10 Dec 11 Exercise Equipment Gift Ideas
Holiday time is almost here and that means for most people, a reason to eat, drink and be merry… at the expense of our overall health and waistline!
Sick of getting ‘sicker, fatter, slower’ every holiday period? How about requesting some functional exercise equipment as a present from your loved ones over Christmas time, instead of something you don’t really want, or something that will increase your belt size like an over sized chocolate bar or case of beer or wine?
The following pieces of equipment are what I use to get Primal every week and to coach my outdoor clients. Yes, I certainly get people climbing trees, crawling along the ground and sprinting as well, but there are also some amazing types of equipment that I use to help destabilise a persons base of support and challenge their body in 3 planes of motion just like our caveman ancestors would have been doing every day. Anyone who likes fitness or wants to get moving more will adore these as gifts – my 11 top picks for exercise equipment.
Core stabilisation using exercise balls, fitballs, therapy balls, gym balls has been promoted by physiotherapists and exercise therapists for many years. It is ideal for seating, exercise, rehabilitation and can be used with other pieces of equipment to gain a more challenging workout. They also improve your posture, reduce back pain and brighten up your office /classroom when used as a chair.
The simplest and cheapest form of cardiovascular conditioning… after walking or running! I love skipping ropes for increasing a clients overall body awareness and co-ordination and to use as a form of movement that is less taxing on the knees than running. An easy thing to put in your suitcase when your traveling too!
Mats are designed to absorb impact and pressure, but resist water and dirt. They will vary in thickness and density and you will find one suitable for all types of exercise, rehabilitation, yoga, Pilates and general gym work. Check out the different options to find one right for you. I use mats a lot for supine and prone core work and exercises like Dumbbell Chest Presses with rotation.
The ‘Bowflex Select Tech Dumbbells’ have been the best equipment investment I’ve ever made. I’ve had them now since 2005. With just the turn of a dial you can automatically change your resistance from 5 lbs (2.27 kg) all the way up to 52.5 lbs (23.8 kg) of weight. No more picking up 30 different dumbbells! For the majority of people wanting outdoor and home training, these are essential.
BOSU stands for ‘Both Sides Up’. The BOSU is like an Exercise Ball that has been cut in half with a stable side and an unstable side. It’s very versatile. You can stand, squat, sit, lie on, do pushups on or use it just like you would a step. Your body is constantly shifting and contracting to stay aligned enhancing coordination and balance. I use it a lot in rehab situations to strengthen individual legs as you can see in the photo here, as well as for surfers who I train a lot of in Sydney. Virtually any exercise you can perform on the ground can be performed on the BOSU.
My favourite piece of power equipment. Very therapeutic when you’re stressed! A strong medicine-ball with a thick rope running through its core that extends into a handle for the user. These things provide a tough workout in increments of 15-20 seconds. Great for rotation, power and core stability training. Depending on who you buy them from, the weights range from 1-7kg. I use between 1-3kg with clients most of the time. You can use them standing against a wall or lying on the ground on your back.
I’ve lost count of the number of people (including myself!) that I have significantly helped reduce or eliminate upper cervical spine issues, headaches migraines and neck pain caused by terrible posture, from regularly using a Foam Roller. Rollers are used for Stretching, Myofascial Release and exercise. They range in different thicknesses and hardness ratings depending on your needs. My favourite one is what AOK describes as the ‘Long Round 90cm by 10cm’. I encourage people to specifically use it just for lying down upon for 5-10min at a time to reduce hours of driving, computer use, breastfeeding and postures that pull the shoulder and head forward.
I think tubing is very handy to provide resistance outdoors, at home and when traveling. I get people using it primarily for upper body pushing and pulling movements as well as twisting or woodchop movements. They allow you to work in all three planes of motion quite easily and can be connected to doors with an anchor or wrapped around tree branches or poles too. I’d recommend always getting the heaviest strongest options that are on offer as it’s easy to change the intensity of the exercise by moving the position of your feet rather than changing to a different tube.
Kettlebells are awesome. They allow plenty of functional mobility to develop total body strength, power, and endurance. Kettlebells work the body across a wide range of angles. They place a lot of demand on core stabilisation, agility, and proprioception. You can use them for squats, throws, rotational swings and olympic movements like cleans, jerks, snatches. Not for the beginner but there are plenty of weights available from which you can progress. I prefer the professional ones for the handle shape and higher quality workmanship, preventing things like rust.
Suspension Training (The Human Trainer, Redcord, TRX etc.) Bodyweight exercise simultaneously develops strength, power, endurance, mobility, durability, balance, flexibility, and core stability. I use them equally with clients for rehab and for people pushing their limits. They are easy to setup, versatile to use and great for using outdoors and when traveling. From chin-ups to jackknifes, pushups to lunges, they are an effective affordable tool.