If I could sum 2020 up into a single sentence it would be: “Your entire world can drastically change at any moment”. Pre lockdown I had just come off one of my best months with clients, income, and training. Then, BOOM, the whole world shut down. I definitely wasn’t ready for it by any means, I don’t think anyone was. However, now that the initial lockdown is 8 months behind me I have had some time to reflect. Now, with another possible lock down on the horizon, we need to be prepared. Obviously working out at home isn’t ideal. But, just like most things, the world will eventually circle back and a certain sense of normalcy will return. When things go back to normal those that made the right decisions will be set up for an easy return to normal activity. Whereas those that didn’t will have a much harder time getting back into their fitness routines.
Now, before I dive in to exactly what I think everyone should have at home I want to explain why keeping up with activity is important. The single most important reason is simply keeping your mental health in tact. If you are someone that exercises multiple times a week your brain literally feeds off the hormones it creates when you are active. Take this away and the depression that has already set in from lockdown will get even worse. Simply keeping up with this habit will help keep your mind active and healthy. Also, it is much easier to keep up with a habit than it is to create a new one. If you keep up with your healthy habits while in lockdown getting back to the gym will be much easier down the road.
Having the equipment listed in this post can be applicable to many other situations in life as well. Say you have a busy day at work and can’t make it to the gym. You could easily bust out a short 30 minute circuit and have a great workout at home. You can also bring most if not all of these things on vacation or to work seminars out of state to keep up with activity. So, without further ado let’s talk about what we all need. I will list them in order of importance.
1) Resistance Bands With Handles
Handled resistance bands are probably the most versatile piece of equipment on this list. They can be used for upper and lower body movements. And, most if not all kits come with a door mount for pulling and pushing movements. If you don’t buy anything else on this list at least invest in a $30-$50 set of decent quality resistance bands. If you’re a regular gym goer you could realistically do your entire routine with a set of these.
2) Infinity resistance bands and a thick piece of PVC
When the initial lockdown ensued I stumbled across an awesome Instagram account @highschoolstrengthcoach. The admin of this account was creating barbell movements using a piece of PVC wrapped with infinity bands. We are talking heavy compound moves like deadlifts, squats, rows, etc. All with a simple PVC pipe and some high quality infinity bands. These bands will cost a bit more, but are a great asset to anyone that needs heavier weight to keep seeing progress.
3) Pull Up/Dip Door mount
A pull up/dip door mount is a great asset for anyone. For those who can do pull ups and chin ups it allows you a space to do this without damaging your home. It also opens up exercises like hanging ab raises, elevated push ups, inverted rows (with the use of a chair to stabilize the feet), etc. For those without the strength to do pull ups attaching a resistance band to the pull up bar allows for assisted chin ups or pull ups. You can also perform static pull up holds or slow eccentrics to build you pull up strength.
4) A Decent Quality Bench (Plus If Adjustable)
Having a decent quality bench is a great way to train your pressing movements. Even if you don’t have access to dumbbells you can loop resistance bands around the feet of the bench and have a base of support for pressing movements. Certain benches have holes to attach resistance bands. If the bench is adjustable it allows for incline and decline movements. A bench will allow you to elevate your feet for things like push ups, and elevate your back for things like glute bridges and single leg bridges.
5) Kettlebells (Preferably A Few Different Weights)
The reason why I say kettlebells here instead of dumbbells is because kettlebells introduce a balance aspect that makes lighter weight more challenging. Kettlebell presses are much harder than a dumbbell press especially if you hold the kettlebell by the handle. Same with rows and other movements. Most people lack balance in some area so having a kettlebell allows these issues to be addressed. Kettlebells can also be used to do arm work, total body moves like TGU’s, and cardio work. Kettlebells are a bit more versatile than dumbbells and for that reason they won on this list. Buying a couple kettlebells is far cheaper than buying a set of adjustable dumbbells.
Now, if you are on a tight budget buying all this equipment may not be an option. Personally, for those on a tight budget I recommend buying a set of handled resistance bands, a dip and pull up station, and 1-2 kettlebells. Odds are you could pick up all three of those for around $100. I know $100 is not cheap, but I’m sure most of us have spent that on eating out in one meal if not one week.
Again, you never know what is lurking around the corner. With the talk of possible shut downs impending I would pick up this equipment sooner than later. Even if we don’t get shut down again having these things at home is great if you are in a bind. Stay strong everyone.
My name is Patriel Dunford and as the owner of Infinite Fitness my main goal in life is to spread good advice in the health industry and help people live healthier, longer, more fulfilling lives.