As a preface to this post, we’d just like to say that we have zero affiliations with any of these products listed below. We strongly believe that everything we’ve laid out is simply a tool you should have access to at home in order to elicit optimal training and recovery results.
We get asked all the time by individuals that don’t train at our gym/clinic what they should do if they don’t have a gym membership. Without access to a local gym, it can be challenging for people to stay consistent, build strength, and see long-lasting results. While nothing will beat a well-equipped gym and awesome training environment, you can still train hard and see progress with minimal equipment at home.
With the holidays right around the corner, here are some of the products both of us believe you should invest in for yourself or a loved one.
We love kettlebells, plain and simple. They’re a staple we use within all of our programming as long as our clients have access to them. While kettlebells are great for strength and power development in all three planes of motion, which we’ve covered in previous blog posts, they’re also an excellent tool to implement with beginners.
Deadlifting, squatting, lunging, carrying, rowing, and pressing variations are all drills we can use kettlebells for. As we improve on these basic movements, we can progress them into my ballistic drills like swings, cleans, and snatches to increase power output or improvements in metabolic conditioning. As you can see, kettlebells can be used to improve numerous trainable characteristics.
Personally, our favorite brand for kettlebells is Rogue Fitness. They’re extremely durable, have a great grip, and are more affordable versus other brands on the market. If you’re shopping for kettlebells, this is definitely our go-to option!
TRX Suspension Trainer
Like kettlebells, the TRX Suspension Trainer is versatile in regards to eliciting a positive training response. There’s tons of exercises you can do to develop strength with the TRX. It’s also a great tool for creating better movement awareness because you can do a bunch of tempo-based training with it (slow controlled movement under tension). The TRX is typically thought of primarily as a tool for inverted rows, but you can train any joint of the body using it.
Mini Bands and Super Bands
We’re a big fan of using bands for clients to provided external resistance or assistance for exercises used in both the performance and therapy realms. A few movements that come to mind are pull-ups, clam shells, and lateral band walks.
While bands won’t be as effective as developing strength as kettlebells, they’re a good tool to have around because of how portable they are. Going on vacation? Heading to the driving range or course? Traveling for work? In all of these scenarios, you can pack your mini bands with you without issue and execute mobility drills or full-body workouts with a little creativity.
We’ve been using Perform Better’s mini bands for almost a decade now and have had great success with them. In regards to super bands, there’s a handful of different brands that come to mind that produce durable bands that will hold up for a long time - Perform Better, Rogue, and Elite FTS are the first that come to mind.
Nothing fancy here, but a jump rope is something we recommend all of our clients own. We love the jump rope far beyond the aerobic training qualities it provides you.
We incorporate jumping rope into our programming for folks to understand how to absorb force and land softly while jumping. The repetitive motion teaches people how to accept force through their feet and hips in a controlled environment. For individuals coming off foot, ankle, knee, and hip issues, we implement jumping in appropriate doses when the time is right. We believe this is one of the most efficient ways to build better awareness and work capacity for the joints of the lower limbs.
For beginners, any jump rope will do you justice. We recommend that you start in short bouts if you’re somebody new to the jump rope - 30 seconds to a minute will do you justice to start. As you improve and can go for longer periods of time, take note of the speed of your jumps as well. When you progress to a certain point, investing in a speed rope would be a wise investment to take your craft to the next level. Rogue’s speed rope is our favorite and there are a bunch to pick from.
While foam rollers, lacrosse balls, and other self-massage tools might not be doing much in regards to creating tissue adaptations, they’re still a feel-good modality we’ll use with clients prior to sessions. This window of increased range of motion is temporary, but we like to use it to use mobility drills from Functional Range Conditioning concepts to load the joints to try and make this range of motion stick over time.
For foam rollers, we like the TriggerPoint Grid because of its stiffness. We’ll also use the Grid with some of our mobility training to serve as an external “block” to create awareness for our joints. The Grid to us is multi-functional and is a great option because it’s portable as well due to its size.
Another great tool we like is the Gideon Neck & Shoulder Self-Massage Tool. This is something Frank stumbled upon recently and loves to use after long car rides or periods of time sitting at a desk typing. If you’re somebody that does a lot of work in a sedentary position or suffers from chronic neck tension, this is a great investment.
In regards to lacrosse balls, all of them will work. If you don’t have access to a lacrosse ball, baseballs and softballs are other good options to work with to pinpoint certain areas that tend to get tense. If these balls are too intense for you to start with, resort to something softer like a tennis ball.
Like we mentioned, these are only five of the tools we use amongst clients. Medicine balls, barbells, dumbbells, trap bars, and benches are some other pieces of equipment we use, but it goes even further than that! We aren’t expecting you to outfit the best gym possible within your house. Instead, use this as a guide to figure out what you should have at your fingertips at any time to see the results you’re expecting.
Whether it’s strength- or mobility-based, everything listed above can help you achieve your desired goals. At the end of the day, your body is the best piece of equipment you have. If you’re looking for a structured plan of attack to combat your goals, we can help. Drop us a message below and let’s get you working towards getting in shape for the 2019 golf season or that deep squat you never thought you’d be able to do. Together, let’s Drive Fitness Forward!