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Exercise Gadgets and Your Home Workout

July 30, 2011

With home exercise equipment, there’s junk to buy everywhere and endless ways to have your wallet picked. The models in the infomercials didn’t get their bodies by using what they’re advertising. It usually says so right in their disclaimer.

Most of this stuff has been around for decades. Ab rollers, exercycles, bands and plastic poles are nothing new, they’re just repackaged and sold at inflated prices. There are a few like the Bowflex Home Gym that you can’t find outside of the infomercial. The Bowflex will condition you, but typically costs more than a lifetime membership at 24 Hour Fitness and doesn’t give better results.

Before you buy or add anything to your collection, see if you have the discipline to do a set of push ups and sit-ups everyday for two weeks. If you don’t, the equipment is probably just going to waste space. Having gadgets and equipment around won’t increase your motivation to exercise, at least not for long. Psychological hurdles still need to be overcome. Look for articles, videos, a friend, a trainer, or anything that can trigger you into action. Search the net for motivational material. “The President’s Challenge” is a good site that our taxes paid for.

A typical online gadget store has good items like jump ropes, balance boards, etc, but there’s always some garbage to filter out. Make a visit to a well-equipped gym to see what trainers are using and make some notes. Then shop around.

Look at online to find a surprising variety of exercise equipment at low prices.

Click here if you’re interested in off-beat fitness gadgets.

UPDATE! Just added EXERCISE EQUIPMENT The ultimate link to an endless variety of exercise equipment. It was put together by a fitness expert, and some prices beat (There is no financial interest here, just a full endorsement).

Don’t buy these exercise gadgets – Consumer Reports gives them bad ratings, and in general they don’t do what they promise:

  • Thigh Master, Ab Rocker. Flexaball, Shake Weights, Belly Burner, are among many that are  a waste of time and money.

Gadgets that can get you into better condition:

  • Stability Ball  are good for working out abdominal and back muscles: $10 to $20.
  • Fitness Videos can be good for motivation, especially if they’re done by respected sports heroes or celebrities. You won’t use them unless you schedule the time however.
  • A Stairstepper – Walking up and down stairs offers a good workout, or buy a step platform, $100 or so.
  • Jump Rope improves aerobic fitness, strengthens legs, buttocks. Boxers, wrestlers, and other athletes use jump ropes to train. $10.
  • Resistance Bands cheap, portable, take on vacation. Can be used to give most muscles workout. Good for getting back into shape, may be hard to get adequate resistance if you’re in really good condition. Burns calories, starts $10.
  • Hand Weights dumbbells offer upper-body strengthening workout. Start around $15.
  • Yoga Mat Even if yoga isn’t your thing, mats still come in handy for sit-ups, push-ups, deep knee bends, and other exercises that use  gravity. (For example, 10 minutes of jumping jacks burns about 125 calories, assuming a body weight of about 200 pounds.) $15-$20.
  • Medicine Ball weighted, and can be used to add intensity to exercises. You can squeeze a medicine ball between your knees while doing reverse curls to strengthen abdominals, for example, or hold it above your head while doing lateral flexes to tighten up oblique muscles. $20 and up.

Great ways to avoid injuries in the gym (but skip the info about shoes – footwear will be in a later post)

Create Your Own Exercise Plan

14 Comments leave one →
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  8. mark maginn permalink
    July 30, 2011 6:38 pm

    The only equipment I ever used over the years was a weight bench, bar, weights and dumb bells. I moved them a few times as we lived around the country and finally had to give them up. They were worth every penny, and I suspect all these years later, someone is still using them-I sold them on ebay. Joel is right. Commitment. If you can’t commit an hour our two 3 days a week, or whatever schedule you work out, then put that credit card back in your wallet. I’ve found that paying for a gym is a much safer bet. But even there, if your commitment flags, you’re financially screwed. But cheer up, once you have it in your mind that some form of exercise, what ever you decide on, is important to living, you will stick to it.

    Pump that iron, baby!

    • July 31, 2011 8:18 am

      That’s a helpful testimony, and it tells how important the “C” word is. For me, keeping up consistent workouts over the years has been about 2/3 mental and 1/3 physical. Your body knows what to do once you get to the gym. It’s making the time and putting yourself in the right place that takes most of the effort. Once you accept that, it’s harder to make excuses.


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