ARTICLE: BEST KIT TO BUY FOR TRAINING AT HOME
As most of you know I train all my clients in their home and I myself train exclusively at home. Training at home is the perfect fit for both me and my clients largely to do with time and convenience, but as with everything there can be a some drawbacks. Some people worry that they wont get the same results training at home, but that is untrue. Getting results at home, in the gym or in any other environment is dependent mostly on the programme you follow and your willingness to commit to the programme. To be honest the main drawback of training at home can be variety. To be clear, you do not need variety to get results, but it can be important to many people just to help them keep their training interesting and fun. Both of which are important factors when training long term. Now a days though you can get many awesome products for training at home and seeing as I get asked a lot about many of them I thought I would share my thoughts.
The most important piece of advice I would give anyone is not to spend any money on anything until you have tried training at home and have a regular routine. So many people buy kit in the hope that having the kit will make them commit to the training. It doesn’t. The equipment will sit and gather dust. First of all try doing some body weight exercises at home and see if training at home works for you and your routine. If it does, then invest in some kit that you might want to use.
Home gym equipment is incredible these days and you can virtually build a whole gym in your house however, I am working on the assumption that most people do not have the space, money or desire to buy industrial equipment so I don’t want to discuss that too much. In terms of heavy equipment though lets look at running machines, bikes, cross trainers and other cardio machines that are popular. These can be a great at home asset, particularly in Scotland where the weather does not always facilitate outdoor exercise. If you enjoy cardio work this could be a good fit for you, but be mindful of where you put it in the house. Many machines end up out in the garage and never get looked at. They need to be in a convenient location that you will use regularly! Despite some of the benefits of being able to do cardio indoors, I would still normally discourage people from buying this type of kit because in my 8 years as a personal trainer I have been to many houses where someone has invested in these machines and they are almost never used!
Now lets look at strength equipment like kettlebells and dumbbells. I often get asked which is the best to buy and my personal preference wold be dumbbells simply because I think they offer the ability to do a wider range of exercises. Kettlebells are still an excellent piece of kit, do not get me wrong, but from experience a dumbbell offers more options and also, in terms of technique, are slightly easier to work with. On the whole I would say dumbbells, kettlebells and even medicine balls are a far better investment than heavy cardio euipment. They are relatively inexpensive, you can hide them away easily and you can move them about the house.
At home the piece of kit I use the most is called The Pull Up Mate. I bought this to add variety to my body weight programmes and also to help take my training to the next level. It did both! I had other pull up frames prior to buying this one, but they were not nearly as sturdy and, also, once assembled could not be taken apart. The Pull Up Mate, whilst big when standing can quickly and easily be dismantled and put back together. I liked the product so much that I created most of my Masters Series Programme around using this piece of kit. If you love body weight training and want to really improve your strength and movement then you will love this piece of kit. However, I would not make the investment unless you know for sure that you are happy to train at home and that you enjoy the challenge that body weight training can bring.
Similarly, the TRX is an awesome piece of kit. I use this a lot with my clients because it is light and portable. It also allows you to do a host of different body weight exercises, but different ones to the Pull Up Mate. I particularly love to use the TRX for core work as it offers so many options, many of which are incredibly advanced! So if you want to work those abs, this could be the one to go for.
Finally, there are a million other at home training products available, many of them appear on the market quickly and disappear just as fast. I would discourage you from buying any fad product or any product that works just one muscle group. This does not mean the product does not work or that it is not challenging, it is simply because when buying kit for your home you want to buy the equipment that is the most versatile! For example, an ab wheel is an awesome piece of kit but you are incredibly limited in what you can use it for. The last thing you want is your home cluttered with lots of different equipment.
So before you buy any kit have a think about what your goals are, what you would enjoy using and how much space you have to work with. Do not simply rush out and spend money because you hope that will be your motivation. If you are not willing to train without any kit you are unlikely to want to train with it.
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