Updated: Feb 8
AN AMENDED BLOG FROM WAY BACK IN 2016, UPDATED FOR THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
I originally wrote this back in 2016 while travelling and not being able to use a commercial gym for several months on end, and with the pandemic now underway it seemed more apt than ever. Read on for the updated version.
HOME EXERCISE IS ON THE RISE
Before going any further, lets remind ourselves of some of the baffling and wholly ineffective shit that has hit the fitness market over the last few decades:
Electro-Stimulation Pads (little electric shocks for people who can't be arsed to contract their own muscles via the usual methods)
Ab-Cradle (an Argos favourite; a weird looking frame for supporting your neck during sit-ups, when you could in fact support it using your neck muscles, and/or additional effort)
Those floor cross-stepper things (Everyone's mum has one in the loft. Basically a trip hazard thats been used once yet bought a million times over...)
The inner thigh toner (shaped like a bulldog clip, this massive waste of space & materials grants you the inner thigh power to destroy a coconut betwixt thy thighs, should you ever need it)
Pi-loxing (An abhorrent blend of Boxing and Pilates)
The people who created, marketed, and profited from the aforementioned useless tripe, are lazy, greedy, cunts.
And the Golden Rule of this post is: Don't give your money to cunts.
With that in mind, this post aims to redress the balance and help you equip your house with a few physically effective, cost-effective pieces of home equipment that will ultimately save you a fortune in gym memberships and fees (and provided you don't shop with Amazon you won't fall foul of the (Golden Rule).
WHY SHOULD I EXERCISE FROM HOME?
The pandemic has created a tidal wave of home exercise converts (as well as a tidal wave of unemployments, divorces, and deaths).
We ALL need to exercise, and through the pandemic many of us have learned that we don't strictly need to pay a fuck-off huge joining fee and a monthly direct debit just to keep our human bodies functioning adequately.
Home exercise sometimes requires owning some equipment, and once the pandemic hit, Kettlebells became harder to obtain than bog roll...
Exercising at home has a bad image; follow-along scripted movement through a tiny screen that keeps buffering; substituting precision balanced weighted gym equipment for tins of beans and being told to feel the burn; poorly executed squats in-between bouts of ironing...
But training at home can be remarkably effective, with the right training plan and a few bits of (worthwhile) kit around.
And then you might NEVER need to pay for a gym membership again!!!
WHAT EQUIPMENT DO I NEED?
The equipment you go for should be specific to your needs, but if you're after an all-in one home gym that you'll never need to upgrade then read on.
But before you buy remember the Golden Rule
THE GOLDEN RULE: DON'T GIVE YOUR MONEY TO CUNTS
*At this juncture I'd like to call the CEO of Sport Direct Mike Ashley a useless gelatinous Fuckstick who the world would happily see swept to sea, if only his equally gigantic arse wouldn't effect global sea levels so adversely.
Mike Ashley (and others) tried to profit from the COVID-19 outbreak by increasing the price of their home exercise equipment range by a minimum of 50%, and once again the world was reassured that he's a massive cunt, and the Golden Rule stipulates he should receive no gold...
After some public pressure he eventually rescinded this, and got back to selling bright white Donnay socks to chavs.
Anyway, below is a list of a few 'must have' items, available from all good retailers, except Sport Direct. (Actually they probably do sell them, but they're probably shit. Now go and find your friendly local sports retailer who's unfortunately bankrupt due to the pandemic).
On with the article...
A STICK (FREE)
GOOD FOR: TECHNIQUE COACHING / STRETCHING & MOBILITY / ENFORCING THE 2M RULE
A stick is one of the simplest, cheapest, and most effective ways to improve your training & body mechanics (if you know how to use it).
A stick or dowel has been used by top coaches for decades, helping the client maintain a straight spine throughout particular movements.
A basic stick can also be used for stretching & advanced mobility exercises, replicating barbell exercises and coaching form, and adjusting angles such as heel raising in a squat. Simple and effective.
Make sure its at least 4ft long (a broom handle is perfect), and paint the shit out of it like it's your last day in Forest School
SECONDARY USAGE: Defence
THE SWISS BALL (<£20)
GOOD FOR: CORE TRAINER / BALANCE ENHANCER / BOUNCY CHAIR
Not strictly reserved for exercise, the Swiss ball is a back saving miracle replacement for a chair. You get to move your tailbone around all day long and keep your spine mobile and healthy!
Fun Fact: Not swiss at all. An Italian plastics manufacturer designed and sold it to a British Physiotherapist for use with newborns & infants. The British Physio told a Swiss Physical Therapist, who upgraded its use for adults with orthopaedic problems. Then a bunch of American physical therapists got wind of it and termed it 'The Swiss Ball' after witnessing its use in Switzerland. This may be the only known example of the Americans giving credit for something instead of simply re-branding it as their own.
SECONDARY USAGE: Seat; Footrest; Oversized novelty football
HEAVY DUTY RESISTANCE BANDS (£20-35 a set)
GOOD FOR: RESISTANCE TRAINER / REHAB TOOL / CATAPULT
Resistance bands can emulate practically any movement you need to train, with additional stability & adjustable tension.
They're basically are a fix-all tool for achieving effective, physically complex exercises at home. Most of us know the light and stretch type given out by physiotherapists for various rehabilitation exercises, but the thicker stronger resistance bands are becoming more commonplace in home gyms everywhere!
There's practically no limit to the number of exercises you can undertake with a resistance band. Some exercises with a steep learning curve (Calisthenics exercises for example) can be assisted by using a resistance band, and for several other full body movements Resistance Bands can be a vital asset to get your technique nailed!
SECONDARY USAGE: Tie a Power Band between 2 trees and seeing how far you can catapult a Watermelon.
KETTLEBELLS (cost dependent on weight & current demand)
GOOD FOR: WEIGHT TRAINER / DOORSTOP / KETTLE ON STEROIDS
Kettlebells are quite possibly one of the most versatile and effective pieces of equipment available today.
They recently sky-rocketed in price due to the gym closure at the start of the pandemic. They're still not cheap, but they'll NEVER let you down and are worth every penny.
FUN FACT: The origin if Kettlebells is hotly debated, with evidence of similar shaped heavy-stuff dating as far back as the Greeks.
The Chinese invented a similar looking Stone Hammer, and eventually the Russians finished the design by apparently shoving a handle onto a load of old surplus cannonballs and turning them into agricultural weights for counter-balancing & weighing crops.
A Kettlebell is arguably the most versatile piece of strength training kit out there.
I recommend buying 3, the heaviest being DOUBLE the lightest. Most of my clients go for an 8/12/16kg combo, or 6/8/12kg.
The initial cost is cheaper than a month in a most gyms, and you will NEVER have to replace them.
SECONDARY USAGE: Doorstop / Excessive Paperweight
GOOD FOR: INCREASED RANGE OF MOTION / HEALTHY WRISTS/ COOL TRICKS
Small, light, and available from Argos stores nationwide, Paralettes are basically posh push up bars for developing impressive Calisthenics strength.
Anatomically speaking, Paralettes adjust how you load your wrists & shoulders (palms inwards) which for many will facilitate a stronger shoulder alignment and less stress on the wrist.
They are essential for Calisthenics development, but if you're not into that there's a whole load of other exercises you can do on them surpassing the stuff you'd usually do in the gym.
SECONDARY USAGE: They can be thrown...
And there we have it! 5 pieces of Gym Equipment you really should consider owning! You can get the lot for a pretty cheap price and start getting results at home, at a time that suits YOU, in YOUR environment, surrounded by YOUR music!