Fitness

How to build your own gym at home

You don't need to have a lot of space to keep fit.

Small space? No sweat! We recommend our favourite compact, portable training aids that can turn your living room into an efficient home gym.

Medicine balls
A medicine ball is the ultimate one-stop gym: you can balance on it, press it, toss it and use it to add resistance to squats and lunges.

Try this super-efficient chest and shoulder muscle workout: Get into a pushup position with your feet wider than hip-width apart. Place your right hand on top of the ball. Balancing on the ball, lower your body into a pushup, then change hands. Aim for 15 each side.

Kettlebells
“I often get asked what piece of equipment is most crucial in a home gym set-up, and the answer is a pair of kettlebells,” says Anna Block, kettlebell trainer and founder of BlockFIT.

“Portable, functional and easy to store, they combine cardiovascular, strength and flexibility training using dynamic movements. If you’re time-poor, these will give you bang for your buck with short, full-body workouts that reduce body fat, tone and increase your cardiovascular health all in one.”

Skipping ropes
You may have given up childish things long ago, but the skipping rope might need revisiting. When it comes to cardio fitness, agility and strength, jumping rope is a super-efficient way to achieve all three. First check the rope length; the handles should come up to your armpits when you stand in the middle of the rope.

Try the following workout (30 seconds per set): jump to your left, then your right as you swing the rope; then land on the right foot, then on the left foot.

Foam rollers
“Foam rollers are a recovery tool that can help keep the body in great shape,” says Erica King, founder of online women’s running community Running Divas.

“Just five to 10 minutes of rolling will reduce tight or sore muscles, improve tone, increase flexibility and keep your training on track. Use the roller to massage your upper and lower calves, back, quads, hamstring, glutes and any other area you need.”

Resistance bands
The best part about these little beauties is you can toss them in a bag and take them anywhere.

Try this strength-building move: step your right foot on the centre of the band and stretch your left leg out behind you. Take one end of the band in each hand and do a bicep curl while bending your left knee to lower into a lunge. Do 20 reps. Switch legs and repeat.

Boxing gloves
High intensity and muscle sculpting, boxing gives you a killer body (without you having to actually maim anyone!). It also requires intense mental focus, so it acts a bit like meditation.

Try this combo for starters: stand with your right foot forward, elbows bent, fists on either side of your chin. Quick as you can, punch your right arm forward, rotating your fist down (a ‘right jab’); don’t lock your elbow. Then ‘left cross’, punching your left arm forward, turning your left hip in the direction of the punch and lifting your left heel off the floor. Repeat.

Swiss Balls
A Swiss ball is great for working your core and improving balance.

Try these squats: place the ball between the wall and the middle of your back. Stand with your feet flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart and several centimetres in front of your torso. Lean against the ball and lower into a squat, thighs parallel to the floor. Don’t let your knees extend beyond your toes. Maintain correct posture by engaging your core muscles as you press against the ball. Roll back to the start. Repeat 15 times.

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