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8 Inexpensive Fitness Tools Every Home Should Have

8 Inexpensive Fitness Tools Every Home Should Have

You don’t have to waste a fortune in order to look good. Being in shape is just a matter of will; you can hire the finest trainers and go to the best gyms, but if you don’t previously decide to dedicate yourself to your health, all of that will be for nothing.

With the right motivation, you can achieve that figure you always wanted in the comfort of your home and without worrying about unrealistic gym bills. Establishing a home workout routine is beneficial for several reasons – this small investment is here to stay and you’ll have every tool at your disposal forever. The whole family can use your little home gym, so that cuts bills significantly for your household, and you will have more time because there will be no home-gym-home traveling every time you want to exercise.

With this in mind, you should be feeling inspired to create your little home gym, so check out the following nine fitness tools that will boost your confidence and help you get fit in no time.

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1. Jump Rope

Although people avoid jump ropes because they usually have only two associations when those words are mentioned – little girls in pink dresses or tough boxers – using jump rope in your exercise routine is highly beneficial and it’s relatively easy for beginners to get used to the different exercises.

Apart from helping you burn a huge amount of calories (it actually can be more efficient than jogging), jumping rope makes you lighter on your feet. This means that your coordination gets significantly improved because this exercise is all about focusing on your feet. The more jump rope tricks you discover and learn, the more coordinated you’ll get.

2. Dumbbells

You should know that when compared to the barbell, dumbbells can be a bit more versatile, giving you a larger choice of exercises, and they are cheaper than a full barbell set and rack combo. They will provide you with plenty of variety in your workouts and they offer a more natural selection of movements, because unlike fixed machines and cables, they can move freely in all different directions.

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This exercise tool can be used to train both the lower body and the upper body, which makes them a worthy addition to your home gym, and one that’s quite efficient and simple to store at that.

3. Yoga Mat

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    The only difficult thing about yoga is starting to practice it – after that I’m sure you’ll fall in love with it just like everyone else. Of course, you should start with a beginner’s program and move up from there gradually. The list of benefits of practicing yoga is quite extensive. Other than the obvious benefit of increasing flexibility, it has a positive impact on your isometric strength and muscle tone, improves your respiration, decreases stress and increases your energy levels.

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    4. Foam Roller

    Your post-exercise routine is as important as the actual workout, and it’s quite important for you to take good care of your muscles. My suggestion is to go with a foam roller in order to prevent sore muscles and cramps, especially when it comes to your back. Lifting weights can burden your lower back muscles and if you don’t do something about it, you can be in pain for weeks.

    5. Stability Ball

    Speaking of spine alignment – stability balls are highly beneficial solution for this problem. It’s quite simple really. Because of ball’s instability, you need to work on balance and thus practice and achieve a proper posture. You can use it for stretches and simple workouts, but you should know there’s a ton of different tutorials that show you how to do a full body exercise with it.

    6. Ab Wheel

    Did you know that each rollout using an ab wheel actually moves over 20 muscles in your body? This smart tool is unbelievably efficient; if you’re persistent with repetition, you’ll get that six-pack you always wanted quite quickly. You should also know that using an ab wheel isn’t any more difficult than doing crunches – you’ll just need some time to get used to it.

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    7. Decent running shoes

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      The greatest problem I had with running is discipline – the most difficult part of this type of training is getting your mind in the zone and staying motivated, and if you do manage to be persistent in it, you will not only strengthen your body but your mind as well. Obviously, running helps you lose weight, but it also firms up your muscles equally and gradually. With a relatively decent pair of running shoes – which you can often get on sale – you’ll be ready to hit the road any time you feel like it.

      8. Mirror

      Having a mini gym is a pretty smart move, but you already know that you can hurt yourself by doing the exercises wrong. I’m sure you’ll go online and consult various tutorials and programs until you find the one that works for you, but you need to make sure your posture and your movements are reflecting those that you see – which is why a big mirror is an essential item in your home gym.

