9 Amazing Accessories That You Need in Your Home Gym
If you’re a fitness buff, then I probably don’t have to tell you how convenient owning the best home gym equipment can be. It may not be your primary workout spot, but having an alternative to a fitness center on days when you just don’t have enough time, is a gift from the gods themselves.
Despite how convenient they can be, I think it goes without saying that most home gyms just can’t beat the experience of a fully equipped fitness center. There’s always a machine that you need, that you don’t have available and the lack of variety can suck.
That’s why I’ve taken the time to research 9 items that’ll take your home workouts to a new level once you get them into your gym. You’ll be able to get that “gym workout” buzz right from the comfort of your own home. Let’s get started:
1. Get Yourself a Punching Bag
If you haven’t ever gone a few minutes on a heavy bag then you may be missing one of the best cardio workouts of your life. There is something very primal and natural about punching, it’s fun and helps reduce stress, as well as being easy to progress as a cardio exercise.
Performing rounds on the heavy bag is not just an upper body workout, but if done correctly can be an all over body training session with a big emphasis on core. If you are right handed you will put your left fist forward, with a slightly side on posture, by using the hips and legs you generate force through the ground to the upper body.
Make sure you wear gloves to protect your hands and the longevity of the bag, if the bag is very heavy learn how to wrap your hands properly. This will reduce your risk of wrist injuries and help you keep your knuckles flush to the bag.
For a better workout utilize round timers or Tabata apps on your mobile device, with these you can easily measure rounds and rest.
Start with 30-60secs of work followed by the same amount of time to rest, and then build up until you can last 2mins on the bag with 60secs rest.
These bad boys are a solid addition to any gym. Regardless of experience level, most people can incorporate kettlebells into their workouts quite easily since they are pretty diverse in their use.
As well as its diversity, a great thing about adding it to your home gym is that they do not take up a lot of space. Some also come in some very cool designs which can even be a talking piece if you're entertaining.
One of the exercises I see performed incorrectly the most, to learn how to do a proper KB swing seek advice and don’t just watch someone do it at the gym. Your technique should allow you to explode through the hips with every rep, whilst feeling balanced, strong and pain free. At the end your hamstrings and glutes should be on fire!
As the kettlebells come with handles this is ideal to use them for exercises such as farmers walks or overhead carries. You can challenge your body by holding the weights in a variety of ways whilst moving, above head, single arm, you can even carry different weights in each hand. All of these will stimulate your core and challenge your endurance.
10 Minute Kettle Bell Workout [Video]
3. Pull Up Bar
In my opinion, pull-ups are one of the most underrated and underutilized exercises in most fitness buffs’ repertoires. This simple move can be performed in a variety of ways that lets you isolate and focus on different muscle groups. For example, close-grip chin ups are notorious for sculpting perfect biceps while still targeting the latissimus dorsi (lats).
Wide grip chin ups focus more heavily on the latissimus dorsi but also involve the rear deltoids. If you’re bored, you can throw pull ups out of the window altogether and work in a set or two of hanging leg raises.
Pull up bars are highly versatile and add a lot to a home gym, even if you’re just looking to hang around and stretch your shoulders out.
What if you can’t do one pull up? You need more frequency and to overload the lowering part of the lift. More frequency means that instead of trying to perform multiple reps just try and do one rep but at multiple times throughout the day with large rests.
If you fail to do even one, get a chair and hold yourself at the top of the bar, lower yourself as slow as possible and try to reach 30secs to the bottom. Once you can complete 30secs you’re ready to perform one chin up.
Pull-up Bar Exercises [Video]
4. Rowing Machine
Rowing machines are an absolute blast. They provide one of the best cardio workouts I’ve ever experienced, while still challenging your muscles to grow bigger and stronger. These machines usually come with variable resistance settings that allow you to customize your workout however you see fit.
Power rows is a technique where you pull the cable very fast and powerfully but you then return by taking a couple of seconds to reach the start point. Try performing 20secs of power rows followed by 10secs light rowing for 8 minutes for a great fat burning workout.
5. Elliptical Machine
If you’re big on cardio or even if you aren’t- an elliptical is an invaluable addition to your home gym set up. When you get onto one of these machines you’re definitely in for an amazing burn. The best part is, the impact is very low impact.
Since you’re not pushing directly down into a hard surface, the impact on the cartilage in your joints is greatly reduced allowing you to go for longer than traditional cardio. The best elliptical machines also get your arms more involved than they would be in your other cardio workouts by spreading the resistance into the arm levers as well as the foot pedals.
They also typically come with a variable resistance, as well as a number of built-in cardio and strength programs, so if you ever get stuck, you don’t even have to think up a routine!
6. Adjustable Dumbbells
Dumbbells are pretty much the universal symbols of weight lifting. No gym can be complete without a full set of dumbbells available, however space restrictions in your home can make it difficult if not impossible- to entertain the idea of a full dumbbell rack.
So, get yourself some adjustable dumbbells instead. They may be a little awkward at first, but once you get used to them they are just as fulfilling as good old steel dumbbells.The fast switch between weights also help your doing things like drop-sets or pyramid sets, you can almost instantly change from 30 lbs to 10 lbs weights.
7. Medicine Balls
The wonders of the medicine ball have become more and clearer as calisthenics have shot up in popularity. These handy tools can give you some of the best core and leg workouts you’ve ever DREAMED of. Try working them into your routine to develop your core strength.
The instability of the ball as you try to crunch forces you to engage more of your core than would be possible if you did sit-ups on the floor. If your home gym is ground floor and of solid surface you should also try ball slams, lift the ball above your head with two hands and throw it at the ground in front of your as hard as possible, pick up and repeat.
Best Beginner Stability Ball Workout [Video]
8. Heavy Rope
Popularized by NFL and MMA workouts, heavy ropes have proven themselves as essentials in most gyms. These are especially useful if you want to target your shoulders in a new and fun way. Unlike other shoulder tools that challenge you to lift more weight, the heavy rope gives your shoulders a workout akin to cardio.
A few minutes of this and you’ll feel the lactic acid building up, guaranteed. You can even use the heavy rope to target other muscles like your biceps and triceps or to row weights with if you have the room.
9. Gymnastics Rings
Believe it or not, gymnastic rings are one of the toughest gym tools to use, but definitely one of the most rewarding. Rings add a wild instability to your body weight the lower you let them hang. If you don’t believe me, try doing push-ups on the rings at your local fitness center. You’ll probably find that you can’t get many reps out before you cave. Try starting with these basic exercises:
The top hold position is straight arms and a straight body with toes pointed and not touching the ground, for mastery shoot for 5 sets of 15 second holds with 30 seconds rest.
By utilising the balance you have learned in the top hold, your next task is to perform a full dip. This means bending your arms and bringing your chest to your hands and the returning. For mastery, perform 5 sets 8-12 reps with 1 minute rest.
So know you know how to pimp your home gym with some of the best home gym equipment accessories. Get going and get fit!