Metro Detroit trainers weigh in on the must-have equipment for your personal gym
By Danielle Alexander
After gyms and fitness centers were forced to shut down due to Covid-19 last year, Americans had no choice but to embrace the idea of working out at home — a trend that just may stick, even when exercise facilities fully open up again. But an effective home workout is only as good as your equipment. With that in mind, we asked Metro Detroit trainers for their must-have products for your home gym.
Garage Fit Workout Sandbags, $64.95-$109.95
Created with serious lifters and CrossFit enthusiasts in mind, Garage Fit’s Workout Sandbags come with eight gripping options on their outer shells and filler bags that make adjusting the weight easy and convenient. “You fill the removable bags with sand, and depending on how many you insert, your degree of difficulty increases,” says Brian Boettcher of Farmington Hills, owner and operator of Live 4 Today Health and Fitness. “It’s ideal for squats, carries, back and core workouts and so much more.”
TRX HOME2 System, $199.95
According to Renee Stein of Renee Stein Fitness in West Bloomfield, the TRX HOME2 System is the one piece of equipment every home gym should have. “Beginners and fitness enthusiasts alike can achieve a killer total body workout with the TRX,” she says, adding that the system uses your body weight and gravity as resistance and adds core and balance work to everything you do — burning fat, building lean muscle and improving flexibility along the way. Bonus: The system is portable and takes up zero floor space.
Bowflex SelectTech 552 Dumbbells, $349
Thanks to a selection dial that lets you pick which weight to use, this one pair of dumbbells that adjust from 5 to 52.5 pounds can stand in for 15 sets of weights. “[These allow] changes in resistance between exercises,” says Boettcher. And although they’re priced at over $3 per pound, he adds, “these dumbbells will last forever, as all Bowflex products do.”
BOSU NexGen Home Balance Trainer, $139.99
The BOSU is a must-have for home gyms due to its versatility and user-friendliness for all fitness levels. “It offers many low-impact balance and core exercise options without taking up a ton of space,” says Stein. Put the flat side down to crank your standard strength and cardio exercises up a notch (it’ll challenge your core and stabilizer muscles) or flip it over for more advanced moves.
Fit Simplify Resistance Loop Bands (Set of 5 10” by 2”), $21.95
These bands, which come in various resistance levels, help with strength training as well as leg, knee and back injuries. “Resistance bands provide a lot of feedback to the client, showing them how to work in correct form and not injure themselves, which is half the battle,” says Nicole Gregory of Pontiac, a Pilates instructor and owner of Phit Physique. “Clients will tell me they don’t know where to feel it, and trust me, they will feel it when they do it correctly.”
Versa Ball Stability Ball, $24.13-$32.90
If improving your posture, increasing lower back mobility or building abdominal and core strength are your goals, check out the easy-to-inflate Versa Ball Stability Ball, which is available in four sizes (depending on your height). “It can take the place of a bench, making exercises unstable and therefore more challenging,” says Stein. “It’s a simple but great tool.”
Synergee Core Sliders, $21.95
Whether you’re doing lunges, squats or push-ups, these core sliders force you to challenge your balance and engage your core. “The burn is amazing, which is truly only something a trainer would say,” says Gregory. “You don’t have a choice but to use those core muscles. I always tell my clients, ‘Look, I’m sorry. It hurts like hell, but it really works.’”