I Built A Home Gym For SA’s Lockdown, Here’s What’s Worth Your Money
A week ago, Men’s Health HQ packed up their desks and headed to their homes around South Africa to work from home for the next month. My first concern was that I wasn’t going to be able to train. But instead of heading to the grocery store to panic buy, I went to Mr. Price Sport and Sportsman’s Warehouse to build a basic home gym that would see me through being at home for a month.
Training over the last week at home has been interesting as I’ve taken on challenges I wouldn’t usually in an effort to keep fit. I’ve learned many things so far, the first and most important being that I’m absolutely awful at skipping, the second is that you don’t actually need a lot to see you through a seriously sweat-inducing workout.
This is what I have in my home gym, in order of what I think is most important, to more nice-to-have, than anything else.
Everything You Need For A Great Home Gym:
#1: A Solid Training Plan
During this time, training plans seem useless (unless you’ve got some serious iron or a garage of gains at home). But rather than stressing out, I’ve taken the opportunity to completely change my routine. I’m going between two programmes at the moment, the first being the SWEAT app for yoga and weight-based workouts you can do at home. The second one, and the one I’m starting to lean towards more is Speed Shred.
Speed Shred is a completely bodyweight-based training programme designed in conjunction with trainer Trevor Lagerway to get you ripped in 12 weeks. And the workouts are seriously killer. Plus, it comes with an eating plan that prioritises being affordable and easy-to-use, which couldn’t be more helpful in the days leading up to lockdown. If you choose Speed Shred as your workout plan, all you need is a good-quality yoga mat which makes it an extremely affordable and hassle-free option.
#2: A Good Quality Yoga Mat
I love a good bargain, but this is the one area I wouldn’t spare a cent. I’ve bought cheap yoga mats for my home gym before and after a few sit ups, you can feel that you’re just a few millimetres from a wooden floor. You’re not going to want to work out if you’re in pain. A few months ago I got the Mocana Nimbus Yoga mat and it’s made workouts completely comfortable. Plus, the alignment line is such a great addition when you’re doing yoga.
They’ve also recently launched an extra-length yoga mat which is 25% longer than the Mocana Nimbus and perfect for taller guys. It’s called The Mocana Reach and you can buy it here.
The Workout: The 15-Minute Bodyweight Workout You Can Do Anywhere
#3: Two Sets of Dumbbells
I have 3 sets: light, medium and heavy, but two sets are more than enough. Get one set of light weights that you can use for higher reps and one set of heavier weights that are perfect for lower reps. You can always head to Mr. Price Sport for this, but the OTG Active range from Sportsman’s Warehouse is affordable and great quality.
Alternatively, this vinyl dumbbell set comes with a total of 20kg in weight plates which could up the intensity in your home gym.
#4: Resistance Band
Of course, there are entire resistance band workouts you can do. But what I mostly use my resistance band for is well, every home gym workout. I slip it on before every workout and do whatever workout I am doing while wearing it. It’s a simple way to up the intensity of a workout without too much though and it’s seriously effective. Jumping jacks have suddenly become a whole lot more challenging.
#5: Aerobic Band
These are not just to be used for stretching at the end of a workout. They are great for things like reverse shoulder extensions, tricep kickbacks, leg extensions and standing side raises, too.
#6: Skipping Rope
Getting cardio in when you don’t have access to a treadmill, bike or rowing machine is tough. Most people will add a skipping rope to their home gym to make up for it. That’s what I’ve done as it’s a great way to get your heart rate up and burn calories. A no-gear warm up I’ve been using is a combination of jumping jacks and burpees. I got my hands on this weighted skipping rope which just makes skipping slightly more challenging.
And there you have it, that’s your home gym built and ready to help you get shredded in the next few weeks. And if you need something else to keep you busy during this period, why not pick up a copy of the latest Men’s Health here. It’s packed full of workouts, meals and stories to make you come out of lockdown a better man.