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Before COVID-19 lockdown, I was a regular at GoodLife. I really loved the classes, since I lack the willpower to actually exercise without the accountability of having an instructor yell at me. I tried doing some virtual classes, but to be honest, I felt kind of dumb punching and kicking all alone in my living room while staring at my laptop screen.
I decided to shake things up and buy some products from Amazon to work on muscle conditioning instead of cardio, and I’ve found it’s really helped me set a routine that I can manage and feel good about. Take a look at some of the products I’ve bought for my at-home gym that has helped me stay active during lockdown.
I’ve used resistance bands before, but I had no idea how incredibly versatile they can be. From full leg workouts to core, arm and back exercises, you can really pack in a full-body workout with this one item. The handles are padded and comfy, so your hands don’t get sore, and it comes with an attachment that allows you to fix it to a doorframe if you’re into anti-gravity exercises. I also love that you can customize how much resistance you want by either doubling up the band or leaning farther into whatever exercise you’re doing. I personally love using this band for outer thigh strengthening as well as stretching out my shoulders and back after being hunched over my laptop all day.
SHOP IT: Amazon, $17
I’ve reached a certain age where those thin yoga mats are just not enough to cushion my constantly aching joints. This mat is like stepping onto a cloud. I can hold yoga positions on my knees for much longer, and my feet never slip, even if they’re a little sweaty. I also like doing ab workouts and planks on this mat, since it’s more gentle on my elbows and spine. It’s so comfy that I occasionally find myself drifting off during resting poses.
I’m not a huge fan of free weights, but I figured that now’s the chance to give them a try. I have a bum shoulder that occasionally likes to dislocate itself, so I opted for a lower weight to ease myself into it and not stress my shoulder out too much. I came to love these little guys. They’re a fun way to add just a little more oomph to lunges and the perfect weight to get me started on conditioning my hilariously weak triceps. On my laziest of days, doing a quick arm workout with these little guys makes me feel like I’ve at least done a little good for my body.
SHOP IT: Amazon, $50
After realizing that I shouldn’t be intimidated by dumbbells after using the five pounds for a while, I splurged and bought these big boys. It makes a huge difference when I do squats (my thighs were in pain for a few days after using them) and I’ve been trying out more advanced techniques, like the clean and press move. The handles are nonslip, which is perfect when I’ve gotten a little sweaty, and the actual weight part is encased in rubber, so it won’t damage the ground. I’m working my way up to being able to use them for a chest press — one day soon, hopefully!
SHOP IT: Amazon, $99
This band is pretty similar to the resistance band with handles, but I like this for its portability. I often bring this up to my office to get in a quick squat track between emails. It’s also small enough that you can put it in your pocket and take it with you to the park to get some fresh air while you’re exercising. It has a powdery coating, so it won’t slip out of your hands when you start to get warm, and it comes in different levels of resistance, based on your needs.
SHOP IT: Amazon, $15
Should I stretch after I work out? Yes. Do I stretch after working out? Not really. Built-up lactic acid is no joke, and I find pressing this ball into my sore spots either against a wall or against the floor really helps break up any aches and pains. As I mentioned earlier, I have a shoulder that sometimes pops out of its socket, and using this ball on it prevents me from being in total agony for days. I won’t lie to you – you will look a bit silly while you’re using it, but it is 100% worth it.
SHOP IT: Amazon, $19 for two