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Can’t go to the gym? Here’s how to set up a home gym on a budget

With COVID-19 gym restrictions and people working from home, one Seattle trainer offers some advice on how to make a home gym with little to no money.

SEATTLE — It is hard to get moving these days, and going to a gym could be something people are not comfortable with or are not allowed to do to state coronavirus restrictions. But one trainer and gym owner said the most important thing is to keep moving.

Lionel Balland owns Academy Athletics in Seattle's Belltown neighborhood. He said keeping your immune system strong is more important than ever.

After months of quarantine, most people are not getting in much physical activity, and that could be detrimental to their health. Exercise equipment is a great investment, but Balland said you might have a little bit of equipment already at your disposal.

Here are items around your house that you could use to get a workout in:

  • Water or shampoo bottles: These come in many different sizes and are inexpensive. You can get different size weights up to huge jugs of water to get in a workout. For reference, a gallon of water weighs about eight pounds.
  • Laundry detergent bottles: This is a great idea for a heavier weight option, a lot of detergent bottles come in large sizes (think Costco-type size) with a sturdy handle. These are perfect to imitate a set of dumbbells.
  • Bags with weighted things in them: You can load up shopping bags with items around your house and create a free set of dumbbells. You can also load up a backpack with heavy things to create a great workout tool.
  • Anything heavy: Sometimes you need to get creative without a home gym. Balland said he had a client who used a crockpot to work out over Zoom!

Here are some ideas for a beginner set up:

  • A yoga mat is a must for comfort and saves your floors at home. Mats are inexpensive and can last a very long time. 
  • Adjustable bands: Equipment is hard to find at the moment and severely overpriced, but bands are always affordable. 
  • A jump rope is a perfect piece of cardio equipment. They are affordable, space-efficient, and very effective!
  • Consider an air rope if jumping is not for you. It provides a workout with less impact. 

Here are some ideas for an intermediate setup:

  • DumbbellsThey are often considered the best investment you can make as they will last a lifetime and versatile for exercises. Grabbing two sets of dumbbells, a lighter and a heavier set, is a great way to get started.
  • A Swiss ball: Typically a 55cm will work for most people. Balland likes the 45cm for a smaller footprint and more challenging ab work, but anything above the 55cm size just takes up too much space.
  • A pull up bar: Pull-ups are one of the most effective exercises out there, but also be aware these products can leave marks on your door over time. 
  • An Ab wheel: This is a very challenging core exercise that is one of Balland's favorite core moves.

Here are some ideas for an advanced setup: 

  • A treadmill: These are great for Seattle winters, and there are many different brands to consider. 
  • rowing machine: Balland calls this the best bang-for-your-buck piece of gym equipment because it offers strength and cardio training at the same time. 
  • Adjustable dumbells: This makes a lot of sense for a home gym because they don't take up a lot of space. 
  • An adjustable kettlebellThese are affordable and can often give you several kettlebells in one.

Do you have a question or concern about money during the coronavirus pandemic? Email us at money@king5.com.