If you’re going to spend time in the gym, you might as well make your workouts as effective as possible, right?
Sometimes, weights and cables aren’t enough to help you really target the muscles you want to work during a training session. The five tools listed below will help you up the ante and get the most out of your workouts.
1. Resistance Loops
Resistance loops are flat, circular rubber bands that are usually worn around the ankles or upper thighs during lower body exercises.
You can use resistance loops to make exercises like squats or hip thrusts more challenging. You can also use them during warm-up movements to activate the glutes, which often are weakened and dormant from sitting too much at school or at work.
When the glutes are activated properly, you’ll put less pressure on the other muscles in your legs. This helps create a more balanced physique and prevents injuries.
Some of the most popular exercises to do with resistance loops include:
2. Chest Expander
The chest expander is comprised of two handles that are connected by a series of springs. It’s essentially an ultra-durable resistance band.
The chest expander is primarily used for exercises like chest flyes. You can use it on its own or for a warm-up before you move on and use heavier weights.
In addition to chest flyes, you can also a chest expander for other upper body exercises, including the following:
Bent over rows
Chest expanders even function as a makeshift leg press machine. To use it this way, simply sit on the floor while holding the handles of the expander. Extend your arms in front of you and place one of your feet in the center of the springs with the knee bent. Press your leg forward to straighten it, then slowly return to the bent position, resisting the pressure from the springs.
3. Grip Strengthener
Better grip means that you can lift heavier weights when doing exercises like deadlifts, bicep curls, rows, and overhead presses.
Your hands and wrists won’t get tired halfway through a set, meaning you’ll be able to crank out more reps and see results faster.
A grip strengthener is a simple tool that often resembles a large binder clip. You squeeze it closed to build strength and dexterity in the fingers, wrists, and forearms.
Grip strengtheners are great because you can use them at home while watching TV or at the gym during your actual workout. You can even take them with you while you travel and improve your grip while you’re on a plane or riding in an Uber to your hotel!
4. Water Ball
A water ball is like a medicine ball, but it’s filled with water instead of sand or another heavy material. The water in the ball requires you to do more work to stabilize it. It’s similar to a BOSU ball, but it’s more portable and versatile.
When you challenge your stability with a water ball, you force yourself to engage your core muscles and improve your balance.
Use a water ball to make the following exercises more challenging:
Essentially, any exercise that you’d do with a medicine ball can get an upgrade when you switch to a water ball.
5. Mini Trampoline
Trampolines aren’t just for kids. A mini trampoline is a great tool that comes with a number of benefits.
Trampolines help you improve your cardiovascular health. In fact, they’re 68 percent more effective than running on a treadmill.
Jumping on a trampoline is also easier on the joints than running or other cardio exercises. This is because the trampoline provides a flexible surface that reduces the impact of your landing.
If you want to get your cardio done faster and without a ton of soreness the next day, the trampoline is the way to go.
These five pieces of equipment will help you shake things up and make your workouts more effective. Give them a try today!