      Did you know that working out makes you happy? When you exercise, your mind tells your glands to release happiness hormones, because you’re doing a good thing for your figure, your health and your confidence. Exercising really contributes to the overall quality of your life and if you actually go through with your little home gym project, you’ll be a lot happier.

      Featured photo credit: https://www.pexels.com/u/scott-webb-39047/ via pexels.com

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      Djordje Todorovic

      Blogger, Gamer Extraordinaire

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      Published on March 8, 2019

      How Adding Flow Yoga to Your Workout Routine Boosts Your Gains

      How Adding Flow Yoga to Your Workout Routine Boosts Your Gains

      When we fall into a workout routine, our moves become automatic, and the body quickly adapts. This is called muscle memory.[1] While teaching your body how to properly execute squats, push-ups, or crunches is a benefit, overly relying on these moves to consistently grow gains won’t yield the kind of results you want. That’s because the muscles work in the same way every time.

      Simply put, they’re not being “surprised,” so they get lazy.

      Supplementing your routine with flow yoga is one way of surprising your muscles, especially if you are new to the yoga practice and have never tried the postures. It’s like taking a new road home when you drive, deviating from your usual route. Science has found that by doing so, you’re creating new neuropathways in your brain.[2] The same is done in your muscles when you try a new routine.

      How is this done? Let’s dive right into it.

      How Flow Yoga Boost Your Gains in Your Workout Routine

      Think about your current workouts:

      If you lift weights, you rely on external tools to engage your various muscle groups. Over time, your shoulders, legs, or biceps will come to expect the weighted plates or dumbbells, in the repetitive sequences that you remember.

      In flow yoga, we use the body as the weight. Add gravity and hundreds of different postures and combinations, and you have a workout that uses the same muscle groups, but in many different ways.

      A pose such as plank is a full-body workout, with every muscle engaged to keep the body in one long line. While it’s a stationary pose, it requires muscle control and activation, with no room for passivity.

        A Flow sequence, on the other hand, requires your muscle to switch from one pose to another swiftly, providing you with a more balanced and wholesome use of your major muscle groups.

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        Not only do these poses and routines re-energize the body in a refreshing way, they also allow you to learn something new, which is powerful for the mind.

        Bottom line? Complementing your exercise regimen with flow yoga is like hitting the shuffle button on your workouts, using your muscles in ways that “surprise” them, which in turn boost their growth and performance.

        Energizing Flow Yoga with Added Cardio

        Flow yoga is also known as “Vinyasa.”[3] In Sanskrit – the sacred language of the practice and its Indian roots – Vinyasa is roughly translated to “one breath, one movement.”

        This guideline, first and foremost, enhances your breathing, and teaches you how to go from our typical shallow, chest-only breathing, to a more deeper, belly-chest breath that uses the entire lung system.

        Not only is this beneficial for a myriad of healthcare reasons (combat allergies, eliminate toxins, reduce stress, ease anxiety), it also greatly impacts our muscles,[4] and therefore our workout.

        Flooding your muscles with rich oxygen will only keep them healthy, while the cardio benefit will get you warmed up to take on the more challenging postures in a flow yoga class. This prevents injuries and cramping.

        The best example of energizing cardio in flow yoga is the Sun Salutation sequence. Each pose is completed on an inhale or an exhale, until the sequence is finished. One full sequence may be repeated several times, encouraging you to take fuller and deeper breaths. The cycles warm up and loosen the body and prepare the muscles for stationary poses that are held longer.

        Here’s how to do a Sun Salutation Flow:

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        Due to the Sun Salutations, the muscles are not thrown into a challenging workout, but rather primed and prepared with energizing breath.

        Why is this important, you ask? Because happy muscles are warmed-up muscles.

        The Best Thing About Flow Yoga

        The best thing about practicing flow yoga? You’re building strength and flexibility.

        Strength and flexibility are like the Mecca of a wholesome workout routine. Before we get into why this is important, let’s break these two down individually to see how they stand up on their own:

        Meet Strong Stan

        Strong Stan is at the gym, doing bicep curls with massive dumbbells. His muscles have peaked in size, and he proudly displays them.

