Five Best Tools for Getting a Killer Workout at Home

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Face it, we are not able to make it to the gym all of the time. Even if we make the gym a priority every day, life finds a way to interfere with training time especially as we become busier as a society. One of the best ways to ensure that you get your daily training session in is to have a few key pieces of equipment at home.

Related: Find the Perfect Workout Routine For Your Needs

Failure to make it to the gym does not mean that you have to miss a training session or settle for a sub- standard workout. In fact, a home gym may become your preferred place to train from now on. These five key pieces of equipment will allow you get in a killer workout at home no matter what your goal is.

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Getting the Best Home Workout – 5 Tools

#1 – Suspension Trainer/Rings

When you cannot make it to the gym one of the go to answers for getting a workout in is good old bodyweight training. It is possible to build muscle, get stronger, and improve your conditioning with bodyweight.

The world of bodyweight training becomes a whole lot bigger with the use of a suspension trainer or a nice pair of gymnastics rings. You can make pushing and pulling exercises easier or more difficult by changing your body angle when utilizing a suspension trainer.

Suspension trainers are useful for making your upper body training more elbow and shoulder friendly as well. As far as leg work is concerned, you can use a suspension trainer for assisted single leg work until you are strong enough to perform a regular single leg squat or airborne lunge.

A quality suspension trainer is a must for a home gym set up. All that is necessary is a place to hang it from or a door to close. For $150 investment you can dramatically increase your exercise selection and your ability to get a killer workout anywhere you want whether it is at home or on the road.

#2 – Parallelettes

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Parallelettes or P-bars are another great tool for adding exercises to your bodyweight strength training. Perform a number of intense workouts with them from L-sits, push-ups, handstand push-ups, and even more difficult movements like the L-sit to handstand or straddle planche.

Don’t limit yourself to the same tired bodyweight movements from PE class that you have done a thousand times, push your strength to new limits with more advanced exercises. Not only are these movements difficult challenges but they are also fun to perform and pretty darn cool witness too.

You can purchase P-bars from a number of places or, you can make them yourself by taking a trip to the hardware store for under $50 worth of PVC and PVC cement. A worthwhile investment for your home gym and your upper body strength and development.

#3 – Chin Up Bar

Get a killer workout at home by training off of the ground. A proper place to hang from for pull ups and chin ups is invaluable. The functional strength that you can develop by performing the exercises that become available when you have a proper place to hang is unmatched by any other piece of equipment. You gain the ability to train grip, back, and abs when you gain access to a pullup bar. No home gym is complete without one.

Can you perform ten perfect neck to bar pull ups/chins with completely straight arms at the bottom position? If not, you are missing proper back strength and development and quite possibly have less than optimal body composition too.

If you can perform ten perfect reps of the chin up or pull up, try improving your straight arm pulling strength by working up to performing the front lever and all its variations. You are not doomed to perform only pullups for your back training at home. Ratchet up the intensity with your pull up bar and work on your straight arm pulling strength.

You have number of options when it comes to buying a pull up bar from the leverage secured pullup bars that fit across door jams or, the pull up/dip combo rigs that are available at most sporting goods stores. Once again, if you are handy, you can build your own pullup bar with galvanized pipe and some creativity for under $50. Pick the option that works best for you but, don’t skip out on the benefits of a good pullup bar.

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#4 – Kettlebell

There is no more versatile tool for getting in a great training session at home than a kettlebell. A kettlebell of the proper size will provide you with the ability to perform every fundamental human movement with one piece of equipment. You can perform an entire full body workout that will build muscle and burn fat with a 53-pound kettlebell for men and a 35-pound kettlebell for women.

If you are new to Kettlebell training start by learning the goblet squat, the clean and press, the swing, and Turkish getup. If you add in a pulling movement like a row or pullup you have a complete full body workout that will challenge your conditioning as well as your strength.

Once you have mastered these exercises with a 53-pound kettlebell either move up to the next size which is 70-pounds and master the exercises with the heavier weight or add another 53-pounder and experience the fun of double kettlebell training.

When shopping for a kettlebell for your home gym be sure to look for one that is cast in one solid piece and has a coating that you like. Some lower quality kettlebells have handles that are welded on and can break off if dropped and are poorly finished which can make them rough on the hands. Invest in a good kettlebell and it will last you a lifetime.

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#5 – Sandbag

Training with odd objects is a great way to add intensity for minimal money while training at home. One of the most cost effective odd objects for your home gym is a sandbag. Sandbag training is one of the greatest conditioning methods in existence.

Have you ever watched strongman on TV? These guys are not only insanely strong; they are in great condition too. Take a page out of their training logs and add in sandbag training to your home gym routine.

A sandbag that weighs 100-pounds plus is a real eye opener when it comes to odd object training. If you were to only perform sandbag carries with your sandbag you would still have no doubt that you had a killer workout.

Of course there are other exercises that you can perform like sandbag shouldering where lift the sandbag from the ground to over your shoulder and then repeat on the other side or, sandbag squats which are a great way to learn to brace your abs when squatting because you have to pin the sandbag against your torso. Sandbag get-ups are another great exercise for both strength and conditioning and are a killer workout all by themselves.

There are a number of different sandbags that you can purchase for your home gym. There is the Ultimate Sandbag that is the Cadillac of sandbags which allows for great utility and variation of exercises. Then there are the strongman style sandbags like those from Iron Mind which are tough canvas bags that can be loaded as heavy as you are willing to go.

Lastly, for those on a budget, go to an army surplus store and buy a canvas sea bag, turn it inside out, fill it up and duct tape it shut. These options can be over $100 or under $50 depending on the route you choose.

A sample killer home workout that utilizes all of the above equipment might look something like this.

  • Turkish Get-up 3L+3
  • Block 1 exercises – Push up, Suspension Trainer Inverted Row, Sandbag Squat
  • Block 2 exercises – One Arm KB Press, Pull-up, KB Swing
  • Bear Hug Carry

This home workout provides a full body strength workout and finishes with conditioning work from the sandbag bear hung carry and should take you less than an hour to perform.

There you have it a killer workout at home with five versatile pieces of equipment. Not having time to make it to the gym is not an excuse any more. Under $300 of equipment and you have all that is necessary for a killer workout at home.

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Name: Brad Borland

Bio: Starting out as a scrawny 125 pound kid at 6’ 2” I took up weight training at the tender age of 14 and ended up a 220 pound competitive drug-free, natural bodybuilder several years later. Now armed with both knowledge and muscle I have helped countless individuals domestically and abroad.