We get it, quarantine is getting boring. The days are getting longer and we’re looking for more ways to keep ourselves entertained — while doing everything we can to keep our budgets tight during these times of uncertainty. Yet, as summer rolls in, the realities of homemade banana bread, unlimited Netflix, and, let’s face it, lots of cocktails, have caught up to us. Whether you’ve put on the quarantine fifteen, or you’re just bored of your equipment-less bodyweight workouts, it’s time to amp up your at home routine — without breaking the bank.
In fact, you can snap up tons of impactful workout essentials for less than $50 each that will still be small enough to comfortably hide on your next Zoom call. Some of our favorite fitness gurus shared their top picks… but before we break those down, let’s talk about the one thing we all need before we Zoom into our next fitness class — This $45 selfie light. Whether you’re doing burpees, facetiming with a friend to hold each other accountable, or joining an IG live — phone placement seems to require a special talent. Phone stands ensure a hands-free workout, are adjustable for all phones and, thanks to the added ring light, make you look like you’re feeling better than you probably are.
Here’s the rest of the workout merch our experts recommend.
5 lb weights ($36)
Alexa Hirschberg, a yoga Instructor at Core Power Studios in New York, suggests this set of neoprene ones. “I find 5 pound weights to be an easy essential piece of equipment to get an even higher quality workout, she says, noting that these weights actually give you two workout options — they’re small enough that you can put both into a single hand, allowing you to add more variety and greater challenge to your workouts. These can be used in isolated strength exercises like tricep extensions, bicep curls, or even donkey kicks. These weights can also be used during compound exercises like lunges, or even within abdominal work. “I personally love having 5 pound weights when teaching or taking class, because I can feel my strength building and I can challenge myself in more ways than I thought,” she says.
A cushy yoga mat ($39)
Hirschberg also suggests buying a yoga mat if you don’t already have one. “Trying to train on concrete, or on floors that are not supportive enough, can severely damage your body in more ways than one. A mat allows cushioning and protection for your knees when doing push ups, or for your back when doing ab work, Hirschberg says. But there’s a big difference between a flimsy mat and one that will go the distance, which is why the one we linked above is super cushy 🙂 Just remember that in this day of social distancing, sharing your mat is not recommended — and make sure you wipe it down after every workout to get rid of any sweat you’ve left behind.
When it comes to tough workouts (the kind where you actually see results at the end) one of my absolute favorite classes is Barry’s Bootcamp. Joey Gonzalez, CEO of Barry’s Bootcamp, recommends resistance bands as a way to bring the studio home. Resistance bands are made of stretchy plastic, but when used in the right way, they can take the place of weights, and help you use your own body’s weight to build muscle. (Still confused? Here’s a great 30-minute full-body workout only using resistance bands.)
The Barry’s set of workout equipment linked above includes the mini-band along with a standard resistance band, “Together, these pieces can get you an incredible full body workout,” Gonzalez says. You can also now video into the “Red Room” on the Barry’s at Home digital platform for $20 a session. You can find their class offerings here, and if you’re a first responder or health care worker, you can receive a free class by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you’d like to donate a class to a first responder, check out this link.
Wrist/Ankle Weights ($49)
Certified Nutrition coach and fitness fanatic Rachael Schwartz suggests wrist weights, particularly Bala Bangles. “My favorite piece of at home workout equipment are weights that double as ankle and wrist weights, anywhere from 1 to 3 pounds,” she says. “They’re easy to wear and store for your favorite workouts, but you can also easily use them while doing regular tasks around the house to get a burn on without even trying!” For example, Schwartz says she dons them when she folds laundry, mops and cooks — or even when she’s just standing up typing at the computer.
Schwartz isn’t the only pro who’s obsessed with these. Samantha Jade, the creator of BY SJ and a master instructor at SoulCycle, agrees. “I love adding the Bala bangles to my classes. Whether it’s in body, abs or stretch, putting them on my wrists and/or ankles has me feeling really strong and extra sweaty, without having me compromise my form,” she says. Also, be sure to check out Samantha Jade’s $10 online classes — one of our favorite things to come out of quarantine.
A Step Stool or Chair (Free!)
Soul Cycle instructor Julie Ferrer, who usually teaches in suburban New York and Connecticut has been offering free (yes, you read that right) workout classes via Zoom. So, it’s fitting that her top choice for a piece of equipment wasn’t going to cost you anything either — it’s a step stool or chair that you have laying around your home. Ferrer says that an item like this can be used for HITT-based workouts, cardio, or even stretching, because they’re perfect for toe touches, tricep dips, incline pushes and so much. Ferrer says using a step stool “literally and figuratively takes things to the next level!”
More on HerMoney:
- The Only Quarantine Workout You’ll Ever Need, With Jillian Michaels
- Best Workout Apps For Women
- 6 Things We Predict Will Never Go Back To “Normal” After Coronavirus
- HerMoney Healthline: How To Keep Good Habits While Working From Home
MORE MONEY TIPS TO HELP YOU NAVIGATE LIFE: Subscribe to HerMoney today for free!