        While he loves to lift weights, Strong Stan often skips stretching or warm-ups. He just doesn’t see how that could help him continue his muscle gains, so he jumps right into a heavy workout.

        While it’s not evident to a passerby, Stan’s muscles are hurting. Without sufficient flexibility or deliberate stretching, Stan’s muscles are shortening and getting tighter. This eventually leads to joint injuries,[5] because un-stretched muscles have limited range of motion.

        Big muscles are a sure indicator of strength, but here’s the kicker – choosing not to prioritize flexibility will keep them inherently at risk.

        Meet Flexible Fiona

        Flexible Fiona is in a flow yoga class, easing herself into a backbend.[6] She effortlessly gets into the pose, and “hangs” out there for a few breaths while the teacher cues the class.

        Even though the teacher instructs the students to engage their glutes and be mindful that this is an active pose, Flexible Fiona opts otherwise, and relaxes into the posture by sacrificing the strength she ought to be building.

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        To many in the class, Fiona’s execution of the backbend would be a success – maybe even something to envy. However, what Fiona doesn’t realize is that her excessive flexibility is actually a detriment to her joints.[7]

        Flexibility has been defined as the “absolute range of motion” by Tony Gummerson, Martial Arts instructor. For people who are naturally flexible, that line of absolute range is often blurry and, in practice, overlooked.

        It’s very easy for Fiona to go above and beyond her range of motion, since her flexibility parameters are much wider than what Strong Stan may experience in a similar pose.

        Because she doesn’t feel the stretch in the same degree of motion as other students in class, Fiona has to push the envelope of her flexibility. This puts too much pressure on the joints that are already overworked, and it overstretches the muscles that are now prone to tearing.

        Your goal is to create muscle and joint balance and wholeness.

        What Strong Stan and Flexible Fiona have in common is that they’re both missing vital pieces of muscle awareness.

        In Stan’s case, heavy and tight muscles crave flexibility. Without it, not only would Stan hit a plateau in his gains because of a sure injury, but he would miss out on having the lean and toned muscles that we all want to have.

        In Fiona’s case, her overstretched muscles are not getting a workout at all. Rather, her excessive flexibility is resting on her joints, which leads to definite injury.

        So what can you do? It’s quite simple.

        You have to give your muscles the opposite of what they’re used to.

        If you’re a Stan and hate stretching, focusing on your flexibility is key. You will lengthen your tight muscles, and you’ll create new muscle memory by practicing routines that are new to you and your muscle groups.

        If you’re a Fiona and hate strengthening, focusing on this priority is vital. Your muscles are used to being passive as you stretch, so shaking up the usual and putting them to work will not only keep you injury-free, but that much closer to the muscle gains you’ve been looking for.

        Fortunately, flow yoga is the whole package, and can be the one-stop-shop for both Stan and Fiona.

          Final Thoughts

          If you’re serious about using flow yoga to supplement your workout routine to boost gains, sign up for a class at your local gym or yoga studio. There are a number of styles of yoga to try, but as we’ve discussed in this article, the Vinyasa style is your best bet to complement a moderate exercise regimen.

          Many studios offer beginner-style Vinyasa classes, where the instructor will explain the basics, and break down the sequences in a pace that is suitable for entry-level students. From here, the student can build upon their practice, and opt for more challenging, fast-paced classes, such as Power Flow or Ashtanga.

          Working out is a lesson in teaching your muscles. The gains that we grow are the result of that experience, and it all comes down to conditioning our body in a way that is healthy, efficient, and balanced.

          With a practice like flow yoga, we can offer supplemental training to our current regimen that will work our muscles in ways that are new, refreshing, and “surprising.” This method will keep our muscles toned and lean, as long as we prioritize the balance between strength and flexibility to ensure that we’re meeting both of these needs. Our muscle gains and body health depend on it.

          More Resources About Yoga and Fitness

          Featured photo credit: Edit Sztazics via unsplash.com

          Reference

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