If the success of PE with Joe is anything to go by, even in times of self-isolation, we’re a nation hungry to keep moving. Home workout equipment has been around for a long time, but initially it was bulky and needed its own space within the house.
Technology has changed everything though, and yes, although there are plenty of big bits of kit out there we can generally achieve the same results through following guidance videos, attaching bluetooth monitors or following pre-ordained fitness programmes online with minimal equipment or space required.
Elite Novo Smart Turbo Trainer – best for keen cyclists, £180
Turbo trainers have risen in popularity in recent years – they work by strapping your bicycle onto them to remain static, and act as a ‘rolling road’ whilst you cycle. Many people are now purchasing them in favour of large exercise bikes, as they feel a lot more practical and can be stowed away when not in use, and this Elite Novo edition from Halfords is affordably priced and features wireless connectivity to a number of popular apps such as Zwift, TrainerRoad and Rouvy. It realistically simulates slopes up to 6 per cent and adjusts to fit a number of different wheel sizes.
Bowflex SelectTech 840 Kettlebell – best for cardio and strength
It wouldn’t be a home gym setup without a decent kettlebell, and this offering from pro gym outfit Bowflex is the ultimate and best kettlebell we tested. Admittedly, there are cheaper options out there, but if you want a range of weight options in one, this example has six options – from 8 to 40 lbs (3.5kg to 18kg), and a selector dial to change between the weights.
Bowflex Max Trainer M8 – best for a home gym setup, £1999
Although expensive, the Bowflex M8 is a great addition if you want to expand your workout equipment to include smart devices that can track your progress and offer you tailored solutions for progress. The Bowflex Max Trainer M8 feautres dual-mode LCD/LED screens, multi-grip dynamic handles, aerobars and 20 resistance levels as well as space to put your tablet or smartphone. It’s also much smaller than you’d expect it to be which benefits those a little tight on space.
UMI Resistance Bands – best for pilates, recovery and physiotherapy, From £13.99
Resistance bands are a great addition to any home gym as they allow gentle exercise and recovery, and they’re also used by physiotherapists to regain movement, flexibility and suppleness. We found these options to be lightweight and durable, and they’re also latex free.
Body Revolution Multi-Grip Pull Up Bar – From £39.99
The key to the success of the Body Revolution pull up bar lies in the amount of grips it includes – up to 12 different grips with a variety of different handle positions to target specific muscle groups and specific areas of the body. It’s made of heavy-duty steel and for the price feels well made and sturdy.
This is the area of home fitness that has really come on leaps and bounds in recent years. It’s rapidly making inroads into the personal trainer market and it’s not hard to see why – who needs a one to one session when all the instructions you need can be delivered via your phone?
Fiit – best for tailored plans
Often rated as one of the best fitness apps on the market and certainly one of the most well known, Fiit offers a wide range of fitness ‘courses’ for you to take from the comfort of your own home, and also ships with a bluetooth enabled tracker that fits around your waist and an HDMI adaptor for iPhones so you can plug it into your TV (note that we tested on an Android phone, and had to get an adaptor). It also offers tailored training plans from world-class fitness experts. A 14 day free trial is available and then it’s £10 a month if you pay annually.
Amazon Fire TV Cube Peloton – easiest to use, from £109
Well known cycling fitness app Peloton have launched an exclusive partnership with Amazon Fire, whereby their app is available for download on their latest Fire TV Cube device. When we tried it we realised that Peloton isn’t just about cycling: there are a host of breathing exercises, meditative courses, strength and yoga sessions that work straight from the device on your TV. There are a huge amount of options and because it works as an app straight from Amazon Fire, we also found it really easy to set up and operate using the small remote or voice-activation with built-in Alexa control.
L1VE Fitness – best for time-poor fitness fans, £150
Marvin Ambrosius is a high intensity, high energy fitness instructor and he’s lended his name to the L1VE Fitness box, which includes a resistance band, a couple of boxes of high-quality vitamin supplements and a tablet device with a number of effective workouts doable at home. We liked the way you can dip in and out of it and make it fit around your schedule – promising effective fitness gains in a short space of time whilst shipping in a compact and storable box.
BoxVR – best for boxers, £24.99
BoxVR is a virtual reality game that helps you work out as you play. It’s easy to lose yourself and forget you’re exercising. The makers behind the game have been advised by a team of leading fitness instructors who help produce a variety of boxing workouts – we also enjoyed the music – of which there’s over two hours worth.
Myzone MZ-3 Heart-rate Monitor – best for accuracy, £129.99
Myzone is really popular in gyms and workout clubs up and down the country, mainly due to its accuracy and reliability, but there’s no reason you can’t bring the technology into the comfort of your own home. The MZ-3 is a smart fitness tracker that provides live feedback on your workout and it also has a social element where you can pair up with other users via their social platform. It connects to Garmin, Apple Watch, MyFitnessPal and other 3rd party apps and we found it to be one of the easiest packages to use.
8mm thick, this yoga mat is made from TPE material to ensure support and comes in a variety of excellent bright colours.
Domyos Tone Dumbbells – 1kg twin pack, £4.99
It’s always a good idea to keep some relatively lightweight dumbbells lying around, and will improve your core fitness, balance and be able to be twinned with a variety of workouts.
Gym Towel Quick Drying Microfibre Towel, £17.99
It’s also worth having a quick drying towel lying around for your high-intensity workouts. They don’t take up much space and are super absorbent, meaning you can keep you and your kit dry during your fitness sessions.
Mega Jump Skipping Rope, £20
Another bit of kit that can diversify your workouts and open up a whole new range of activities and workouts. Mega Jump also have a YouTube channel where they teach the basics of skipping and fitness with a number of tutorials – perfect for learning a new skill during isolation.