Essential workout gear

People ask me quite a bit about essential equipment to your home gym.  If you know me, you know that I advocate bodyweight exercise and dynamic workouts as much as possible.  I can recommend several great, affordable pieces of gear aimed at getting yourself fit, but I want to make sure not to neglect an equally important aspect of training: recovery.  Recovery gear is just as important as workout gear, so I can’t make a list of essential gear without including some of both. With that, here are some devices I can recommend:

  • TRX bands: These are great ways to diversify your bodyweight routines.  They enable you to push, pull, and turn from different angles in order to target different muscle groups.
  • Kettlebells: Many people associate these with the Crossfit crowd, but you don’t have to use them with that level of intensity.  These can provide great, stable resistance for lifting exercises and they incorporate into dynamic exercises better than regular free weights or dumbbells because of their low center of gravity.
  • Resistance tubing: Like TRX bands, resistance bands can be used at different angles to target different muscle groups.  Unlike TRX bands, they’re stretchy. This makes them unsuitable for bodyweight exercises, but that also means their resistance isn’t limited to the direction of gravity.  You can use them anywhere and with any intensity.

Recovery gear:

  • A foam roller.  Foam rollers are very versatile gear that I use every time I work out.  When used properly, they reduce muscle soreness and decrease recovery time.  
  • Massage sticks:  Like foam rollers, these decrease pain and recovery time, but they can often be used in different positions and in more targeted areas.
  • A tennis ball.  Yep. Use it just like a tiny foam roller to target tightness and soreness in your muscles.
  • More specialized gear: Infrared heating pads, inversion tables, and thermal lasers can all contribute to your comfort, but do what’s comfortable and affordable for you.

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