7 pieces of workout equipment and what they do
Picture it: You're totally killing it during your latest YouTube video workout sesh. The music is pumping, the moves are flowing—but wait? What's that random piece of equipment your instructor just picked up? No worries. We've compiled a guide to the most popular at-home workout equipment, so you can glow up your go-to routine.
Kettlebells are essentially weights with handles. They're different from regular dumbells because they allow you to swing the weight around while keeping a firm grip—because swinging a dumbbell around too fast can end in some srsly painful sitches.
Example exercise: Kettlebell swings
Kettlebell swings are a popular move where you start standing up, holding your kettlebell with your arms straight in front of you. You then bend your knees while swinging the weight down in between your legs, and then swing it back up while you stand upright.
Resistance loops (sometimes called booty bands) are rings of tight, stretchy fabric that are used to create—you guessed it—resistance. When you add resistance to a workout, it gives your muscles an extra challenge, making it more difficult for them to move...which in turn makes you stronger.
Example exercise: Lunges
Lunges are a perfect move if you're just getting into fitness—but to add an extra challenge, you can add a resistance loop.
FYI: Resistance bands are different than resistance loops. Resistance bands have two handles at either end for you to hold. These bands also add resistance to your workout, but they give you a little more room to move than resistance loops.
Example exercise: Standing rows
Start by putting one foot forward and stepping on top of the middle of the band. Hold on to the handles and lean your chest forward. Keep both of your arms straight and raise them out to the sides, to shoulder height.
These plastic circles may be small, but they can be a *huge* help in your next workout. Slider discs help you glide your hands or feet across the floor so you can execute some seriously smooth moves. Most are two sides, with one side made of fabric to use on a hard floor and a plastic side that slides easily against the carpet.
Example exercise: Mountian climbers
Start in a plank position with your sliders under the balls of your feet. Bring your right knee up towards your left shoulder and then push back. Pull your left knee up towards your right shoulder and push back. Repeat, alternating legs!
This ladder can't help you get that ball that's been stuck on your roof, but it can help you become more agile. This flat ladder serves as a kind of grid for you to move your hands or feet in a particular way that forces you to be precise. Ladder exercises can help improve your coordination, too!
Example exercise: Ladder workout
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The best starter move is to see how quickly you can step one foot into the square, then the next foot...and repeat till you get to the end of the ladder. By quickly stepping both feet into the square before moving on to another, you challenge yourself to improve your speed and agility—while getting your heart rate up!
A medicine ball is a heavy, fabric-covered ball. Medicine balls come in different weights and sizes. They are used instead of weights because they can be thrown or slammed around the gym without breaking anything.
Example exercise: Weighted squats
A fun way to switch up squats is by adding a medicine ball. Start with your feet shoulder-length apart, holding the ball in front of you. With straight legs, bring the ball up over your head. Drop the ball as you squat down and pick it back up as you straighten up into a standing position!
If you're looking to step up the stretching portion of your workout, you *have* to try foam rolling. Foam rollers come in lots of different shapes and sizes, but they all help you massage out the lactic acid that builds in your muscles post-workout.
Example exercise: Back rollout
You can roll almost any part of your body, but we think the feeling of a foam roller on your back is the most satisfying. Make sure you put your full body weight on top of the roller to get a deeper massage.
Show us your cutest piece of workout equipment! Tag us on Insta @girlslifemag for a chance to get featured.
For more workout inspo, read:
How to start working out again
Indoor workouts to raise your heart rate
Everything you need to know before your first spin class