Turn on the TV one Saturday morning, and you can usually find a half dozen or more infomercials showing “The” product that will give you everything you need to get great results. Then reflect on how many of these expensive items you have tried and now don’t use at all.
The world of exercise equipment has certainly changed. With so many new gadgets, gizmos, tools and toys out there, it can be hard choosing which ones will fit into your program and benefit you in reaching your fitness goals.
So let’s take a look at a few affordable choices and how they can be incorporated into your program and help you to get the results you are looking for.
Stability Ball– The stability ball provides an unstable surface for just about any exercise you would want to do. Used in place of a bench, it forces you to work harder by having to maintain the position of your body on the ball while performing an exercise. Benefits include improved balance and stronger joints and support structures. It is also a fantastic tool to include in your stretching and flexibility program.
Medicine Ball– Typically most people think this is only used by athletes, but they can be a safe source of resistance and can be used with many exercises. Add weight to your abdominal crunches, squats, and overhead press, or use them as a great way to add power to your bat swing or tennis backhand for next season.
Dynadisc-This product provides an unstable surface, commonly used to stand on while performing an exercise. It certainly adds a challenge to your exercises as you try to keep your balance while performing another movement. As with a stability ball it will help to improve your body strength, balance, and joint stability, and can help reduce the risk of injury.
Foam Roll– Used in conjunction with stretching, this tool is great for self myofascial release, allowing the body to engage in its full range of motion during activity. When rolling your muscles, you can decrease the discomfort of knots and muscles adhesions associated with strenuous activity. For example, roll your calves and thighs after a long run, or use it on your lower back at the end of a long work day. This tool can provide noticeable relief immediately.
Tubing- An easy light weight source of resistance, tubing allows you to create resistance at many angles making the number of exercises you can do virtually limitless. They store away easy into a drawer or pack lightly into a suitcase for road trips. Resistance can vary based in the thickness and you can usually purchase tubing for less than $10.
Heart Rate Monitor– Heart rate monitors take the guess work out of how you are doing with your cardiovascular fitness. There are many versions, armed with features such as calorie counters that keep track of calories burned in a workout session, workout documentation and alarms that tell you when you are working too hard or not hard enough! This tool is a great way to gain feedback from your workouts and allow you to measure your performance so you can progress accordingly. This can be used in conjunction with a Reebok B-1 step counter when power walking too.
Whether you choose to try all or none, I hope you at least have a basic understanding of how these tools can help add different components to your workout. I have used all of these with many of my clients and while their initial reaction to the introduction of a new exercise is usually “Did you make this up?” They always find them very challenging and a great way to make workouts more fun.