There is a massive number of exercises you can do at home with just the basic equipment. Instead of paying for an expensive gym membership, try investing in your own personal home gym and save dollars. Most equipment have an infinite lifetime and once you’ve bought it, you have it for life. Think dumbbells and kettlebells. Skipping ropes and aerobic stepper. Ab exercise wheel and medicine ball. There are so much you can buy for very reasonable prices that makes it worth building your own home gym.
There’s so many exercises you can do with dumbbells alone.
Hold a dumbbell in each hand and sit back into a squat, then drive back up and repeat. Do 3 sets of 12.
Bent Over Row
Bend forward at the hips, keep the knees slightly bend, keep your core tight and your back straight as you row the weights up to your chest. Lower and repeat.
Two Arm Dumbbell Stiff Legged Dead-lift
Start in a upright position, then bend forward at the hips, keeping the legs straight. Lower the dumbbells to your feet, as far as you can go by bending at the waist, then slowly return to the starting position.
One Arm Swing
Do a normal squat, but swing the dumbbell through your legs before immediately driving yourself upwards, bringing the weight up towards your head as you straighten your legs. Repeat 10 times, then swap sides.
Cross Body Hammer Curl
One arm at a time, curl each weight up towards your opposing shoulder. Return under control to the start position and repeat on the other side. Do 3 sets of 10.
Or invest in a set of kettlebells. This versatile piece of equipment can be used all on its own for a complete body workout. All you need is 3 different sizes of kettlebells and you are ready to go.
Below is an example of a kettlebell workout where you need no other equipment.
Kettlebell mountain climbers
Get in push-up position with each hand on a kettlebell. Keep your feet hip-distance apart.
Engage your core and keep your hips in line with the rest of your body, drive one knee as high as you can in towards your chest. Move the leg back to it’s original position and drive the other knee up to your chest. Repeat for 12 reps.
Although the kettlebell stays on the ground, this exercise is more about the balance.
Kettlebell wide squat (Sumo squat)
Get into the position for a wide squat. The more your feet are apart, the more you activate your glute muscles and not your quads (front of thighs).
Point your feet at a 45 degree angle away from your body. Holding the kettlebell with two hands in front of you, keeping your core engaged and your back straight, bend your knees and lower into a squat position, lowering your body and the kettlebell as far as you can without compromising your posture. Try to get the weight all the way to the ground without actually touching it.
Move back to a standing position and start with the next rep. Do 3 sets of 12.
Start with the kettlebell to the right side, feet shoulder-width apart and abs engaged. Take a step forward into a lunge position with your thigh at 90 degrees, parallel to the floor. Make sure that your knee is not over your toe.
The kettlebell swing has to be done correctly. The trick is to use your hips in this movement, as you would with a deadlift.
Try not to lift the kettlebell with your arms, and allow the bell to follow a natural arc in front of you.
Start with feet a bit wider than hip-distance apart. Hold the kettlebell with both hands, keeping the palms face down and arms in front of the body. Keep your knees slightly bend and hinge at the hips, lowering the body, but not too low; this isn’t a squat. Engage your core and in a fluid motion drive the hips forward allowing the kettlebell to swing up, squeezing through your glutes. Allow the kettlebell to fall in a natural arc in front of you as your hips move back and you lower the weight back down between the legs. Repeat this motion for 20 seconds. Rest and repeat.
Plank with one-arm press
Get into a plank position, eyes facing down and each hand resting on a kettlebell.
Keeping your back straight, your core engaged and your glutes tight, pull one kettlebell up toward your body in a row. Hold for a couple of seconds at the top of the movement then return to the start position and do the other arm. Do 3 sets of 12.
What about a bench???
If you’re a guy and wants to get right into the weights, it can be a substantial investment to start off with. But you do not have to buy a bench and 300 kg of weights. Only buy what you are currently capable of lifting. Then start buying additional weights every month and build your gym that way. The initial layout for a bench and a basic set of weight would be around $200. But once you have this, you can do a lot of exercises, without the monthly expenses of a gym membership.
We cancelled our gym membership and used that $70 per month per person and invested it in equipment instead. For the two of us that is $1680 per year on a gym membership, money paid for something for which you can show no hard evidence. All you can show for that is your health, but as soon as you cancel the membership, your fitness goes with it. If you invest that money in your own equipment, there is going to be a period where you will have all the equipment you need and can put that money in a piggy bank.
Enjoy the exercise!