Expert picks for building a simple home gym
A few strategic pieces of equipment can help you step up your home workouts.
“Kettlebells look like a teapot made of solid iron and are used for exercises such as throwing and swinging. They’re best for people with some exercise experience or those who can invest in a few sessions with a personal trainer. A 5-pound bell is a great place to start. You can progress as you get stronger.”—Michael Lynch, M.S., CDCES, clinical exercise physiologist in Seattle.
“Go back to the playground with a jump-rope: a simple, inexpensive tool that strengthens nearly every muscle in your body, including your heart. Even one minute of jumping is beneficial for your health; if you can work your way up to five minutes a day, even better.”—M.L.
“Nothing spells resistance training like free weights. With just one or two weights—say, 3 pounds and 5 pounds—you can complete a versatile and dynamic workout for your entire body, one that also strengthens joints and the supporting muscles around them.”—M.L.
“Foam rollers apply direct pressure to release tension from tissues in your hamstrings, back, shoulders, and other areas. Hold the roller in your hands and use it like a giant rolling pin—or [place it on the ground and] roll your body on top of it. In a few minutes a day, you can reduce pain, increase range of motion, and improve function.”—Michelle Adams, M.S., kinesiology instructor at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
“If you buy just one piece of equipment, make it a balance ball. They’re phenomenal for ab and core exercises and can also safely work your stability and balance. Check the chart for your height and make sure you choose the appropriate size.”—M.L.