Ultimately, the main goal for your at-home workout space will be for you to use the best of your natural surroundings while incorporating a few simple pieces of equipment, if you need them. Here are some tips to help spark your creativity and get you started.
For those who aren’t quite ready to strength train using bodyweight exercises, Lisa Northup, a NASM certified personal trainer and owner of Inergy Fitness Solutions in Raleigh, N.C. says that dumbbells are an essential home gym item. She suggests investing in a few different sets so that you can work your way up and continue challenging your muscles. But be sure to find a weight range that’s right for you; if they’re too light you won’t gain much muscle and if they’re too heavy you'll increase your risk for injury.
“Jump roping can rev-up your heart rate allowing you to get in high intensity cardio,” says Northup. “Combine jump roping with some strength training and body weight exercises, such as push-ups, burpees, and squats and you've got yourself a great workout.”
“Large heavy bags that you can lift and walk with can be great for functional fitness exercises,” says Spain. “Maybe there are paint cans in the garage. Any of these items can be used for a 30-minute fitness routine with a little imagination and creativity.”
Matt Washer, creator of ToughStrength.com says that those who want to lift heavy at home only need a few key pieces of equipment, and most of it can be obtained at a low cost. He suggests that you invest in a quality squat rack or power cage and barbell, then bargain-hunt for plates and a static bench. “Having a strength training program built around minimal training equipment makes it easily accessible to people looking to avoid public gyms and set up a home gym,” he said.
Jonathan Chant, a certified strength and conditioning coach and the owner of Fitness for Freedom suggests using water jugs as weights while performing bodyweight exercises like lunges. “The weight of the jugs and the instability the water causes will make this exercise challenging even for advanced lifters,” he said.
Chant also suggested using duct tape on the floor as a marker for agility drills, like athletes traditionally perform using agility ladders or cones. This makes for an effective cardio workout while also improving your speed, dexterity, and overall athletic performance.
“A staircase or a porch step can both be used as 'equipment' for an effective workout routine,” Spain said. Try an interval workout that involves running up and down the stairs or even use them to perform bodyweight exercises like split-legged squats or seated dips.