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Home Fitness Equipment: How to Use it Right!

Holly Smith

By: Holly Smith, M.D. - Osteopathic Medicine, B.S. - Dietetics, NASM-PES Certified Trainer,

Writer, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

home fitness equipment

Did you get some new home fitness equipment over the holidays? Great! Now it's time to figure out how to actually use it — and get the most out of it.

Working out from home is an excellent way to stay in shape, especially during the winter.

When you add in the fact that most gyms are still shut down due to COVID, this means that home workouts are really the only way to still stay accountable to your health and fitness goals.

You have probably seen tons of ads out there for home fitness equipment.

And while mirrors with built-in trainers and fancy exercise bikes are awesome workout options, these are very pricey pieces of equipment!

Luckily, there are more affordable alternatives that will get you in just as great of shape and keep you accountable to your fitness all winter — and all year — long.

Here's some of our favorite home fitness equipment — and how to get the most out of it.

What’s the best at-home workout for you? Find out here!

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Home Fitness Equipment: How to Use it Right!

Resistance Bands

Resistance bands are one of the ultimate exercise tools for home and on the road.

Not only can you target every muscle group with a set of bands, but you can store them or travel with them easily.

When you workout with resistance bands you activate the same major muscle groups that you get with free weights.

Plus, when you use the proper form, you obtain similar muscle strength gains to free weight exercises.

These are some great compound resistance band exercises to get the most out of this piece of home exercise equipment.

Compound movements are great for muscle development and allow you to target multiple muscle groups at once.

You can also slow down the movement to really feel the muscles under tension while you do these movements.

Squat to Shoulder Press

  • Stand on a resistance band with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Hold a handle in each hand at shoulder height with your palms facing away from you.
  • Move your body down into a squat while keeping the handles at your shoulders.
  • As you stand back up from the squat, extend your arms to push the handles up into the air above your shoulders.
  • Extend your legs at the same rate you extend your arms.
  • Lower your arms back down to your shoulders.
  • Repeat 8-10 reps for three sets total.

Standing Bent Over Rows to Bicep Curls

  • Stand with both feet on a resistance band, about hip-width apart.
  • Hold one end in each hand.
  • Bend your knees slightly and hinge forward at the hips, keeping your back flat, arms straight, and hands under your shoulders.
  • Bend your elbows to pull the band toward your chest, keeping your elbows close to your body.
  • Then straighten your arms and lower back down.
  • Next, stand up straight and curl the bands up while keeping your elbows close to your sides.
  • Pause at the top then slowly lower back down.
  • That is one rep.
  • Complete three sets of 10-12 reps.

Push-Up to Front Arm Raise

  • Loop a resistance band around the soles of your feet and hold the handles in each hand while in a push-up position.
  • Bend your elbows to lower down into a push-up.
  • Push your arms back up, and at the top of the push-up raise your right arm until it is parallel to the floor.
  • You will have to slightly shift your weight to the left, however, try to keep your back as straight as possible.
  • Lower your arm back down to the floor and perform another push-up.
  • Once at the top, raise your left arm into the air and lower back down.
  • Continue the push-ups and alternating arm raises until you complete 5-6 on each side.

Dumbbells

If you have a set of dumbbells at home, you can do just about any workout that you would do in the gym.

The limiting factor, obviously, is how much weight and how many dumbbells you have.

You can use a lighter weight and up the intensity and even incorporate high-intensity intervals with dumbbells.

Or you can use a heavy weight and incorporate supersets to get the most bang for your buck.

There are some great dumbbells out there that allow you to easily adjust the weight all the way up to 50 pounds or more for each dumbbell, which is helpful if you are switching between multiple different exercises.

Here are some sample dumbbell exercises that will target all of your major muscle groups.

Walking Lunges with Dumbbells

  • Make sure you have a long clear space to walk across.
  • Keep your upper body straight, with your shoulders back.
  • Step forward with your right leg, lowering your hips until both knees are bent at about a 90-degree angle.
  • Make sure your front knee is directly above your ankle and does not track over your toes.
  • Keep the weight in your heels as you push back up to the starting position.
  • Then repeat on the left as you walk forward.
  • Keep alternating legs until you repeat 8-10 reps on each side.

Floor Chest Press

  • Lie on the floor or a mat while holding a dumbbell in each hand with your arms extended over your chest in a bench press position.
  • Lower your elbows to the floor with your arms at about a 45-degree angle to your chest.
  • Once your elbows touch the floor, extend your arms back up to complete one rep.
  • Repeat for 8-10 reps.

Arnold Press

  • Start in a standing position with your feet about shoulder-width apart.
  • Hold a pair of dumbbells in front of your forehead with your elbows at 90 degrees and your palms facing toward your body.
  • Then, open up your arms so that your elbows remain at 90 degrees but your hands are facing out.
  • Next press the dumbbells up towards the ceiling.
  • Now reverse the move by lowering your elbows back down to 90 degrees, then turning in your arms so that your palms are again facing your forehead.
  • That is one rep.
  • Repeat for 6-8 reps.

Bent-Over Tricep Kickbacks

  • Start in a standing position and hinge forward at your hips with a dumbbell handing in each hand.
  • Row the weights up so that they are slightly below your chest.
  • As you keep your upper arms in line with your torso, extend your forearms back by contracting your triceps, then return the dumbbells to the starting position.
  • Repeat this for 8-10 reps.

