Getting to the gym everyday is nearly impossible for us busy mamas, and not all of us have a full home gym at our disposal to use in a pinch either! The good news is that there are some simple (and relatively inexpensive) tools you can use to completely transform your body right in the comfort of home. And for those of you who ARE avid gym-goers, use these tools to take your workout to a whole new level! Here are my top 5 gym essentials:
- Resistance bands: Trying to work your bottom half and build that booty? Look no further! These resistance bands are amazing—I use them during many of my lower body exercises to take my workout to the next level. From monster walks and glute kickbacks, to hip thrusts and squats, resistance bands will supplement the move and force you to engage the medial glutes. The result? Some nicely rounded and sculpted peach buns! If you buy the brand I link to here, I recommend buying both sizes—small/medium and large/extra-large—as both sizes are useful for different movements. The sm/md is optimal for moves like close stance stiff-legged deadlifts, banded hip thrusts, and banded squat walks. The lg/xl creates more room and is perfect for squats, or really for a newbie to the resistance band. See pics at the bottom of the post for an example of how to use…
- Weight belt: If you didn’t catch my waist trainer post last week, you can still check it out here for more thoughts on why my weight belt is one of my favorite training tools. Honestly though, it’s pretty simple. While I am also well aware of the benefits of having proper support by a weight belt during heavy lifting, I actually use my belt for a different purpose. Cinched tightly, my weight belt reminds me to do a few important things: 1) suck in, or “vacuum,” my belly button towards my spine, 2) engage my core and flex my abdominal muscles, and 3) expand my chest. This simple cue to engage my core is crucial to my regimen and should be to yours as well. Believe it or not, vacuuming and the engagement of my core at all times is actually the only “ab exercise” I do! I kid you not. So simple, but extremely effective in creating a toned, strong core, as well as a narrow waist and good posture.
- Cable ankle cuffs: Okay, so maybe these really aren’t a home gym must-have, but they are one of my faves for building a better booty. Cable glute kickbacks are a game-changer…if you aren’t doing them already, you should! While many gyms do have these cuffs already, there is nothing more annoying than having to search high and low for them, only to find them already in use! They are relatively cheap and totally worth having one or two to bring with you to the gym.
- Kettle bells: In a perfect world, everyone would have two adjustable weight kettle bells at home to use for almost every exercise. But, if that’s not a possibility, I would strongly recommend having at least one adjustable weight kettle bell that can be modified according to your needs and the exercises you’re doing. Kettle bells can be used for essentially every weight lifting move in the book: squats, lunges, shoulder raises, tricep extensions, and, of course, kettle bell swings. The options are endless, and these little powerhouses can really provide you with exactly what you need to get a good muscle burn right at home.
- Heart rate monitor: By far, the best tool you can use to transform your body and turn fat into muscle is…your body! Seriously. Knowing your ideal fat-burning heart rate zone is absolutely essential to getting the most out of your workout. With a portable heart rate monitor, you can track your HR to make sure you’re getting the most out of your workout AND staying safe at the same time. To find your ideal heart rate range for your individual goals, check out this chart.
Happy lifting! See below for a few examples of different moves spoken about above (plus, here’s a look at my favorite Squat Sponge):
Banded Hip Thrusts:
Banded Stiff-Legged Deadlifts:
Side Squat Walks:
Any move (cable rope pulldowns here)…while vaccuuming 🙂 :
And here’s a list of workouts that can be done at home!