Depends on who you ask and what your goals are. When I think back to my mid-twenties postpartum with my first child, I strictly focused on running. I ran five miles, six days a week. When it rained or snowed outside, I went to my apartment complex’s gym and ran on the treadmill or did a 45 minute program on the elliptical. How the hell did I do that?? I’m bored after fifteen minutes on any piece of cardio equipment now. Every once in a while I would pick up 20 lb weights and do overhead presses (I had no idea that’s what they were called), and leg-presses. Why? There was no rhyme or reason. I had no idea what I was doing.
Fast forward to now. I do multiple excerises for each muscle group, I change my technique bi-weekly, and often improvise with what I have at home since I workout with my toddler running around 90% of the time. I rarely do traditional cardio and I lift heavy three to four times a week.
I imagine these two sceanarios likely match the overall population. It seems like the women I speak to either need help getting started from the beginning, or are at point B trying to get to C and needs guidance on what’s next. It’s especially hard for SAHMs to get a good workout in at home and conversely, be able to leave the house to go to the gym. This is why I purchased an inexpensive gym membership for days I am motivated to leave the house to workout — but I also have equipment at home. Even though I’m a trainer myself, I have very limited space at home. All of my workout gear fit inside a small closet, and most of them in a basket.
Soon, I’ll be releasing my first directive, #sculptbyal booty building®. All the exercises included are done with pieces of equipment I use on the regular for my own workouts. You don’t need any fancy machines or huge home gyms to make noticeable progress. Anything anyone tells you that you need is an arbitrary list, even the one I’m about to give you. This is what suites my needs. With that being said, I am able to do my arm day, leg day, and HIIT with the minimal things I have at home. I use every piece of equipment in multiple ways for many different exercises and purposes. Here is the gear I have and a few examples of how I use it:
straight barbell —
- T-bar squats
- side to side jumps (over bar)
- bicep curls
- overhead press
- Bulgarian lunges
- weighted step-ups
- lat extension
- back rows
- shoulder shrugs
medicine ball —
- weighted bridge
- tricep dips
- squat and press
resistance band —
- more tension during bicep curls
resistance band with handles (this is probably my favorite piece of equipment and I use it for every workout) —
- lat pull-down
ankle weights —
- fire hydrants
pull-up bar —
- core exercises
- tricep/bicep pull-ups
nonslip mat —
- great for cardio
- nice to use on hardwood floors so you don’t scuff them up with weights and barbell/dumbbells
workout gloves —
My hands callus really easily, especially when I start pulling more than 100 lbs during deadlifts. Worth the very small investment.
If you watch my IGstories on Instagram, you’ll see me using these in a variety of ways. Sometimes I attach my resistance bands to my pull-up bar in the doorway to do lat pull-downs. Or I might use plates for lunge walks. Because our family decided to go minimalistic, I have become very creative in utilizing what I have in a small space.
It’s important to me that each piece is functional in more ways than one. I have been approached by a few companies to try their products; if it isn’t multi-functional, I don’t want it.
For the beginner, dumbbells and a resistance band with handles is enough. You can do many exercises with these two things. Also, it shouldn’t be left unsaid, bodyweight workouts are great for keeping in shape and strengthening. Of course if muscle growth is on your list of goals, eventually you will want to upgrade to more weight, and focus on what your specific intentions are.
Hopefully this was a good starting point for you to get an idea of how you can use each piece of equipment if you ever wondered if you should buy something.
Feel free to email me or leave a comment below with questions.