Workout Equipment

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The process of optimizing or at least improving one's physical fitness level can be a challenging one, requiring motivation, time, commitment, discipline, lifestyle changes, and understanding of proper workout technique. Having a complete workout set at home, though requiring a bit of an initial investment, helps save money on gym memberships and travel costs while allowing one to exercise in the convenience of home, staying close to family and allowing easier integration into one's normal routine. Particularly with the current pandemic taking place and social distancing being practiced, working out at home can be immensely beneficial for one's physical and mental health. The following is a list of home workout equipment and home work out necessities to help get started in creating complete gym sets and cheap home gym equipment:

1. Dumbbells

Dumbbells individually consist of handles with weighted ends, with two dumbbells of the same weight comprising a set. Dumbbells of different desired weights can be purchased as desired. A wide range of lifting motions that work out the various muscles of the arm and upper back are possible, by themselves or with another piece of equipment such as a bench. The center of gravity remains around the middle of the handles and one's hands. Cost varies depending on the weights desired and materials and brands involved, ranging from around $8-55, allowing for great dumbbells deals.

2. Yoga Mat

A yoga mat is simply a relatively thin rubber mat that supports the user during the prolonged and sometimes complex stretching motions found in the art originally from India but now able to be practiced by anyone anywhere. It is small enough to not take up too much space when used and can be rolled up and carried easily, making it very portable. The cost usually runs low, ranging from as low as $6 to around $16, making for excellent yoga mat deals. Proper yoga posing techniques to use with the mat must be learned separately. However, the mat could be easily used for multiple purposes if so desired.

3. Pull Up Bar

A pull up bar is a horizontal bar, affixed between support structures of another device or a doorway, that users can grab onto and pull themselves up using their body weight. This can be difficult for those with low upper arm strength, not to mention improperly securing puts the user at risk of injury, so it is important to know one's limits and goals beforehand. Price can range greatly depending on material and included functions, from as low as $20 to as high as $210 if the bar is part of a larger piece of equipment, in which case portability can be limited potentially due to size and weight. Otherwise, for single standalone bars, portability is limited more to presence of doorways and other residential structures.

4. Exercise Bench

An exercise bench is a bench that allows one to do a large variety of exercises with or without other pieces of exercise equipment. Flat benches run relatively cheaper at around $25 while those with more adjustable options and therefore more workout possibilities may cost as much as $160. Portability is also fairly reasonable, as adjustable benches can be folded to facilitate transfer, making them more cost-effective in the long run.

5. Resistance Bands

Resistance bands are simple, portable, and lightweight tools consisting simply of rubber lengths of string that can be used in various stretching exercises when the center is held in place by one part of the body, such as the feet, and the ends are pulled by another, such as the hands, creating a resistance against which to pull, generating an effective workout. Prices vary based on quality from $10-50, which those of higher quality material likely to last longer and not be replaced, making them cost-effective. The fact that they can be folded up and stored and transported easily makes them very convenient. However, proper technique is required to get the most out of the devices.

6. Jump Rope

A jump rope is a simple and easy device that is just as simple and easy to use. It consists of a rope or rubber length of string with a handle at each end to be gripped by the user, who then swings the string frontally overhead and jumps over it as it returns down to the feet, repeating the motion as many times as needed. This is great for working out one's heart, improving stamina, and strengthening the legs and back. It can also be used anywhere, so long as there is enough room to swing the rope and the surface upon which the person jumps provides enough traction so as not to slip and fall. A typical jump rope costs around $5-10, making it a very cost-effective purchase so long as it is used.

7. Foam Rollers

Foam rollers are, as their name suggests, cylindrical foam tubes on which the user can roll back and forth to work out particular muscles. The small size and light weight makes this convenient to use at home, though making sure one has the proper technique via online or other reputable sources is important. Prices may vary based on the density of the material, with lighter rollers as low as $5 and higher density ones at as much as $20. The price in any case is fairly reasonable, and the higher density rollers will likely last longer, making them more cost-effective.

8. Kettle Balls

A kettle ball or kettlebell is an cast iron or cast steel ball with a handle on the top, which the user holds in order to lift the ball. This is a relatively simple device that can come in many weights to accommodate the needs of different users. Additionally, it can be used for multiple different exercises. The center of gravity lies beyond the user's hands, allowing for swinging and lifting motions that strengthen endurance as well as one's shoulders, back, and core. However, those who are weaker in these areas must be careful not to strain themselves while using. While simple and relatively small, their weight, particularly heavier ones, may hinder their portability. Nonetheless, they can be kept in any single room, allowing for an easy exercise in the convenience of one's home as long as one is disciplined and informed as to its proper use. The price range varies widely, from $50 to as much as $300, making it a steep initial investment. Additionally, making sure one has a ball of the desired weight at any given time can affect the price.

9. Treadmill

A treadmill is a large device with a belt that spins around two cylinders to allow running and walking while staying in place. This is a convenient way to get a good cardiovascular workout while indoors to help work out while safely inside and able to integrate other activities. Many treadmills also have built-in functions to keep track of the time spent using it, one's heart rate, and adjust incline and speed based on one's needs. One potential downside is the sheer size and weight, making it difficult to move and decide where to place. Low cost treadmills can cost around $100-200, while those with more built-in functions can run up to $1,000. Nonetheless, it can be a very cost-effective purchase that allows for one to control the variability of weather and terrain, albeit at the cost of relying on electrical power, making power shortages a potential issue.