Since publishing it three weeks ago, my video blog on The Complete Minimalist Home Gym has shot to the top of my most popular posts list. I’ve been getting a lot of questions about exactly what brands of exercise gear I use in the video and where readers can get them, so today I’m going to share that information with you.
While some of the items can be purchased at local big-box stores or specialty sporting goods stores, that’s not the case for all of them, so I’m providing links to the product pages on Amazon.com for you here.
For adjustable weight dumbbells, I use the Bowflex 552s, which use a quick, convenient dial system to easily change the weight from 5 pounds all the way up to 52.5 pounds. In order to fit all that weight in, these dumbbells are longer than other brands and can take a bit of getting used to, but their superior quality, compact size and ease of use have made them the best exercise equipment purchase I’ve ever made. Those features aren’t cheap – these babies will set you back $299, or about 10 months’-worth of dues at your local fitness center.
As I demonstrate in the video, I use a stability ball in place of a bench for dumbbell exercises, as well as on its own for a variety of core exercises. While choosing a specific brand is less important here, getting a ball that’s the right size for you is more crucial. In the video, I’m actually using a ball that’s a little too small for me. For many people, this can be ineffective or even dangerous, but I’ve been able to make it work. For most people, a 65cm ball will be the right size, but if you’re shorter than 5’4″, then a 55cm ball will be better, and if you’re 5′ 9″ or taller, a 75cm ball is probably right for you. A decent stability ball costs between $25 and $30.
When it comes to resistance bands, I would recommend this particular brand until the day I die. I’ve had them for eight years and used them in hundreds of training sessions with clients, as well as here at home and they are still going strong. The Stroops Slastix brand of resistance band has a thick nylon protective sleeve that eliminates wear and tear on the rubber band housed inside of it. The bands come in 5 different resistance levels. If you’re only going to get one, then the medium (red) band should meet most of your needs, but I do find that I use all of the different resistance levels from “light” to “very heavy.” The bands range in price from $16 to $35 depending on the resistance level. The medium (red) resistance band is $19.
While I can personally attest to the high quality and safety of this particular pull up bar, there are probably many others that will suit your particular needs equally well. I needed this joist-mounted bar because I only had one spot where I could attach it in my loft and this configuration fit the bill. What I strongly caution you against is a model that “clips” onto the top of your door jamb without being screwed into a wall stud. I have heard from friends how dangerous these pull up bars can be when they come loose mid-pull up. This pull up bar is on the more expensive end of the spectrum at $69.
When it comes to exercise mats, you want something with enough cushion to protect your spine, hips and knees while doing floor work, but thin enough to serve double duty as a yoga mat. I recommend the DynActive brand because their mats are high quality, provide the right amount of cushioning, and are eco-friendly. With all of those features, their mats are a bargain at just $35 each.
The holidays are right around the corner. Why not put one or two of these exercise items on your wish list, or treat yourself early and get a head start on those New Year’s resolutions.
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