Hmmmm…this is a tough one.
I have 3 pieces of equipment that are my absolute favorite, and depending on the day, my mood, cycle, sleep, etc. will determine who is #1 that day.
Overall, I can’t rave enough about these top 3 though. If you don’t currently own all 3, I highly recommend investing, because they are all portable, travel easy (except for #1, depending on if you’re driving or flying), and allow you to get a total-body workout.
As far as my #1 goes, kettlebells will always win. From the day that I started taking my fitness seriously (at the age of 23), kettlebells have always had a special place in my heart. The unique ‘bell’ like shape condenses a heavy load into a manageable tool, and allows for more fluidity than a barbell, while also isolating you unilaterally, similar to a dumbbell.
Because of its bell-like shape, momentum and body mechanics really come into play here. You can do the basics (squats, triceps press, biceps curls) but you can also add some Olympic style movements because of the unique shape of the KB. Basically any movement with a KB can become a total-body movement because of the need to stabilize a momentum-based piece of equipment. It’s extremely unique, and a must-have in house.
To start, I would suggest purchasing a 15lb and 25lb bell. Once you familiarize yourself with the equipment, you can gradually process and add heavier weight to exercises like snatches, swings, deadlift, etc.
Give this AMRAP a try if you’re still unsure about purchasing:
5 rounds of:
- 20 snatches (total; 10 each arm)
- 20 swings
- 20 bent over row (each)
- 20 deadlift
- Yoga Mat
If you know me, you likely know that yoga is my #1 homie. There is truly nothing greater for an overstressed, anxiety-ridden Angela than a Power Vinyasa class. I have been teaching and practicing for over 12 years, and practically every class I’m amazed at the peace and energy yoga supplies me with.
So I would be remiss to NOT add this to my list. I hear quite frequently: “Yoga isn’t for me.” “It’s not hard enough.” “It’s too challenging to sit in stillness.” Yada yada yada.
There are SO MANY TYPES OF YOGA: power, yin, restorative, hot, strength, slow, stretch, aerial…the list could go on! So I don’t buy that “yoga isn’t for me”, I just think you haven’t FOUND the yoga for you.
So in the new year, maybe challenge yourself to TRY some different types of yoga. You never know what you may discover on the way down.
Oh, and as for mats? Since I’ve practiced for so many years, I’ve tried a LOT of mats. These two are my top recommendations (keep in mind you pay for a good mat, but it should last for years):
- The Reversible BIG Mat (lululemon, $88)
- I’ve tested this out in HOT (105+ degrees), park classes, my garage, etc. It doesn’t slip, no matter how sweaty I get, and it doesn’t slide. It’s thick enough to protect my knees without being bulky.
- prolite yoga mat (manduka, $92)
- Manduka makes GREAT mats. The only complaint I have is that if I use this outside or have anything that may catch, the mat will show that wear and tear.
TRX, one of THE most genius inventions since…ever? The fact that 2 straps, and some unique material, can be mounted to practically anything AND give you a total-body, booty-kicking workout? Genius.
Invented by a Navy Seal and used universally across the armed forces, this piece of equipment is SUPER lite, can fit in a small pouch and can easily be mounted on doorframes, trees, playgrounds, etc. Basically anything that’s about 6ft or taller, and is semi-round.
The amazing thing about TRX is that it allows YOU to control the weight, using leverage and gravity. Because it’s 2 straps, you are forced to constantly stabilize in any exercise, so your tiny tendons and smaller muscle groups are firing up even as you target a larger muscle group.
They cost about $150, but keep an eye out for sales and just DO IT. Buy one and keep it in your car for a quickie park workout while the kids play, stow it in your carry on for work trips, or just jump into your garage when you have 15 free minutes.
Don’t believe me yet? Try one out and hold a suspended plank (feet in) for 1 minute. THEN let me know your thoughts.
Ok, that’s a wrap on my 3 Favorite Pieces of Workout Equipment! Share YOUR favorites below and let me know if you have any questions!