It’s no secret that the fitness industry is always coming out with “new and improved” or “state of the art” equipment. They claim these new devices will “burn more fat” or “tone your midsection,” when in reality they are all just marketing tactics to get you to buy in. How many of you have ordered something you saw on tv that you assumed would help you BURN FAT FAST and now it just collects dust in the corner of your basement? Well, the pieces of equipment that actually work are the ones that have been around for decades. Check out these 6 essential pieces of exercise equipment for your home, or your gym!
Exercise equipment has been around for centuries. Think back to the days of the Ancient Greeks using stones as weights and animals for shoulder carries. The barbell wasn’t invented until 1910 and the dumbbells were invented in 1711! So yes, we have been weight-training and exercising for most of our existence! Whether you believe in evolution (or you don’t) you can still agree that our bodies were made to run, jump and lift. The issue today is that our society has gotten incredibly lazy and are looking for the FAST TRACK to fit. Which, as you know from following me, isn’t realistic. We no longer WANT to run, jump and lift but rather shake, shimmy and twist. Get it, like shake weights, weighted hula hoops and balance boards?! Anyways, what I am trying to say here is that we need to keep it simple. Use the pieces of equipment that have been around for decades. Because in the end, no 1 piece of equipment is going to burn more fat than another. It is all about science, food intake and hard work!
I am a huge believer in bodyweight being a great tool for fitness! We can find ways to put enough resistance on our muscles, just by changing positions and angles. Not to mention, most people can’t even do bodyweight exercises without modifications, and that means there is so much room to grow without even needing any equipment. But, nonetheless, after training for awhile things definitely become less challenging. And that is where weights come in. Adding resistance to those same movement patterns is going to help you not only get stronger, but also keep you from plateauing. I always say, you cannot do the same thing over and over again and expect different results. Let’s say you cannot do a pushup from your toes so you instead drop to your knees, overtime it gets easier and easier. Months go by and you continue doing pushups on your knees but wonder why you are not getting stronger or losing weight. This is because your muscles have adapted to that movement and are no longer being taxed like in the beginning. You must start moving onto your toes for a few repetitions to bu8ild the strength and continue to put stress on the muscle. Aka skipping the adaptation phase and just continuing to move forward! Now, this does not mean you need the new fancy and expensive equipment that keep shitting the market. You can definitely reach your goals by just using the basics and frequently changing your program. Here are a few pieces of equipment that have been around for ages and can be extremely beneficial at any leg of your journey.
Keeping it basic like a pumpkin spice latte. When people think gyms and fitness they think of dumbbells, and they should! They are a simple piece of equipment that can add resistance to any movement. Not to mention they are easy to use and can be found everywhere. They were the first piece of equipment to be invented and have stuck around for a reason; they are easy to use and there is not guessing. We don’t HOPE they work, we know they work because they have been used for centuries! So next time you are in the gym , or at home, grab a set of dumbbells and do a few chest presses, rows and squats and start building the foundation. Or feel free to try out this full body dumbbell workout!
The barbell is also a great piece of equipment, yet it is feared by a lot of people. I don’t know why a steel a rod is so intimidating, but it is. The tricky with the barbell is actually knowing how to use it. It was first invented for Olympic lifting, and has basically stayed along the same lines ever since.There is not much room for creativity with the barbell, but it backs a mean punch. Basic olympic movements like the clean, jerk, snatch and deadlift are great for building explosiveness when it comes to sports and recreational activities. They are also great for building overall strength and power, which a lot of people find intriguing! My favorite movements with the barbell include the back squat and the power clean! Next time you are looking to broaden your horizons, ask someone to show you how to perform a few movements with the barbell.
The kettlebell has been around since the 1800’s and was invented by a Russian to train weaker areas that the barbell would not cover. A very versatile piece of equipment that requires a lot of skill and stability. It looks like an extra large and unnecessary tea kettle, but acts like a cannonball for explosive fitness. The kettlebell is a great piece of equipment to build stability and power in unilateral (single arm) movements. Not to mention it is very easily swung and twisted to add a little bit of cardiovascular work into your movements. I love the kettlebell swing and single arm snatch, personally.
Everyone needs some sort of resistance band programmed into their training. Resistance bands are unique because they add resistance through the entire movement, not just the concentric (or raising) motion. With weights, it is typical that the resistance is really only put on the muscle when it is being shorted (like with a chest press, you really only get resistance on the pushing up motion). But with resistance bands you have to control the entire movement and resistance is added both in the lower and the raise of the exercise! Resistance bands can be used for some many different things because there are so many different options. You can use a simple loop to add resistance to any basic movement (bicep curls, squats, pushup) or even attach it to an anchor and use it to row or assist with pullups. You can use a resistance band with two handles to also do just about any exercise (check out my at home resistance band workout here) and they are extremely inexpensive, great addition to any home gym. And lastly there is the mini band! These bands are a newer invention, but are a great addition to the fitness equipment industry. They not only help coaches train individuals who may have a hip instability, but they also add resistance to any movement can can be taken ANYWHERE for a workout on the go! For a great mini band upper body workout, check out this blog!
TRX is a piece of equipment you may not have seen, or heard of before! They are basically a set of handles attached to two straps. It can be hung just about anywhere and can hold anyones bodyweight. They are designed so that your body and gravity are creating the resistance on your body. TRX was created by two Navy Seals who wanted a piece of equipment they could take anywhere with them and train. They wanted something that was versatile enough to get a workout, but not too big that it wouldn’t fit in their pack. So if two Navy Seals thought it was a good workout, it must be legit! You might see them hanging in your gym and wonder what the heck they are for, so ask someone to show you! They are great for doing rows (to build up to pullups) as well as assisted lunges to build the strength to do them unassisted with full range of motion. They also pack a punch for adding extreme instability to pushups and many other movements to help build balance and overall core strength.
Why is it that so few people these days can actually jump rope?! When I was a kid, which I know wasn’t THAT long ago, everyone could do it! It was like second nature like riding a bike or using a “skip it”. WHO REMEMBERS THE SKIP-IT?! Anyways, the jump rope is only really used for one movement, but it is great for building endurance and stamina. When is the last time you were able to jump for for 5 minutes…yeah, me either. If you are someone who works out from home and have no room for cardio equipment, the jump rope is the perfect tool!
There you have it, 6 pieces of workout equipment that WORKS if you put in the effort! I personally think mixing it up is always beneficial, so try out different equipment and challenge yourself. Using the machines at the gym doing 3 sets of 10 for 6 months isn’t going to change your body composition very much. So try out a set of dumbbells and swing a kettlebell around, I promise these pieces of equipment are going to help you reach your goals WITHOUT wasting your money!