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It’s true. The Doors knew it. You know it. Strange days have found us. Where we once were able to go freely from gym to gym and studio to studio for exercise and training, we're now looking for ways to build our own home gyms to maintain our once-rigorous workout schedule. The home gym has been a topic of conversation for some time, especially now, when at-home fitness routines have become the norm, and we’ve all taken to our own form of personal training. (I mean, who else is going to push you to do one more squat in your living room if you’re not motivated to do it yourself? Luckily, there is a cure for that, but let’s save that for another time.)
If you’re lucky enough to find a dumbbell these days, congrats. Same goes for resistance bands, adjustable bench press machines, and really any form of certified home gym equipment... The market has been depleted, Amazon is sold out, and even the rentals from your favorite gym are probably gone. That said, you’re probably wondering, “How do I get crafty? What are some weirder gym equipment solutions that could work? How do I still get my exercise on if my home gym is just a yoga mat in my single-room loft?” Ah, my friend, we have the fitness solutions you need right here. So, buckle up, break out your paper plates (you’ll see why in a second), grab a bottle of wine (not for that), and get ready for some new weight training, cardio, and strength-building routines that only require what’s around your house currently (and an open mind).
These are the top 10 at-home gym equipment ideas (plus 3 extra because we love you):
According to Healio, off-premise alcohol sales were up 55% in the third week of March 2020 (compared to the same time last year), which means, you may have either some full (or empty) bottles of your favorite vintage lying around.
With your wine bottle, you can recreate almost all your weight training exercises, from squat thrusts and chest presses, to kettlebell swings (careful not to drop it) and medicine ball passes.
When “this all started,” you no doubt went out and bought more than a few cans of soup for good measure and “just in case.” Maybe you got what you wanted and went through your cans already, but if you’re like me and now have off-brand SpaghettiOs's sitting in your cupboard, you can put those to use in your home gym.
Try holding a few cans when doing bicep curls, shoulder sculpts, and even in your cardio routine. Why not take your soup for a run and hold a few cans next time you sneak in a few-mile run? Talk about making training delicious, amirite?
As stated, finding dumbbells online right now can prove to be a little difficult. This should, of course, not deter you from still getting your squat on and your strength training in order.
Grab a couple of books, ranging in page count (and, therefore, weight), and try a literary bench press or two. We heard that Herman Melville wrote Moby Dick specifically because it made for the perfect goblet squat weight when you’re without actual home gym equipment. (NOTE: This fact has not been verified.) Now, you add War & Peace to the mix of home gym necessities, and you’re going to be seeing the tone in no time.
You’re going to have to wash your clothes at some point, right? Whether it’s every single time you leave your house and come back, or every-so-often, you’re going to go through laundry detergent. So, using it as one of your adjustable weight substitutes is quite convenient.
Detergent too heavy for another squat rep? Time to do the delicates. Still too heavy for a 10-set bench press? Try the heavy-duty cycle. Without proper exercise equipment, your linens may be cleaner than they have ever been before. Silver linings, right?
If you don’t have a dumbbell at your ready (and don’t want to spend the money right now), grab a backpack or a reusable grocery bag and fill it up to add weight to your favorite exercises. Curls? Yes. Rows? Definitely. Another option: add a bit of extra weight to other movements like squats, lunges, and push-ups by wearing your filled backpack.
A barbell works great at the gym but is much harder to store and use at home. So, if you’re missing exercises like deadlifts, chest presses, or rows, grab a suitcase, fill it up, and get to work. Pro tip: When you’re able to travel again (hopefully soon), you can use this on-the-go piece of “equipment” in your hotel room or at the airport.
Personally, my dogs have always been a source of cardio. Even if I have proper home gym equipment, I walk my dogs two times a day just to get out of the house and get my blood moving. Since COVID-19 started, I have been walking them three to four times per day. And, when I get bored, I’m now trying to use them as weights, given they’re both around 70 pounds.
Sliders are a great workout and crucial to many fitness routines. If your home gym is without official sliders, grab a few paper plates and get to work.
Find a carpeted space if you can, throw those plates down, and try out some sliding burpees, side slide climbs, and sliding thigh slimmers. For safety, please do not eat off the plates afterward.
