7 simple fitness tools to step up your indoor workouts
These small items can make a big difference
This article was originally published Dec. 8, 2020 and was updated Nov. 30, 2021 to reflect current product pricing.
Exercising at home has become the new normal for many, myself included, and there are lots of ways to level up whatever routine you've taken to — especially if you're feeling like you're in a bit of a rut. While the gym offers the luxuries of all the right gear and lots of space, neither of those are a requirement for getting in a good workout. Here are some small, simple, tried-and-true fitness items to add to your "home gym".
Mini loop resistance bands
The mini loops might look like no big deal but trust me they will kick your butt. Throw them on during squats, skaters, hip thrusts and other parts of your current routine and you'll see. They can be used to train every body part by providing external resistance that force your muscles to engage in order to fight the tension. Each pack contains different levels of resistance options to adjust your workouts to your specific fitness goals. Another great benefit is that they're safe to use, so if you're brand new to working out you can improve your strength without the worry of dropping a heavy weight on your foot or straining your muscles. On the other hand, if you're an exercise aficionado, these bands will make your indoor routines even harder.
PTP MicroBand+ Pack, $34.99, Sport Chek
Ankle and wrist weights
I know what you're thinking… is this a fashion accessory or a fitness tool? I say it's both! This stylish one-pound ankle and wrist weight comes in a range of fun colours, like lilac, banana, and jet black. These weights are good for walking, yoga, stretching, biking, running, weight training, HIIT workouts, and more.
The Bala weights add a constant, yet comfortable, resistance to your workout, helping to burn fat and build muscle. You'll love how easy they are to put on and adjust and how instagrammable your workout just got.
Bala Bangles Resistance 1lb, $65, Indigo
TRX Strong System
You've perhaps seen the TRX in action at the gym, but did you know you can work out with the suspension trainer at home? The system that was originally designed by a Navy Seal who needed to stay in shape while only having access to limited space during his travels and can easily be set up anywhere with an anchor point. If you have a door that can support weight this is a piece of equipment I'd highly recommend having. Using the adjustable training straps, you can get full body workouts doing seven basic foundational moves: lunges, squats, planks, pulling, pushing, hinging, and rotational movements. Since you're able to adjust your body position to increase or decrease resistance, it's great for all fitness levels from pro-athletes to seniors. If you've never used the system before, it comes with workout guide, moves chart, workout poster, as well as a free code to access online TRX workouts.
TRX Strong System, $125.99, Sport Chek
Quality yoga mat
Whether you have hard floors or carpet, a good quality yoga mat is key for at-home exercise. It will protect you from the floor and the floor from your sweat. Have you ever tried to hold a minute-long forearm plank on a hardwood floor? Spoiler alert… it hurts! The superior cushioning of this mat protects your elbows, knees, and tailbone during floor work. The excellent grip means you won't be slipping and sliding everywhere either.
B Mat Strong 6mm, $96, B Yoga
Stability balls can be a bit tricky to get used to at first, but you'll quickly find them to be simple, lightweight and great for balance, core, and muscle isolation. Plus, it's an awesome tool for stretching and can double as a chair if you're working from and need to switch it up during the day.
Total Body Balance Ball Kit, $19.98, Gaiam
Imagine if you could substitute the entire weight room with only one piece of fitness equipment. Adjustable dumbbells might just be the solution you've been looking for. They're a pretty genius way to save space and get a wider range of free weight options. This dumbbell can substitute for five sets by adjusting weight between 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50 pounds.
Weider 5-in-1 Adjustable Dumbbell, $199.99, Canadian Tire
Weighted jump rope
Let's go back to our childhood for one of the best ways to get a cardiovascular workout. Jumping rope tones and strengthens your arms, core and legs, burning more than 10 calories a minute. This jump rope can provide a total length of nine feet, making it ideal for all fitness levels and heights. It features a precision ball bearing rotation for increased speed. The 0.5-pound weights are removable, so you don't have to use them until you're ready, and the cable stops to allow you to fully customize the rope to suit your height.
2lb Weighted Jump Rope, $15.49, TSC