Randomly twerking dancing around the house is where my home workout routines began. Music is my preferred choice for background noise in my cozy apartment and when I hear the music, let’s just say it makes me feel like moving. I stumbled onto my preferred method of cardio one evening as I was nearing the end of my “twerkout” playlist and I realized that my heart was pounding and I’d worked up quite a sweat. From then I started devoting 30 minutes of my evening to a dance cardio session, later adding in a round or two of yoga and stretching to the more sultry songs. Thirty minutes turned into 60 minutes and before you knew it, I had a calorie burning fun home workout routine. Slowly I began to incorporate additional moves for specific areas of my body and I began to see some results. I really liked the idea of an at-home routine that rivaled what I could get in the gym.
Recently I got the idea to incorporate resistance bands and paper plates gliders into my nightly routine. My trainer often uses resistance bands in our workouts and had introduced me to the torturous gliders during our last session. Aside from being super affordable, quick storing and easy to use, both resistance bands and gliders really do help sculpt and build lean muscle and I have noticed a difference with my body.
Gliding discs (or the super cheap alternative- paper plates) plus a little bit of creativity offer a great workout for your whole body. They set you up to have a much wider range of motion which means you have access to work out untapped (or underutilized) muscles. With a wider range of motion you also have the opportunity to do moves and maneuvers that normally wouldn’t be possible. They also create a different type of resistance and adds a level of intensity to common movements like lunges, squats and even pushups. Gliders are also great if you have prior injuries because they are low impact- you never lift your feet or hands up from the glider. I don’t have the greatest knees (in fact knee issues is what sparked my weight loss journey) and because my feet never leave the ground there is very minimal (if any) pressure on my joints. I jokingly refer to these guys as torture devices because they really do an amazing job of waking up new muscles around your whole body and it’s a tough workout! I can typically tackle at least the first set of anything my trainer throws at me, but I was struggling with the first 10 seconds of mountain climbers on these things. Improved stability and balance are also great benefits of working out with gliders. After a just a few workouts with these bad boys, I can feel more strength in my full core and even when I’m not working out, I feel more graceful and balanced. Check out this video of Toronto, trainer Assata McKenzie to hear more about the benefits and see a few moves.
Resistance bands are another super affordable must-have for any home fitness routine. After stumbling into my local Play it Again Sports (which I have fallen in love with by the way! Considering the majority of my closet is second hand, it’s only natural that I love the thrift version of a sporting goods store) I realized that resistance bands were a cheaper and much easier to transport strength training option. Once I brought them home and began playing around with them, I realized they really get the muscles burning and they produce results. The beauty of the resistance bands first of all is the fact that they’re super cheap. At Play it Again Sports a 15lb kettle bell was in the area of $20, barbells started at $50 (not including the weights), a fluidity bar was $20 and my two resistance bands were $4.98 each… for less than 10 bucks I have a pretty viable strength training option. Resistance bands are also unique in that they allow you to have “maximum muscle activation” according to this Bodylastics article. Elastic bands provide resistance on both ends of the movement. They force you to utilize more muscle fibers to pull the bands and not use momentum to “cheat.” They help you target and strengthen isolated muscle groups. They’re also easy to customize and make more challenging. If you want to increase the intensity of a workout, you can wrap the bands around your wrists to increase the tension and the intensity. Resistance bands offer resistance in both horizontal and vertical exercise movements. Typically with weights, you’re only able to benefit from gravitational resistance offered with vertical movements. One of my favorite resistance band workouts is what I call a seated waist winder. In a seated position with your legs spread, hook a band handle onto your right foot. Facing your right foot, grab the band (I usually forgo the other handle because it isn’t enough resistance for me) with your left hand and with your left elbow parallel to the floor and leading the movement, pull the band and twist your waist to the left. I love the fact that, much like with the gliders, I can feel my muscles burning almost instantly. That lets me know something is being done right and it kind of reassures me that I’m working on the right thing.
Having a home routine is important for me. This eliminates all excuses. Even if I don’t feel like getting out of the house (especially on these chilly fall nights after work), I have a solid routine that will make me sweat and sculpt lean muscle. Adding bands and paper plate gliders (I do plan on purchasing the plastic version, just because the paper plates make so much noise sliding across the carpet (it sounds like I’m trying to start a fire!) have been great ways to spice up and intensify my workout.
Can you believe I’ve fallen in love with a sporting goods store? It’s crazy! Suddenly I want all sorts of equipment…I’ll have to find somehow to get it all to my place and then figure out where to store it!