Essential Home Gym items and what to do with them

I’ve heard from others that one of the most difficult challenges to exercise is the availability of time.  Going to the gym for a 30 minute exercise session can cost just as much in time between driving to and from your home, and any additional time to clean up.  A 30 minute exercise is likely to cost about 60-75 minutes in overall time.  

When time is short, I recommend resorting to your baseline routine of addressing postural muscles and if time permits, your larger muscle groups.  This article will address 1. What you need, and 2. What to do for time crunch exercise sessions.  There is no end to the creativity by which exercises can be combined or arranged during a specified time.  But the more you get to know your body’s needs, the more efficient you are at programming short workout sessions, and the more fun you have!

What you need…
A good pair of running shoes, with good support and proper fit.  Walking shoes are ok, but tend to be thick and leathery, too hot and heavy on the feet in my opinion.
Resistance bands of various thickness or resistance levels.  Many of the movements that protect and strengthen posture only need moderate resistance performed over high repetitions, rather than heavy resistance in short bursts.
Adjustable dumbells or weights.  One of my favorite items is the Reebok adjustable dumbell system that uses a spring loaded pin to adjust from 3 to 12.5 lbs.  Other companies make them up to 40-50lbs or greater, so find a good fit for your level.
Yoga mat.  For crunches, pushups, planks and floor work.
Swiss Ball.  Use it for planks and situps, as well as an alternative for a workout bench.  Use it also when you are on your computer!
Pull-Up Bar.  Every house should have one as it makes a really handy coat rack, but a great way to make your back and forearms super strong!  And now for the routine.

What to do…
Start with a short distance run, jog or fast fact, if you  walk, don’t talk.  If you are walking and having a conversation, you are not going fast enough.  I know that for some, this pace may be too aggressive, so please use your sensibilities to pace at a safe level if needed.  Time: 10 minutes
Resistance band circuit:  Strap your resistance bands around the pull-up bar and perform a series of rowing and pulling exercises to emphasize scapular stability, posterior deltoid strength, and arm muscles.  Keep your eyes and chin tall to avoid looking downward.  5 minutes of nonstop alternates of rowing, pulling, and bicep curls with your head in the right place will tire out just about anyone.  Focus on endurance, breathing, and proper head position.  Time: 5 minutes
Dumbell circuit:  Alternate between bicep curls, shoulder presses, and lateral raises.  Repeat the circuit 3-4 times, with a repetition count of 12-15.  This means that you are doing high volume for stamina, so focus on a reasonable weight for your resistance and don’t burn out early.  Adjust the weight if needed for individual exercises based on ability.  You can also sit on the Swiss ball during this routine, or remain standing.  Time: 5 minutes.
Swiss ball circuit:  Planks and crunches on the ball, alternate every 60 seconds.  You can do this on the Yoga mat as well.  Alternate each move for a total time of 6 minutes (3 sets each).
Pull up bar.  Save the hardest for last, and finish with 1 set of continuous pull-ups.  If you can do 1 or 2, no problem, take a short break and do a few more!  Give yourself a goal to reach.  If you can’t do any, then back to the (heavier tension) resistance bands for continuous pull-up motion.Time: 2 minute, and end your 30 minute session!

Change things up from time to time, and your creativity is your limit.  Most times good exercise programming isn’t about the place, or the equipment, but about your sensibilities to create resistance with the things around you...including gravity!  Have fun and stay challenged!  

For a short video example of the above routine, you can visit our site at

Dr. Adrian Pujayana has been providing drug-free solutions for health and wellness to adults, athletes, and youth since 2000 through his private practice at Family Chiropractic Center of South Pasadena, a place for strength training and nutrition based health care.  For comments or questions, email him at


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