If you have hardwood or tiled floors, paper plates may not move easily. Instead, try dish towels or even paper towels (if you can find them at Costco) to get your slide on.
Head to your local hardware store to find the right length(s) for you. Most of the time, bungees are rounded—so make sure you secure them, so they don't roll. Step on top, then use the cords to add resistance to curls, rows, and shoulder presses.
Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee, Muhammad-Ali-from-home style. No, you don't need a bag to get a great boxing workout. Instead, focus on form, watch yourself in the mirror, and go for it. Brace your core while you jab and uppercut your way to toned arms.
Need to stretch out your muscles after a good workout? Don’t have a resistance band or bungee cords? Enter leggings. We all have an old pair laying around somewhere, and the best part? They’re soft and stretchy.
Rachel Simhon of Bodyworks DW even used a pair of leggings to help out one of her clients virtually: "I did some jaw releases with [a client] and showed her how to move her neck with some support of like different tools that she had around. We used a pair of leggings—we improvised with a lot of different household objects to try to get her a little bit of relief."
Long story short, get creative. Wrap that bad boy around your foot and stretch those hammys to the sky, and maybe just book an appointment with Bodyworks (under “Appointments” and “Video Visits”) if you want to use it on your neck...
Sometimes home gym equipment does more than just bolster your strength training routine. In fact, if you have an emotional bond with your home gym, your kids should fit nicely into your exercise scenarios.
Depending on their age, you can find a range of workouts to do with your kids. Have infants? Try bicep curls with them in their car seats. Toddlers? Just chase them around and feel the cardio burn. Preteens? Might as well call them “resistance bands” because getting them to do anything will be a lesson in patience. Teens and up? Incorporate them into your daily exercise. Pull-up bar challenges are always fun as a family, right?
Finally, when it comes down to it, at the end of the day, you just need yourself. So long as you maintain motivation and determination, you can view yourself as your own home gym with every piece of equipment you need to work out attached. Whether it be air squats, Chaturangas, or bicycle crunches, bodyweight is the new equipment.
While the times are trying, silver linings are presenting themselves daily. Remember: keeping an open and motivated mind, as well as digging into your ingenuity and creativity, can help sustain you and your health—both mental and physical. Home gym or not, the equipment is right there.
Want to book a virtual workout and try out your new “equipment”? Browse Mindbody to find classes!
Approximately 12,000 women aged 40 or younger are diagnosed with breast cancer every year*. Fortunately, there are preventative steps that we can take to help protect ourselves and each other—one of the best ones being exercise. That’s right. Not only does exercise help us release endorphins, but just 30 minutes of exercise three to four times per week can help decrease a person’s risk of developing breast cancer by 30–50%*.
This is hope in a statistic. Just by adopting a more healthy, active lifestyle, we could prevent the risk of developing breast cancer, while also inspiring others to reduce their risk as well. Keep A Breast Foundation has made doing just this their mission through their annual fundraising campaign, Fit 4 Prevention.
Every October, studios from all over the globe participate by raising money through donation-based workout classes for the Keep A Breast Foundation (KAB). They have created a national movement dedicated to educating others about breast cancer prevention through fitness and wellness—something Mindbody is extremely passionate about. Participating in your favorite activities, all while supporting, preventing, and spreading awareness about breast cancer awareness? Let’s get moving.
If you want to take a donation-based class at your favorite studio, encourage your favorite studios to sign up to bring your community closer together in a meaningful way. Registering is quick and easy. If you think your local studio may be interested in participating, have them check out KAB’s help page—where they can learn how to register for a donation-based class during the month of October. KAB even has a social media kit available to fitness studios to help them promote their donation-based classes.
Can’t find a local studio to take a donation-based class near you? Don’t worry, you can still give your support by donating directly to KAB’s website. Luckily, any time that you are moving your body and spreading the word—you’re doing your part in spreading awareness on how to help prevent breast cancer. That is beyond amazing.
This October, we hope you’ll join us in our plight to support the KAB Foundation and its mission to help prevent breast cancer through cultivating a healthier, more active lifestyle. Through movement, health, and wellness—we can reach great heights, together.
To learn more about the KAB Foundation and its mission and how you can get involved further, visit their website.
* National Cancer Institute