(Say That 3 Times Fast!)
With the large variety of workout equipment on the market, it’s easy to become overwhelmed about what to purchase. Some equipment, such as shake weights, are fads that quickly fade from the public view. Other tools, though they fade in and out of popularity, stand the test of time in terms of effectiveness. I have investigated the trendiest workout equipment of 2018 to find four pieces that deserve their recent popularity. These pieces of equipment are actually effective at improving your strength and endurance while also improving joint and stabilizer health. Here are the top fitness tools of 2018 I recommend investing in:
Kettlebells have become a fitness buzzword over the last five years, and are growing in popularity every year – for good reason. Kettlebells are incredibly versatile and portable. They can be taken anywhere for a workout and easily tucked away when not in use. Kettlebells are inexpensive for the large number of benefits they provide (compare to a treadmill or barbell, which are much more expensive). Kettlebells enhance cardiovascular endurance while building lean muscle mass – giving you cardio and strength training in one tool. A kettlebell is bottom-weighted, which means performing traditional exercises is harder and engages your core and stabilizer muscles. As a result, kettlebell training can be a great tool to mitigate injury. For example, kettlebells develop core strength, which in turn contributes to spinal stability, a stronger back, and stronger stabilizer muscles and joints.
If you live a busy life and are short on time to work out, kettlebells are perfect for short duration, high-intensity interval training workouts that give you a lot of bang for your buck. Kettlebells can also be incorporated into a normal fitness regimen to benefits outlined in the previous paragraph. Kettlebells build lean muscle and contribute to fat loss through a longer post-exercise caloric burn period than regular cardiovascular exercise.
We recommend purchasing a kettlebell from a kettlebell-specific retailer instead of from a store or general retailer, as the quality will be higher. Look for a kettlebell that is one solid piece of cast-iron instead of two pieces that are connected. Any seams created from the casting should be filed down to prevent irritation of the skin.
The steel mace is another piece of equipment that has resurfaced as an incredibly versatile and effective piece of workout equipment. Shifting your grip along the handle of the mace changes the level of difficulty of any given exercise, which means you can keep making progress with a mace of the same weight even as you get stronger.
The benefits of a mace are similar to those of a kettlebell, as you can complete dynamic movements with the mace that simultaneously build strength and cardiovascular endurance. Like kettlebells, steel maces are great for HIIT workouts and building lean muscle mass while also burning fat. The mace builds great core strength and rotational power.
Steel maces offer unique benefits in the way of shoulder strength. The shoulder joint, as a ball in socket joint, has the ability to rotate 360 degrees. While this allows the shoulder to do a lot for the body, it also means the shoulder is susceptible to injury. To mitigate injury, it’s vital to build good shoulder stability and strength throughout the entire range of motion. The rotational movements the steel mace is designed for improve flexibility and strengthen the connective tissues around the shoulder, thus aiding in injury prevention.
A resistance band may not seem like the most exciting piece of workout equipment, but the huge amount of versatility and benefits provided by the band prove otherwise. Almost any movement that traditionally uses a weighted implement can be replicated with a resistance band, with less risk and just as much benefit. Resistance bands force the body to maintain stability throughout the entire course of a movement. Resistance band workouts don’t take up much space or require additional equipment, and can easily be scaled to any fitness level. Simply using a thicker band increases resistance and creates a more challenging workout. Resistance bands are low impact, which makes this method of training easier on the joints than weight training. Like kettlebells, resistance bands aid in the development of core and stabilizer muscles that mitigate injury risk and can be used for both upper and lower body workouts.
The speed rope is one of the best workout accessories to add to your at home fitness equipment. The speed rope is thinner and more aerodynamic than a traditional jump rope, making it preferable for high-speed work and more advanced movements such as double unders. As far as cardio equipment goes, a speed rope is inexpensive especially compared to typical machines like treadmills, recumbent bikes, ellipticals, etc. The speed rope improves cardiovascular endurance as well as any machine, and can be used for a multitude of different movements (crisscross, alternating foot hops, etc). Although speed ropes are most commonly seen used by mixed martial arts fighters and boxers, they are a great tool for anyone to add variety and fun to their traditional workout. The increased agility, timing, and coordination that com from using the speed rope will improve all other aspects of your workout regimen.
There’s no telling what innovations in fitness equipment will produce in 2019, but these are our top picks of 2018. Every piece I’ve recommended provides a total body workout and tons of benefits, including minimizing the risk of injury. There is enough variety within the equipment I covered to keep your workouts fun and engaging while achieving results like building muscle tone and increasing strength. I hope you’ll consider adding the one or more of these tools to your home gym.
Author - Amanda Perkins
Amanda works with Kettlebell Kings as a senior writer. She has been put onto this earth to inspire people and achieve their health and fitness goals with enthusiasm. Her niches are health, fitness, and kettlebell workout. Read more about Amanda's writings at https://www.kettlebellkings.com/blog/.
About The Authors
A 25 Year Veteran of the Group Fitness Industry, Erika currently teaches Kickboxing, Step, and H.I.I.T. classes at Guilford Parks & Rec.
An Avid Runner, Lisa began her running career about 10 Years Ago.