Less than 3 weeks from now and the joys of Christmas will be upon us. If we’re lucky we may have loved ones who ask us the question “What would you like for Christmas?” and on the flip side there will be people you have to buy for. But what do you/they need?? What is essential?
Our health is essential, thats what. One of the best ways to improve your health is to do more exercise so why not ask for/ buy exercise equipment this christmas? Shopping for exercise equipment is a bit of a mine field as there is so much crap out there, pardon my french.
Where do you start? Luckily I’m here to give you a short list of what I think are ‘Exercise Essentials For Christmas’. I’ve even put a link for each item so if you like what you see just click on the link and get buying. The items below aren’t just randomly selected, I’ve been using exercise equipment for nearly 20yrs now so I have a pretty good idea of what works and what doesn’t. I’ve narrowed it down to the best budget friendly and functional bits of kit so look no further.
For less than £50…
I personally think every household should have a pair of dumbbells in it. They can be used for so many different exercises and adjusted to suit the user and their goals. You don’t need a bench but it can help add more variations in order to hit even more muscle groups.
This 20kg Dumbbell set by York is great value and you’ll only ever need to buy one set!
- They will never break
- You can increase/ decrease the weight in 0.5kg increments which is perfect for gradual improvement and muscle gain whilst minimising the risk of injury.
- You can buy more weight as and when you need it, the 5kg plates for example are perfect for when you’re ready to lift more.
- They can be used for upper and lower body workouts.
- They are cheap. You will never need to replace the cast iron ones so you only buy them once.
If you have the space and are looking for a bit more luxury then a set of the fixed ‘Hex’ dumbells are a great place to start. They have a lovely feel and are perfectly balanced. If you have a selection of different weights you won’t have the faff of unscrewing and replacing the weight plates each time.
2. Pull Up Bar
This is your answer to a balanced home workout. Press Ups (require no equipment) work your ‘pushing muscles’; chest, triceps, front shoulders, Pull Ups and Chin Ups work your ‘pulling muscles’; back, biceps, rear shoulders.
Easy to set up and adjust, takes up minimal space and doesn’t need to be put away after each workout. My pull up bar (above) is testament to that, still going strong 20yrs on!
3. Foam Roller
Cheaper than paying for a massage but not quite as enjoyable. Great bit of kit to promote healing an aid recovery.
Refer to my previous blog on resistance bands. Extremely versatile, cheap and very effective.
5. Swiss Ball
Takes up a bit more space but can be used as a bench (chest exercises in particular), stretching tool and doubles up as a chair (right) for anyone wanting a concrete core.
The picture on the right is taken from my ‘Office Workout‘ on my up and coming website ‘Six Pack Supermarket’. Hopefully launching in the new year!
These are an extremely versatile piece of kit that can be used at home, used in the garden and even taken on holiday with you. You can attach them to trees (below), doors, cars… anything that is secure.
The instability of the straps promotes a more natural range of motion and demands more muscular involvement and therefore burns more calories. There is an extremely wide range of exercises at your disposal that hit every major muscle group, from begninner level right through to advanced fitness users.
I’ve had TRX straps for nearly 5 years now and I’ve taken them camping with me. They take up very little space but are really effective for ‘gains’. If you struggle with muscular imbalances these are your solution.
2. Rowing machine
Total body fitness is about more than just resistance work. Cardio exercise plays a massive part in overall health, neglect your heart and lungs at your peril. Of all the cardio machines on offer the rower gives you more bang for your buck.
- Rowing challenges the upper and lower body at the same time
- It is low impact on your joints
- The machine can be folded away
- Improves strength AND endurance
- One of the most effective calorie burning exercises you can do
This is the most expensive of the three but you could argue it is the most effective. In terms of what to buy then look no further than the classic Concept2 Model D
The perfect exercise to burn off the Christmas calories!
Store any fitness equipment in a separate room in the house, ideally somewhere you will actually exercise, NOT in your bedroom. Your bedroom should be associated with sleep only!
A garage is ideal as it tends to be a bit cooler and more airy so better for a workout. It is good to exercise in a certain zone so when you enter that room your mind and body knows its time to go to ‘work’.