Of all the machines you will find in a gym,the most essential is your body. Using your own body weight in exercising goes a long way in keeping you lean and fit. But it is also equally important to target different muscles in the body and change your routine so that all muscles are exerted similarly. To do this effectively you may need some additional equipment. If you are running on a budget, you can prioritize based on the tiers given below, going for tier 1 first, 2 second and so on.
Tier 1: Swiss ball ($27 to $45)
This is a well recommended tool to target the core of your body, and is also a substitute for a bench. Also known as the stability ball, physio ball and swiss ball, the best are the heavy duty varieties such as Sissel and DuraBall.
TIER 1: DUMBBELLS (STARTING AT $4.25 A PAIR)
If your budget allows only one training tool, go for a set of dumbbells. Easy to use, versatile and these are also an effective tool to increase your muscle mass.
TIER 2: (A) RESISTANCE BANDS ($13)
They look like rather large rubber bands, and come in a variety of sizes, widths and levels of resistance. The larger ones will help make the squats even more challenging and the smaller ones will help work your inner thighs and glutes.
Tier 2: (B) Medicine ball ($20 and up)
Ideal for core exercises like side twists, these smaller and heavier balls have a lot of versatility. They come in a number of sizes and some even bounce.
TIER 3: (A) BOSU BALANCE TRAINER ($120)
Technically a swiss ball thats been cut in half, with the flat side in the bottom, BOSU stands for both sides utilized. You can use it to make hip raises more challenging as well as pushups, and can stand on it to engage the lower body as you do upper body exersices like overhead presses and bicep curls.
Tier 3: (B) Mat ($16 to $25)
With a non skid surface that will keep you safe from injuries, a mat will also help reduce joint pressure and pain when you do moves that involve kneeling, sitting, lying ot even holding exercises such as planks.
TIER 3: NIKE+ KINECT TRAINING ON KINECT FOR XBOX 360 ($50)
This is as good as getting a personal trainer – minus the crazy fees. More than a video game, this will create a personal workout program for you by screening your fitness levels, strengths and weaknesses, and afterwards tracking your workouts. Whats more, you will also get real time feedback ensuring that your form is right and will help you reduce the risk of injury while helping you make the most of each move.