Do you feel as if your workouts are lacking something? Or maybe you just feel like you’re doing the same thing all of the time. In order for me to be a successful personal trainer then it is so important that I keep my client’s motivated, and improving using a variety of new equipment and training methods.

It is very common for exercisers to get stuck in a rut. They will go to a gym 3-5 times a week every week, you cannot question their desire to improve but often they won’t improve. This is probably due to the fact that they are doing the same session’s week in week out. They aren’t getting any worse, so for these people who are in their desired shape then great! But for those who want to improve then the answer is to change things. Your body will work a lot harder to adapt to new and more difficult movements, this will lead to improvement.

There are 1000s of many different exercises you can do but for today I am going to give you 5 inexpensive pieces of equipment to help you get better results.

Start to use these different bits of equipment in your training program and see if any improvements are made. If the improvements take a bit longer than expected at least you are able to learn new things which keep your workout interesting and fresh.

Obviously the equipment I am about to mention will not be relevant to everyone’s goals. Each person has their own unique goals so it isn’t a one rule fits all.

If your goal is to tone up, increase strength, reduce injury and improve your level of fitness then adding a couple of these bits of equipment to your workout can help. You can use them at home or even bring them with you to the gym.

1. Skipping rope

Attitudes to skipping or jump rope training have come a long way since the impression that it was just for girls in the playground. Just watching any boxer with a skipping rope will quickly change your opinion if you still view it as something for children.

Benefits of skipping includes:
Improved cardiovascular endurnace
Improved muscle strength and endurance
Improved flexibility and body composition
Improved co ordination and timing
Improved agility, balance, speed and power
Aids with fat loss

Jump rope training is also cheap, requires next to no room and it is fun.

This type of training can also boost your sporting performance greatly. For sports such as football, rugby where short bursts of speed are required then jump rope training is great. Also great for athletics, will help with the explosive first few steps from the blocks as well a the explosive power required for the jumping events.

2. Arm Straps/slings

This piece of equipment is designed to attach to a pull up bar using steel hooks and padded arm straps. You simply place your arms into the sling and grip the area above the arm. The best exercise to do with this is probably leg raises, a great way to help tone up your abs and give them a full workout. You can do various different leg raises using the arm slings, all working your abdominals fully. Good form is key with this bit of equipment.

3. Manta ray

If you are one of the many exercisers who have been put off squats by the pain felt under the neck area from shoulders then a manta ray can bring you back into the squatting club! We all know how great an exercise squats are so this is good news.

Using a manta ray is the best way to evenly distribute the load away from the back of your neck when squatting. So the force of the weight does not just concentrate in one area, leading to pain, the surface area is increased so you can focus solely on the actual movement of the squat. The weight of the bar is transferred across your trapezius muscles and away from your deltoids and vertebrae.

It is extremely easy to use you just click it onto the squat bar and you are good to go. This may well unlock the key to your muscle building potential.

4. Power Bands

This is a great resistance tool to have in your workout. They allow your muscles and joints to work in a greater range of motion.

Power bands are ideal for pull ups if you are not entirely comfortable performing them. By using power bands when doing pull ups you will take a slight load off (depending on the resistance of the band) your body allowing you to complete the pull ups.

By training with these for a few weeks you will soon be able to pull up consistently unassisted.

5. Foam Roller

This is a great piece of equipment for injury prevention, muscle compression and injury rehabilitation. There are a variety amount of different exercises you can perform depending on your specific needs. Using it will help to relieve stress and pain whilst toning the muscles at the same time.

Just by using this for a few minutes every day it will speed up your recovery, ease the pain on your muscles, reduce your chances of injury and allow you to train harder.

If you are unsure about how to use any of these bits of equipment don’t hesitate to ask. A good way of finding out extra exercises or techniques hints just search on the internet.

I have been a personal trainer for many years now and have used all of these pieces of equipment to very good effect.

Good Luck,

Richard Clarke

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