Sunday, March 7, 2010

Fitness Equipment

For most workout programs like P90X, Chalean Extreme, Power 90, or just going to a gym, you use equipment while working out. Workout equipment can add variety to your workouts and help challenge yourself. However, you do not need any workout equipment to have a great workout. Workout programs like Insanity just require your own body weight for you to see results. Insanity is able to do this because of MAX Interval Training, which involves pushing yourself as hard as you can, which will break down muscle, and when it heals you become stronger and will eventually see visible results! All the jumping, speed work, and push up variations in Insanity help sculpt your body without any fitness equipment! Also, running does not require any fitness equipment. So I don't want to hear that you can't get in shape because you can not afford any equipment, a gym, or workout programs. You can always run, do push ups, and your own ab routine, and boom! You can get into great shape! If you have any questions on developing a workout routine (such as running workouts, ab workouts, and body weight strength training) you can contact me at

However, workout equipment is great to add to your fitness regimen. I use workout equipment all the time, but it is not something that you have to have. Here is a list of the equipment that I have and use in my workouts:

1) Dumbbells - I have a set from 3-55 pounds. I got these for a great deal on craigslist! Try to get equipment that is used and cheaper than if bought new, just make sure it is in good condition. I also recommend PowerBlocks or Bowflex SelectTech dumbbells, which are a great deal compared to buying a whole rack of dumbbells and safe a lot of space. They also can go up in 2.5 pound increments which is a great feature.

2) Yoga Mat - This is a thing that everyone should have! I use mine for yoga, stretching, and ab workouts. They can also be great for absorbing the impact on your knees while jumping during workouts like Insanity or P90X Plyometrics.

3) Push Up Stands - These are not necessary for doing push ups, but they can really aid in building strength. Push up stands give you a bigger range of motion and stretch on your chest, which can lead to better muscle growth and strength. They also reduce the strain on your wrists, because your wrists are kept strait and not bended like when doing push ups on your hands. I have both the Perfect Push Up and Tony Horton's PowerStands. These are both great, but also different. With the perfect push ups you can also rotate your wrists while doing a push up, which provides the chest with a different tension and it can feel more natural as well. Tony Horton's PowerStands, have a huge range of motion which a really like, and they have really comfortable grips.

4) Body Fat Tester - This is more of a progress tracking tool than equipment. With this tool you can track your weight and body fat lose. You measure you skin fold above your hip, and then look on the chart to see your body fat percentage. It is easy to use and decently accurate. However, if you want to get a very accurate body fat measurement, you should visit your local gym.

5) Heart Rate Monitor - I use this during all of my workouts! You really only need this during cardio workouts so you can monitor your heart rate. However I use it every workout because I like to see how many calories a burn. Basic heart rate monitors just tell you your heart rate, but nicer ones also keep track of your calories burned and the percentage you worked out from your maximum heart rate. You don't have to have this, but if you want to push yourself hard or keep your heart rate safe during cardios, this will do it.

6 ) Ankle Weights - I have a pair of 5 pound ankle weights. You can use this during ab routines to add more of a challenge or add variety by doing lower reps. Also you could even use these in a leg workout or wear them while doing pull ups to add more resistance.

7) Weight Vest - I have a 20 pound adjustable weight vest. I only suggest this if you consider yourself advance. This is great to add more resistance, challenge, and variety to your strength workouts. You can use this for push ups, pull ups, and leg workouts. If you can easily do 50 push ups, 15 pull ups, or are finding that Legs and Back is becoming easier, you might want to consider using a weight vest. This will challenge your muscles and keep the results coming. It also can add a different rep range in your workouts, so instead of doing 30 push ups or 15 pull ups, you will be doing 15 push ups and 8 pull ups.

8) Resistance Bands - These are a great substitute for dumbbells. These are quite cheap and still give you a great workout. They also provide a different type of resistance than dumbbells, so you can add variety and muscle confusion. Resistance bands can also be taking on trips so you can still get your strength workouts in.

9) Jump Rope - This is a great way to get your cardio workouts in. Jumping rope requires good coordination and balance. You can also get a great calf and leg workout in from jumping rope.

10) Stability Ball - I love using this in my workouts. This can really challenge your muscles and balance. You can use this for push ups and ab workouts. You will find it is much harder to do push ups on a stability ball than on the floor because you muscles also have to balance and support your body.

11) Pull Up Bar - I use the P90X Pull Up bar and I love it! It is easy to use and can fit in most doorways. It provides 7 different pull up variations to add variety and challenge to your back workouts.

12) Power Tower - I really enjoy using this piece of equipment. This is definitely an accessory though, but it is great to have! Mine has a pull up bar which has a very very wide gripe, push up stands, a dip station (works and chest and triceps) and a leg raise station for ab workouts.

13) Weight Bench - This is great to have for weight lifting workouts. I often do my own chest workouts using this, and Tony Horton uses one in several of his One on One workouts. Shaun T also uses on in the Insanity Upper Body Weight Training. Mine has a decline position, which you can use for chest exercises, or even do crunches. There is also a flat and incline position, and then a straight 90 degree position.

14) Chair - This can be a great piece of workout equipment, and everyone already has this at their house! You can use this for decline push ups, chair dips, and it is used in P90X for several back, shoulder, and tricep exercises.

15) Medicine Balls - Unfortunately I do not have any of these, but this can be great to add resistance to your workouts. You can use one in an ab routine or a cardio routine. You can even use them as a kind of push up stand to add more range.

There are still many more different kinds of workout equipment that you can use, but these are some of the basic and that I recommend. There are still all of those machines at gyms, which can be good for variety, but they are not as necessary. Just remember that all you really need is your body to get into great shape.

You can also view my fitness equipment video: Part 1 and Part 2


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