Whether you’re trying to up your workouts from zero to three times a week, or craving a revamp on the fitness front, we’ve gathered the essentials every workout nook needs that will have you breaking a sweat in no time.
[updated on May 3, 2017]
BOSU Balance Trainer
This dome-shaped workout tool is a multi-purpose item meant to help you with balance, stability, and core strength. Use it for everything from cardio to strength training on both sides (“BOSU” literally stands for “both sides up”). Just be sure you’re good with balance before attempting any seriously advanced exercises!
Whether you do them with the help of a bar or rings, pull-ups build arm and core strength like no other. If the thought of pull-ups conjures up less-than-great memories of high school gym class fitness tests, start slow and keep practicing. You’ll get to your target number of reps soon enough.
Gliding disks are small, meaning they’re perfect if your workout nook is literally just a corner of a room. But what they lack in size they make up for in effectiveness: the disks, which you can either purchase or DIY with towels, are great for a full-body workout.
It sounds like common sense, but don’t forget to drink water! A good way to stay hydrated is to keep a designated water bottle in your workout area to remind you to drink up post-workout. Opt for something re-usable instead of disposable plastic water bottles to be more eco-friendly.
Heart Rate Monitor Watch
If you’re exercising alone at home, keep track of the intensity of your workout with a heart rate monitor watch. It’ll tell you whether you need to slow down or speed up to get the desired results and is also way more comfortable than a heart rate monitor chest strap (because how can you concentrate on your workout if you have to readjust every two minutes?).
It might be extremely old school, (mom’s 90s workouts), but a swift jump rope accelerates your heart rate, helps with coordination, and is a great form of cardio. Try starting with five minutes at the beginning of your workout and upping it one minute a day until you get to fifteen.
Strengthen your core or perfect some plyometric exercises with a weighted medicine ball. Grab one that’s weighted, but err on the side of a lighter ball. That way, if you decide to workout with a friend and toss it between the two of you, you decrease the risk of causing any injury between the two of you.
The exercises you can do with dumbbells are endless—meaning their purchase is 100% justified. From isolated tricep curls to weighted deadlifts, you’ll be able to cater movements to your workout. Be sure to grab a range of weights for the strength you’ll be gaining as time progresses.
Whether you’ve been a diehard yogi for years or recently took up child’s pose, a yoga mat is for more than just yoga. Stretching is an integral part of your workout and a foam yoga mat is the perfect spot to lengthen your muscles—no matter which cardiovascular activity you partake in.
Not for the meatheads at the gym anymore, y’all. Resistance bands are the perfect accessory to control movements and isolate muscles. Gather a variety of resistances and do some arm and leg workouts (one body part at a time) and you’ll feel the burn in no time.
Because sometimes you need something to keep you going. If your workout space is a place of zen, you’ll be easily motivated to get moving and grooving more times a week than you’re used to.
If your home gym is in the basement or say, a non air conditioned room, dust off your old school fan and place it in your workout nook. A breeze of fresh air will propel motivation, keep you cool, and help the room from smelling like well…. a workout.
And you thought stability balls were for ab workouts. Invest in a rubber stability ball and work out parts of the body like arms and outer legs. If you’re really feeling fancy, get a mini stand for it so it’s not rolling over the floor during your workout.
Foam rollers really swept the market in the past few years, but for good reason. Great at loosening tight muscles, elongating the body, and reducing cellulite, what’s not to love? They’re also great for the spine and back after a long day of work.
Last but certainly not least, music… because who can workout to terrible tunes? You HAVE to have good music, to not only keep you going but to pump you up mid-run when you’re on the verge of quitting. That upbeat Bieber track keeps you going, trust.