Home exercise equipment is becoming a must-have for all fitness enthusiasts in these Corona lockdown days.  Millions of people worldwide who have been exercising regularly earlier as well as now have got their whole routine changed. 

First, all of us had to rush inside to stay in our bodies.  Some of us stopped exercising for some time.  But then couldn’t stay out of action for long.  Others continued without a gap of a single day.

The gym members who were stopped from going out by their kith and kin started their workouts at home. Runners started running in their homes only.  Imagine thousands of us running in our small flats in big cities for hours together to complete the daily quota of running a 5k, 10k or even 21k in some instances.   Such is the craze for fitness.  Scores of rounds from the main door, via the living room, kitchen, washroom to the last bedroom and back to the main door.   In many cases even the family dog running alongside.  

Necessity of Home Exercise Equipment

Those who were going to gyms earlier felt they were doing incomplete workouts without their proper gym equipment.  The home workout equipment sale zoomed to never before heights.  People bought all kinds of equipment to compensate for going to gyms.  Best home workout programs were started.

Initially, some of us started doing our morning routine workouts in our night suits only but soon realized that unless in proper workout clothes you don’t feel ready for the workout.  I started wearing my workout t-shirts and shorts along with running shoes to do the workout on the society terrace.  

I too felt the need for various home exercise equipment for my workouts.  I was not interested in equipment like treadmills, exercise bike, cross trainer, stepper, rowing machine etc.  My criteria for buying equipment was

  1. These should be inexpensive.
  2. These should not occupy much space
  3. I should be able to exercise my whole body with these.

Over a period of time, I bought these from Amazon & Decathlon.  Following is my collection as on date.  In fact, if you have these then there is no need to go to a gym at all.

Resistance Bands

The best part about resistance bands is that these are lightweight, flexible and can be tucked in anywhere.  These can be used in isolation or in combination with certain existing exercises.  Can add additional strength to weightlifting or dumbbells.  These come in various colours depending on resistance levels.  So the same set can be used for small or week muscles to main or big muscle groups.  Members of my tribe can also use these.   I can exercise my whole body with bands.

There is a basic difference between doing an exercise with a band and doing the same with a dumbbell or some other weights.

  1. It is easier to carry the weights towards the end of the movement due to the leverage which reduces the tension in the muscle. 
  2. In case of a band the higher you lift your arm, the harder it becomes due to the increased resistance of the band. 
  3. While pulling up a dumbbell is difficult in the beginning and easier at the end, it is opposite in case of a band.  
  4. While a workout with a dumbbell is working against gravity that is down only, workout with a band can be in any direction so it is more effective.

Buying a Resistance Band

  1. Choose between a strip and a tube design. A strip is more cost-effective but less durable. It is better for beginners. You can buy a whole set comprising of various colours and resistances.
  2. Tube design is more durable. Comes with handles You can do more workouts with it. It usually does not come in sets.
  3. Tube design comes with various features such as door attachments, removable handles, clips, ankle cuffs and rings.
  4. Buying a starter kit is recommended as initially the no. of exercises and the proper ways to perform those is not clear.

Yoga Mat

This is the most common home workout equipment found.  It comes in various colours, materials, at various price points etc.  Its main utility is providing insulation against the ground and prevention from slipping.  It is known as a Yoga mat although all kinds of workouts are done on these.  Nowadays these come with bags and slings so carrying them is easy.  One crazy reason for using a Yoga mat is that it gives you a personal space while performing in a group. 

Buying a Yoga Mat

  1. These come in various materials like rubber, cotton, Jute etc. 
  2. They also come in various thickness ranging from 0.5 cm to 3 cm.  You may sometimes buy mats thicker than that even but then you lose the essence of a yoga mat itself. 
  3. Do not buy a very thin mat also.  It will not be very comfortable on the hard floor surface.
  4. Do check a mat for its stickiness before buying as a slippery mat is not comfortable for doing asanas. 

