You may already be involved with an awesome gym. Or, there is a gym in your apartments and/or on campus at school. But what if you can’t afford or don’t want to commit to a gym membership every month? What if you have a little space in your home to do your own workouts?
If you are like me, this last option is GOLDEN. A couple of years ago, after my son was born, I began working out in my living room. At first, I was only doing body weight exercise which work amazingly! However, eventually I wanted to add weight to my exercise regime or use other tools to help my progress. Slowly but surely, I have found great workout accessories to add to my home gym so that I can do any workout I want (within home workout parameters).
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One tip before you read my list: do your research! If you can, find the best deals possible when looking for your workout gear. However, sometimes paying a bit more for a better brand is BETTER. Read others’ experiences with a certain workout item you are wanting to purchase, and then use your judgement to decide what you want to spend your money on. 😀
So, here are My 8 Favorite Workout Accessories. 😀
1–Reebok Crossfit Nano Training Shoes
I cannot stress how important it is to have a good pair of shoes. Whether working at a gym or in your living room, you need to have a good pair of training shoes to do the workouts properly. I have had plantar fasciitis problems with my feet for years, and the thing that helps the most is wearing training shoes during the day (even when I’m not exercising).
I found Reebok’s Crossfit Nano Training Shoes about a year ago and for me, I will never buy another trainer again. They are perfect for HIIT workouts, walks, and other high intensity varieties of exercises. Obviously, if you do a certain type of exercising, like running, you may need to find trainers developed specifically for that exercise.
These shoes are a little weird at first because there is actually room for your toes to spread out. Whaaaat? Yes, your toes need to be able to have their space like they do when you are barefoot. These Reeboks also have good support for your ankles which can reduce your risk of injury. Lastly, these offer proper support for your arches so your feet won’t hurt as much during your workout and throughout your day.
2–Hexagonal Free Weights
Any kind of free dumbbell weights will do, but I specifically say hexagonal because of the diversity of what the weight can do. With a hexagonal dumbbell, you use the weight as your hand on the ground while supporting your body as you lift up the other arm.
If you have a round dumbbell, it is going to be very difficult to balance because the weight and you will roll. People are able to do push-up+arm lifts and other exercises similar to this when they have hexagonal dumbbells.
Amazon has a great starter kit of neoprene weights that comes with a stand. They are on the light side so if you are looking for some heavier dumbbells, Amazon also sells very sturdy hexagonal dumbbells by SPRI.
3–Bodyrock.TV’s Weighted Vest
If you are a home workout guru, then you have probably heard of Bodyrock.tv. They specialize in HIIT workouts, and home workout videos. A big product they have been selling in the last year or so is their weighted vest which comes in a 6 and 10 pound version.
By simply wearing the extra 6 or 10 pounds, your body is working that much harder to do your workouts. The vest is a game changer for my workouts with only a small amount of resistance. It fits nicely on your chest, and you can even wear it around the house when you doing daily activities!
Bodyrock.tv has a lot of deals on their site so keep an eye out to get the vest at a discounted rate. However, as with most thing, you can buy the Bodrock Weighted Vest on Amazon and it qualifies for Prime shipping–YES! It can be a big investment for some because of the cost, but it will last for years and that one time price will beat out a monthly payment to the gym.
If cost is an issue, Amazon also sells a weighted vest by Tone Fitness that has great reviews. The only difference is that it only comes in 12 pound weight, and 12 pounds is a lot weight when doing full body exercises. But either choice will be worth it!
Resistance bands are a very affordable accessory you should purchase at the beginning of your collection. They are so versatile and can help add resistance to your workouts without the need for weights. These bands will help you workout targeted muscle groups such as different parts of your leg, and that is what a lot of specialized machines in a gym do.
To make your workouts even more customized, buy a set of bands that have different pound amounts of resistance. The Fit Simplify Resistance Loop Bands I have came in a 5 pack ranging from extra-light to extra-heavy. This means, when your body gets used to one resistance level, you are able to up it by simply switching bands. How simple and awesome is that? A warning about these bands: they are made with latex so if have an allergy, look for a band that says it does not contain ANY latex.
