Learn everything there Is to know about fItness, performance, fat loss and lifestyle from Adrian McDonnell.
21 weeks: The length of time gym doors will have been shut in Ireland come the end of 2020. No one could possibly have planned for this – especially during the first lockdown. And while gyms door reopening or closing is out of our control, investing in some gym equipment for our home gym and taking control of our health and fitness is.
It is a worthwhile investment to have access to some convenient pieces of equipment so you can continue to train and not accept the fact that your hard-earned muscle and gainz you’ve been working so hard to build will go to waste!
I took into considerations budget, available space as well as what I believe are some of the best pieces of equipment to give you ‘full bang for your buck’ when it comes to getting a training stimulus.
Fed up of doing countless reps of push ups or squats to feel the ‘burn?’ Investing in a weight vest is a simple way to make basic bodyweight exercises significantly more difficult. The thing I like most about weight vests is there is no change in your body position when performing any of the exercises – it remains the same.
For example, compare doing a Goblet squat where you hold a dumbbell at your chest and squat down to a bodyweight squat wearing a vest. For the goblet squat, the load/weight is mainly at the front of your body whereas with a vest it, the load/weight is evenly distributed around your body. This means wearing a weighted vest will not alter your technique in anyway, the exercise just gets more difficult.
If you want to add a conditioning element, you could set a target for yourself to wear the weight vest for the entire duration of your session and perform a full body circuit. Start off by just wearing it in your warm up, and gradually build it up. The first time I wore a weighted vest, I intended on wearing it for a full hour not realising how difficult it would be. I lasted 10 minutes before my traps and upper back gave way. However, I built it up over time to last an entire 75 minute session with a 30Kg vest on and have definitely noticed an improvement in my conditioning.
So not only will wearing a weight vest increase your strength, it will also improve your conditioning. An alternative to investing in a weight vest is to fill a bag up with books and wear it. While you don’t have the luxury of strapping the bag around your waist so it’s tight and secure, it certainly will make things more difficult. A 10Kg weighted vest can be bought for €20-€30.
Resistant Bands/Suspension Trainer
I’m a huge fan of resistant bands and suspension trainers when it comes to doing any kind of strength or mobility work. Bands are so versatile and can be used to work literally every muscle in the body.
That is a full body workout there alone! So as I’ve shown, there are endless opportunities for using resistant bands and suspension trainers to get stronger and also to help with your mobility. Resistant bands can be bought online for €6-€20 depending on the thickness of them and the amount of resistance they provide. I always buy resistant bands in pairs so that if I ever want to do a band resisted barbell exercise, I’ll have two bands that are exactly the same. Suspension trainers range from €20 - €50.
Alternatively, you could buy a clip a and handle as shown below and attach them to your resistant bands to give you a DIY suspension trainer! (Shoutout to Cian O’Brien for this tip).
CHin Up Bar
Chin ups and all variations of it are an indicator lift in almost all of my programs. They are a great way to measure your strength in relation to your own bodyweight. Not only will the chin up bar allow you to perform chin ups with different grips – overhand, underhand, wide etc., you can also perform a number of core exercises such as leg raises and even bar hangs. Chin up bars can be bought online €20-€30. If you can’t perform a full chin up, you could loop the resistant bands you bought into the bar & this will make the exercise easier.
Just a word of warning about chin ups, while they are a great exercise, they internally rotate your shoulders (just like push ups do) meaning they can contribute to giving you rounded shoulders. So to counteract this, make sure you’re doing some external rotation work such as band pull aparts to keep your posture and shoulders healthy.
Cable Pulley System
This has been a new addition to my home gym and I’ve been enjoying the endless possibilities of incorporating new exercises into my program. Investing in a cable pulley will be dependant a lot on space and also equipment – you do need to have weight plates to add resistance to it.
However, if you do have adequate space (especially if you’re setting something up in your home garage) and the equipment to go with, a cable pulley system is a brilliant investment. You can loop the cable around the top of a bar or rack and literally perform endless exercises! It is a worthwhile investment to get lots of attachments to go with it such as various handles and a rope. This opens up new opportunities to do different exercises. A cable pulley can be bought online for €25-€50.
DUMBBELLS AND KETTLEBELLS
I purposefully left weights and strength equipment until last because this will be entirely down to your budget. I do think that investing in a light pair of dumbbells at the very least is essential so you can incorporate the dumbbell lifts into your program. I also love kettlebells for the variety as well as the unique loading stimulus they provide to challenge your body. On average, €3.50 - €4 per Kg of weight is the average price of dumbbells and kettlebells nowadays.
As a bonus, you could invest in a pair of fat gripz which you wrap around the handles of the dumbbells or kettlebells. These really tax your grip strength and are a great way of literally making the lighter weights feel heavy and challenging yourself with limited equipment. Fat gripz can be bought online for €25-€40.
If you have the space and it’s within your budget, these are some additional investments you could make over time:
Where to Buy
Of the list I provided above, my top 3 would be:
And finally, don’t let this pandemic be the reason you don’t take ownership and control of your health and fitness. You can still make progress training from home with limited resources.
Don’t believe me? Checkout some of my online clients who managed to get results with as little as 2x 5Kg dumbbells! I understand that for some, training from home is not as appealing as going to the gym.
But, compared to what? Not training at all? Or telling yourself you’ll start when….gyms open or in the New Year? Doing something is certainly better than nothing.
And as a bonus, I’m starting a new Pilot Group for the month of November for people who want to:
Contact me today if you’re interesting in learning more. If not now when?
Adrian McDonnell -
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