Suspension Training System

These are the perfect trainers for home use.  You can do a full-body workout with these comparable to any kind of exercise.  These also work on the principle of using bodyweight and any muscle group can be exercised with it.  These use straps to suspend your body, thereby using the bodyweight as resistance.  Excellent for building core strength.  These also improve body balance.  Initially, it is found to be slightly difficult as one has to get accustomed to balancing the body.  Like resistance bands, these also do not require much storage space and can be carried anywhere.   

While buying a Suspension training system be aware of

  1. Good Quality Straps – The most crucial part.  They have to hold your bodyweight so be doubly sure.
  2. Strong Anchor Points – For the same reason, the anchor point should be extremely reliable and strong.
  3. Portability – You should be able to carry it anywhere so it has to be lightweight
  4. Comfort Grips – The grips have to be slip-resistant and should be padded to ensure comfort even after a prolonged use
  5. Instruction booklet – If you are a newbie an education DVD or a booklet will be very useful.

Kettlebell Weights

The best part about Kettlebell is that most of the exercises associated are full-body exercises.  And most of these exercises are cardio.  This is another all in one total body conditioner.  It improves core strength and stability thereby increasing coordination.  One can do some serious fat burning workouts with it.  It helps build lean muscle due to which is very helpful to athletes in improving their performance.  It increases the range of mobility.   Helps improve posture.   Cures muscle imbalances.  A single Kettlebell is enough.  But don’t buy a very light or a very heavy one. 

Buying kettlebells for the first time you will have to know the following

  1. The handle is big enough for you to hold with both the hands. 
  2. The space between the handle and the bell should just be adequate.  If it is less it will dig into your wrist if more it will dig into your forearm. 
  3. The kettle should not be fully round but rather oval-shaped.  A fully round one will again dig into your forearm. 
  4. Vinyl or plastic coated handles are fancy looking but not needed.  They will be too smooth and will slip due to sweat and will hurt your hands with their seams.
  5. Avoid kettlebells with a base though they look attractive.  The base digs into the forearms when you raise them.
  6. So a cast iron kettlebell with all the above characteristics is good enough

Adjustable Plyo Box

This is another very interesting home workout equipment.  It makes exercise fun.   Box jumps, the most explosive of them all greatly strengthen your legs.  Every muscle of your body is engaged, be it calves, quads, hamstrings, glutes, core, arms or any other.  Due to this, over a time you improve your balance and posture as well.  Step-ups is another great exercise to tone your glutes and total midriff.   Then there are box pushups, calf raises and dips. 

While buying an adjustable Plyo Box keep the following in mind

  1. Edges should be rounded and not sharp to prevent injuries
  2. The jumping platform needs to be as wide as your hips
  3. The stool type plyo box should be solid and sturdy and should not wobble or seem unstable.
  4. All screws and bolts should be sunk in or they will hurt if rubbed against.

Jump Rope

Jump rope is one of the most underrated exercises.  You can improve stamina with it.  It helps in burning calories, improves coordination, strengthens bones, lowers injury risk, and improves heart health.  For beginners, even 2 minutes of jumping rope can prove to be very difficult.   There are fifteen different jumping rope exercises which can be done and mastered.

While buying a Jump rope keep the following in mind

  1. Length of the rope – It should reach your armpits or the overall length should be three feet taller than you.
  2. Consider the surface on which you are going to jump and buy accordingly.  A steel cable wrapped in vinyl is good for outdoors.   A leather one looks good but is not long-lasting outdoors.
  3. Buy heavier ropes if want to burn fat and buy very light ones if you are going to do lots of tricks with it.
  4. Check the handles – They have to bear heavy friction so if you are going to jump a lot then it should have a ball bearing system.

Adjustable Dumbbells

Dumbells are also very effective equipment for exercise. In fact, these are better for joints than barbells.  Adjustable dumbbells are even better as you can use a single set for various exercises and for all the members of the family.   You can do a lot of exercises with dumbbells.

While buying adjustable dumbbells keep the following in mind –

  1. Adjustable dumbbells are an economical choice for home use.
  2. Dumbbells with knurled grip are more reliable as they won’t slip out of your hands.
  3. Buy hexagonal dumbbells with rubber or urethane grip as round one will just roll off and cast iron ones will spoil the floor