Listed below are different items we would recommend during this time of social distancing and quarantine. With gyms and fitness clubs closed, it may be difficult to find ways to stay active. Due to less activity in our daily lives, it is important to find ways to safely continue to focus on our health and wellness. With the inaccessibility to equipment and financial hardship, we put together a list of products that would be useful to create a gym right in the comfort of your own home.
Resistance band ($8)
A resistance band is an essential piece of equipment, as weights can be hard to find or expensive. Resistance will help the body build strength and can easily be modified to each individual exercise. The ability to adjust the intensity of the band is what makes it a cost effective tool rather than purchasing numerous levels of free weights. Resistance bands can be placed in a door hinge or tied around a stationary object such as a staircase bannister. Depending on what direction the exercise needs to be in, the band can be placed accordingly. It can also be tied to itself so that you have a smaller loop to step into when using it for lower body exercises such as side steps, squats, side step with squat, hip kickouts in all directions, and bridges with a band around the knees. A few possible upper body workouts would be: rows, shoulder flys, bicep curls, tricep extensions, shoulder pull downs, and push/pulls.
A resistant tube ($11-$14) (similar to a resistant band) with attached handles can also be a good option for exercises above, the handles give a little better grip during exercises.
Exercise Ball ($17)
An exercise ball is a versatile piece of equipment that would be beneficial for upper and lower body mobility, stability, and strength. Movements and exercises for the upper body include: laying on your stomach on the ball with a single arm reach forward/side/up to ceiling, walkouts forward and backward, abdominal exercise knee to chest pikes, plank holds with feet on ball, and upper back rotation. Lower body exercises include: squats with ball against wall, sitting on ball balance, sitting on ball hip circles/hip hikes/pelvic tilts forward and backward, bridging with your feet on the ball (if too easy, try marching!), and hamstring curls with your back flat on ground or in a bridge position.
Yoga Mat ($19)
A mat is an inexpensive item that can be used in a variety of ways. Yoga mats are great for creating a space to which you can workout on. Rather than lying on a bed that is too soft and the ground that may be too hard, it allows you to have comfort while being active (such as kneeling). Mats are also hygienic; they are easy to clean and store in between uses. The mat can also be rolled up to be used like a wedge, mobilization tool, or balance equipment.
Furniture Sliders ($9)
A furniture slider is a simple item that we recommend for a variety of reasons. One, the slider is cost effective and can be used for upper and lower body work. Body weight exercises put less strain and loading on joints and are more functional in restoration of movement. Second, the furniture slider allows you to move across surfaces that are difficult like carpet. This gives you the ability to workout in a space that may be more convenient and open. Some ideas of exercises you may do are: four direction kickouts, lunges, squat with side shuffle, on all fours single arm slide, on all fours with knees hovered and do arm or leg slides with sliders, and bridge + hamstring curls. Your core will get a great workout as your stability will be challenged by controlling the gliding of the slider!
Jump Rope ($8)
A jump rope is an easy and inexpensive way to work on cardiovascular endurance. A jump rope may also be used for a good calf workout. It is important to note that a jump rope is not for everyone, as it is a high impact activity. Be sure that with any of the activities you do, that it is pain-free!
Look around your home to find objects on the “no cost items” and be creative with what may work. Attached below are the items and various exercise ideas you can do. Remember to be creative if you have an object similar to one mentioned.
No Cost Items
- Books / Wood Box / Step Stool. If you don’t have access to stairs at home, utilizing text books you have lying around the house, wood boxes, or a step stool is the next best thing. Ensure that when using any of these items, they are sturdy and stable to avoid accidents. Using a box can be useful when wanting to add in a plyometric component to your work out (ie step up and overs, box jumps, toe taps). If you don’t have a box, try looking for larger text books that you can stack together, making sure that the equipment is secure prior to exercises is important (using heavy duty tape like duct tape to secure them together). Stools can play the same
- Stairs. Utilizing stairs (if you have them) at home is a great way to incorporate cardiovascular activity along with strength. Try walking up and down the stairs, with some pace, in order to get your heart rate up. Perform a few times, rest, and go again. Also, adding this in between sets of strength activities is a great way to break up your work out and can really get your blood pumping. Using stairs for step ups, elevated lunges, or box jumps is a great way to help strengthen the lower body. If you aren’t quite comfortable doing normal pushups on the floor, elevating your position to being supported on the stairs can help build strength without compromising form. The higher you go on the stairs then the easier the exercise becomes.
