5 basic props to crush home workout videos and achieve your New Year’s fitness resolutions
There are pros and cons to working out at home during COVID lockdowns. We don’t have to commute to a gym, so that’s time gained. But our home studio may look a lot like our living room — not always the ideal environment. We’re free from being stared at while working out, but we only have encouragement from our inner self and a person on a screen. We don’t need to pay membership fees, but we love to support our fitness community.
Ultimately, some of our hands were forced to start at-home fitness routines (unless you’re one of the runners/bikers/outside exercisers who can’t be stopped by Canadian seasons and COVID restrictions). When fitness studios finally reopen, we may find that we’re actually enjoying some of the “pros” of working out at home.
For us work-from-homers, squeezing in a lunch-time workout could be the greatest addition to a new normal — a new lease on the second half of the day.
If you’re new to at-home exercise or looking to explore its possibilities, here are some key props that can add intensity, depth and safety to your workout. Let’s leave “the mat” conversation for last, it’s a more divisive topic than window vs. aisle seat.
Foam rollers – Triggerpoint Grid Roller
Not sure if the person who named the “foam roller” was unintentionally misleading or knew exactly what they were doing. The foam roller is an extremely effective tool to relieve muscle tightness, but don’t let the gentle word “foam” mislead, it packs a punch.
Foam rollers can be used for muscle tightness, soreness, inflammation and can increase your range of motion. They’re great to use after a workout, on a rest day or during an exercise.
You’ll have a love-hate relationship with your foam roller. That pain that hurts so good.
Resistance bands – PTP MicroBand+ Pack
Resistance bands are another misleading product. They look so simple and gentle, how could they possibly add efficiency to your workout?
This pack has three loops, the yellow one is equivalent to 11.7 lb., the green one is 18.3 lb. and the orange one is 21.4 lb. One extra pound on your glutes can make a huge difference while doing a squat, nevermind 11 lb., or go wild and layer-up on the bands and add up to 51.4 lb.. Resistance bands are a great tool for increasing strength in the shoulders, hips, glutes and legs.
Light dumbbells aren’t going to turn you into the next MMA fighter, but they certainly can chisel out a nice arm. Unintentionally, it feels like the underlying theme of this article is “items that look friendly but make you feel the burn.”
You can do a barre class without any weights and after your arms can feel like they’re overcooked spaghetti. Barre studios often have three or five-pound weights to add extra spice to the already fiery burn. Barre incorporates movements from ballet. After taking one barre class, you’ll have a new appreciation of ballet dancers’ athleticism.
A yoga strap can be used for workouts way beyond yoga. If you’re not as flexible as you want to be, the strap can assist in deepening a stretch. If you’re already flexible and can show Gumby who’s boss, yoga straps can add welcomed instability to your home workouts. If you’re holding a stretch or strengthening pose you can incorporate a strap to reduce stability, forcing your muscles to compensate and work harder.
All yoga mats are not created equally. When it comes to yoga mats, it seems like price and quality are tightly correlated.
If you’re just looking for some added cushion for basic movements, it doesn’t really matter which mat you use, just select your preference based on thickness. But when you get to bigger or more complicated movements, you’re going to want to be on the same team as your mat.
If your mat is slippery on either side, you can be fighting gravity throughout your workout, which could be dangerous. The B MAT is all grip. Some yogis find that the B MAT is even too grippy, but that usually comes into play when practicing advanced moves. The B MAT is a fantastic mat and investment.
The Reversible Mat 5mm by lululemon is also a great overall mat, both sides have a strong grip.
The ultimate home studio set – Alo Yoga
This home studio set is geared mostly towards yoga. The set includes an Alo Moves Annual Subscription (a year of online classes), a Warrior Mat, two Uplifting Blocks, one Yoga Strap and an Alo Shopper Tote.
Now all you have to do is explore the online world of workout classes. There are endless apps, online programs or YouTube videos that can take you and your fitness accessories on a wild workout journey.