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Pete Swatkins

Pete Swatkins

The Best Fitness Gear for Home Workouts

With COVID-19 shaking up our usual routines, home workouts are more popular than ever. It can be easy to get overwhelmed with where to start with exercising at home. Should you invest in a full home-gym? Will a yoga mat do? Should you put your fitness routine on hold and go into full couch-potato mode? Here are our go-to recommendations for home workouts.

Being unable to do your usual fitness regime can be pretty unnerving, especially if you rely on exercise as a form of stress relief. But changing things up doesn’t necessarily have to be a negative thing. In fact, it might actually be a blessing in disguise; you might even find your new favourite way of working out.

Investing in fitness gear doesn’t have to cost the earth, and you don’t need a million sets of dumbbells and your very own squat rack to get a good sweat on. There’s a lot you can do with bodyweight exercises, and these can be just as difficult (seriously, have you tried yoga? It’s hard!).

Trust us. Home workouts can be brutal if you want them to be (and if you don’t believe us, you should try one of our sessions). You don’t need any equipment to get started, but if you’re looking to ramp up your routine, then there are a few small additions you can make to maximise your workouts.

So, if you’re looking to work up a sweat while in self-isolation, then you’ve come to the right place. Here are our go-to recommendations for fitness gear for home workouts, so you can keep in shape while away from the gym.

Suspension Trainers

Girl using suspension trainers for a home workout.

Suspension training is a form of exercise that uses ropes and bands to utilise your bodyweight. It’s great for those looking to improve strength, agility, balance and core stability… plus, it’s hard.

By leveraging gravity and your bodyweight, you can work up a decent sweat. Suspension trainers are excellent for building core strength, and the advantages of a strong core can seep into other areas of your life too. According to Harvard, a stronger core can lead to a healthier back, better posture, and can even help with everyday tasks (such as housework, DIY and gardening).

Suspension trainers can transform your workouts. They’re super portable and can be done basically anywhere, all you need is a sturdy place for them to attach to (like our trucks). They don’t require much space either, making it perfect for home workouts while in self-isolation.

So, which suspension trainers should you go for? Whilst TRX trainers are the go-to on the market, they can be often be frightfully expensive. With TRX, you’ll definitely have a quality product, but it can cost you around £140 per pack. If you’re looking for something a bit cheaper, try the DOMYOS range at Decathlon. These cheaper versions can do the job just as well, but they might not last as long.

Exercise Mats

Girl using exercise mat for a home workout.

An exercise mat is a staple in the home workout toolkit. It’s extremely versatile, and can aid in everything from stretching to burpees. The padding on these mats reduces the chance of injury by decreasing impact and protecting your joints. Exercise mats are also great for providing that extra help with your balance. Plus, they’re just more comfortable than a hard floor or carpet.

Whilst an exercise mat is great for the obvious reasons, they can benefit you mentally too; they can cause you to work harder. It’s likely that you don’t have a separate area for exercising in your home, like you would at a gym or park, so we can often struggle to separate between work and play. For example, when you walk into a gym, or see the Truck rolling up outside, you switch into exercise mode. Rolling out an exercise mat can be this same trigger. By sending a signal to your brain that it’s time to exercise, you can make the most of your workout.

Most exercise mats will do the job pretty well. You can get them in difference lengths, thicknesses and quality, depending on your preferences. Decathlon has a great range of mats at decent prices. Alternatively, Argos’ mats are amazing value for money, and the quality is worthwhile.

Resistance Bands

Resistance bands are probably the easiest way to vamp up your home workouts. As well as being super cheap, extremely lightweight, and incredibly versatile, they’re very easy to get your hands on.

They work by providing (you guessed it) extra resistance to your training. From upper body push/pull exercises to deepening your squats and lunges, having some extra difficulty to everyday movements. If you don’t know where to start with resistance band training, try this set from Runtastic.

Resistance training has a copious amount of benefits, and can be adapted based on your personal preferences. Benefits include improved muscle strength and tone, maintaining flexibility and balance, greater stamina, pain management, and plenty more.

We don’t have any specific recommendations for resistance bands, as they come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, so it depends on your preference and intended use. However, we do recommend grabbing a few different resistance bands to start with, as this way you can work out which are suited to different exercises. The difficulty levels will change depending on the band, as well as the size and features, so make sure you have a good look around. Some bands come with handles – which are great for push/pull exercises.

The key to getting in a good workout isn’t about the equipment, but the attitude. In fact, home workouts don’t require any equipment at all, and you can get in a good session using bodyweight alone. However, if you’re looking to ramp up your game, it’s definitely worth checking out suspension trainers, exercise mats and resistance bands. They offer a good place to start, without having to invest in expensive equipment.

If you’re looking for some inspiration on home workouts, follow us on Instagram, where we post daily workouts on our story.

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