Upgrade your at-home strength training sessions with the five pieces of kit that fitness trainers swear by.
There are a myriad of exercises that only require bodyweight, from press ups to squat jumps, so you can get in a killer workout with nothing but yourself. But with no end date to the coronavirus crisis in sight, now feels like a good time to pick up some tools to help you keep your workouts diverse and exciting (and before all the equipment sells out…).
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So, Strong Women asked trainers their most essential working-out-from-home piece of equipment, and this is what they told us:
“Kettlebells are so versatile,” says Strong Women ambassador Caroline Bragg, who recommends getting both a light, say 6-8kg, kettlebell and a heavier one, around 14-16kg.
“With the heavier ones you can work on your lower body, doing squats, deadlifts, lunges and kettlebell swings. With the lighter one, you might focus on upper body work, including shoulder presses, rows and lateral side bends.”
Caroline also loves using kettlebells in her workout because their shape activates the core more than a dumbbell would, as the weight isn’t as evenly distributed.
“With the coronavirus situation constantly changing, who knows when you might need to pack your bags to get to your relatives, for example,” explains Emma Obayuvana, a Strong Women ambassador. “Bands weigh nothing, can be thrown into your bag, and are a really effective way of adding resistance to your workout.”
Emma recommends getting both a small loop and a longer loop in different sizes and resistance levels. “With the little bands you can do squats and lunges, or a favourite of mine is putting your hand in the band and doing travelling press ups. Then do rows, bicep curls, tricep extensions and thrusters with the long one.”
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“Dumbbells are easy to control, so you can add more load to exercises to improve bone density, tendon strength and muscle strength, as well increasing the heart rate,” explains Jason Bone, head of strength at Flex Chelsea. Not bad benefits for something you can do in your living room.
“What I love about at-home dumbbell sets is that most of them come with plates you can screw on and off, so you can easily change the weight,” says Strong Women contributor Chloe Gray. Then you can then do everything that you normally would in the gym, such as RDLs, goblet squats, shoulder press, and rows.
A yoga mat
“I don’t like doing sit-ups on a hard floor,” says fitness editor Meriam Ahari. “A yoga mat really helps to cushion my back when exercising my core. Plus, when I roll out that mat, I get into the zone because it helps to differentiate ‘workout’ time when I’m exercising in my living room.”
Use your mat for supporting your strength training exercises that require being on the ground, like weighted glute bridges or press ups, or during an end-of-the-day yoga sequence.
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“I definitely couldn’t be without leg weights,” says Rhian Cowburn of Strong + Bendy. “It’s amazing the difference even 0.5kg can make to your usual core moves like teasers, bicycle crunches and double leg lifts.”
But before you jump into weighted core work, Rhian recommends perfecting the moves without weights before adding in the extra resistance: “If you’re struggling with the basic moves, adding in weights will do more harm than good.”
Want effective at-home workouts? Follow @StrongWomenUK on Instagram for the latest workouts, delicious recipes and motivation from your favourite fitness experts.
Chloe Gray is the senior writer for stylist.co.uk's fitness brand Strong Women. When she's not writing or lifting weights, she's most likely found practicing handstands, sipping a gin and tonic or eating peanut butter straight out of the jar (not all at the same time).