Cardio Machines

Maintaining cardiovascular fitness is essential for every workout plan, and there are some great machines out there that can help you achieve these goals.

Many people think of slogging it out on the treadmill as the only way to get any cardio fitness indoors.

Luckily, there are so many other ways to incorporate cardio machines to keep your workouts fun and filled with variety.

Treadmill

The thought of doing cardio on a treadmill elicits a lot of groans.

This is because a lot of people will just set a treadmill at a constant speed and plod along until they finish a set time or distance.

This monotonous type of exercise not only will drain your motivation, but you don’t get a ton of aerobic benefits.

However, you can really amp up your fitness with some awesome treadmill intervals that will make a 30-minute workout fly by.

And you don’t have to break the bank to buy a decent treadmill either.

While there are very pricey options for more “professional” athletes, there are great treadmills available for under $1,000 that will last years and pay themselves forward for all of the great fitness gains you will achieve.

A 2019 study in the Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation found numerous benefits to the gait changes that are involved in treadmill interval training.

This includes increases in metabolic demand and increased stability during speed transitions.

Also, interval training was found to increase mental focus which helps avoid the monotony of usual treadmill workouts, aiding adherence to an exercise program.

Elliptical

Many people like the idea of using an elliptical at home in place of running on a treadmill.

With an elliptical, you can still get in a great heart-pumping cardio session.

In addition, most ellipticals require you to use your arms to increase your momentum, so that you are working both your upper and lower body.

You can mindlessly churn out 30 minutes on an elliptical while watching TV, but that really won’t give you the best workout.

Similar to treadmill workouts, you can adjust the incline and resistance to develop your own HIIT workouts on the elliptical.

Learn about the best types of cardio for fat loss and the science behind cardio for WOMEN!

Other Home Workout Equipment

Jump Rope

Remember the days of skipping rope during gym class?

Well, incorporating jump rope workouts into your exercise routine is still a great way to build leg strength and cardiovascular endurance.

You can use a jump rope to get in a great warm-up or incorporate jump rope exercises into a high-intensity interval workout.

Plus, there are different ways to challenge yourself with jump rope drills, such as single-leg hops, side to side hops, and double-unders!

Doorway Pull Up Bar

Pull-ups are the ultimate upper body exercise.

And a doorway pull-up bar is a cheap piece of home exercise equipment that is a breeze to set up.

Even if you aren’t stuck inside, randomly doing pull-ups throughout the day is a great way to maintain awesome upper body strength and fitness.

You can hit the back and bicep muscles from all different angles with a doorway pull up bar.

And if you don’t have the strength to complete full pull-ups on your own yet, you can modify the exercises with a chair or assistance bands to help you gain strength to eventually do a pull up on your own.

Ab Wheel

Using an ab wheel is a unique way to train your core to really get those abs muscles to pop.

To use the ab roller you grab each handle and roll out into a plank position, then return back to the starting position.

This is all done by keeping your abdominal muscles engaged, along with multiple other core muscles.

An ab wheel engages your rectus abdominus and oblique muscles.

But in addition to that, you will also be targeting your hip flexors, lats, chest, and deltoids to stabilize yourself throughout the entire movement.

Fitness Apps

Products like MIRROR, Tonal, and Peloton have gained a lot of attention as more people turn to at-home workouts.

While these are awesome products, they can be quite expensive.

And during a pandemic when many people don’t have a lot of extra money to spend on this type of equipment, it is nice to have more affordable options.

You can still get the motivation of a trainer at home at a cheap price with online fitness apps and programs.

The Fit Mother Project is one of these awesome options.

With free introductory courses and affordable long term programs, you can stay motivated and accountable for your health and fitness.

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Maintain Your Health With Affordable Home Fitness Equipment

These are just a few examples and exercises that you can incorporate with home fitness equipment.

As you can see, you don’t always have to go to an actual gym to get a killer workout.

You can improve your physical fitness and get great strength and cardio workouts from home.

The key is knowing the best ways to use your home fitness equipment to get the desired results.

By adding variety to your exercise routines you can use this equipment to continue on your fitness journey, even in the midst of a lockdown.

And if you are searching for more motivation, the Fit Mother Project offers additional workouts, exercises, dietary guidance, and tips from all of their professionals on staff so you never have to feel lost in your workouts.

So let go of your excuses, pick up those resistance bands and jump on that treadmill and get into the best shape of your life with your own home fitness equipment!

Holly Smith
Holly Smith

Writer, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

Holly is an osteopathic physician, runner, triathlete, and fitness and nutrition enthusiast.

She is board certified in nephrology and internal medicine, has a bachelors degree in dietetics and is a certified personal trainer with NASM-PES certification.

Holly has completed four full ironmans, twelve marathons, countless half ironmans, olympic distance triathlons, half marathons and numerous other road races.

Holly joined the Fit Father Project in May 2019 as a regular writer, contributing articles on health, wellness, exercise, and nutrition.

She has also recently qualified for the 2020 World Championships for Ironman 70.3, in New Zealand!

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*Please know that weight loss results & health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info on home fitness equipment.

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