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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!
To say the last year and a half was tough would be an understatement. In fact, it will probably go down as one of the most difficult times for our modern generation. In one of the many social polls we conducted during the pandemic, some of you described this time as a sheer “dumpster fire” or “like stepping on a Lego.” And to be honest, I couldn’t agree more.
Luckily, we’ve been able to get back to some form of normalcy in our lives and wellness routines over the last several months. As vaccines became available to the public, wellness businesses welcomed fitness fanatics, haircut seekers, and massage lovers back to in-person wellness experiences. And thank goodness for that—my roots and horrible posture from working from my bed were both getting wildly out of control. This girl needed a good massage and cupping session stat.
If there’s one thing we learned from the pandemic, it’s that our wellness routines are as personal as they are important. During shelter-at-home, those routines looked a bit different. For many, it meant taking a new approach to the “typical” wellness services we count on—I’m looking at you DIY haircuts, at-home waxing sessions (ouch!), and virtual swerking classes.
Now that we can leave our humble abodes to take advantage of in-person experiences again, the word “wellness” has seemingly taken on a new meaning.
Recently, we conducted another one of our famous social polls to see what wellness means to you, our Mindbody community, now that we're slowly but surely getting back to our regularly scheduled programming. We also tapped some of our most influential Mindbody business owners about the ever-evolving wellness landscape.
Here’s what you all had to say.
According to our annual Mindbody Wellness Index, 60% of Americans say they’re more focused on their health and wellness since COVID. Consumers are now realizing they need to take greater care of themselves to optimize and preserve their health. When we asked you on Instagram how important wellness is, a whopping 98% said it was more important than ever. When it comes to how you’re practicing wellness, though, the answers were all over the board. Many of you pointed to journaling, practicing breathwork, and daily workout routines (cycling and yoga topped the list) as being the activities that help you keep your chill throughout the week.
I’m also happy to report that over 50% said you tend to feel more blessed than stressed on a daily basis—which is more than likely a big improvement. Let’s be honest, a year ago I would’ve bet a billion dollars that 99.9% of us knew no other feeling than anxiety—am I right? But even with the stress in our lives dwindling, many of you are still experiencing burnout at the end of a long work week (guilty!). But instead of succumbing to a bottle of wine for relief (please, that was so 2020), you’re unwinding by going to your favorite workout classes—with hot yoga, barre, and Pilates as your faves.
Let’s be honest, we should credit the business owners in this space for helping us reignite our spark when it comes to our wellness routines, right? Thanks to them, we’ve been inspired to prioritize the activities that help us feel our best. In turn, we thought it’d be interesting to learn what wellness means to them—and how that definition has changed over the past eighteen months.
Here’s what they had to say.
“Wellness is living in balance—mind, body, spirit. Highs and lows. It all ebbs and flows and we can navigate it a bit better when we take time to move, breath and remember who we are, and how we are connected to this big, beautiful world.” - Jess Pierno, Founder, Owner, and Chief Inspiration Officer of Yoga Heights
“Wellness is a true balancing of the mental, physical, and spiritual. It has definitely evolved over the years for me—from something that I just thought was about exercising and eating a healthy diet—to also incorporating balancing and healing internally and spiritually.” - Stefanie Patterson, Owner, Indianapolis Salt Cave and Halotherapy Center
“My sense of wellness has evolved from staying healthy and motivated, mind/body/spirit... to being more gentle with myself, less demanding. Accepting my limitations, taking time for resting, and gaining real clarity about what's important. I care less about what people think of me—difficult as a performer and as a business owner with so many demands on me—and more about getting quiet and tapping into the divine source inside of me that helps me discern my next move. In this way, I know my motives are as pure as possible and I'm not getting distracted—not that I don't make mistakes! Those are necessary, that's how we learn!” - Johanna Krynytzky, Owner, Hip Expressions Belly Dance Studio
“My studio name reminds us that we are constantly evolving. The past 18 months have certainly shown us that! Wellness to me means doing your best on any given day to make sure that you are taking care of yourself as best you can. It leads to resilience. Diet, exercise, sleep, a sense of community, and some form of faith. It all matters. Setbacks happen all the time, and every day is a chance to start again. We strive to be 'cheerleaders' for our clients when we sense that things are coming out of balance in their lives. So many have been with us for 18 years and are friends—they are our community and we all watch out for each other.” - Mo Wolfe, Owner and Founder, Evolution Pilates
I think we can all agree that there isn’t one true definition of wellness anymore. To some of us, it means getting that hot yoga sesh in daily, and to others, it means carving out time to treat ourselves to a massage or manicure. As long as you’re actively pursuing wellness—whatever that means to you—you're on the right track.
Our MO has always been about connecting the world to wellness—a term that's seen a lot of change lately. Whether you’re fully embracing the in-person experience or still delighted by the convenience of practicing at-home wellness, the Mindbody app makes it easy for you to book experiences that help you feel like YOU again.