This year, with gyms closing down over and over again, people have had to find other alternatives to get in their workouts. Yet, sticking to a strict training routine at home can be challenging, especially when you don’t have your favorite machines around.
Sure, you might be able to get plenty of cardio at home, as you don’t necessarily need an elliptical or treadmill to get your heart racing.
But what about Weight Loss training? It’s unlikely you have a full set of weights at home as they do at the gym to help you strength train.
Fortunately, there is a wide variety of home equipment available that can help you weight train effectively without needing all the tools at the gym. Keep reading to learn about the different choices you have and which ones would be better for your home.
Why is Weight Training Essential?
If you are just starting to work out, you probably wonder why there is so much hype around lifting weights. In the past, lifting weights was solely for professional athletes and bodybuilders. Now, health professionals recommend that all adults do at least two strength-training sessions each week.
Weight training provides obvious physical benefits. Moreover, it is excellent for mental and emotional health. Here are just some of the advantages of adding weight training to your exercise regimen.
Increased Fat Loss
After you finish a strength training session, your body works hard to cool down. As a result, it uses more oxygen and burns more calories throughout the day. This effect, known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, can last up to 21 hours after a workout, and your metabolism will receive a boost for that duration.
As you see your body transform, you will start to feel better about your appearance. However, you will also feel more confident about your ability as you see yourself push the limits and progress. That feeling carries over to your life outside the gym.
Supports Healthy Bones
As we age, our bones become weaker and more porous, resulting in Osteoporosis. When we strength train, it stimulates the repair and growth of our muscles and bones. As a result, those who practice strength training regularly have higher bone density.
There are so many more reasons to practice strength training. However, with just those mentioned above, you have plenty of motivation to pick up a set of weights and get started!
Things to Consider Before Purchasing Equipment
Before you purchase weight training equipment, you need to think about where you will work out. Some people have a large garage where they store their equipment. If that is your case, the options are unlimited.
Others only have a small area in their living room to use during their home workouts. If you don’t have much space, you likely need to purchase compact equipment.
Also, you will need to consider your budget. Weight training equipment can be expensive, especially if you are trying to set up an entire home gym all at once. So you may want to invest in just one versatile piece of equipment and add other items to your setup later.
Lastly, you should think about your goals and the types of weight training exercises you would like to do at home. Choose equipment that you enjoy using, and that helps you reach your strength and fitness goals.
Standard Setups for Weight Training at Home
Depending on your space, budget, and goals, you can create a setup that works for you. Here are some examples.
- Combinations of portable equipment
- Free weight station
- Multi-gym with bands and cords (Bowflex)
- Total gym machine (inclined bench with sliding seat)
- Multi-gym machine with stacked weights
If you are just starting strength training, you may wish to stick to a combination of portable equipment. Doing so will avoid having expensive and unused equipment at your home if you decide that home workouts are not for you.
If you can only purchase one piece of equipment, adjustable dumbbells are your best bet. You can do just about any style of strength training workout with them.
Adjustable dumbells are perfect for those who don’t have sufficient room in their homes to store separate weights. These dumbbells allow you to quickly change the weight using different mechanisms, such as a button or a lever. They also save you time since adjusting the weight only takes a few seconds.
Typically, adjustable dumbbells go up to about 50 pounds, but many sets are expandable. That means you could later purchase more weight if you want to get into heavy lifting.
There are several models of adjustable weight benches. Most of them focus on increasing or decreasing the angle you lay when doing an upper-body workout. Adjusting the surface helps you target different parts of a muscle when performing an exercise.
When doing a dumbbell chest press, you can incline the bench a few degrees. This angle allows you to target the upper chest muscle fiber. Placing the bench at a decline will target the lower chest muscle fibers.
With an adjustable bench, it can fun to experiment with angles. Doing this will prevent feelings of boredom during exercises. It will also allow you to challenge your body in each session.
Ankle weights are great to have during lower body workouts. They can make exercises, such as side leg raises and hip extensions, harder.
Usually, ankle weights are 5-10 pounds. Sometimes they have removable weight bars, so you can adjust the weight as you progress.
Low-cost and portable resistance bands make a great option for those who travel often and need to do their strength training from their hotel. Like weights, you can measure how challenging the resistance is by how many repetitions you can perform with good form.
Some exercises you might want to try with resistance bands include squats, leg extensions, prone leg curls, biceps curls, tricep kickbacks, woodchoppers, and bent-over rows.
Kettlebells are great tools for building strength. If you’ve never used this type of weight before, you will likely find it challenging and fun to use.
Some of the classic kettlebell exercises include swings and cleans. These require you to move quickly and, therefore, get your heart pumping.
Unlike dumbbells, the weight is not balanced or evenly distributed between both sides of your body. Working harder to keep yourself stabilized helps you build balance and burn more calories.
You may have seen these straps hanging from the ceiling at your gym before, thinking they were not something you would ever try. Despite their simple appearance, there are so many challenging exercises you can perform with TRX.
The moves you perform with TRX are dynamic and work many muscle groups at once. You’ll notice that you can make simple exercises harder by using the TRX straps.
To try it out, slip your feet into the handles and do a traditional push-up. You will notice it is transformed into a total-body move, working both shoulder stabilization and your core. If you want to make your push-up even harder, move your feet further away from the anchor point.
If you like plyometrics, medicine balls should be a standard piece of equipment at your home. They can be carried, lifted, and thrown, and using them increases your total energy expenditure during workouts. Many people also add them to core workouts for resistance.
For those who have more space to workout, these ropes could be a great addition to your home gym. Once you grab a giant rope in each hand, you will see how challenging it is to create waves at a fast rate.
Battle ropes help fix imbalances since both sides of your body are working separately. You can get a total-body workout with them, but you will especially notice the burn in your forearms. Plus, you’ll gain tons of grip strength!
If you are looking to train your body for sports or long-distance running, the push-pull sled is a great choice. It engages your glutes, hips, back, hamstrings, calves, core, triceps, and shoulders.
The great thing about push-pull sleds is that the exercise is entirely adjustable. You can read more about push pull sleds here.
Perhaps you are used to using machines at the gym and want a similar experience at home. In that case, you may wish to purchase a home gym machine. There are several models, each capable of different exercises.
The most common machines include a pec station, press arm, leg developer, and pulleys at varying heights. These certainly give you more options when it comes to strength training.
Starting Your Weight Training Routine
Now that you know about the various forms of equipment that you can use in weight training routines, it is time to pick out the pieces that best fit your needs. Remember, to have a well-rounded routine, try to choose equipment that you can use to work various muscle groups. Most importantly, have fun, and enjoy your workout!
Do you want to learn more about home fitness and health? Check out more of our articles!