Work your body and your brain with these affordable and awesome buys.
One thing the pandemic has definitely taught us when it comes to workouts? That you can turn almost anything into fitness equipment! Loaded backpacks can take the place of a weighted vest; stairs and sturdy chairs create dynamic supports and elevations; even holding your baby (or terrier?) can add bodyweight to squats.
Here are 5 home-studio game-changers under $20 that do double-duty as a lightweight travel workout kit.
Bonus? Each item here will challenge your brain and your bod, thanks to neuroplasticity:
Pull-up Assistance Band.
For way more than pull-up assists! These long loop bands can be purchased in a variety of resistance levels. Bands are excellent because they challenge your stability while delivering resistance through all ranges of a repetition. Pro tip: Combine your band with your set of home dumbbells or kettlebells to add brand new levels of challenge, saving you the expense of buying a heavier set of weights.
Usually marketed as a core workout, but don’t be fooled. These pocket-sized disks turn any carpeted surface into an absolutely killer stability workout for upper and lower body, while setting your core and glutes on fire! Pro tip: Move mindfully. Slow, controlled reps are the name of the game to make the most of slides.
A single loop band in your overnight bag can help you amp up a short full-body workout in ways you’ll be feeling the best day – guaranteed. Pro tip: Use lighter resistance for upper-body moves, keeping your shoulders safe.
Wait, what? YES, tennis balls! Build neuroplasticity, balance, and coordination all while challenging your body. Start with simple wall-tosses, and progress to single-leg moves, like plank pass-unders, squat-tosses, and so much more. Plus, you can use a single ball to gently massage out sore muscles against a flat surface. Pro tip: Learn to juggle! Research suggests that learning juggle can promote the growth of neural pathways connected to improving memory, concentration, balance, and even vision.
Tap into your inner kiddo with one of the most joyful activities going! The list of benefits is a long one. Skipping packs a bigger punch than most simple body-weight cardio activities, thanks to the way it challenges hand-eye coordination and overall agility. Pro tip: Don’t get discouraged, if you haven’t skipped since you were young, you might be surprised at how tough it is. Embrace the same beginner-mind you had when you were 6, and before long you’ll be working up a serious sweat in minutes.
Free is even better!
Don’t let a lack of equipment hold you back from having an amazing workout. These simple tips will help you find creative ways to step up your home or travel workout with nothing at all.
- Grab a water or laundry detergent jug for weighted squats, deadlifts, curls, and more.
- Use a hand towel or facecloth on a tile or wood floor the same way you would workout slides.
- Use a sturdy chair or sofa for elevated planks, pushups, dips, and Bulgarian split squats. Get creative!
- Hit the playground and use the monkey bars the way they were intended! Add some hanging crunches and pull-ups for next-level strength.
- Nothing beats stairs for getting your heart-rate up. Run, take two at a time, or use them for elevated pushups.