Tuesday, January 3, 2012

"4 Exercise Tools for Under $20"

As you contemplate ways to keep your fitness fresh in 2012, take stock of the equipment you've got right in your own home. Sick of everything? Don't have anything? Consider stocking up on some cheap exercise tools. Some suggestions from ACE Fitness:

I've got a set of balance pods at home, and we've also got some at the gym. Miniature BOSU trainers, that's what they are. So if you've always wanted a BOSU, this might be an easier way for you to get one ('cuz the real thing ain't cheap). You can't necessarily lie on them like a BOSU, but you can squat and lunge yourself silly as shown above. And you can put the pods under your hands during planks and pushups to increase their difficulty. 

Yoga blocks might not be for you if you aren't into yoga, but don't write them off completely. They can, like the balance pods, increase the difficulty of your pushups—maybe just create additional comfort as you lean forward in single arm rows or any other exercise that requires a stable surface on which to lean. Maybe that chair or bench you've got isn't the right height, but it could be with the extra few inches the block would provide.

As for the weighted balls and the reaction ball, I can't honestly say that I have any experience with either, but I'd certainly enjoy messin' around with them. I can see how the weighted balls would intensify basic exercises, and the reaction ball...well, you get good cardio chasing anything, let alone something that doesn't bounce the way you always think it will!

Other things you might want to consider adding to your repertoire of fitness gear:
Elastic bands
Jump rope
• Hand weights
• Weighted bars
• Medicine balls
• Exercise ball
• Step or stool
Suspension trainer

(And like Jessica mentioned in the video above, you'll want to check out ACE's library of fitness product reviews for more great ideas.)

Obviously some of the above will be more than $20. However, there are a number of excellent resources out there for purchasing fitness equipment. A quick Google search will bring up thousands, and you can always head to your local superstore. Just be careful if you hit up a secondhand store. If you find something that interests you, inspect it with a keen eye for safety. Look for rust, broken seams or torn fabrics, chips, cracks, missing pieces and more. You don't want to invest in something that could ultimately hurt or fail you. Know what I mean?

Question: What's on your list of must-have fitness gear?

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