By Cody Lichthardt, Rock Valley Physical Therapy
This time of year it can be tough to make it to the gym. Here are 4 must-have items to enhance your fitness indoors. They make perfect holiday gifts for someone – especially if that someone is YOU!
Resistance bands are my favorite thing to have at home. They are super light, take up a small volume of space and are inexpensive all while providing varying amounts of resistance.
If you do an internet search for how to use resistance bands, you’ll find lots of great exercises.
I recommend having 3 different types of bands, shown here.
The first is a large continuous flat loop band. It is ideal for stretching and also movements like the banded good morning.
The second is a small continuous flat loop band that is well suited for band walks and other hip strengthening movements.
Finally, a band with plastic handles attached to the ends is nice when performing upper body exercises.
The versatility of dumbbells makes them a great addition, while needing less space to be performed than a barbell.
They also allow you to train unilaterally, meaning you can train one side of your body at time.
Look for dumbbells that are adjustable. These allow you to adjust the weight based on what exercise you are doing.
These can be quite expensive, but this isn’t the only option. You could also buy one light pair and one heavier pair and adjust the number of repetitions you are performing to match the difficulty level of the exercise.
A suspension trainer is a pair of straps or ropes that you attach to a door frame or hang from the ceiling.
They use your own body weight for resistance.
They allow you to make an exercise harder or easier just by how you position your body.
People of all abilities can use these.
To ensure your safety, I advise you get a quality product. Search out companies that use heavy duty materials.
If you plan to hang your trainer over a door, you’re going to need a door anchor. These are not included with all suspension trainers.
Mats can be used alone to comfortably do body weight floor exercises, or they can be used with all 3 of the previous pieces of equipment.
In addition to providing comfort, they can also prevent you from sliding on smooth surfaces in your home.
Not all mats are created equal, though.
Spend a little extra money to get a mat that isn’t going to allow your elbows to sink through to the floor when performing a plank!
Cody Lichthardt is a Performance Enhancement Specialist at Quad City Sport Performance and a Certified Personal Trainer at Rock Valley Health. Cody works to help others gain the benefits of training and proper nutrition. You can read Cody’s bio and other blog posts by clicking here.