There are so many different pieces of fitness equipment on the market claiming to help you get in the best shape … EVER! Is one better than the others? If so, is there one that is the best?
The truth is, you don’t really need any special equipment to get into shape. Your body weight gives you enough resistance to tone and strengthen your muscles. (Have you ever done a body weight workout? They are tough!) That said, if you’re looking to increase the intensity of your workout, here are some of the most common types of equipment you could try.
With dumbbells, you can effectively and efficiently work both sides of your body separately. This can help you determine whether one side of your body is weaker/stronger than the other. Additionally, dumbbells are extremely versatile. You have an unlimited amount of options for exercises.
Dumbbells are expensive and take up a lot of room. That said, if you plan on having an entire set, you’ll need a large space and a rack to hold them.
Resistance bands are hands-down the best exercise equipment for traveling. Why? Because they are compact and can easily be stored into a suitcase (or even a purse!). Resistance bands are also great because you can decide how difficult each exercise is. For instance, if you’re doing a standing exercise (bicep curls, squats, triceps overhead extensions, deadlifts, rows, etc.) you can step on the band with one foot for an easier variation, step with two feet for a harder variation, or step with two feet and walk your feet away from each other for the even more difficulty.
While great for a variety of reasons, resistance bands are more susceptible to breakage compared to other fitness equipment. It’s no wonder why, really. When you continually stretch and manipulate a hollow tube that is made from rubber, it’s bound to crack or break sooner or later.
These are amazing for working flexibility, strength and cardio at the same time. Because you’re using momentum to bring the kettlebell up, you’re lengthening through the movement at the same time as you’re building strength to pull yourself upright. In addition, there are few moves that can’t be modified somehow. Usually, the modification is simply using a lighter kettlebell.
Kettlebell exercises can be hard. This is generally a good thing, as difficult exercises can improve your fitness more efficiently. However, because they can be difficult, your form may fail. When this happens, the exercises become dangerous, and it is much easier to injure yourself. If your form is failing, decrease your weight.
Not only are jump ropes cheap (a lower-quality rope cost about $15), jumping rope is a wonderful cardiovascular exercise. It gets the heart pumping and can burn 10 calories per minute! That’s really good bang for your buck. Plus, like resistance bands, jump ropes travel well and can fit in small bags. In addition, you can jump rope virtually anywhere. Heading to the park? Waiting for the bus? In a parking lot? Bring your jump rope. In fact, I keep one in my trunk at all times just in case!
All jump rope exercises are – by definition – high impact. You’re jumping up and down over and over and over again. If you’re not keen on jumping, buying a jump rope is probably not the greatest investment. In addition, jumping rope takes a certain amount of coordination. Swinging the rope in your hands and timing the jump just right can be difficult for many people. If that sounds like you, all you have to do is pretend you’re jumping rope without ever holding those handles in your hand.
Pull-ups will strengthen your upper body quickly as they engage many muscles in your back, arms and abs. Installing a pull-up bar in your home is pretty simple thanks to the many different kinds available on the market. You can find bars that attach inside doorways, hang from ceilings or are screwed into the wall. Plus, pull-up bars can be used for more than doing pull-ups. Other exercises include hanging leg raises, upside down crunches and hanging windshield wipers.
The main con for a pull-up bar is that you need somewhere to store it. You also need a certain amount of strength to get the full benefits. But while you might think that not being able to pull yourself up is a deciding factor in buying one or not, stop down talking yourself because there are ways you can combat this. Namely, you can put a step or stool underneath the bar to help hoist yourself up, you can get a buddy to give you a boost, or you can consider getting a pull-up assist tool.
There are many more pieces of fitness equipment available on the market. And, to be honest, it can be overwhelming trying to choose which piece to purchase. When in doubt, think about what your goals are. The fitness equipment in which you invest should help you get closer to your goals.
Need help creating goals, figuring out which equipment to purchase or want a few pre-designed workouts to complete? Let me know!