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Exercise at Home with Your Own (Affordable) Home Gym

You don’t need much to outfit a home gym with the basics—an exercise mat, a set or two of dumbbells and a fitness ball are all you need to get started.

However, as your proficiency increases, you'll want to add some additional, relatively inexpensive equipment to your setup.

Home Resistance Training Accessories

Here are five resistance training accessories that will get your home gym on the right track.

SandBells

These sand-filled, disc-shaped weights are portable and stackable, and they are versatile enough for a variety of exercises. Used similarly to a medicine ball, kettlebell or dumbbell, shifting sand within the SandBell requires greater core strength than static weights do. Their neoprene cover makes them safe to use on wood floors or carpeting, and they’re great for improving overall strength and coordination.

Medicine Balls

Medicine balls are versatile and easy to store, and can be used to improve power, strength and coordination as well as for enhancing mobility and improving core strength. Use smaller, hand-size medicine balls for smaller muscles (such as arms and shoulders), and larger, heavier ones (to train larger leg and core muscles) in your workout routine. (You can find three medicine ball workouts here.)

Stability/Fitness/Swiss Balls

These inflated exercise balls can be used for many different exercises and take the place of an exercise bench for moves such as chest presses. They’re also cost effective and can add a new challenge to many exercises you may already be doing.

Resistance Bands

Portable, versatile, inexpensive and easy to store, resistance bands can also be easily tucked into a suitcase for travel. To maximize results, always keep appropriate tension on the band. You can continue to add new challenges to exercises by changing the anchor point and taking advantage of different body positions, angles, and speed of movements. Pro tip: Use lighter resistances for smaller muscle groups and medium-to-heavy resistance for legs and larger muscle groups. (You can find a resistance band workout here.)

PowerBlocks

If you prefer traditional weight equipment, consider investing in a set of adjustable dumbbells called PowerBlocks. More expensive than the other options listed here, they can take the place of an entire set of dumbbells: PowerBlocks consist of two square dumbbells that can be adjusted in five-pound increments, starting at five pounds and going up to 45 pounds each. A selecting pin enables you to easily choose the amount of weight you want without unscrewing and reassembling the entire dumbbell (as other adjustable weights often require).

Set Yourself Up for Long-Term Fitness Success

The key to long-term success when exercising at home is to keep your workouts interesting.

First and foremost, make a plan. Schedule your exercise at home just as you would any other important appointment.

Social support can also help you stick with a regular routine, so try the “buddy system.” Invite a friend or spouse to join your workout sessions. Hold friendly competitions, vying to see who can do the most sit-ups or push-ups. The winner gets to choose the next exercise or wins points they can trade for a healthy treat.

For extra motivation, hang inspirational posters and photos in your workout area and decorate the walls with bright colors and plenty of mirrors. Mirrors not only provide a more spacious feeling but they make it easy for you to check your form.

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**These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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