Building an Unconventional ‘Functional’ Home Gym

In the last few years, the face of fitness has changed a great deal. We’ve seen a move away from very static, single-joint movements like the bicep curl and a move towards more adventurous and engaging forms of training. These include kettlebell training, TRX (suspension training), Indian club training, weighted stretching, squatting, deadlifting and more.

These exercises effectively allow us to use our body in the way it was intended: by using all of our muscles together rather than in an isolated fashion. The result is that we produce more growth hormone and testosterone (triggering greater muscle growth) and build a more stable and functional body.

The problem is that this type of training often doesn’t extend to the home gym. It’s not easy to fit a squat rack in your front room… so what can you do?

Here are some items that will allow you to build an excellent, functional, and unique home gym that might be slightly different from the other gym bros…

The first thing you need to make your home workouts more functional is a kettlebell. This will immediately challenge you more by providing a more dynamic workout and moving the center of gravity in unpredictable ways.
What’s more, that kettlebell training allows you to perform movements like squats, deadlifts, and more that you couldn’t train on your own otherwise.

Parallel Bars
Here is a simple tool that everyone can use to train and that not enough people have in their homes. Parallel bars usually cost about $40 and allow you to perform dips: handstands, planche, inverted push-ups, neutral grip pull-ups, and much more.
They’re fun, easy to store, and build incredibly dynamic strength.

Gymnastic Rings
Gymnastic rings can be used for many of the same exercises as parallel bars. The big difference is that you have to balance them and hold them steady while training. They cost a lot less than TRX and have the bonus of letting you perform dips, too, so they are far superior.

Indian Club
Indian Clubs are the lesser-known little brothers of kettlebells. These let you train with similarly unconventional shapes and another uneven center of gravity, using a tool that looks a fair bit like a bowling pin! Grab onto the end and swing, push, lunge, and generally fight an invisible opponent. That’s a fun way to build strength!

Balance Board
If you want to make any movement more challenging, functional, and enjoyable, simply perform it while standing on a balance board. This will force you to balance while also moving the weight, which is much more challenging for your entire body.

A rope can be used for all manner of exercises. One of the simplest ways to train with it is to hang it over a pull-up bar and then perform neutral grip pull-ups. This will build grip strength and allow you to train your biceps and lats. Otherwise, you can perform rows or wrap them around your weights and pick them up that way!

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