February 25, 2020
should you set up your home gym in your garage? here's what you need to know
should you buy a peloton? here's how to decide
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I'm Mickie. I run One Strong Southern Girl from Small Town, TN. I love what I do. I want you to remember me because I helped changed your life.
I get asked a lot about recommendations for small home exercise equipment that people can start with.
I’ve got three of my top recommendations for home exercise equipment that’s small, easy to store, and the best part about this stuff that I’m going to recommend is that you’ll get the most use out of it, the most bang for your buck, because there’s no point in buying stuff just because it’s small if you’re not going to use it.
This topic was featured on a recent episode of the Crunches and Cosmos podcast. You can listen in here:
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Let’s get started and talk about those three pieces of equipment that are small and perfect for getting started with home exercise because they’re not only small but functional and versatile so here we go.
Before I get to my first recommendation, I do want to say this is not an all-inclusive list. You have to make the best decision for these kinds of investments based on what your interests are and what kind of exercises you’re trying to do, and all of those things.
These are just recommendations that I think are smart ways to start with small pieces of equipment because the most important thing about buying a piece of equipment, in my opinion, is that you can use it in multiple ways.
If you’re buying something that only works one muscle group or can only be used to do one exercise, I just don’t think that’s the smartest place to start. I think it’s smarter to start with something that’s a really versatile piece of equipment that you can use in a whole bunch of different ways, to work different muscle groups, to do cardio and strength training, all kinds of things like that.
That’s where I’m at when I’m giving you these recommendations, because I’ve found over the last almost 20 years of doing home exercise that these are the pieces of equipment that I’ve gotten the most use out of that are small, affordable and easy to store.
Okay, so let’s dive in.
Number one on my list (in random order)…
The first piece of equipment that I’m going to recommend is an exercise band of medium resistance.
So, when you go to Amazon (or wherever you purchase your equipment) you’re going to find you have a whole bunch of options.
This is one of the reasons people get so frustrated with buying equipment, because there are so many options and you just don’t know where to start, or which one to get, because even though they’re really affordable the size, material, shape and quality is different between each one. It’s hard to figure it out, so I get it and it’s why I’m writing this post.
I recommend you start with an exercise band that’s seven feet long and medium resistance. You only need one. You don’t need a whole pack of them. You don’t need a whole bunch of different resistances.
You’ll discover after using this one if you need one that’s lighter resistance or stronger resistance.
I’ve been able to use the medium band for everything because you can move your hands up and down the band and make it a stronger resistance or a lighter resistance.
I had a shorter band for years and I made it work. I knew I needed a longer one. I’d gotten it from one of the videos I bought or something and I think it was probably three and a half feet, maybe half the size of the one I recommend, and I made it work. It was probably last year that I went and bought the longer one, and holy cow, what a difference it made. So much difference, I wish I’d done it sooner.
The seven foot band is so much smarter. (The link will take you to the exact product I purchased on Amazon.)
That should help you out and if you don’t buy the exact one, no big deal. Just buy something very, very similar in size and quality.
It’s a band. It’s not a closed loop. It’s one long, ribbon-like piece of rubber that you use for toning. It’s mostly used for upper body resistance exercises and toning exercises, small movements that you can use to sculpt and tone. You can use the band in place of a loop for most routines that use a loop because you can tie it in knot, so it can double as your exercise loop.
And these are very small. You can hold them in one hand.
I said an exercise band can be used to replace a loop. It can also be used in place of tubing for most exercises (and the tubing that I’m talking about are those long tubes that have handles on the end and they come in packs with multiple different resistances).
Guys, I can’t stand those things. I try to avoid workouts that use tubing because I can never pick the right resistance and it drives me bananas. I have like 12 tubes with handles on the end and I always pick a tube that’s either too resistant (too tight) or it’s too loose for the exercise. I just find it really frustrating.
The tubing are perfect if you’re just going to print out a workout and pick up tubing, go at your own pace and do exercises one after the other. But if you’re following a video where someone’s using a tubing for exercises and they’re not giving you time to test out the tubing it can be really frustrating.
