There are a lot of new-fangled gadgets, bungees, balls, cogs, cams, crunchers, steppers, conveyor belts, springy squishy things, etc. on the market. The health and fitness industry is a 50 billion dollar industry–it’s massive. More now than ever before you’re seeing advertisements for things you must have in order to stay fit.
But what it fitness? What is exercise? In the loose sense, it’s merely keeping your body active. We simply don’t move around enough, period. Stay in motion for more time during the day (take the stairs, walk to work, mow your lawn with an old-school push mower) and you’ll be better off. If you’re into aesthetics or performance, more focused movement comes into play.
It doesn’t take an entire gym. Here are the top three best pieces of exercise equipment you can have/buy. Ready?
1) Jump Rope - Go ahead. Jump rope. It’s been a long time, hasn’t it? Not since the school yard. Weird how children a generation ago were perfect miniature specimens of the human figure. But seriously. If you can be that light on your feet, can manage to keep your heart rate beating that high for a few minutes, you’re doing alright. It is cheap, it packs easily, its light, you can take it on your runs, on vacation… It fits easily into any workout. It is aerobic, great for intervals, great for plyometrics, good for the legs, great for the arms and shoulders. You can jump in all kinds of styles, work on your foot work, stay nimble… jeez. Pretty simple, isn’t it?
2) Kettle Bell -This is the only major dollar investment I would ever recommend for your home gym, due to its shape and versatility. There are literally dozens of effective, functional exercises you can do with a kettle bell, the most fundamental of which is the basic swing. Good for the hamstring, glutes, hips, low back, core… can work the chest, shoulders, lats, biceps… shoulder stability, single leg stability, rhythm, fluidity, and functionality. It’s durable, smooth, heavy, and shaped oddly enough to allow momentum to add more aspects to motion. If you don’t have one, there is a lot you can miss out on–but none of those things are truly necessary for fitness. If all you’re looking for is the basic swing, find a small backpack and fill it with rocks. Presto. Instant kettle bell. If you are in the market to buy one and don’t know what weight to select, choose one that you can just about press over your head with one arm, with as much “umph” from the legs as you’d like.
3) Bench – A bench? What kind of bench? Any kind. A park bench, or picnic table bench, or weight bench, or makeshift board and cinder block bench. Anything that is 1-2 feet off the ground. It is an object at a height we encounter several times daily. You can lie on it for chest presses, overhead extensions, rollups. You can jump on it, jump over it, burp off it, do incline push-0ups, decline push-ups, dips, step-ups, step-overs…
There you have it. Three must-have pieces of equipment for the greatest return.