A good Exercise or Stability Ball is another versatile accessory that can be used for targeted exercises, yoga, stretches, etc. I am pretty sure I have had my exercise ball for at least 5 years, and it’s still going strong. I used it as a seat so much when I was pregnant because I was more comfortable bouncing on it than I was sitting in an actual chair!
So many companies sell exercise balls at a range of different prices so be sure to research properly when going to purchase. I don’t know there is a wrong way to go except stay away from a crazy cheap price because they material is probably cheap as well. There are also different sizes depending on your height so you are able to do exercise properly without the ball being too small or large for you legs.
Another great use for this Exercise or Stability Ball is as a chair (as I mentioned earlier). There are some schools that have used them as chairs for elementary school children because they almost force people to use good posture. If you need a break from your desk chair, switch it up to your ball so your tushy doesn’t fall asleep! 😉
This might sound like a weird accessory to have but this is probably one of my favorite training tools. You are able to make it your added weight to an exercise like squats or mix it up and hold onto it on the ground when doing a push up. If you are working on core strength, you can put the bag to one side and when doing a full plank, drag it bag back and forth.
What I love is you can fill it with whatever you want to make it as heavy as you want. You can go to a hardware store and buy some sand or you can fill the filler bags with rice or grains. If that is still too messy than use hearty root vegetables like potatoes or sweet potatoes (although those are very lumpy and hard). I buy cheap 1-5 pound bags of rice, and stuff the bag to the weight I want. You can also buy a large bag and separate it into Ziploc bags. If you want the feeling of it to be full but don’t want it too heavy, stuff some clothing alongside your rice bags to fill it out.
A good sandbag can be pretty expensive because they are made with very durable materials and the price is also dependent on the physical size of the bag and how weight it can carry. So shop wisely when comparing prices and materials! There many options online for sandbags, and Amazon is not exception, obviously. SKLZ sells their sandbag through Amazon and it looks like it may be the best price for the materials and size. Brute Force’s sandbag is similar to the one I have and it has the best reviews on Amazon. It comes in a variety of colors if that matters to you, and it seems to have the widest range of possible sizes depending on your fitness level.
You have probably seen the infamous Aerobicise Step Platform in an 80s exercise video or even at the gym. Some of those exercises can look a little goofy but that is not the only thing this great accessory can be used for.
When I began my fitness journey, I used the platform to build up my push up strength (because I could not yet do them on the floor). They are great for doing extended dead-lifts so you can drop your body passed your feet to really feel the burn. This versatile tool can be on the ground or lifted with risers that come with it, and you can buy more to make it even higher so your exercises will be even more intense. My son even likes playing on it because he sees mommy use it so much!
This is another tool that has a lot of options when it comes to purchasing, and as always, you want to be sure to find one that will be durable enough to endure a lot of force. The Step Original Aerobic Platform is still the most durable I have found. It comes in a Circuit size and a Health Club size and the only real difference is the Circuit is not as long and is slightly cheaper. I’m sure there are other brands out there just as good but The Step is so sturdy and reliable that I have to strongly recommend it!
I had a gym membership years ago and that was the first place I ever used (attempted to use) a balance trainer. It was very challenging but after figuring good exercises to go with it, I was in love.
A good Balance Trainer can be with the round side down to stand on and work on various leg and core exercises. Also with the round side down, the trainer can be used when working on plank and push up variations. When using it flat side down, you are able to do many core strengthening exercising while sitting on the round side. This accessory really amps up your workout sessions and will slash your core strength.
A great deal for one of these on Amazon is sold by AWInternational and includes a pump and elastic bands. The Bosu Balance Trainer is definitely the most popular and has a few varieties depending on your fitness level. They are around $100 but because of the versatility of this tool, you could get away with this being the only accessory you purchase! On the other hand, it may not be necessary to have a balance trainer, but as your fitness level increases, you are going to want to step up your game and purchase one.
I hope you enjoyed this list and perhaps it will get you excited to start your own living room gym! Make sure to let me know what your favorite workout accessories are to use at home. 😀