With the closure of gyms nation-wide purchases of dumbbells, kettlebells and other traditional pieces of gym equipment skyrocketed. Now, if you can even find what you’re after, they’re likely 4-8 times the usual price!
But.. for the savvy and well informed, you can smash out a pretty decent workout with just your own bodyweight. We’ve been posting daily bodyweight exercises on our social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram), but there’s no doubt, having equipment not only gives you a bit more variety but also a bit more resistance.
So, we asked our exercise physiologists what they thought was the most useful equipment to have for workouts, in a lockdown, without access to weights.
Top 3 Best Things to Have for Your Home Workouts
#1 A Chair or Step
Just using a chair or a step can modify bodyweight exercises to increase the difficulty and intensity and get a decent workout. It does this by increasing the distance of movement, or adding a platform to work further against gravity.
Some examples include:
- Sit to Stand
- Split Squats
- Side Raises
- Hip Raises
- Tricep Dips
- Step Ups
- Incline or decline push-ups
- Bicep curl and shoulder press using the chair as weight, depending on the weight and size of the chair!
For more examples of easy to do, but effective, exercises using just your bodyweight or chair check out our booklet:
Or head on over to our Instagram page!
#2 Resistance Bands
Resistance bands, as per the name, provide a little bit of extra load compared to just bodyweight.
Because they’re elastic, they provide a good challenge throughout the movement. During what may usually be considered a rest phase in some exercises, you instead need to control the band so it doesn’t bounce back out of control!
You can wrap them anywhere and pretty much workout the whole body. You can wrap them around your legs, hold the ends with your hands, or wrap them around something else.
If you need to make it heavier, either shorten the band or double it over.
Here’s a few examples:
- Squats and Deadlifts
- Bicep Curl
- Tricep Extension
- Chest Press
- Resisted Push Ups
Keep an eye on our social media pages, we’ll be posting more demos there!
#3 Poles, beams or doors
Poles, beams or doors are useful tools to hang yourself off or secure other bits of equipment such as resistance bands, ropes or if you’re as creative as our NZ exercise physiologist Carmyn, Towels.
Here’s Melbourne EP James Danos showing off this single arm row, and Carmyn showing us how to exercise with a towel and door!
More Ways To Make Your Exercises Harder
Increase the range of motion during the exercise. By doing this you use the whole muscle and muscle fibres that weren’t necessarily getting a go. It can also add a little extra resistance as you move through muscle “sticky points,” which is where they are weaker. An example of this is to work towards a lower position in your squat or pushup.
Go faster. Keep the movement safe and controlled but go as fast as you can to get the muscle fatigued and heart rate up.
Use one leg, or arm. Halving the amount of limbs you use effectively doubles the force you’re having to resist!
If you are able to access more equipment we would recommend TRX or Rings, adjustable dumbbells or some fixed weights appropriate to your strength, Kettlebells or a foam roller (check out how Mae uses a foam roller here)!