I was hoping you could tell me what you think is the essential gear for fitness training at home. I don't really like the gym, but I would like to be able to do some fun, challenging strengthening exercises (I already run and do some other activities like hiking). What are your recommendations? Excluding stuff like treadmills - I'm on a bit of a budget.
A lot can be done in your home with a few pieces of very inexpensive fitness equipment and a little creativity. All you need to create a full body workout anywhere in your home (or office) is a stability ball, an exercise band and a shoelace.
Begin your workout with some cardio, whatever you have time to do. Grab a skipping rope, go run around the block or simply jog on the spot or do jumping jacks. Try and do at least 5 minutes but the more you can squeeze in the better. Once you have finished your warm up and a few active stretches try this workout. Start with one set of each exercise and as you get more fit and become quicker at doing the exercises (therefore you have more time) increase to 2 or 3 sets of each exercise. Go through the series once, without resting between each exercise and if you are going to do another set do 3 – 5 minutes of more cardio before you begin the next set. Remember, if you are new to exercise or if you have any health problems that may be a concern always consult with your doctor before starting a new exercise program.
Take the shoelace and fold it in half, tying a knot at one end. You then place the knot above a hinge in a door in your home and you now have a loop that you can put your exercise band through.
Stability Ball Push up with Knee Tucks
Place your legs on top of the stability ball (the less of your legs you have on the ball the harder the exercise is) and position your hands on the ground, shoulder width apart with your chest positioned in between your hands. Maintaining a straight line from your heels to your shoulders complete one push up, making sure the ball remains still. Once you have completed the push up and are back at the starting position, draw your knees in towards your chest ensuring that your body weight remains over your hands and your lower back remains in a neutral spine position. Start with 8 of these (alternating between the push up and the pike) and work up to 10 – 12.
Cable Tricep Extensions
Loop the shoelace through the top hinge and place the exercise band through it. Keeping your arms bent at 90 degrees and tucked at your side, grasp 1 handle of the exercise band in each hand and extend your arms straight, pushing the cable towards the floor. Once your arms are straight, slowly bring them back to just past 90 degrees. Start with 15 repetitions and work your way up to 20.
Cable Core Rotations
Loop the shoe lace through the middle hinge and position the exercise band through it. Grab on to both handles with both hands and stand so the band is perpendicular to you with your arms outstretched. Connect your shoulders to your hips by bracing through your core and rotate yourself away from the door making sure you do not lean and your arms remain straight out in front and in the center of your body. After your rotation allow yourself to rotate back slowly to your starting position. Begin with 15 and work up to 20.
Lunge with a Cable Row
Keeping the shoelace in the middle hinge place one handle of the exercise band in each hand and face the doorway, standing in a lunge position. Complete one lunge and when you stand back up tall pull the cables in towards your rib cage while you squeeze in between your shoulder blades. Release the arms straight as you lower yourself back into a lunge. Start with 10 with the left leg forward, then 10 with the right leg forward and as you become stronger work up to 20.
Exercise Band Side Steps with Bicep Curls
Stand on the cable with your feet shoulder width apart and making sure that the cable is positioned under the arch of your shoe. Cross the handles over in front of your hips and hold your hands on the sides of your hips. Taking small steps sideways and work your way down the room, taking between 10 and 20 steps to the side (you must make sure that your body does not rock side to side as you step). When you can not possibly take another step because your butt is burning so bad, uncross the cables and complete 10-20 bicep curls. Work your way back with the side steps and then complete one more set of bicep curls.
Stability Ball Hamstring Curls
Lie on your back with your feet up on the ball and your hips in the air so that there is a straight line running from your heels to your shoulders and your toes are pointing up to the ceiling. You then want to lift your hips up into the air by rolling the ball in towards you, making sure your hips are always in line with your shoulders. Once you have rolled the ball in, roll it back out keeping your hips from dropping to the floor. Start with 1 set of 10 and work your way up to 20.
Stability Ball Front Plank with the Alphabet
Position yourself in a plank position on the ball and keep your body still while you write the alphabet from A-Z with your elbows. Do one set writing the letters in upper case, then, if you can, write them in lower case. The biggest mistake people make when planking is pushing their hips up into the air so make sure that your hips stay inline with your shoulders.