Mix Up Your Gym Routine : Fun & Versatile Accessories

 

It’s that time of the year when those optimistic New Year’s resolutions start dwindling away, even with all of the good intentions that were coupled with them.

I’m going to lose weight!” “I will work out more!” “I promise, this year, I will spend more time at the gym.”

No matter how motivated we are when the New Year comes around, the enthusiasm gradually vanishes as we are swept back into the monotony (or sheer chaos) of daily life.

Whether you like to work out at home, outside, at the park, or in the gym, most workout routines become boring rapidly. You have to devise creative ways to mix it up and make the time enjoyable.

If the passion and devotion you once had for your gym routine are waning, we have some exciting accessory suggestions that will give you the ultimate workout pick-me-up!

 

Hyperice Vyper 2 Foam Roller

Woman Using Hyperice Vyper 2 Foam Roller

Image Source: Hyperice

Muscle soreness is often used as justification to skip the gym routine, however, there is a technological solution that will have you warming up and recovering like a champ. At first glance, it appears to be a Bluetooth speaker, but upon further investigation, you will realize that the Hyperice Vyper 2 Vibrating Foam Roller is not a Bluetooth speaker at all, but rather a one-of-a-kind massaging tool.

Professionals, Olympians, and physical therapists alike use foam rollers of all sizes and types to soothe sore muscles, but the unique (and perhaps the most exciting) characteristic that the Hyperice Vyper 2 offers is the vibration that will reach deep into your muscle tissues.

Let’s start with the manufacturing process, which is the secret to the superior quality of this product. First of all, the Expanded Polypropylene Foam (EPP) moulding technique used to create the roller is highly specialized. The process is more eco-friendly, compared to any other Ethylene Vinyl Acetate (EVA) foam roller on the market.

The technology and equipment necessary to make the product to the brand’s specifications are intricately advanced. To top it off, everything that the brand learned from the first generation Vyper, from the external texture to the interior power, was rethought and refined when crafting the Vyper 2.

The exterior of the Vyper 2 touches the body, so the creators made two types of sections that merge together in a pattern on the surface. One is smooth, while the other is very shallowly grooved, which helps the foam roller revolve smoothly without slippage.

Part of the Vyper’s technology is within the internal core, which powers the vibration that offers three high-intensity frequency settings. The brand worked hard to determine the exact combination of frequency and amplitude of vibration to effectively:

  • Relax muscles
  • Improve circulation 
  • Increase flexibility 
  • Reduce muscle stiffness and soreness 
  • Aid in faster post-workout recovery and 
  • Reduce pain associated with myofascial release 

All of these factors make the Vyper 2 an incredibly powerful tool for increasing range of motion, which is essential for both warm-up and recovery. Reviewers all around the Internet have given the Hyperice Vyper 2 a valuation of 4.5 out of 5 stars, boasting that it has helped recovery after a wide range of different surgeries, sports, and exercise. If your hold-up has been post-workout recovery, muscle soreness or stiffness, it is definitely time to get acquainted with the Hyperice Vyper 2. 

 

Plyometric Box

Plyometric Box

Image Source: Synergee

Bring your workout routine up to the next level with a plyometric box (known in the fitness realm as a “plyo box”). Plyo boxes are made of foam, construction-grade plywood, or steel, and many can adjust to different heights. You might have to assemble your new plyo box, but they are simple to assemble and only take about ten to fifteen minutes to construct.

Once you have it together, the results of your step-ups, box jumps, dips, split squats, around the box planks, elevated push-ups, burpees, and other muscle-building exercises will be explosive. These boxes are also wonderful for those of you who love aerobic exercising, cross-training, or HIIT workouts. 

A top wooden choice is the Synergee 3-in-1 Wood Plyo Box. It is built to take the force of up to 450 pounds, so you do not have to worry when you are working out hard. It is crafted with holes on the side that act as handles so that you can easily carry your plyo box anywhere you want to work out, whether you want to hit the gym or spend some time sweating it out on the beach.

Because of the dimensions, the Synergee Plyo Box allows you three different heights - all you have to do is rotate the box onto another side to change up your routine or challenge yourself more.  

