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Wellness > Health

All the Equipment I Used to Turn My Room Into a Gym, Without Breaking the Bank

Under isolation, many students are exploring new workout routines in the safety of their homes. The obstacle becomes finding a space to try the quarantine version of your favorite spin class from the campus rec center. But as long as you have a space you can move around in, you are actually halfway there. 

Even if you do not have an elliptical or bike at home, below are a few pieces of equipment that can make working out in your living room less daunting. Consider this a guide on how to turn your space into an at-home (affordable) Equinox.

Channel your inner yogi and order a yoga mat

If you want to dabble in the at-home gym atmosphere, my top recommendation is to invest in a yoga mat. Not only will a mat open your world to Yoga with Adriene, but it can also duel as a gym floor suitable for all types of workout routines.

If you want to invest in a higher quality mat, you can always splurge on Lululemon equipment. However, ordering a mat from Amazon is just as good of an option. My only tip is to be aware of the thickness of the yoga mat you choose. A thicker mat may offer more support, but can often be slippery when placed on the floor. On the flipside, a thinner mat may not give enough support for your body. 

Literally any weight (within your budget)

Up until the fall semester of my junior year at college, I avoided weights like one avoids touching surfaces during the pandemic. Isolation has lent itself to experimentation in all aspects of daily life. I was able to find a dusty set of 2 and 5 lb weights in our basement which I have been using to increase the intensity of my workouts. 

While there are several creative options one can find in their household as improvisational weights, investing in a set of light or medium weights, or a kettlebell, can bring your at-home gym to the next level. Target has a wide range of sizes and colors available for dumbbell sets. Pick a pair that matches your leggings and that will push you enough to break out in a sweat, but not intimidate you to the point of chucking them to the curb next spring cleaning.

A versatile band for any move life throws at you

Over the past weeks, I have experimented with various types of exercise, from kickboxing (the air) to High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). Recently, I have been enjoying pilates with Melissa Wood Health. I do not own any of the specific equipment she uses in her videos, but instead I get creative with what I do have. 

I have a low resistance band that is not a circle, but I tie it so I can use the same type for two different types of exercises. While a resistance or theraband is not necessary, this workout accessory does make things a little more exciting (a lot more intense).

Dick’s Sporting Goods has a wide variety I suggest checking out, but you can also find cheaper options on Amazon that will also do the trick.

Related: 7 YouTube Workouts That Are Easy to Follow While You’re Stuck at Home

A ball of any size

Like the resistance bands, an exercise ball is not necessary to stay active during isolation. I am lucky to already have access to a small exercise ball which is perfect for pilates workouts. The size of ball you choose depends on what you plan to use it for: a larger ball is more expensive but allows you to do crunches and the like from an elevated surface, while a smaller ball is great for targeting specific muscles. 

Again, as this list continues the products become more specific to certain types of workout routines. I am not saying that you need to purchase every item, but rather pick and choose which ones make the most sense for what you enjoy doing.

An ab (& foam) roller to roll away from your problems

Ab workouts used to scare me, but now I relish in a plank workout, as opposed to a few rollouts on an ab roller. If you really want to work your abdominal muscles, I would recommend splurging on one of these

On the topic of rollers, purchasing a foam roller is a good idea if you want to stretch out your muscles––especially after working those abs. Rolling out the muscles you have been working is always a good idea.

Sliding disks to finish things off

The last workout accessory I shall recommend is a set of sliding disks. These can be used in full body circuits, often in planks or lunge positions to intensify the movement. You can definitely use a dish towel or something similar in form, but Amazon has a great deal on a set of sliding disks and those resistance bands I mentioned earlier.

Finding the workout routine that makes sense for you is a long journey that we might as well embark on—because all of this equipment will be useful even after isolation ends. There are plenty of exercise routines out there that do not require weights or other equipment, some which you can even complete without leaving your bed, but if you want to spice things up consider ordering one of these accessories.

Elizabeth Berry

Conn Coll '21

Elizabeth Berry is an English and Italian Studies double major at Connecticut College with a passion for journalism. She enjoys overnight oats, traveling to new cities, and reading the night away.