The gym might be the last place you can or want to go right now. Even on a good day, why pay for all the fees and travel for a gym when you can get that same workout pump at home?
We talked with Tom Holland, exercise physiologist, Bowflex Fitness Advisor, and author of Beat the Gym and The Micro-Workout Plan, about what you can do to work off those 19 COVID pounds from the comfort of your own living room, garage, or backyard.
“If you have a home, you have a home gym,” Holland says. “The future of fitness is more and more people working out at home, and doing shorter workouts throughout the day.”
Holland also adds, “Studies have shown it’s never too late to start exercising, with people in their 80s and older gaining significant benefits from starting a strength training program for the first time.”
Let’s start with the workout then dig into the home gym gear you need.
Full-Body Home Circuit
Holland suggests each exercise for 60 seconds and the circuit 2-3 times through
- Trampoline Jacks
- Sledgehammer Slams
- Bowflex 2080 Squats
- Russian Twists with Hyfit Smart Exercise Bands
- Bowflex dumbbell Push-Up / Alternating Row Combo
Finish with 3-5 minutes of foam rolling for the perfect circuit.
Bowflex SelectTech 2080 Barbell with Curl Bar – $549
“Adjustable free weights such as dumbbells and barbells are great equipment for the home for many reasons,” says Holland. “They take up a minimal amount of space while allowing for an almost infinite number of exercises.”
Between the 7-foot bar and weight plates, a full Olympic barbell could take up your entire garage. Bowflex has extended their SelectTech options past the best dumbbells and now have a 5-foot long barbell and curl bar. Thin weight plates sit on either side adding 20 to 80 pounds but are upgradeable to 120 pounds. A quick turn of the knob on the end of the bar and you set your weight. Pick it up and go. The set comes with a straight bar and a curl bar for arm workouts so you can pick your grip depending on the exercise.
Bowflex has 15 trainer-led videos on their YouTube channel but the sky is the limit for the individual exercises and the combinations. Switching weights takes a few seconds so it’s no problem to include multiple barbell exercises in one workout.
If you don’t need a full barbell, then the SelectTech 552 Dumbbells are even smaller and easier to store.
Hyfit Gear 1 Smart Exercise Bands
Often, training equipment takes up too much room at home, hence the gym, packed with massive equipment. But it doesn’t have to be huge. Sometimes the best resistance bands are all you need.
The Gear 1 smart exercise bands have taken exercise bands to a whole new level. With an integrated fitness tracker and sensors, the bands count your reps and measure the tension on the bands and your heart rate. The Bluetooth-enabled Gear 1 bands send all this info to a phone app where it keeps track of all your workouts, your BMI and your strength progress over time.
A quick-release latch lets you set your tension on the bands anywhere from 5 to 22 pounds of resistance. With over 250 possible exercises, you can quickly switch between them. Ankle and wrist straps keep the bands in place while you charge through workouts. The set includes door jamb and D-ring mounts so you can attach the bands to anything for even more options. When you’re done, attach to the USB-C powered wireless charger so you’re ready to track the next round.
Rogue Sisu War Hammer
There’s nothing quite like swinging a massive sledgehammer to get the endorphins going. Instead of going with your old-school sledgehammer, you might already have in your garage, Rogue wanted to step it up a bit.
The Sisu War Hammer is a 43-inch long sledgehammer with a loadable head. It is 14 pounds empty, and you can step it up to 20 pounds with sand or 28 pounds with lead shot. Wailing on an old tire with a 28-pound War Hammer is one hell of a full-body workout.
The head is forged from 7-gauge steel with the handle mounted all the way through for extra strength. SISU means “stubborn determination” in Finnish, a gentle reminder to pick yourself up and “Finnish” that workout.
And it looks pretty badass too.
Brazyn Morph Collapsible Foam Roller
Foam rollers have been around since the ’80s but they haven’t really caught on for the masses until the last 10 years. They allow you massage knots and stiff spots out of your muscle yourself, without having to go to a physiotherapist or chiropractor. But they can be massive and hard to store and travel with.
The Morph collapsible foam roller from Brazyn gets around this problem by collapsing flat. Its full size at 5.5 inches across is just the right size to dig into tight muscles and smash them into compliance. Just push the sides in to collapse it down to a flat 2 inches. The Morph is 14.5 inches long and can hold 350 pounds. The Alpha has a harder surface with small nubs that stick out for better penetration. The Bravo version has a smoother, multi-level surface and packs down slightly smaller.
Tom Holland explains how to use a foam roller: “Use the foam roller for 5-10 minutes in front of the TV at night to loosen sore muscles.”
Jumpsport 350F Trampoline – $379
Trampolines have come a long way from the sharp metal monstrosities that every kid fell off of at some point. Instructor-led trampoline classes, or rebounding, have become their own phenomenon. Jumpsport and its small fitness trampolines are at the center of that jumping craze.
The 350F is the folding version of their popular fitness trampoline. At 39 inches across and weighing only 22 pounds, the 350F is easy to pull out at home for a quick rebound session. The F in the name stands for folding. Just pull off the legs, fold the top in half, and it slides under your bed or into the back of the closet.
Springs have been replaced by quiet bungee cords around the jumping surface so your rebound session can be nearly silent. Aside from you trying to catch your breath, that is.
Jabra Elite Active 75t Headphones – $200
The thump of the music on your favorite workout songs is a force to be reckoned with. It can keep you going through the hardest of workouts. If you’re going to be working out in a bedroom or living room at home you might not be able to crank the tunes any time you need to work out. The Elite Active 75t truly wireless headphones from Jabra easily take the place of a set of massive speakers.
The 75t headphones are truly wireless with no cables to speak of. Nothing to bounce on your neck while running or get caught on workout equipment. Once you find a set that fits and actually stays in your head, you’ll never go back to wired. The 75t headphones are impossibly small but still stay in thanks to a shape built from Jabra scanning thousands of ears. The outer coating is slightly grippy and the three sizes of EarGels let you dial in the fit.
Before you rock out, you can run through the MySound test, a personalized hearing test for each ear to tweak your music for your hearing. Once you get rolling, tap the left earbud button to turn HearThrough on and off, letting you hear sounds from outside the earbuds. Spouse or kids being loud? Turn it off.
Scosche FlyTunes Bluetooth Transceiver
Not everything has Bluetooth yet. As all our headphones go Bluetooth, we still can’t plug into some devices. The FlyTunes from Scosche lets you turn any device with an audio jack into a Bluetooth device.
To get Bluetooth audio from your treadmill, gaming handhelds, or plane entertainment system, just plug the FlyTunes into the audio jack, turn it on and pair your favorite Bluetooth headphones. The FlyTunes even have dual audio pins for the odd plugs on planes for the audio. It is battery-powered and lasts 8 hours on a charge.
If you’re with your partner or friend, have them pair too. The FlyTunes can pair two devices to listen to the same audio. Want to watch that movie with everyone asleep in the house? Just plug it into your TV.
Closing Tip: Keep it Micro
Holland says, “Studies have also shown that exercise does not have to be continuous to be effective: Three 10-minute bouts of exercise have the same benefits as one 30-minute workout (and you’re more likely to do them!) Do “micro-workouts” throughout your day. For example:
5-10 minutes on the trampoline to start your day, benefits are physical as well as mental.
Do a 5-minute arm workout with the Bowflex dumbbells after lunch to tone and sculpt your shoulders, biceps, and triceps: Overhead shoulder presses, biceps curls, and triceps kickbacks. Three circuits of 10 repetitions
- Use the foam roller for 5-10 minutes in front of the TV at night to loosen sore muscles
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