a few simple tools to provide an effective total body workout at home. On those days that you don’t have time to get to the gym, simply grab one or two of these items and commit to at least 20 minutes of activity. It is one of the best things that you can do to set yourself up for a Healthy New Year!

Elisabeth Fouts

About Elisabeth Fouts

Elisabeth Fouts is Power Systems’ Education and Trade Show Coordinator and a 10 year veteran in the fitness industry. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science, is certified in and actively teaches 4 Les Mills Group Fitness Programs, and serves as a PowerWave Senior Coach. When Elisabeth isn’t teaching group x classes, you can find her training for or participating in an Obstacle Course race or watching Tennessee Volunteers or Dallas Cowboys football… GO VOLS!