The following are the list of the easy to find equipment used in our programs:
Gym Mat (or Yoga Mat)
You will need one for sure (easier if you have a few). You can either get a gymnastic mat or a yoga mat. The good thing about yoga mats is that they don’t slip and as long as they are not made of natural rubber you can clean them in your washing machine. If lightweight isn’t a deciding factor, it’s for sure better to get a thicker one because in various exercises you have to kneel on it and it’s softer on the knees.
If you want to do serious strength training, it is inevitable to work with weights, which means that you need a set of dumbbells. It is worth it to get a set of good ones where you can change the discs, as different exercises will require different amounts of weight. You will also increase the number of pounds you are able to lift within the training weeks. Make sure you buy enough discs for your level.
When working out our legs on an advanced or expert level, we need more weights. A barbell is more practical than dumbbells. It’s possible to use more weight when we put the barbell on our shoulders than when holding heavy dumbbells in both hands. You don’t need the barbell for the beginner program. If you do the advanced program you will also still be fine with your dumbbell set, however if you have the chance to work with a barbell you can use it for certain exercises.
Gym Ball (aka Physio Ball, Swiss Ball, Gymnastic Ball)
We can do so many exercises with it and it’s actually cheap. You can sit on whenever. Kids love to play with it, you can stretch your back on it to relax, and of course exercise with it regularly. Leave it in your living room reminding you to do some training. An average diameter of the ball, which is suitable for almost everyone, is 65cm (25.5’’).
Skipping ropes are easy to get a hold of and it’s worth it to shell out the small amount needed to purchase a rope with handles. Although we could just as easily purchase the appropriate length of cord from a climbing or mountaineering shop it will only save us a few dollars if that.
Sports Mat (tumbling mat) or Mattress
We are talking about the thick blue mats commonly seen in school gyms. Unfortunately this useful item is a little more expensive. It may be worth it to some people to make their own. They can do this from cutting a large (1.4m x 2m; like a Queen size bed) foam mattress and doubling up the foam by cutting it into two pieces. Sew a cover over it and you have yourself a homemade sports mat for just a few dollars.
As well we used an old spring mattress before, which worked out as well, but had a different renounce effect when working out on it. If you are a climber, you can use your bolder mat. It is also possible to buy one of those foldable guest mattresses. They are usually cheap and would work out fine too. Or get some foam material from the hardware store.
It’s not only good to use as a tool to train your balance but also to train on it to make our cardio exercises harder and the landings of the jumps softer.
Watch the video in the “How to build your own gym” section how transformed out old bed mattress into a sports tool.
Box / Stepper
Whatever you use, it should be stable enough to jump on. We use a homemade wooden kind of box/stair (have look at the video how we did it: ‘build your own gym’). Maybe you already have something similar at home (i.e. a low bench). You can also get one of those aerobic fitness steppers (you can find pretty cheap models).
For most of these exercises you can simply use the first step of your staircase (if you have any).
There is cool and fun stuff to do with an indo board. You can buy the original one, which is really nice or you can just easily build your own (check out the video: ‘build your own gym’. The one we are using was made by Mitch’s dad as a fun training tool for little Mitch and it still works perfectly; the original Indo board didn’t even exists then.
It is a really good whole body training tool, which gives your body new challenging inputs. From Bibi’s physio’s point of view the Sling is something no training or rehab centre, or anyone who wants to improve his core stability (especially people who suffer from back pain) or sports performance should miss out on! It’s easy to take on travels because it’s lightweight, small to bag, and easy to use anywhere.
There are a few different sling trainers on the market: TRX , REHAPE Sling trainer (just available in Europe), Variosling (just available in Europe), Lifeline Jungle Gym XT, and a few more . Some of them have extra handles to grab. They are all quite expensive.
We easily built our own sling trainer which totally fulfills our requirements and it cost us about 22$. You can watch the video on how it works:‘build your own gym‘.
We love to integrate as many balancing devices as possible to our training. There are different kinds of devices and materials sold that are fun to work with and put new challenges into our training. Changing balancing devices regularly can challenge our muscles in different ways. Changing the exercise we perform on them and varying the gadgets is the perfect way to train. . However, expensive balancing devices commonly purchased are no better than self-made tools to challenge our body and train better.
We don’t want to dictate what kind of balancing device to use. You might already have some tool at home you can use, and over time you could obtain some new gadget, which will hold a new challenge to your muscles.
Beside the Indo board and your old mattress, here is a list of other possible balancing fitness articles.
- Gym Mat: A normal gymnastic or yoga mat can turn into a balancing device if you just fold it, or roll it up. That’s easy, cheap and you need a gym mat for a lot of exercises anyway.
- Foam Material: If you go to the hardware store you might find foam material with different densities. The one you chose should not be too soft. A 50cm by 50cm (= 20” by 20”) piece would be great. You can buy a few with different degrees of hardness. When you work with them you can even put one on the top of the other to vary.
- Dynair cushion: That’s s a rubber cushion filled with air that is available in different sizes. They are not too expensive, and if you put a board on the cushion (like the wooden board from your Indo board) you can expand its variety of use. We really like it.
- Rotary balance board: It is a nice additional balance device for your home gym. There are inexpensive plastic ones. We have nice wooden ones a friend made. However a foam cushion is more versatile to use and it would be my first choice if I had to decide between rotary or foam cushion.
- Airex balance pad: I think it’s nice to work with, however it is nothing, which isn’t replaceable through some foam material or old piece of foam mattress. I work with it in the physiotherapy center because it looks more professional but I don’t have one at home myself and I never missed it so far using foam material from the warehouse store and my old foam mattress.
- Bosu ball: Knowing the Bosu ball from my work as a physiotherapist, I really like it in order to always offer my patients something new. However I haven’t got one at home for the following reasons: it’s quite pricy, it’s quite big to store, it’s kind of heavy and I can use the gym ball or other balancing devices as a substitute according to the exercise. If you got enough space and money, it is a nice extension to your home gym.