Over the past year and a half or so, I’ve taken the time to learn the best workouts for my body. I’ve noticed it’s less about big machines, and more about resistance training and HIIT (high-intensity interval training), plus some cardio and yoga mixed in. Now that gyms are all closed, I am grateful I at least have a jump start on how to effectively work out at home or with very limited equipment and resources. I am by no means an expert, I’m just a girl who’s done some trial and error, and invested in some time with a trainer to maximize what I’m doing, particularly as I enter my 40s.
If you’re looking to find new ways to work out at home and just move your body, I wanted to share some of my favorite home workout equipment ideas. I find that exercise really helps clear my head in a way that is needed for me to function. That said, rest is equally important and naps have been happening more often. If your body needs to rest, don’t fight it.
So before I jump into equipment recommendations, you might be thinking, that’s great… what do I do with this stuff? Preach sister, I get you. This is where I LOVE social media! Instagram (and YouTube) has SO much amazing, free content; I started following more trainers and “fitness influencers” and use the “save” feature for moves and sequences that I think I’d like / would benefit from.
Here’s what I do: create an Instagram saved folder for workouts (I also have for recipes, travel, home, etc) and then save posts there. How to do this? On a post, it’s that little flag to the right… when you hold it down it lets you save to the specific folder; you can see a screen shot of my workouts folder below. A few of my favorite follows for at-home workouts: @livfigueroa (also offers online training, which I just signed up for) @ashleigh_jordan, @fitwithasd, @gainsbybrains, @caraloren, @homeabs and @dannibelle. A LOT of these and other trainers are also doing Instagram Live sessions, which I’ve been loving and are more motivating; just look for time announcements on their feed.
OK… here are my home workout equipment ideas:
Resistance bands: a workout essential! Feel the extra burn on so many movements with these resistance bands for just $11; a set will include light to extra heavy resistance depending on the movement and your level.
Ankle weights: another fantastic way to create toned, lean legs by further activating your muscles with the added weight. If you can’t find hand weights (they’re borderline impossible to come by right now!), I’ve also held these during a workout — squats, etc — to add to my workout. I have these, and this set looks like another great option.
Hand weights: I have a 2 and 5 lb set and could really use an 8 lb but they’re currently sold out EVERYWHERE. I’m linking below to a few lower weight options I’ve found and also hopeful these will start to come back in stock. In the interim, utilize other effective, inexpensive options like a resistance tube or hold your ankle/arm weights, when feasible.
Exercise ball: do exercises on an exercise ball to further activate and strengthen your core, increase stability, improve posture and stamina, and much more. There are also so many dedicated exercises you can do on an exercise ball. And parents, kids love playing with these too!
Airpods/headphones: music is EVERYTHING during my workouts and my airpods were one of my best purchases ever. That coming from a girl who regularly loses things, too! Not having the headphone wire makes almost every workout infinitely easier and less cumbersome. I did a review of them here. If AirPods are beyond your budget, check out dupes, like this pair which have fantastic reviews and are just $30.
Quality footwear: particularly if you’re doing any running, invest in quality sneakers. I cannot say enough good things about Brooks — I went to a running store a few years ago and they recommended these, and I’m now on my third pair. They are so well constructed, come in a ton of colors, and have a thicker sole (unlike Nike where it feels like I’m running with bare feet, the worst). I also exclusively wear Balega socks (so worth it), and last year a sports physical therapist suggested these insoles, which provide me much more support and stability.
Workout clothes / sports bra: I don’t know about you but I’m infinitely more motivated to work out when I feel good in what I’m wearing. Forgo that baggy tee from 20 years ago, get a sports bra that fits you and a pair of leggings and bike shorts that make you feel your best. I now buy 80 percent of my workout clothes on Amazon for under $20-$30 each so I promise you don’t need to spend much; these are my favorite shorts (I have three pairs!), and these are my favorite leggings (a nearly identical dupe of the Lululemon Aligns). Target has also really upped its game more recently, and had so many good, stylish options.
ALSO: Athleta just announced its Friends and Family sale — 30% off EVERYTHING! I LOVE Athleta — I recently got this sports bra (though they have so many ultra supportive styles too), I have quite a few pairs of their leggings from over the years, and they also make the best bathing suits in every silhouette imaginable.
…. so that’s what I got; here’s all the items in one place, and share in the comments any favorite exercises, tips or tools you have, too!
And if you don’t want to do any of these things at all, which is completely Ok, try just going outside, feel the sun on your face and body (which is why I only wear a sports bra — the tan lines are getting amazing by the way, lol), blast some fun music, and just walk or run a little. I have never not felt better after doing this.
What are your home workout equipment ideas? Let me know in a comment below!