Crush Your Workouts With These 11 Affordable At-Home Gym Essentials
Whether you belong to a gym, rock a ClassPass, or swear by your pilates or yoga studio, we’ve all had to adjust our typical fitness routines during this quarantine. Our homes have not only morphed into offices and exclusive, family-only restaurants but also at-home fitness studios!
However, with a dumbbell shortage across America (no, really. They’re the new toilet paper!), getting your hands on the right equipment to set yourself up for a good-enough workout can be tricky. That’s why we’ve put together this list of dumbbell alternatives plus what we consider to be at-home workout essentials, so you can still crush your fitness goals from the comfort of your own home.
Weighted medicine ball
An awesome alternative for dumbbells is a weighted medicine ball. These are so versatile in that they help to develop explosive and effective power, but also enhance speed and coordination. Plus, the exercises you can do with a weighted medicine ball are endless! Squats, Russian twists, slams, and lunges, to name a few. Check out this list of 25 medicine ball exercises to get you started.
If you have the space, this pack of puzzle piece floor tiles is ideal for building out your makeshift, at-home gym. With 24 tiles and 48 end pieces, you can cover as much of an area as you need! Not only are you protecting your floor from getting scratches, but you’re protecting yourself by having your bases (literally) covered with durable foam. Plus, these mats are moisture-resistant and easy to clean after every workout. If a yoga mat doesn’t cover enough ground for you, this is the perfect alternative!
A simple and useful piece of at-home workout equipment that will take up no space at all are gliding discs. When it comes to bodyweight-only workouts, they do wonders in engaging your core and building up your balance and stability with every move you conquer. Plus, any movement with gliding discs is a low impact exercise, significantly reducing the risk of injury. Check out this article for a list of 31 gliding disc movements you can try at home today!
Another tried, and true dumbbell alternative are resistance bands. This particular set comes with five different levels so you can adjust resistance per exercise: X-Light, Light, Medium, Heavy, X-Heavy. Not only are resistance bands compact (making them easy to pack in your suitcase once we’re traveling again), they’re also extremely versatile. While they’re primarily used for exercise, they’re an excellent tool for stretching, and physical therapists use them often to help with back, leg, and knee injuries. Check out these 22 resistance band exercises you can do in your living room!
Adjustable jump rope
For rainy days or the days you just don’t have the time for a long walk or jog, jump ropes are an incredible and effective way to get in your cardio. The burst of movement does wonders for getting your heart rate elevated, which stimulates cardiovascular health, and jumping rope improves your overall coordination. Not to mention it’s a calorie scorcher—ten minutes of jumping rope is roughly the equivalent of running an 8 minute mile! We love this particular jump rope on Amazon because it’s completely adjustable from heights 4’9” to 6’6” and available in a few color options. Challenge yourself to this 10-minute jump rope workout to get started!
Just like dumbbells and toilet paper, kettlebells are becoming harder to find, but they’re still available on Amazon! Kettlebells are a fantastic strength training option and present healthy challenges to both exercise newbies and seasoned gym-goers. They’re perfect for dynamic movements like swings and snatches, and offer mix-ups to typical workouts when you’re growing tired of the same old thing. Check out one of our favorite workout teams, HASfit, for a 25-min beginner kettlebell workout!
A stable core is a happy core, and that’s exactly what exercise balls promote. These stability balls not only improve posture and general spine health (which is why you’ve probably seen your office mates opting for them over chairs), but they’re also wildly popular for ab/core workouts and for good reason. Exercise balls challenge your hips, core, and shoulders to work together as a unit, which only betters your general athletic capabilities. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s an inexpensive piece of equipment for your temporary, at-home gym! Try this full body exercise ball workout for a challenge.
An easy and effective way to add more resistance to your strength workouts and barely notice is by throwing on ankle or wrist weights. These hands-free dumbbell alternatives can be worn during any exercise, from walking or jogging to yoga to pilates, or during a bodyweight circuit. These particular weights are made from soft silicone and stainless steel and are fully adjustable to fit your wrists or ankles perfectly. Try this 15-minute ankle weight booty and thigh workout to start.
TRX suspension ropes kit
For those wanting something a bit more involved, the TRX kit is a powerful option. Born in the Navy SEALS, TRX is a series of portable pulls and ropes that focus on seven key moments: pull, push, plank, rotate, hinge, lunge, and squat. From beginners to pro athletes, TRX is a popular source of attainable, challenging workouts and, because they anchor to just about anything (doors, beams, trees!), they’re ideal to use during this quarantine and after. No weights, barbells, or any other equipment is needed when you work with the TRX. Check out this 40-minute at-home TRX workout from one of their General Managers!
Aerobic Step Bench
Step-ups, knee-ups, tricep dips, cardio! Aerobic step benches are another amazing alternative for the days when the jump rope just isn’t cutting it, and you’re not feeling a walk or jog. Using a bench provides all the benefits of a High-Intensity Interval Training workout (HIIT) without putting added pressure on your joints. Low impact = high results. Plus, a bench is easy to break down and store at-home when you’re not using it. There are countless aerobic bench workouts to choose from, but we like this gal’s vibe and her 20-minute full body bench workout!
Everyone needs a good yoga mat, whether you do yoga or not. Yoga mats help lay a foundation to keep your back and body safe during any floor movements (no one wants to workout on scratchy carpet or cold, hard wood!) and are perfect for stretching or meditating and are portable so you can change the scenery from inside the house to out in the yard. We love Lululemon’s Lightweight Reversible (Un) Mat. At just over 2 pounds, it’s no burden to move from here to there and rolls up beautifully.