May 12th, 2010
Does size really matter? While you might try to convince yourself otherwise, it usually does make a considerable difference. But, this not necessarily the case when it comes to your choice of home workout equipment, as there are some excellent choices that occupy little space, but still offer big results.
I am a firm believer that the more variety you have in your exercises, the more results you will see in your body. The large variety of equipment in a commercial gym will simply give you better results than a single set of 3-pound dumbbells and ankle weights at home. So when it comes to space saving home exercise equipment, you must consider the variety of exercises the equipment offers.
The large multi-station gym components, can take up an incredible amount of space in your home. Unfortunately, depending on the stations included in the unit, the number of exercises can be surprisingly limited. Another space hog is the Bow-Flex, or similar power-rod systems. While they do give you more variety in comparison, they take up a lot of space in both your home, and in your budget.
Some of the more versatile pieces of exercise equipment can be not only the more economical choices, but also the biggest space savers.
Swiss balls are the large exercise balls that are sometimes called stability balls. They offer the user an unstable surface that forces you to balance and this engages core muscles. A large number of both calisthenics and weight training exercises can be performed on a Swiss ball. They also make a great chair for your desk, as they promote “active” sitting, engaging many muscles to maintain your sitting balance and posture.
Dumbbells with an adjustable bench can give you a wide range of more traditional weight training exercises to perform. They are economical, versatile, space saving, and are solid foundation of any strength training program. Throw a Swiss ball into the mix and you expand your horizons even more.
A variety pack of rubber tubing can give you a fairly good workout. As with dumbbells, the varying strength of different muscles will require different sizes of tubes. One size of tubing or dumbbells does not cut it. Rubber tubing is not my top choice for effectiveness, but because they are lightweight and space saving, you must consider them if you don’t have a lot of room. They are a great choice for the traveler.
And don’t forget Jack Lalanne! Much of Jack’s fitness came from old-fashioned calisthenics, which are body weight exercises. You just cannot argue with the cost cutting and space saving pushups, squats, lunges, sit-ups, etc. While it is difficult to get a total body workout with calisthenics, you can come pretty close. The bad news is that other than amputating a leg or slicing off a butt cheek, you cannot easily lighten the load and make an exercise easier. This can make calisthenics a tough choice for the obese.
All of the options I mentioned require the knowledge of various exercises. There are many potential tweaks you can incorporate with exercises to increase or decrease their intensity. The instructions that come with your equipment will have some basics, but learning all of your potential exercise options is time and money well spent. A single session with a knowledgeable personal trainer will cover this and is a wise investment.