I often get asked for recommendations for training equipment from yoga mats to trainers to weight lifting gloves. So, I thought I'd put together my top ten products that I recommend regularly to clients and use myself.
1: Weight lifting gloves
I've been through my fair share of weight lifting gloves as well as training bare handed. For those new to weight lifting, those who suffer from being overly sweaty or simply those who just aren't interested in calloused hands then my favourite gloves are without a doubt:
Styled like gymnastic hand grips, they are great for grip, wrist support and yet are easy to get on and off without the usual fight of pulling off a pair of sweaty gloves! You simply measure your palm and the sizing you can't go wrong on. I have had several clients purchase these and have raved how good they are!
2: Mini Bands
Be gone you horrible rubber mini bands and hello to fabric mini bands. Who doesn't love a mini band. Great for activation work and rehab work and that extra burn! Fabric bands as a rule will be sold in various levels of resistance from light to heavy.
I use these in the studio and have had them for over a year and they are hugely durable and versatile. You can choose them in a variety of colours. You wont be disappointed,
3: Yoga Mat
My first mat was the thickest one i could find, it also turned out it was the stretchiest and slippiest one but at the time but I knew no better and frankly was worried about my knees. I progressed to a embossed rubber mat that took me to India on my training and when I got back I invested in a TPE Yoga Mat that meant i wasn't slipping about all over the place. There are some things you really do need to spend money for longevity as well as the ability to practice Yoga asana properly.
There are several brands out there that do some amazing mats so I feel it remiss to not tell you about a couple of options depending on your budget.
For those looking for top of the range mat, it has to be the Liforme Original Mat the go to mat for most professional yogi's and practioners alike
For those who are looking for a decent mat without the price tag of a Liforme then the Yogi Bare Paws Mat is ideal. Clients love this mat for its non slip surface and heavy duty wear and tear.
I also use in my studio the Toplus TPE Eco Friendly Mats in my class. These have been brilliant as a budget entry mat and ideal if you are just starting your practice and want a little extra cushioning as well as the benfit of non slip.
4. Large Resistance Bands
You want to do a pull up...but it isn't happening. This is where these bands come into their own. Attached to a pull up bar these will transform the way you learn a pull up. You can purchase bands individually or in a pack. I highly recommend:
These weighted bands come in a variety of widths and strengths allowing you to slowly lower the resistance as you build up strength in your pull up technique. I use these in the studio, they are amazingly strong and easy to use.
5. Pull Up Bar
If you are looking to do a pull up or work on hanging strength, abdominal work or even ring work and TRX training then a pull up bar is a cheap and simple bit of equipment that can be easily installed and is non intrusive in a doorway.
I would recommend:
Ultrasport Pull Up Bar - this can be affixed into the doorwa with or without screws (personally mine is screwed in)
If you have the room you can go for something more substantial which is the:
Solid, strong and straightforward to install
This has been a staple bit of equipment for home workouts as well as gym training. Used for body weight and sport specific training, You only need to do around 20 mins working with a TRX to feel the full benefits of full body weight training.
Ensure you purchase the official TRX equipment. It is solidly made and from the official creator (Navy SEAL) of the body weight strap system. you can loop this onto your pull up bar or door.
7. Resistance Bands
These come in two forms. Either as long rubber bands or cylindrical bands with handles. and a door holder. These are amazing for when you don't have the space for dumbbells or barbells.They are hugely versatile and can be adjusted from light weight to heavy resistance. You can pretty much do every exercise you would do with a dumbbell with these bands.
I would recommend:
They are light enough for those just starting out but heavy enough that even the guys i work with struggle to press out on the use of all the bands put together. Incredibly strong and durable. I have had this last set for over 2 years and used them indoors and outdoors.
8. Cork Yoga Blocks
When I first started out doing yoga, I bought these cheap foam blocks, primarily because, well a) they were cheap and b) i thought they'd be kinder on my hands. But after my teacher training in India where we used wooden blocks, I appreciated the sturdiness and actually far better support a solid block brings. Cork blocks are something of a compromise between the two. I use them in my classes because they are naturally antibacterial but also because they are sturdy but also slightly lighter than a wooden block but strong enough to support your whole body giving you the confidence to perform and practice poses.
Block can help everyone from beginner to advance and I highly recommend getting a pair, because even on those not so great days having a pair of blocks to perform a gentler form of yoga is bliss!
9. Adjustable Dumbbells
These are without a doubt a godsend if you simply do not have the room or do not want to have a room dominated by a dumbbell rack.
The original leader in the adjustable dumbbell game and rightly so for the quality build.
They also work out at a reasonable price when you take into account the conveinece of the set up without the cost implications of NuoBells.
10. Spiky Ball and Foam Roller
A little 2 for the price of 1 finisher!
If you want to speed up recovery of your muscles post workout, improve elasticity and encourage blood flow into your muscles pre workout or just want to get rid of those knots or tightness you're experiencing in your muscles then these two things are a must!
Spiky balls are great for getting in deeper to those place you can't with a foam roller. small spikes improve blood flow, reduce pain, and calm inflammation. There is also evidence that spiky ball exercises can improve mobility, and lower recovery times after intense workouts
I hope you found this information useful. I want to do my best in supporting your healthy lifestyle and give you my honest opinion on what has worked for me and for my clients. Keep an eye out for my next blog post and reviews of my favourite books that have inspired and motivated me in my life.
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