Portable Gym

You want the best bang for your buck with portable workout gear?  Here goes.

(Mind you, I’m not discussing home gym’s here, because a power rack that’s in your garage or basement is not the most mobile machinery, is it.)

I’ve been discussing home workout possibilities with a friend of mine who recently graduated from the University of Delaware.  She’s moving back home to work in New Jersey, and while she begins working in the ‘real world’, she’d like to keep working hard to improve her health and fitness.  We’ve been talking with each other about what type of gear she can use at home, and after refusing to let her get a $50 weight set and yoga ball, I need something to recommend to her.  If I’m going to discuss this with her, and I’m sure the question will be asked of me again, I think it would be nice to give a universal recommendation to everyone!  (In explanation of these statements, I offer this:  A $50 weight set will not provide weights heavy enough to produce a training effect.  Weights are pretty expensive.  Unless you’re a 40lb 2 year old, you’re going to need to spend a good amount of appreciable weight.  Yoga Balls suck for everything  except Swiss ball roll outs; for those it’s awesome.  For one exercise however, it’s a poor investment.)

So we’re talking about portablility, right?  What’s more portable than yourself?!  Seeing as you are everywhere that you go, you’ll always have yourself to use. (I know that this sounds like a totally idiotic and obvious statement, but it’s amazing how many people overlook or look down upon body weight exercise…and if you’re one of those people, stop reading this now.)

So, your body is portable.  There are plenty of great exercises that you can do with just your body weight.  There are also plenty more that you can with a few inexpensive pieces of quality equiptment!  The pieces that I’m thinking about are Valslides, Superbands, and a TRX.  (Obviously, I’m also including a foam roller, but I won’t be discussing the importance of those now.)  Now, these three pieces of awesome gear weigh a total of about 6lbs.  How can you not consider that portable.  The websites of the TRX and Valslides both contain videos and sections of demo exercises, and there are plenty more than those suggested on the website.  Personally, I love doing reverse lunges with the valslides and a mountain climber/push up combo.  Those two moves are absolutely great.  Also, I am addicted to TRX Rear Foot Elevated Split Squats, as well as a Row-to-Curl combo.  While those are 4 of my favorites, there are obviously a vast array of possibilities.

Of the three tools that I’m recommending here, I’m probably the most interested in the superbands.   I like them so much because they don’t come with directions or recommendations.  You can literally do ANYTHING with them.  Except making scrambled eggs.  You can’t make scrambled eggs with superbands.  Sorry.

Seeing as I gave you my two favorite exercises for the TRX and the Valslides, I thought I’d recommend my two favorite exercises with the Superband.  Firstly, I absolutely love doing Monster walks with my band.  They’re quickly becoming an overall favorite of mine, because I feel my hip abductors fire up in a hot second.  It’s awesome.  The second exercise I love doing with my superbands are a modified row/ 3-point plank.  I’ll set the band wrapped around a low anchor point, and then proceed to get in a plank position with the band stretched straight toward me.  From here, I’ll do a row.  To explain that better, it’s a unilateral vertical pulling motion.  When you’re unable to do pullups or chinups, this is a great vertical pulling exercise.  The plank position is obviously great for your core, the asymmetrical loading challenges shoulder stability, and best of all, you get an awesome pump in your biceps!  YAY!

Valslides, Superband, TRX.  Three pieces of equipment that when used creatively can create an amazing training effect, in any location at any time.  When you’re looking for portable pieces of exercise equipment, I’d start with these great tools.

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