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Must-Have Home Gym Fitness Accessories

Must-Have Home Gym Fitness Accessories

Home workouts just might be the new thing! Although I know a lot of people aren't a fan of home workouts, there are still a great number of people who enjoyed them and will probably continue working out at home at least until things settle down and there's some semblance of normalcy 😅

Whether you loved home workouts or not, it's still a good idea to have your own home gym set up at home for those days that you can't make it to the gym or on days you just don't feel like going. I'm sure we've all had days when we want to workout, but don't want to deal with the busy gym and having to fight people over weights and cardio machines! This is when having fitness accessories at home comes in handy - You can get a decent workout in all in the comfort of your own home. The best thing about it is that having fitness accessories won't only benefit your home workouts, it can also be beneficial for your gym workouts! Some home gym equipment is portable and can be used in addition to gym workouts either for support or to make certain exercises more challenging.

Exercise equipment doesn't always have to be expensive, these 10 fitness accessories are (for the most part) inexpensive, can be used to switch up your home workout routine, and can be used to enhance gym workouts!

Foam rollers

This is a must-have piece of equipment, especially if you want to reduce muscle soreness! Any type of exercise, strength training or cardio, requires a warm-up and cool-down to help the body prep and recover for the intense training it's about to do. Aside from dynamic and static stretching, foam rolling is the best way to prep muscles for training and the best way to help them recover. Rolling your muscles before your workout will increase tissue elasticity, range of motion, and circulation. This will help you move better during your workout and minimize the risk of injury. After your workout, or even on your rest day, use foam rolling as a tool to enhance recovery. Focus on rolling the major muscle groups worked and any problematic areas. Doing this will help stimulate blood flow in those affected areas and increase oxygen to the sore muscle fibers to help reduce recovery time.

So if you're not foam rolling then it's time to start! Luckily, they're fairly inexpensive, they typically range from $10-40+. There are fancier ones that are more expensive, but all you need is a simple one that is cylinder shape and made of foam or flexible plastic. Before and after your workout use it to release any knots and tight muscles. Do this by laying on it in a variety of positions. The key is to allow your body weight to put pressure on the affected muscles. Common areas to roll are quads, glutes, hamstrings, hips, and back muscles.

Free weights

This one is specific to home workouts... Unless you want to lug around your own dumbbells at the gym 😂

If you're serious about working out and feel more comfortable doing so at home then definitely consider investing in some free weights! Now, this all depends on your fitness goals and what kind of training you do. If you prefer cardio and light weights then you might not benefit from getting a bunch of free weights. Maybe a set of dumbbells, but you'll probably benefit from other fitness accessories on this list. For those who lift weights to build muscle then you could definitely benefit from getting a set of dumbbells, kettlebells, or even a barbell set (depending on your fitness level).

Bodyweight exercises have many benefits like being convenient (you can do them anywhere) and are effective at maintaining and building muscle, but eventually, your body will adapt to the movements and need more of a challenge to continue making progress. Free weights are an excellent tool to challenge your muscles to promote muscle growth and strength. They also help improve bone density and tendon strength. The one downside is that they are more on the expensive side... But if you plan on getting rid of your gym membership and starting your own home gym then consider buying workout equipment like dumbbells, barbells, squat rack, etc. If you don't want to cash out on all this equipment at once, just start buying things slowly and only buy the things you know you need and will utilize. 

Jump rope

Jump roping isn't only for the kids anymore. This piece of fitness equipment is great at getting your heart rate up and boosting your cardiovascular fitness. You can incorporate it into HIIT workouts, use it as a tool to warm-up, use it in between sets while lifting weights, etc. Plus it's easy to store in your home gym, travel bag, and gym bag!

Medicine balls

This is an underrated piece of equipment, but it will change your workout routine! Medicine balls intensify basic exercises like Russian twists, sit-ups, triceps extension, etc. They can be used in so many different ways to create full-body workouts without requiring any fancy equipment or free weights!

Choose a medicine ball with a bit of cushioning for comfort and pick a weight that's heavy enough to slow the motion of exercises, but not too heavy that your control or range of motion takes a hit.

