With gyms throughout Philadelphia closed and COVID-19 rates climbing statewide, there’s no better time to outfit your home with a few workout tools.
The sun’s already setting before 5 p.m., and we’re heading into an even darker winter. Keeping up that exercise routine might be the key to saving your sanity.
To help you gear up, we asked personal trainers from across the city to share their favorite equipment — all $100 or less, priced from lowest to highest. We’ve also got details on how you can sign up for virtual personal training, in case you need some extra motivation and can fit it into your budget.
Remember: The most important thing is to build in the time for self-care. Set daily calendar reminders and stick to it. And as always, you can supplement workouts using equipment with methods that are free, like body-weight exercises and those using your own two feet.
Rogue Speed Rope
Price: $17.50 and up at roguefitness.com
Don’t underestimate a basic jump rope. “It’s a full-body workout, killer for the core and coordination,” says Jaime Sutton of J’aime Fitness, who prefers jump rope workouts several times a week to traditional cardio.
Speed ropes allow you to move even quicker than classic jump ropes, and most Rogue versions offer rotating handles for a better grip.
To enhance each workout, mix it up with variations like single leg jumps, alternating leg jumps, and speed bursts.
Virtual training with Sutton: Package prices start at $320 for four 50-minute sessions; for more details, visit jaimefitness.com/pricing-jaimefitness
Price: Starting at $24 at roguefitness.com
“One kettlebell can be used for a huge variety of exercises — rows, squats, dead lifts, presses, swings, carries,” says Shoshana Katz of BPM Fitness. “And it makes you feel like a badass.”
You don’t need to invest in an entire set. Start with two kettlebells, one at a weight you can press overhead and one at a weight that you can squat.
Virtual training with Katz: Katz doesn’t currently offer personal training sessions; her virtual group classes are $15 for a drop-in, $55 for five classes, and $100 for 10 classes; see schedule at bpmfitnessphl.com/schedule
» READ MORE: How to set up a home gym for under $250
Black Mountain Stackable Resistance Band Set
Price: $29.99 at blackmountainproducts.com
You can hit nearly every muscle using resistance bands, and they’re among the most affordable and portable pieces of equipment available. “Your imagination is about as far as it goes with resistance bands. You can stack them for more resistance, attach them to staircases or doors to do pulling motions, and incorporate them into all sorts of moves,” says Osayi Osunde of Fit Academy.
There are plenty of online resources for how to use resistance bands. Osunde’s favorite move is a resistance band squat to shoulder press. “Any kind of resistance band is going to break eventually, but these have a good shelf life,” says Osunde of Black Mountain.
Virtual training with Osunde: $90 to $100 per hour; for more details, visit fitphl.com/personal-training
GoFit Elevated Chin-Up Station
Price: $39.99 at gofit.net
All you need is a doorway and you can transport your pull-up routine from your gym to your home. “It’s easy to set up and excellent for upper body strength,” says Platoon Fitness’ Michael McLaughlin of the GoFit version.
The model doesn’t require any screws, making it convenient to install and remove. And that latter aspect is important, given this chin-up station is designed to be used for floor exercises, too, like sit-ups, push-ups, and dips.
Virtual training with McLaughlin: $35 for an intro session with a full assessment; $90 per hour and $60 per half hour for following sessions; for more details, visit platoonfitness.com
Price: $64.99 and up at ultimatesandbagtraining.com
“A sandbag is a resistance tool that mimics real-life objects better than dumbbells or kettlebells — think heavy luggage, groceries, children,” says Katie Gould of KG Strong. “It’s super versatile because you can add or subtract weight by pouring more sand in or out.”
Incorporate lighter bags into speed, agility, and core exercises, and heavier bags into strength workouts. “I personally love sandbags for asymmetrical loaded squats, lunges, and carries, but you can use a sandbag for swings, chops, dead-lift rows, and all kinds of athletic drills,” says Gould.
Virtual training with Gould: $199 for three hour-long sessions; semiprivate training starts at $50; for more details, visit kgstrongtraining.com
Yamuna Foot Wakers
Price: $65.95 at yamunausa.com
“Your feet, if not cared for properly, can break down and cause serious problems that affect the feet themselves, forcing the body to compensate in other areas up the body,” says Pete Mattis of ZAKTi. “We use these to increase mobility, improve foot function, and prevent and alleviate foot pain.”
The Foot Wakers act as a great massage tool, too. Each set comes with a digital download on how to get the most out of them.
Virtual training with Mattis: $100 to $150 per hour-long session; for more details, visit zaktilife.com
Price: $92 at manduka.com
The value of a yoga mat goes way beyond yoga. For starters, you can use it to prevent your sweat from saturating your carpet when engaging in floor exercises, like planks, push-ups, and donkey kicks. And if you’re working out atop a harder surface, the mat “is important to support your knees and spine,” says Amandah Povilitus of The Shift Wellness.
While you can purchase a yoga mat for as little as $15, Povilitus recommends investing in something that’ll last long-term. A quality mat generally offers better support, provides better grip, and can withstand more wear and tear. “I love the Manduka eKo series because they are not only high-quality, but also eco-friendly, biodegradable, and sustainably made,” says Povilitus.
Virtual training with Povilitus: $35 to $60 sliding pay-what-you-can scale per session; for more details, visit theshiftwellness.com/workwithme
Bosu Balance Trainer
Price: $100 at amazon.com
These bouncy, dome-shaped devices can be incorporated into cardio and core workouts, balance and coordination challenges, and all sorts of plyometric drills. “I use it in almost every single workout,” says Jason Supowitz of Studio North. “I love doing a lot of HIIT cardio, and so one of my favorite exercises is a lateral Bosu shuffle.”
Bosu offers a catalog of workout videos you can learn from online. And you can see Supowitz demonstrating the Bosu shuffle in the video below.
Virtual training with Supowitz: $60 per 40-minute session, $200 per month for weekly classes, $350 per month for two sessions a week, $515 per month for three sessions a week; for more details, visit studionorthfitness.com/book
Jaime Sutton is a personal trainer and co-owner of J’aime Fitness.
Shoshana Katz is a personal trainer and owner of BPM Fitness.
Osayi Osunde is a personal trainer and owner of Fit Academy.
Michael McLaughlin is a personal trainer at Platoon Fitness.
Katie Gould is a personal trainer and owner of KG Strong.
Pete Mattis is a personal trainer and owner of ZAKTi.
Amandah Povilitus is a personal trainer and founder of The Shift Wellness.
Jason Supowitz is a personal trainer and owner of Studio North.