Top 5 Things for Your Mini At Home Gym

This past Christmas I didn't know what to get my dad. He enjoys working out and frequently asks questions about what he should and should not be doing. Whenever we are on vacation with the family, I  run him through a workout or we go for a run or a bike ride.  He loves it but he always complains that I don't give him workouts to do on his own. So, you probably guessed it already, but I made my dad 4 different workouts for Christmas and bought him some new gym gear to use during the workouts. He already has a mini gym going in the Basement so I just added a few things to his collection. If you have a room or even just a small space to store gym equipment, it is super easy to build an at home gym. You don't need to spend tons of money or take over a whole bedroom. With these 5 items, you can get in a great workout at home (especially for those days when you are snowed in...I'm talking to you fellow Bostonians):

1. Steps & Risers: An alternative to steps and risers would be a bench. I personally like the idea of Steps & Risers better because you can change the height and also use it as a makeshift bench.  You can perform a variety of exercises on steps for lower body(ie: Step ups, Heel touches, Box Jumps, etc), upper body (Tricep Dips, Chest Press, anything you would perform on a bench, etc) and cardio exercises (i.e.: 20-20s-- the best mini cardio workout I learned at my Physical Therapy office). Starting with 2 risers for each side of the step is more than enough and then you can build from there.

2. Dumbbells (2 sizes): Depending on your personal strength, I recommend getting two sizes of dumbbells-- One lighter pair and one heavier pair. For me personally, I would choose a 3 or 4 pound as my lighter pair and a 12.5 or 15 pound as my heavier pair.  Smaller weights for smaller muscles and save the heavier weights for bigger muscles.  If you feel like your dumbbells aren't heavy enough or challenging enough you can always increase the repetitions.

3. Yoga Mat:  I currently use a Manduka eKO light natural mat and I LOVE it.   It is a little more expensive than some other mats but I have been spending so much time on my yoga mat and it has just a little extra cushioning that really goes a long way. Gaiam and Jade also have great yoga mats! I think a yoga mat is useful to have no matter what type of floor you have.  At my parents house, my sister and I were working out in their basement which is carpeted.  Flash forward 25 minutes later, after our AMRAP workout, and both of us had rug burns on our elbows from a few too many plank to pikes.  Hardwood floors are just hard on your knees, elbows, back, bum, etc.  It is also great to have a mat if you decide to jump into a yoga class one day (then you don't have to rent one) or if you need to stretch out after a run (or a day of shoveling).

4. Stability Ball: Stability balls or Physio balls as I call them are multi purpose. There are so many different exercises you can perform with them.  The added bonus of exercising with a Physio ball is no matter what exercise you are doing you have to engage your core to prevent yourself from rolling all over your place!

5: Foam Roller: Repeat after me: I LOVE MY FOAM ROLLER!  Foam Rollers are great for sore muscles and tight muscles.  Before or after your workout, jump on your foam roller and work on some of those tough spots.  If it feels extra tender, thats where you should hang out and roller over a few times.  (Post to come on foam rolling)


These are just a few of my favorite items for an at home Gym.  You could go crazy and buy the whole gym section of Target out  but I think these five things will get you through most workouts.  Any at home gym equipment favorites I missed? Anyone have favorite exercise recommendations using the tools above?




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