For a lot of people, constantly chasing the next workout equipment fad turns into an obstacle instead of a solution. It makes exercise seem like a luxury instead of an essential part of your life. Fewer than 25% of people in the U.S. do cardio and strength training every week.
State-of-the-art exercise equipment can be awesome for burning calories, but you don’t need it to enjoy an amazing workout. Here are my favorite fitness items for any budget.
1. Jump Ropes (Weighted and Regular)
A trusty jump rope can quickly become your best friend for working out on the go. This inexpensive piece of gear has the power to strengthen your glutes, core muscles, legs, shoulders and arms. It gives you a full-body workout with huge cardio benefits.
The speed is entirely up to you. You can take it slow as a warmup to other exercises. When you’re doing upper body strength training, tossing in jumps is a great way to increase your heart rate for maximum fat burning.
Weighted ropes help you exercise your arms even more. On the other hand, lightweight jump ropes are easier to handle for side-to-side and backward jumps. Both types often cost under $10.
2. Battle Ropes
These thick ropes are a lot of fun for getting rid of stress, and they give you a bigger workout than you may think. Battle ropes are huge cords that you move up and down while performing other exercises.
If you want to save even more money, you can go the do-it-yourself route with these bad girls. Walk into the hardware store and ask for 50 feet of 1.5- or 2-inch manila rope or nylon cord. Wrap duct tape around the ends.
For your workout, head to your backyard and wrap the rope around a tree so you have two equal lengths. From there, you’re ready to do unilateral waves, bilateral waves and reversing circles.
3. Wearable Weights
Ankle weights and wrist weights can increase the burn from easy exercises. You can do leg lifts with ankle weights to strengthen your calf muscles and see better results.
For many people, wearable weights are more comfortable than gripping free weights, and they’re safer than swinging a kettlebell around. Using 1- to 3-pound weights can increase your calorie-burning significantly.
If you’re going for a relaxing walk, you can increase the heart benefits by strapping on some arm or leg weights. You shouldn’t use ankle weights for jogging or speed walking, though.
4. Resistance Bands
Another great way to do strength training without investing a lot of money is with a set of resistance bands. These elastic bands come in different pull strengths and sizes. The list of possible exercises is pretty huge:
- Front and side taps
- Leg lifts and thigh lifts
- Lateral leg stretches
- Triceps stretches
- Biceps curls
- Shoulder raises
- Abdominal crisscrosses with foot band
It doesn’t cost much to have a range of resistance bands for exercises focused on building muscle. They can help you improve your balance and keep your body flexible.
The truth is that cheap fitness gear can give you a workout that's just as intense and effective. Plus, it requires less space and is fast and easy to use.