I’m no homebody by any means, but I like the comfort of my apartment after a long day working or running errands. When I’m tired or simply need a break from being around people all day, it’s just nice to go home and chill out, rather than make yet another stop on the way home. There’s a reason why I spend so much time decorating!
But even though it’s so tempting to head right home and put on my favorite show, I know that I still need to make time to work out a few times a week. We all know it, but sometimes it’s a downright challenge to get to the gym as often as we’d like between having to pick up the kids, making dinner, or just plain exhaustion.
So what about putting together a mini at-home gym? No, you don’t have to be a millionaire, have a large house, or be an exercise guru to make one. With some basic equipment and moves, you can transition most of your workouts from the gym to your home. Doesn’t that sound nice? No more excuses for not exercising enough!
Essential At-Home Gym Equipment
Yoga mats are definitely not just for yoga. Use your mat for basic moves like crunches, planks, pushups, and other exercises that don’t require a lot of equipment. Having a mat under you will not only feel more comfortable, it will be easier on your body. And when you make an exercise easier, you’ll be able to do more of it without pain or a struggle! Start with the simple nighttime poses or these stretches for desk workers.BUY HERE
I sort of cringe at the idea of kettlebells, simply because I always assume they will be tough to use, but it really is a game changer for building muscle and getting your heart pumping. Don’t be afraid to buy a lighter ball for your at-home gym if you’re just starting out; if it’s too heavy, you’re not going to be able to use it properly, and therefore you won’t really benefit from it. You can work pretty much all of your body with a kettlebell, but if you’re like me and not always sure how to use one, check out some beginner moves online.BUY HERE
Any trainer will tell you these are a must in your fitness routine. Bonus: they take up essentially no room and you can use them anywhere. Get a few different strengths, since different parts of your body can pull more weight than other parts. Bicep curls, overhead presses, lunges, and squats are all great moves that can be enhanced with resistance bands. Low-intensity bands are also perfect for pre- and post-workout stretching. We’ve got 5 tank top arm exercises to get you started.BUY HERE
Having a few hand weights on hand (no pun intended) is great for a variety of moves to work your entire body. I like to use them not only for traditional arm exercises, like bicep curls, but also with squats. Holding them over your head or by your shoulders adds some extra weight to get a more intense booty and leg workout. Just remember, you can easily hurt yourself if you’re not using them right. Be sure to breathe, control yourself, use the right weight, and not grip them too hard.BUY HERE
Although they take up a little more room, stability balls are also multi-purpose and can be used in more than one way, especially for your core. A lot of people are even replacing their desk chairs for stability balls. It takes a bit more work to stay upright on a ball than in a chair, so even though it doesn’t feel like you’re doing much, your core is getting a workout. I like incorporate a stability ball in leg and arm lifts but they are perfect for adding to your ab workout. Check out 20 ways the Fitnessista uses her stability ball if you need some ideas.BUY HERE
These you can put in any doorway in your home, and some you can easily take down when you want them out of sight. I can only do a few real pull ups, but it’s the effort that counts, right? And if you have a bar in your home, you’re more likely to get more practice in and get better at doing pull-ups faster. Even though it’s not the most fun exercise, it’s fantastic for your arms and will make you look even more stunning in a sleeveless shirt or dress.BUY HERE
No at-home gym is complete without some kind of cardio equipment. Luckily, nowadays you can easily find gym bikes and treadmills that fold up so you don’t have to keep bulky equipment in the corner of your room (that would certainly never work in small apartments like mine). You can just as easily store them in your closet since you can quickly unfold them. Plus, you can use them wherever — on your patio, in front of the TV, or with some music in your bedroom.BUY HERE
Featured image via Free People