I will be the first person to admit that you don’t need much equipment in order to get an effective workout at the gym (or at home). You can easily get the job done with dumbbells, barbells and/or cables.
BUT I also will be the first person to admit that I can get bored very quickly when it comes to workouts. No joke- I’ve never completed the same workout twice. I just can’t do it! I love variety because it challenges my mind and body in fun new ways every session.
Incorporating different types of equipment is an amazing (and easy) way to completely switch up your workout. But deciding which equipment to buy can be confusing… there’s so much out there- how do you know what you need, right? So I’m sharing the top 5 pieces of workout equipment I’d recommend using either at the gym or at home in order to get the biggest bang for you buck in each and every workout session!
(pssst: click on anything highlighted in light pink to be taken to the Amazon product page)
Wow, big shocker, right? But really- using resistance bands allows you to increase the level of difficulty without adding any additional weight and really feel that glutey booty burn.
Not just any set of resistance bands though… I’m talking about wide fabric resistance bands! I’m so over my resistance bands snapping and rolling up on me mid squat. And I’m even more over my hands smelling like balloons after I’m done using them. Ew.
I recently started using these wide fabric resistance bands and they’re a total game changer. No snapping, no rolling, no balloon hands. And they work SO well for exercises like squats, glute bridges and kickbacks. Yes. Yes. Yes.
The first time I tried to do cable kickbacks at the gym I stuck my foot into one of those small generic cable handles and tried to test out some kickbacks. BIG mistake. Like don’t do this unless you want to tear your ACL. Those small cable handles are not meant for exercises like kickbacks- you can get injured so easily if you do this!
Instead, you need some cable ankle straps in your life. They give you all the freedom to target your hamstrings and glutes in such a great way. These secure around your ankle with velcro so that your knees are protected from unneeded stress. I love to use ankle straps for standing glute kickbacks, hip adductions (to target your outer/side glutes), and thigh abductions (to target inner thighs).
If you’ve been thinking that you can’t really feel a burn in your core like you used to (or as intensely as you’d like), I have your solution! Exercise sliders are the best ever for targeting your abdominal muscles. Seriously just holding a plank while you move your feet out and in, back and forth, and in a climbing motion will make your abs SCREAM. In a good way of course.
You can also use sliders for curtsey lunges, side lunges, reverse lunges, etc. I recently took a class where we did lots of these and holyyyy was I sore af from this. Something about the tension from the slider just hits your muscles (and especially inner thighs) in a totally different way than we’re normally used to. Love that.
Let’s get real. I was born with chicken wing arms. Especially my forearms and wrists… they’re just small af (I know a lot of you feel me on this), which makes holding onto heavy dumbbells tricky.
As I’ve progressed with weight lifting I’ve slowly increased my weights over time. I got to a point where I couldn’t really hold on to the weights that I needed for too long because it would freakin hurt my chicken wing (? we need a new phrase for this) wrists!
Enter: wrist weight straps. These give you that extra grip you need to be able to hold onto heavier dumbbells for squats, lunges, deadlifts, etc. without the extra strain on your wrists.
These look very similar to resistance bands but don’t get it twisted! Assist bands are great because they are extra long and are truly great for assisting movements while you’re working out. Sure, you can use them for assisted pull ups if you’re up for it, but TBH you won’t catch me dead doing these. I just have no interest in putting myself through that kind of torture!!!
Instead, I love to use them to warm up my muscles and deepen movements and improve my range of motion for exercises like squats, rows, flys, and best of all: stretching. Wait- the girl who spent forever slacking on stretching is now recommending special stretching bands?! Sure am ladies. Using assist bands are a great way to help you progressively increase flexibility and intensify simple stretches when you’re ready.
Ready to try some new workout gear?! What are you going to add to your routine first?
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