Not everyone has the time or money to get to a gym. For example, I train every day for about one hour and 15 / 30 mins depending on the day, but on top of that, it takes me 45 minutes to get ready and to get to the gym, and then another 30 minutes or so getting showered and changed after my workout. That's about 2.5 hours each day and I know some people just don't have the luxury of that time. A home workout might be a viable option, but what do you need? In theory, you don't need anything - bodyweight exercises are extremely effective, but this blog isn't called 'All The Gear' for nothin'. I'm going to share my five favourite home workout accessories that don't take up much room, so can be stored away if you'd prefer.
1. Resistance bands
These come in all shapes and styles, but to simplify, you just want a range that offer differing resistance from light through to heavy. My bands of choice to never leave my side during workouts are like the ones below, but you can get lots that aren't looped (you can tie them together to do lots of exercises) and ones with handles.
You can use these for glute activation exercises such as glute bridges and to add some resistance to body weight squats & lunges. They're also great for some upper body work too, get your shoulders burning with wall walks and windscreen wipers. The best thing about these bands is that a) they're less than a tenner for a set (try Amazon) and super portable.
If you feel you've only got room for either kettle bells of dumbbells, I'd choose kettle bells every time. You can do so much more with them from a whole load of upper and body circuits. If you're starting out, choose a lighter weight and focus on your form and technique. 3 or 4kg kettle bells (a set of two) should be more than enough to get you started. You can always upgrade to some heavier ones a bit further down the line (and trust me, the lighter ones will still come in handy. If you're really committed, you can get adjustable ones - they're more expensive, but a brilliant space saver. For workouts, I love fitnessblender for all kinds of circuit and HIIT style training programmes, they've got a great circuit for beginners using kettlebells.
3. A mat
Sounds obvious, but this will really add to your comfort level and protect your back and knees a bit, even from carpeted floor. It'll also give you a bit of grip in movements like planks and press-ups. A yoga mat that can be rolled up and stored away will be adequate, or I have a thicker stiff-board mat that I store behind my sofa and you'd never know it was there. Your knees will thank you.
4. Floor gliders
These are small disks that you can use with either your feet or your hands and honestly the possibilities are endless with these. They're also super cheap, and take up NO room. Here's just 25 things you can do with floor gliders and I reckon there's probably the same amount of exercises again. At least! My one major tip: definitely find the ones that are compatible with both hard floors AND carpeted floors. This will make them even more useful if you take them away with you, or change your flooring, move house etc.
5. Skipping Rope
No one is going to like me saying that, but it's cheap, portable and super useful. You could borrow your kids (or buy an adjustable one you can share with your kids). Okay, you need a bit more room to skip (and no low-hanging light fixtures), but it won't take long to warm up so my suggestion would be to take it outside!
So there you have it. Like I mentioned at the start, none of these things are essential, but can definitely take your home workout to another level without taking up room (or damaging the bank balance). Lots of the items above can be purchased on Amazon, Ebay and even Argos / TK Maxx so keep your eyes peeled for a bargain. Getting fit needn't break the bank!
*Disclaimer: As I always say, I'm not a qualified fitness professional, this is written from personal experience. Please be careful when working out at home, especially with weights, to avoid injury. If you're in any doubt at all, please consult with a qualified personal trainer*