- Jennifer Galardi
Must Have Props For At Home Workouts
2020 has forced many of us to adjust our relationship with fitness, nutrition and taking care of ourselves. Many have learned new skills either online or by necessity. Even those of us who've had a long standing relationship with healthy at home habits have struggled with the day in day out tasks of cooking and finding inventive ways to keep moving. I recently added my neighbor's hula hoop to my workout regimen and taken to simply running laps around my yard, doing several rounds of stairs for a short H.I.I.T. workout. Luckily I also have an arsenal of props that don't take up much room in my studio/office and wanted to share those with you. These tools are not only great for workouts such as Pilates, Yoga, and strength training, but also to provide relief from the tensions and stresses our current reality presents - which may lodge themselves in the tissues of your body. I hope you find this useful. I've offered some of my favorite brands and links to where to buy, however I think we're all pretty well versed on how to purchase things on the Internet by now. ;) Feel free to reach out with any questions you may have.
Foam roller - It's common knowledge that a foam roller is wonderful for myofascial release and to break up adhesions in the soft tissue of the body. But there are a few other ways to use a foam roller - namely for a great core warm up. You can get some ideas here. Mine is an old standby from Amazon.
Yoga strap - I'm a huge fan of the yoga strap and love mine from Manduka. A must to assist stretching and holding stretches for a long time and for those yin yoga practices.
Yoga blocks - If you have a regular yoga practice or are embarking on a new one, you must add these to your arsenal. Not a day goes by when I don't use mine. Also from Manduka. I like the sturdiness of cork but if you are sensitive, foam may be more for you.
Resistance bands - For everything from mobility to strength training to flexibility, resistance bands are an amazing tool and take up no space. Their versatility makes them perfect for trips. I always pack mine! The open ended bands are great for upper body training and the close looped bands are awesome for lower body exercises which I often use for some of my favorite Pilates exercises. You can find varying sizes and strengths at any sporting goods store or probably Target, or of course, Amazon.
Set of weights - You should have at least one set in your arsenal. I have ten pound weights as I use bands for lighter weight training. You don't have to go far to find workouts with weights. Great for adding intensity to the basics - Squats, planks, shoulder raises, bicep curls. While I love getting creative with my workouts, sometimes nothing beats an old fashion sweat sess with weights. Like my aunt always said K.I.S.S - Keep it simple ... Smarty!
Squishy ball - I don't know where I would be in life without my ball. It enhances form in Pilates and is an amazing tool for all core workouts and is a staple for those barefoot barre workouts. Invest in one, you won't be sorry. Plus, have you ever done an abdominal massage with one? It may just change your life. The Bender Ball is the classic but there are plenty of other varieties and sizes on Amazon. I have a larger (9") and a smaller (4") one.
Yoga Tune Up balls - If you've been following me for a while, you've likely seen me RAVE about Jill Miller and her balls. ;) I would be mobile without them. If you learn one thing this time in quarantine - LEARN HOW TO GIVE YOURSELF A MASSAGE. I can not underemphasize the importance of self care right now. Jill and her team have created not only a wonderful product but a voluminous library of content to support you on your healing journey. The best use of $15-20 ever.