Barbells and dumbbells as well as machines in the gym are fantastic but in this article I will try to show you my favourite fitness equipment, most of which are also home friendly!
In terms of what can improve your strength from home the easiest, I’d suggest grip work. A study once found a correlation between stronger hands (grip) and life expectancy concluding that people with stronger hands lived longer.
You can go for proper strength based IronGrip ones or the newer trend of adjustable grips might suit you better (more family friendly). I personally have both. I have an easy pair with which I can manage 100+ reps. I have a very tough IronGrip one with which I can only just about squeeze out 10 on a good day and I have adjustable grips which work great for drop sets and general work too.
As far as T-shirt muscles go there isn’t really any more important than forearms and their involvement in every single exercise is underrated. Pavel Tsatsouline recommends if you want to get stronger work on your grip, core and glutes for 6 weeks vigorously (three times per week).
The best piece of equipment in my opinion to get a full body workout. The list of exercises and body parts you can work with a single kettlebell is vast making this an amazing home friendly piece of kit which you need.
From swings, clean and presses to turkish getups, the kettlebell (bought to the west by Pavel Tsatsouline) can give you a great full body workout in a very short amount of time.
Strength Coach Dan John in his book ‘Never Let Go’ says he made the best gains of his life when he was forced to do his entire routine with a single kettlebell at home in his garage for weeks! It forces you to think outside of the box and work the body unilaterally too (individual legs and arms). This can help with imbalances.
You can pick up a trampette for as little as £30 online and I can’t think of a more fun investment apart from a Plastation game but they leave you sedentary. A trampette is a smaller singular version of a trampoline and it just allows you to jump in joy on a softer surface.
This make for a great workout which can be enjoyed in the comfort of your own living room. This can be especially good for people with families, working out with kids can make it easier to get exercise in as opposed to leaving kids and getting to the gym.
You can perform simple jumps, star jumps of all kinds and get a great calf workout too (get those stubborn things growing).
These versatile pieces of rubber can be used to help your barbell work inside of the gym by making the concentric (lifting) phase of each exercise more of a challenge but they can also be great standalone pieces of equipment.
When nursing my own bad shoulders I was using resistance bands daily to work on shoulder rotation and rear delt work. My personal favourite exercise to perform with the red resistance bands (4-16kg resistance) are tricep kickbacks, shoulder external rotation, rear delt band pull-aparts, face pulls and a variation of the bow and arrow that I stumbled on my brother doing.
Bands are available in 5+ sizes and the different colours are pretty universal. They all offer different levels of resistance with some that even stretch upto 200kg in resistance at maximum stretch.
Bands are a great way to get a pump and some exercise in on holiday and are regularly something I pack when going on holiday because of the space-saving benefit too.
Image Credit: www.myprotein.co.uk
Slingshot Hip Circle
This one is a very particular piece of equipment. You can get it from www.improveyourbench.co.uk
It is made by Mark Bell and his company Slingshot. You may know him from his brothers fantastic documentary ‘bigger stronger faster’. If you haven’t seen that go and see it, it’s on Netflix. You can also pay a few pounds to see it in HD on YouTube.
This genius little resistance band is a must for all squat and deadlift workout warmups. I do side steps, walk up and down and squats in it too to really loosen and engage the muscles of the hips, my squat performance I feel increases with it.
One of the best ab exercises I know which can be done by anyone in the comfort of their own home. The main two variations of the ab wheel rollout (the move you do using the wheel) are the one on the knees and the one on the feet. Personally I get a better muscle connection on the knees, also I’m not badass enough to do them on my feet.
Try to keep a slight round in the back to avoid too much lower back strain and go for the reps. Going in with a hyperextended spine or ‘leaning back’ will do nothing but damage here as you go into quite a vulnerable position. Round the lower back, tuck the glutes in before performing.
I did so many of these during the last few years and I feel like my obliques and serratus muscles especially came out with them, my abs feel thicker too, really a great move.
BPA Free Water Bottle
BPA is a chemical found in plastics. It’s no secret that more of our lives are becoming dependant on plastics, from the toothbrush I used this morning to the keyboard I’m typing this up on right now. But there’s some alarming evidence emerging about BPA. They found women who had miscarriages had 3 times more BPA in their bloodstream! YES, that alarming.
It’s a chemical that’s been linked to diabetes and cancers making this one an easy sell. Most supermarkets sell them now or you could jump online and find one somewhere. The epic Myprotein Hydrator and the shaker in the picture are BPA free. Go through this link to order them – http://goo.gl/h4ZWXS
I’ve mentioned before that the art of grip strength is really just grabbing and holding onto really awkward stuff. The addition of towels in the gym and lifting awkward things (not dumbbells and barbells) can really help. Fatgripz work in exactly the same way. Gripping onto something thicker makes our forearms and grip work much harder making everything from curls, rows or deadlifts harder.
I haven’t used them much in all honesty but I’m keen to get some Fatgripz deadlift personal records so will be now!
Hope you enjoyed the article. Soon I’ll be posting my favourite workout routines, exercises and much more content so stay tuned 🙂