GETTING STARTED - EQUIPMENT

Many of the Velofit workouts require little to no equipment. The very basic I would suggest to get you started is a mat, if you are training at home on a carpeted floor, you may not even need that. As you get fitter and stronger, to keep progressing, you will need to increase the difficulty by adding some resistance, i.e weights!

Here is a list of of equipment that would be really useful to have at home and don’t take up much space.

FREE WEIGHTS

DUMBBELLS

A traditional item on the training equipment list. I recommend dumbbell bar and free weight sets rather than fixed weight. They will give you more options without taking up too much additional space. The versatility and availability of dumbbell sets make these an easy first step into resistance training at home for beginners. I'd suggest staying away from fixed dumbbell sets advertised as 'for women' as these usually contain very low weights, which will quite quickly be gathering dust as you get stronger! Fixed dumbbells, bars and free weights are available in cast iron and the cheaper vinyl versions. Even cast iron sets can be picked up at a relative low cost, but the fittings may be of a lower quality, some of which can be upgraded over time. If you are tight on space and want to make a good investment, then you might want to research adjustable dumbbells, such as Bowflex.

BARBELL

Another traditional training tool. These can take up more space, but are worth the investment if you are serious about increasing your maximum strength. Standard bars are good for beginners, but as you get stronger you will need to upgrade to Olympic bars, which are able to take weights of 260kg and more. Both Standard and Olympic bars come in a range of lengths, from 4 feet to 7 feet. Obviously these require also purchasing the weight plates. Cast iron weights usually demand a higher price, but take up a lot less space than the vinyl options. They are more hard wearing and durable too. Using barbells over a certain weight will also have you looking at benches and squat racks. Adjustable squat racks are a great addition to your home gym, providing another level of safety as you start increasing the weight on the bar.

KETTLEBELLS

These are fixed weight, so you need a two or three for a full body workout, and may need to add to these as you get stronger, although there are space saving adjustable kettlebells on the market now, these do come at a high price. So, you might be asking how heavy should I go? Your lower body is usually stronger than your upper body, so having two kettlebells will widen the range of exercises you can do. Of, which ones you invest in will depend on how strong you are! Something in the range of 4 to 6kg would be a good starting place for upper body, and 8kg to 16kg for lower body. Getting stronger is all about progression, so be prepared to upgrade over time.

RESISTANCE BANDS

I’ve used different types of resistance bands over the years, with various degrees of success, but none so useful as these long loops. They are so versatile and take up very little space. I’m even planning a little gym corner in my flat and installing some discreet wall hooks to add more exercises to what I can do at home. The bands come in a variety of widths. I have some very wide bands, up to 20cm. These are too wide to hold comfortably in the hand, but add another another piece of equipment to loop them around, like a barbell, and you’ve added some very high resistance to your workouts (ensure the equipment is sufficiently strong to withstand high levels of force). A range of bands from 1cm to 6cm should be adequate for most workouts. You’ll be surprised at what can be achieved. I consider them an essential item in my kit bag now, especially when travelling.

Here’s an example of a full body workout just using bands. Those of you that have attended a Velofit Circuits class will see it's very similar. Check out his other videos too, for more conditioning workouts and demonstrations of strength exercises using resistance bands.

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OTHER EQUIPMENT

YOGA/BALANCE BALL Once inflated they do take up space, but if you have a corner, top shelf of a cupboard, or room on top of a wardrobe they are well worth it when stepping up your core strength workouts. AEROBIC STEP Another versatile piece of equipment, these can usually be dismantled and hidden behind a cupboard or under your bed. Great for plyometric sessions, but also can be used as a basic bench for free weight exercises. It's always preferable to use specialist training equipment, but also think about what you have around your home you could utilise, chairs, stools, your bed, sofa, etc. For example, if you live in a house you can use your stairs for Bulgarian squats and step ups, or plyometric exercises like box jumps. Get creative but please use common sense and stay safe! Ensure what you are using is stable and able to easily withstand the force you are applying, and always check the area you are using for potential hazards.

So, are you ready to start?

To help keep yourself motivated set up a workout area where you can easily access your equipment and have plenty of space to move around. If you have to faff about every time your train you may find yourself making excuses after a few weeks. Make it as easy as possible.