It’s that time of year where so many get inspired (or reinspired) to kick their exercise into high gear. Maybe that means at home tools this year or maybe it’s finding something in your gym that hides in the back corner but doesn’t get much love, since it’s not a shiny, new toy.
I’ve got you covered with the Best Exercise Equipment You’ve Never Tried. Some new, some old, but all worthy of giving them a spin.
These are in no particular order, but all equally worthy.
OK, I’m not trying to be a wise a**. Your body is a great form of resistance and by positioning it differently during exercise, can be made easier (or harder) depending on the movements. Maybe you’ve had to discover that these last 9+ months with many gyms shuttered across the country. So maybe it’s not as shiny as fancy gym equipment or you think it’s not going to get you the results you’re looking for, don’t underestimate your body. Heck, for me, at 200 pounds, it’s more than I’d lift for many movements anyhow. Give this circuit a try, consistently (let’s say 3 times per week) and report back.
Do each exercise for 30 seconds, with 30 seconds rest in between (30 on, 30 off)
Full body extensions (let hands come down between your feet, simultaneously squat your hips as low as you can, bring your hands up overhead while you push up through your heels).
Pullup Superman (lie face down, pull your chest off the ground with arms in a Y position, then maintaining the chest off the ground position, mimic a pullup motion by pulling your elbows down towards your sides and extending back to the starting Y position).
Single leg touchdowns. Balance on one leg, with opposite knee bent and shin parallel to the ground. Lower your body trying to get your shin as close to the ground as possible, keeping your weight in your heel of the opposite leg. Keep your arms extended in front of your body for balance (I like to hold 5 lb plates, too, which seems to help).
Repeat all for 5 complete sets.
Vitality. Performance. Reconditioning is what ViPR stands for and is a unique tool that I first remember seeing several years ago at a fitness conference. The idea of the ViPR is to offer what they say loaded movement training, to challenge the body with more than straightforward weights. Moving the body with load can improve balance, agility and strength; it was initially created after seeing the inherent strength of those who don’t lift traditional weights, but rather are active on farms – lifting different shaped tools – not for the sake of lifting, but for the sake of working on the farm. And the resultant strength that came from that inspired the ViPR. These are just a little more friendly (and less messy) than a bale of hay. You can add a ViPR to any of the above movements to increase the challenge as well (including doing the pushups with your hand on the ViPR for balance).
An upgraded balance bad system; this tool is designed specifically to treat foot, ankle, knee, hip and lower back pain as it’s created to mimic walking on a sand beach. Since that’s not possible for all of us, enter the Sanddune Stepper. I personally love it for stability and to strengthen my foot and ankle muscles that otherwise don’t get much love if working out with traditional shoes. Like with the ViPR, any bodyweight exercise above can be made more challenging on this tool – try your hands (or feet) on it for a pushup, consider standing on it during full body extensions or keep one foot on it during lunges. There’s lots of ways to use it; consider it as you’re building your own exercise arsenal.
Onnit Steel Clubs
I first had the opportunity to play around with these with a friend and colleague at her gym down in Miami. And let’s just say, they got the best of me, hurt so good (in muscles I forgot or didn’t know that existed) and from that point forward, wanted some of my own. Traditional dumbbells can be great, but steel clubs add an element of awesome to your workout, challenging rotational core power, helping with balance and off balance athletics (or even just with activities of daily living, like carrying groceries up stairs to your apartment, stand up paddle boarding or the like). Trust me when I say you don’t need heavy; my aforementioned friend, who is tremendously fit but just from sheer size not as “strong” as me, took me to school with these as I winced like I’ve never lifted a weight in my life while she mimicked all the exercise with grace and a smile. Thank you Jacqueline Kasen for showing me up and introducing me to these fun tools!
These look like frisbees that are filled with tiny balls of steel. And trust me when I say your weights will never feel the same. They a test of grip strength like no other, but are also durable and won’t destroy your floor when you slam them down (a favorite in our home gym to ramp up the heart rate). As they say on their website, SteelBells are one of the most intense free weights ever created – agree. And while they can range in size from 5-200 lb, I can’t imagine what it would feel like to do anything with the 200 lb option. Regardless, they’re great tools that you likely have never tried. Consider adding it to your arsenal.
If you’ve got a little more bang to spend and would love a more personalized guidance from the comfort of your home, the Tempo Studio takes it up a notch – as the first all-in-one home fitness system and AI-powered trainer. Tempo uses 3D sensors and AI to analyze motion and provide real-time rep counting, form feedback, and weight recommendations so it’s like having a real live trainer with you but right from the comfort of your home. While at first it might seem a bit pricey up front, it comes with a full weight set that allows users to lift anywhere from 7.5 lbs to 100 lbs, a workout mat, recovery roller and heart rate monitor and has a 42” immersive touch screen along with containing all the equipment in easel shaped cabinet for containment. Then with on-demand workouts (HIIT, strength training, mobility, cardio and more) … it fits in to your schedule whenever you want it.
There you have it. Six fun, unique tools to take your training to the next level. And while I started with your body weight, if you rolled your eyes just reading that, add any of the tools I suggested to those exercises mentioned and I promise you you’ll get a workout like no other.