I’ve found that a medium resistance band can actually be used in place of tubing in almost every workout as well.
The reason the bands are perfect is because you can adjust, instead of being forced to hold them at the ends like you do with the tubing, you can actually slide your hands up and down anywhere on the band to get the proper resistance. You may have to move your hands around a little bit to get comfortable, but it’s much faster, a much more efficient piece of equipment.
So, the resistance band can (in most instances) replaces the need for an exercise loop or tubing.
Okay, recommendation number two…
My second recommendation for small home exercise equipment are sliders.
Again, when you Google this or Amazon it, you’re going to find tons of options.
The problem with most sliders (I’ve tried several different kinds) are that they’re too small.
The top-selling exercise sliders on Amazon are much smaller discs than the ones I recommend but I don’t like them because they’re really hard to keep your toe on them when you’re exercising.
The ones I recommend these days are ones that are quite a bit bigger. They’re not high up in the Amazon listings so if you want to find them you’ll probably need to use this link.
I sell on Amazon and it’s a nightmare to get your listings high. Always remember that just because Amazon says a product is number one selling doesn’t mean it’s the best product.
Amazon has its own way of deciding what’s number one, based on stuff that may have absolutely nothing to do with quality or function, so keep that in mind. It’s so easy to click on that first link instead of trying to find the best thing, so that’s another reason I’m doing this today. Like I said, I’m trying to help you out, sort through this stuff that’s not going to serve you as well as something else.
This particular product that I recommend has a much bigger surface and a curved edge. It’s much easier to keep your foot on them when you’re doing exercises with them.
Using sliders forces you to engage your core when you’re moving. They’re very affordable, but which ones you buy matter.
The sliders I recommend are best used on a soft surface like carpet.
If you’re exercising on a solid surface (like hardwood or tile) you’ll want a different style of sliders.
Honestly, if you work out on hardwood, you can probably get away with using a small washcloth under your toes. But if you want to buy sliders, make sure you get the ones that are for hard surfaces, because they’re different.
If you buy the plastic ones for your hardwood floor that I recommend for carpet, it will probably scratch your floor, so don’t buy that one if you’re working out on a hard surface.
The other thing you can do is buy a furniture slider. They make some that are really big, so that’s another option.
Just make sure you’re being conscious of what surface you’re working out on and use the ones made for that kind of surface.
So gliders are very small, very easy to store, and you can use them in lots of different kinds of workouts. If you’ve never used gliders you’ll be shocked at how much intensity they add to a workout.
On to my third recommendation…
You’ve heard me talk about this forever. This is my favorite recommendation. Dumbbells.
You don’t need to buy an entire rack of dumbbells, so start with the size that’s going to benefit you the most, based on your exercise abilities, based on where you are right now in your exercise journey.
If you don’t own any dumbbells and don’t know where to start then read this, A Woman’s Guide to Buying Dumbbells.
I recommend the dumbbells that are rubber on the end with chrome handles.
Like before, this is a piece of equipment where if you Google it or you go to Amazon and type in dumbbells, whoa, you’re just going to be shocked at how many options you have.
There’s just too many. It’s completely overwhelming and frustrating, because you just don’t know where to start. The price ranges are all over the place, and if you’re like me, you’re like, “What the heck makes this pair of dumbbells more expensive by that much money than this other pair?”
You want to make a smart purchase. I get it, so head over to this post if you need help picking out the right size dumbbells.
You only need three to four different sizes to get started.
The big pain about storing dumbbells is that you can’t pick them all up in your arms at once when you’re done using them.
I get it, but they’re small and you’ll get so much use out of dumbbells. Every woman who works out at home should have a set of dumbbells in whatever size is best for your abilities. You need them. Get some. It’s just smart. Again, they’re not very expensive and they’re easy to store.
So, that’s it.
The perfect place to start with small equipment for home exercise (for women)–a 7 foot exercise band, a pair of sliders (for the surface you exercise on) and dumbbells.
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