The 3 most effective pieces of at-home workout equipment you should buy, according to top fitness professionals
- With gyms closed, and people self-isolating and social distancing across the world due to the coronavirus pandemic, home workouts have never been so popular.
- While much equipment, like Peloton bikes, has been selling out online, there are still some items you can get your hands on.
- If you don't want to spend a fortune but are keen to invest in one or two items to level up your home workouts, make sure you choose one of the most effective and versatile pieces.
- A kettlebell, a set of dumbbells, or a short loop resistance band would be the best items to buy, three fitness experts told Insider.
- Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.
As the coronavirus pandemic sweeps the world, most people are following official guidance by social distancing, working remotely, and staying at home.
With gyms and fitness studios closed, we're all turning to home workouts in a bid to maintain our strength, stamina, and sanity.
And the fitness industry has responded in a big way, with the vast majority of trainers and gyms livestreaming free workouts and launching new online packages in a bid both to help people and stay afloat financially.
One area of business that is doing very well in the current climate, however, is home exercise equipment.
There's only so much you can do with your bodyweight alone, so many people have been rushing to buy anything they can get their hands on: cardio machines, weights, and yoga mats are all selling like hotcakes online.
Plenty of people, however, don't know where to start.
Based on the optimistic assumption that our current lifestyles are temporary and we will ultimately be able to go back to normality, many of us don't want to spend a fortune on home workout-equipment — but we want to get something.
With that in mind, Insider asked three top trainers to share their number one home fitness item to invest in.
"If I had to choose just one piece of equipment for training at home, it would have to be the kettlebell," said Rich Tidmarsh, strength coach and owner of Reach Fitness gym in London.
"And if you have the budget and space to get two, three, or four of them, do it!"
Tidmarsh explained to Insider that he believes a kettlebell is the most versatile piece of kit that can be used to create workouts that develop your strength, power, and core.
"Yes there are crossover movements with the dumbbell, such as clean and press, but using a kettlebell allows you to more easily flow through a workout, working all of the essential movement patterns," said Tidmarsh, who is currently offering live home training sessions via Zoom.
"The one down-side is that some of the movements take a little more time to build the skills to perfect them, but right now, staying safe at home, you have plenty of time on your side."
Watch Tidmarsh, who recommends buying from Jordan Fitness, demonstrate a full-body kettlebell flow workout on Instagram here.
If you're unsure what weight to start with, Tidmarsh recommends 6-10kg for beginners, 12-16kg for intermediate, and 18kg+ for more advanced people.
Equally useful is a set of dumbbells, and they're the kit of choice for Laura Hoggins, author of "Lift Yourself" and trainer at London's the Foundry gym.
"It's a huge task to choose between my beloved kettlebell and a pair of dumbbells, but if I was forced to choose, I would say the latter," she told Insider, adding that not only can you do "almost anything" with dumbbells, but they're extremely stable.
"Physically the weight is distributed evenly and you can do both bilateral and unilateral work with solid grip," explained Hoggins, who is currently running free home workouts on Instagram Live, that can be performed either with dumbbells or just bodyweight, at 7 a.m. every day.
"Also, I am all about that incremental progress, and dumbbells come in smaller increments relatively. And they're fantastic for concentration curls, possibly the most important exercise of all time."
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💪🏽 STAY STRONG AT HOME Hello team! Here is my LIVE DB strength workout from this morning. Swipe to see me coach you through each move if you fancy it. If you also fancy chilling out and watching Netflix, that’s cool too. Select 2x medium DB’s and find some space near the sofa/chair! 1. Staggered Stance RDL’s x10-12 2. Single Arm Assisted DB Row x10-12 each arm 3. Rear Foot Elevated Split Squats x10-12 each leg 4. Seated DB Military Press x10-12 5. Glute Bridges x 12-15 6. Push-ups x10-12 After each round hit a little finisher, 90s AMRAP 6x squat jumps, 6x push ups, 6x climbers & 6x sit-ups. Have fun! Take it slow and focus on your form, quality reps! Any questions let me know. Lx
Knowing what weight to choose, however, is the first hurdle for many people.
For complete beginners, Hoggins recommends selecting 3-5kg dumbbells and focusing on moving with good form. If you have some resistance training, go for more.
"A good test would be to find something that weighs about 5kg and press it slowly above your head 10 times," she said. "If you can complete all the reps but the last few were a challenge then that's your weight, but if you could do 20 more maybe you need a heavier weight."
It's also worth bearing in mind that you'll likely be able to squat more than you can press or pull, so if you can, try and get some options.
"Unfortunately most places are struggling to keep up with demand as you can imagine, but my go-to places are MiraFit, BLK BOX, Strength Shop, and Bulldog Gear." said Hoggins.
3. Short-loop resistance band
Resistance bands are some of the most versatile and affordable pieces of home workout equipment you can buy — plus they're convenient as they take up next to no space.
While there are various options to choose from, if you only get one type, Anna Whiteside, Co-Founder of Australian fitness brand Unit Nine, recommends a short-loop resistance band.
"Mini bands are my absolute favorite," she told Insider. "I take them everywhere with me, they are so good!"
Whiteside explained that it's the versatility of the bands that make them so useful.
"You can use them when injured for recovery, to warm up for activation, to create extra resistance for your strength training program, they're great for stretching, can be used for so many different exercises for lower and upper body, and you can get different levels of resistance," she said.
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