- Chair. A chair can be used for a wide array of exercises like squats, split squats, step ups, tricep dips or elevated and/or decline pushups. The chair may also be used to provide a little extra support from the back of the chair when doing standing or balance exercises. It may be helpful to have a chair that has an armrest, just in case you have a hard time getting up from a squat position when performing sit to stands.
- Rolling Stool. If you have a home office then you’re probably likely to have a rolling stool or chair somewhere in your home. Find a vacant hallway or open area in your home and take a seat. Walk yourself down the hallway by digging heels into the floor and pulling with your hamstrings. You should feel this down the back of your leg. In order to work the front of the leg, stand up and start pushing the chair down the hallway. To make it more challenging (and more fun), have a family member or pet sit on the chair as you push. For an even greater challenge if you have a stool without a backrest, lie down on the chair on your stomach and use only your feet to propel you in a straight line. This will make your quads, calves, and foot muscles work!
- Backpack / Bag. Using a backpack or a larger purse can be a great tool in order to add weight to your work out. Go grab your child’s school backpack or gym bag and start loading it up with things around the house (ie. text books, soup cans, tennis shoes). Make sure that you start lighter to ensure that you stay injury free, you can always add more weight as you go. You can add a weighted backpack to your lower body exercises like multidirectional lunges, squat jumps, and step ups. A purse with good handles can be useful to use for a lot of your upper body activities, standing/bent over rows, bicep curls, front/side shoulder raises, overhead presses.
- Soup Can. We all have stocked up on our non-perishable food items like beans, soups, and tomato sauce with the pandemic, but this staple in our pantry can play double duty. Not only does it make it easy to make meals at home, but can help you build strength without having to spend money on weight equipment. Adding a can of soup or beans to any exercises adds a little bit of resistance that can help increase strength and difficulty of the exercise.
- Pillow / Couch Cushion. A pillow or couch cushion can easily be used to increase the difficulty when working on improving your balance. While standing at your desk, washing the dishes, or even watching television, add a pillow under your feet. Try just standing on it first. If you find that’s too easy, place one foot in front of the other or try standing on one leg. Adding in head turns or arm moves can help to test your stability. Also, adding a pillow or couch cushion to other exercises like squats, deadlift, lunges, pushup, all can help increase the intensity of the exercise while working on improving your balance and stability in the upper and lower body.
- Yardstick / Broom. A yardstick can be a great tool to help with spinal mobility and neutral spine mechanics, be an added accessory for stretching, provide an external support for balance or weight shifting activities as well as working as a boundary for agility or plyometric exercises.
- Towel. With increased time at home in front of the TV or computer, our bodies can become stiff and hold onto some extra tension. A simple household item like a towel gives you the ability to intensify a stretch and allows you access to stretch those tighter areas. Calves, hamstrings and neck are great places to start with your stretching routine.
- Ratchet Straps. Attach them to a sturdy bar/beam or place them in the door hinge and close the door to secure. These may be used to do upper and lower body exercise. You may hold on to them while doing lower body exercises such as squats, lunges, single leg squats, deadlifts, and modified planks. Upper body exercises include rows, reverse and regular flys, bicep curl, tricep extension, and plank variations.
- Wall. A wall is a great tool to use during a workout. It can provide some added stability during a balance activity, add extra support during a push up, be used for a wall sit, and assist with a bridge.
- Door Handle. A door handle can be used as a means of support when performing squats as well as an anchor point when working on decompression and stretching of the back. It’s also a great place to tie a resistance band when working on strength exercises.
- Laundry Detergent / Container. Most people have a big container laying around in their laundry room. These can be used to replicate a weight. Most of them have the luxury of having a handle too.
Feel free to try some of these out and give us feedback! If there is anything you use at home that we did not list, let us know! Now is a great time to get creative! If you have any questions about how to begin or modify for your needs, please contact our clinic to schedule a consultation.