Plyometric boxes

Plyometric boxes are not only for plyometrics training! Even if jump training is not your thing you can still benefit from having a plyometric box a part of your home gym equipment. 

These types of boxes can be used for jumping exercises to increase speed and power. But they can also be used for other strength training exercises like push-ups, tricep dips, step-ups, squats, and more. There are various kinds of plyometric boxes, just find one that is sturdy enough to support the exercises you'll be doing.

Set of resistance bands

Whether you prefer home or gym workouts - You need a set of resistance bands.  Resistance bands are long or short bands made from rubber or fabric that provide external resistance that your muscles work against. They range from extra light resistance to extra heavy resistance, this added resistance makes them work similarly to free weights. When performing exercises with resistance bands you're pushing or pulling against the force of the band, but your muscles are engaged throughout the entire exercise because they have to fight the tension. So these are definitely a must-have for home gyms and to take with you to the gym to use them as a warm-up tool or in addition to exercises to make them more difficult.

You can use short resistance bands for lower body exercises like squats, lunges, hip thrust, and other glute activation exercises. Long resistance bands can be used for lower and upper body exercises like biceps curls, shoulder press, deadlifts, and more. These bands are budget-friendly, they usually range from $10-50, depending on if you buy one or a set. I highly suggest fabric resistance bands, they're more comfortable to use and durable. UPPPER fitness gear has some pretty cute short and long fabric resistance bands that come in various colors and designs, three resistance levels (light, medium, heavy), and you can get a good deal on a set of 3 bands! 👀

Sliding discs

Sliding discs are a great home gym accessory because they are small, portable, and can be used to enhance a variety of bodyweight exercises that help increase strength. You can make certain exercises like lunges, mountain climbers, push-ups, more difficult.

They are small, flat round discs that go between your hands or feet and the floor. So instead of lifting your arms or legs during exercises, you support your full weight by sliding your hands and feet across the floor.

Stability balls

Incorporating a stability ball into your routine is going to take your core workouts to the next level! They are inexpensive, can be stored easily into your house, can be used for stretching and flexibility exercises, and can be used in addition to core exercises to challenge your core muscles. You can even use them to do hamstring curls, hip thrusts, push-ups, and so much more!

Having one of these at home is perfect for when you want to switch things up or enhance your workout. Before buying any ole' ball you find on Amazon, look at reviews to make sure it's good quality and consider your height and the size of the ball to make sure you get the right size for you.

Weight lifting gear

This one is for those who already have a good amount of exercise equipment to strength train at home or prefer going to the gym to lift weights. Weight lifting gear like lifting straps, lifting belts, wrist wraps, are used for added support to help you lift heavier with minimal risk of injury. These are not meant for beginners, it's more for people who are resistance training and practicing progressive overload to increase muscle and strength. 

If you're one of those people (or are training on my Fit With Iulia app 😉) then here's why you might want to get some lifting gear... Using something like lifting straps can help reduce grip fatigue which allows you to focus more on the muscle group you're targeting when pulling heavy lifts. They are also designed to attach your wrist/hands to the weight so you can get a good grip on the weight to prevent it from slipping. Now let's take lifting belts, for example, they are meant to be worn around the waist to create support for the spine to help stabilize it. It also helps prevent back hyperextension and any other bending and twisting that can lead to injuries. There's so much more to how lifting belts work, but they essentially give your body added support for you to perform heavy lifts or one max reps. All weight lifting gear is designed like this... To give you support for you to lift heavier with a reduced risk of injury.

Yoga mat

Yoga mats aren't only just for yoga! You can use them for any activity that requires you to get down on the floor - Hip thrusts, ab exercises, stretching exercises, Pilates. Whether you're practicing yoga, or not, a yoga mat will come in handy. It can also be used to protect the floor against weights you might have at home, but for the really heavy equipment get an extra thick exercise mat. You can also take them to the gym with you! For sanitary reasons, bringing your own mat with you to the gym is better!

Adding fitness accessories, like the ones listed above, to your home gym can boost your workouts to help you achieve effective results. All you need is a few of these that fit with your style of training, and you'll have what you need to work up a sweat without leaving the comfort of your home. Or add them into your gym bag before hitting the gym to intensify your workouts 😉