Kick start your summer fitness at home with low-cost home gym equipment recommended by a trainer.
A set of dumbbells or kettlebell can be an affordable, versatile way to build strength and muscle.
For explosive power, conditioning, and a strong core, try medicine ball and jump rope workouts.
You don’t need an expensive gym membership or fancy equipment to get in shape for summer, according to a strength coach.
A few strategic pieces of low-cost gear can help you build muscle, boost your endurance, and improve overall fitness while working out at home, said Jake Boly founder of the fitness gear website That Fit Friend.
“The big thing to keep an eye out of is if you really need something and the space you have,” he told Insider. “People can invest in more than what you need. Make sure you even want to do it before you go all in.”
Start with some cost-effective picks like free weights, medicine balls, and jump ropes to help you get a great workout without breaking the bank, Boly said.
A pair of dumbbells or a kettlebell goes a long way in building strength, muscle, and fitness
If you want to build strength and muscle, it’s important to do resistance training, putting your muscles under gradually increasing amounts of stress to prompt them to grow.
Free weights like dumbbells and kettlebells are one of the simplest and most versatile ways to do strength training at home, according to Boly.
“You can do so much with them, and they’re not as expensive to get,” he said.
When picking the type of weight to use, consider your goal, since dumbbells can be better for newer athletes and static movements like squats and presses, Boly said. In contrast, kettlebells are good for more explosive, dynamic movement like swings or cleans. But both can be effective tools for a variety of movements.
To get fit with dumbbells or kettlebells, build a basic full-body workout by picking an exercise from each of four categories:
A lunge: exercises that involve bending the knees with one foot in front and one behind, as in a walking lunge or a split squat
Hinge: driving the hips back and bending at the waist to engage the lower body, as in a deadlift or kettlebell swing
Dynamic movement: an explosive exercise like a dumbbell thruster (squat to overhead press) or snatch (lifting a weight from the ground to overhead in one motion, powered primarily by the lower body)
Upper body: exercises for the back, chest, and arms, including pushing movements like presses and pulling movements like raises or rows
Start with three to four sets of eight to 12 reps for each movement Boly said. For bonus gains, focus on the eccentric contraction by slowing down the lowering or lengthening part of the movement.
A good jump rope is a cheap, easy way to get in shape
For a time-saving, inexpensive cardio option, a jump rope can provide benefits like endurance and explosive power with quicker results and less strain than other cardio exercise like running, biking, or rowing, according to Boly.
“It’s a great conditioning tool without a lot of fatigue, and it doesn’t take a lot of time or money,” he said.
He recommends working in 20-30 second intervals of jumping rope, aiming for three sets total.
Start with short bursts and gradually increase over time to strengthen your knees and ankles and improve your cardio endurance, Boly said.
Medicine balls can make your workouts more explosive and build core strength
To crank up your workout intensity, consider investing in a medicine ball, which can help you build strength, stability, and core muscle while getting your heart rate up, according to Boly.
“Med balls are fantastic for power and conditioning,” he said.
To add a challenge and track your progress over time with medicine balls (or other weights), try a density set, performing as many reps as possible of an exercise in a short time period, Boly recommends.
For example, you might finish a workout with 30 seconds of as many medicine ball overhead tosses as possible to torch your legs, abs, and shoulders.
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