If you’re looking to add equipment to your home workouts, here’s the lowdown.
Now that heading to the gym is no longer a viable option, home workouts are our best bet. It may take some getting use to, since working out at home means space restrictions, but home workouts can be as effective as our gym sessions. There is a wide range of no-equipment bodyweight exercises that can be done from the comfort of our homes, which efficiently tone and strengthen our muscles.
However, if you miss the equipment at the gym a tad too much, basic workout equipment can reconnect you with some familiar workouts. Before diving head first into a gym equipment shopping spree, consider the types of exercises you plan to do, and if you have enough storage space. If there is a specific part of your body you would like to work on during this circuit breaker period, narrow down what equipment is most helpful for your training.
(Also read: Best Buys From Decathlon Singapore For Home Workouts)
This is the perfect base for all home workouts, literally. Yoga mats give you better grip and support when working out. They come in different thicknesses, depending on the amount of cushion and support you require. If your practice usually includes gentle or restorative yoga flows that require you to hold poses for longer, a thicker mat will better protect your joints and give you extra comfort. If you’re more into dynamic or power yoga, a thinner mat will give you a deeper connection to the ground, for better stability and grip. Other than yoga flows, the mats can be used for better grip and support for any other kind of workout routines including HIIT or resistance training. This is especially helpful when doing bodyweight exercises such as planks or glute bridges, or floor-based exercises like crunches or leg raises.
(Also read: Pretty Yoga Mats That Will Motivate You To Work Out)
There are countless ways yoga blocks can help you get a deeper stretch and provide support for better alignment of poses.
Ways to use yoga blocks: For starters, if you frequently suffer from a stiff neck, take the usual savasana up a notch by placing the edge of a block under your neck to release any tension. To give your hips a deeper stretch, lie flat and place the block under your hips. Bend one knee and bring it as close to your chest as possible. Hold before changing sides. Yoga blocks also act as an extension of your arms if your muscles are too tight for practising specific poses. This includes poses such as the forward fold (to make sure your back stays straight), half moon (for better balance), and camel.
If you’re trying to master more advance poses, a yoga block could come in handy too, such as the crow pose. Place your forehead on the block and slowly bring both legs up while finding your balance.
(Also read: Best Stretches to Do After A Long Day at Work)
Dumbbells add an extra burn to your workout routine and build muscles effectively. The most important factor in choosing the weight is what feels comfortable for you: substantial enough for you to feel the burn during the exercises you want to do, yet still ensuring you’ll be able to complete the sets with the correct form. Dumbbells are especially great for working your arms and back, in exercises like bicep curls, lateral raises and shoulder presses. (Kayla Itsines’ Beginner Dumbbell Workout is great for getting started.)
Dumbbell exercises to try: If you often find yourself hunching by your desk, counter this posture with bent-over rows. Grab one dumbbell in each hand and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lean forward and bend your knees slightly while making sure your back stays straight. To do a bent-over row: Straighten your arms in front of you and pull back till the dumbbells are next to your chest, making sure your elbows are facing upwards. If you find your form giving way, start with one arm first, alternating sides.
To work your core more, try doing a plank row: Alternate your arms in the same motion while holding a plank.
Dumbbells are a great addition to your glute exercises as well, such as the glute bridge and lunges.
(Also read: 7 Reasons You Need A Pair Of Dumbbells At Home)
Resistance bands don’t take up much space at home and can be used for a variety of exercises. There are a variety of resistance bands available. This includes those with handles, loop bands, mini loop bands, and the flat ribbon ones. The flat ribbon resistance bands are the most versatile, since they can be tied together to form a loop when needed, and the length can be easily adjusted by tying as well. The band gives your workout extra “resistance” such that your muscles will have to work extra hard and you’ll definitely be feeling the burn after. Resistance bands can be used to work your entire body, and is especially helpful when working your arms and legs.
Resistance band exercises to try: To work your arms, stand with your arms stretched out in front of you, holding the band shoulder-width apart and ensure your palms are facing down. Pull the band outwards and slowly retract back. This is one rep. This motion can be repeated with your palms facing up and your elbows by your waist as well. To work your glutes and thighs, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and tie the resistance band just above your knees, tight enough so that it will not fall off. Proceed to do your regular squats but be ready to feel an extra burn.
Another simple exercise to try out is side leg lifts. Lie on your side and tie the resistance band just above your ankle. Raise your top leg as high as possible without your back arching, and return to the starting position. Repeat on the other side.
An activity we’re all probably familiar with from our childhood, jumping rope is a straightforward form of cardio that can be done without leaving the house. While burning calories, it helps improve your coordination skills and boasts numerous other benefits as well. In fact, it has been proven to be more effective than jogging.
Skipping exercises to try: Train your stamina with interval skipping. Skip continuously for a minute, followed by a 30-second break; repeat this for a few rounds. Try moving between double leg jumps, single leg jumps, and alternate leg jumps. Jump rope can also be added to your HIIT routine, to keep your heart rate up and burn some extra calories. If you’re up for a challenge, you can even attempt to master double jumps or the criss cross. Opt for a weighted rope or add weights to your jump rope to incorporate some upper body strength training.
Where to find jump ropes: A variety of jump ropes can be found at Decathlon.
For strength training, the medicine ball is a useful equipment to have. It is available in a range of weights, so choose one that is heavy enough for you to feel your muscles working, but not too heavy that it disrupts your flow of movement when working out.
Medicine ball exercises to try: The simplest exercise that can be done with a medicine ball is the overhead slam – though you might want to avoid this if you have neighbours downstairs. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and bring the ball above your head using both hands. Slam the ball onto the ground in front of you, slightly hinging forward at your hips. This is one rep. The medicine ball can also be added to the usual exercises to further work your muscles. Instead of the usual crunches or sit-ups, hold a medicine ball in front of your chest and use your core to lift yourself up as usual.
To level up your squats, hold a medicine ball just in front of your chest and lift one leg forward. Lower into your squat position on one leg, and stand back on both feet before changing sides. To work your back, arms and shoulders more, take your usual superman exercise up a notch by holding a medicine ball in your hands before lifting up.