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/.
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Heroes in Recovery is a movement ignited by Foundations Recovery Network and the widespread community of those who are in recovery from addiction and co-occurring disorders. While 23 million people each year need help for addiction, only three million actually seek treatment. Heroes in Recovery is looking to reach the other 20 million– those who may not be seeking help due to the overwhelming stigma that often surrounds substance use and mental health disorders.
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The cold seasons are upon us! For most, it’s a happy festive time of the year with lots to celebrate, but for others, its colder and darker and doesn’t help motivate a healthy lifestyle. A lot of people can struggle with what to wear whilst exercising this time of year, sometimes gym joggers and a hoody aren’t the comfiest ideas. Here is a guide to some essentials for men and women to wear in the colder months of the year.
If you’re out running this is probably your most essential kit to buy, Thermal shorts and leggings are designed to help regulate your body heat and keep you warm whilst exercising. The help reduces stiffness and fatigue but in recent years the technology that goes into thermals has advanced. In leggings, for example, you’ll notice that some pairs have different designs on them and it isn’t just for aesthetics anymore, leggings have compression sections to help muscles during and after exercise. The compression sections have a tighter hold on different parts of your legs to help with supporting your exercise with leads to better recovery periods also. Leggings are available for men and women alike, the supporting in the leggings will differ due to average body sizes but the benefits are the same. Wearing them to the gym can also help performance during weights and cardio sessions.
Now that you have your thermals wearing a lightweight jacket should help with your performance, wearing a heavier jacket whilst training can affect your movement and cause you to overheat. Combining thermal tops and a light jacket keeps your body temperature ideal and body movement fully available. A suitable lightweight jacket should be hooded and waterproof ready for the rainy weather, the hood is also beneficial to those who might get cold face and ears and doesn’t particularly want to wear a hat whilst running.
Not the most important item on the list but and makes that difference in certain circumstances. First on the list is socks, like the compression thermals socks can offer extra support on the foot and ankle which can really help during distance running. Headbands all help for several reasons keeping hair in place but also help retain some heat that normally leaves through your head if you find thicker head wear uncomfortable. Finally, gloves whilst exercising (running especially) whilst help a lot. Hands can often get number whilst running and outdoor it can feel uncomfortable and distracting if they are also cold, thin gloves can make all the difference whilst running.
Wearing Hi-Vis clothing in winter is crucial, as mentioned before the evenings are getting darker a lot quicker so your visibility to traffic may change from the start and finish of a run.
This safety measure is promoted by most sports labels, so buying a hi-vis garment should be easy and affordable, a jacket is usually the best options as it is the most visible but reflective trainers, hats, armbands, and bottoms are all designed by most brands.
Your current trainers are probably fine, but if you're anything like me once you find a pair that you run and exercise well in you stick with them. Checking the grip on your trainers is the best approach in the colder periods, trainers receive a lot more physicality then regular’s shoes so if the grip seems worn it might be best to invest in a new pair to avoid slipping anywhere dangerous.
Most of these garments come in affordable and luxury prices, so have a browse around but you should be able to find suitable products that will suit your exercise habits and keep you motivated in the winter months.
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.