Another favourite is the Titan Fitness 3-in-1 Heavy Foam Plyometric Box. it is designed with high-density foam, slip-free surface, and will tolerate a 350-pound limit. Unlike the wooden box, you will not have to assemble this one, as it comes ready to use.

Additionally, the fear of hitting your shins on hard edges made of wood is alleviated, since this plyo box is made of a solid and durable platform, yet softer foam construction. The Titan Fitness 3-in-1 Plyo Box also provides three height options to work with, as well. If the 20” side is not challenging you enough, simply flip the box to the 24” or 30” sides. 

 

Kettlebell 

Man Using Kettlebell

Image Source: Tunturi

Weight training is yet another way to increase your strength and build endurance during your workouts. That is why kettlebells should be on the list of accessories you should bring along with you to your workout sessions. Yes, there is a difference between dumbells, barbells, and kettlebells - it all depends on the exercises you are doing. 

Some exercises are designed to be performed with a specific type of weight. Generally speaking, a dumbbell, a short bar with weights attached to each end, is used to target and isolate specific muscles. A barbell, longer bar between two often heavier weights, is typically used for heavier compound lifts. A kettlebell, which looks like a black cannonball attached to a cast-iron handle, is used for full-body workouts or to target specific muscle groups.

The weight of a kettlebell is unbalanced and offset, with the ball of the kettlebell weighing much more than the handle. Kettlebells will help you build more lean muscle, develop more power, boost your metabolism, and improve your stability and balance. The flat bottom of the kettlebell was designed specifically to allow for exercises like handstands, mounted pistol squats, and renegade rows. 

Unlike dumbbells, which are usually made with a grippy type of surface on the handles, kettlebell handles are smoother with a teensy bit of a grainy texture to the surface. This smoothness helps when you are performing ballistic-type exercises which require rotation of the handle inside of your hands, such as the Snatch, Clean, or Swing. Kettlebells are also excellent for get-ups, squats, and deadlifts. 

Colorful Lineup of Kettlebells

Image Source: Rogue Fitness

You should experiment with the smoothness on the handle of different types of kettlebells prior to purchasing one. Some people prefer a grittier texture for better grip, however, it is crucial that the inside of the handle does not have any uncomfortable ridges that rub against your hand and interfere with workouts. If the handle of the kettlebell is too smooth, it could slip easily while your hands are sweating. A happy medium between gritty and smooth is imperative.

The CAP Barbell Cast Iron Competition Kettlebell Weight set comes highly recommended, even though they look nothing like the super-sleek matte-finish Rogue kettlebells, another excellent choice. Select from any of the following weight options: 9, 13, 18, 26, 35, 44, 53, 62, 70, 80, and 88 pounds, depending on what type of weight training you are planning to achieve. Reviewers on Amazon rate CAP kettlebells an almost solid 5 stars; there are very few complaints about them. Likewise, Rogue kettlebells score a 4.7 on the Rogue website.

 

Medicine Balls 

Colorful Lineup of Weighted Medicine Balls

Image Source: Fitness 1st

Call it an exercise ball, a fitness ball, or a med ball. They are all one and the same, and likely one of the oldest implements for training, aside from rocks. The design and use have evolved over the centuries, and today it remains one of the simplest and most effective accessories for improving coordination, balance, and muscular endurance. 

A medicine ball can range from the diameter of a softball to the circumference of a volleyball or as big as a beach ball. The external shell can be made out of a variety of materials, including leather, vinyl, nylon, polyurethane, or dense rubber. Some are simply inflated with air, while others are stuffed with gel or sand for added weight. 

Medicine balls are incredibly safe, especially if you are working out alone at home. You do not have to fret about injuring yourself with a med ball. Additionally, they take up very little space, so storing one or packing it up and bringing it to your favourite workout spot will never be an issue. Plus, they are so much fun to play with! The only thing that will limit training with a medicine ball is a lack of creativity. 

There are two types of medicine balls - one type bounces and the other does not, and they are mainly used for drills that include throwing and catching. Unlike most exercises and free weight machines, which restrict motion to a single plane of motion, med balls allow your body to experience a full, natural and rotational range of motion. This, in turn, defines the midsection of your body while preventing injury to the lower part of your back. 

You can throw a med ball, catch it on the rebound, toss it back and forth with a partner, use it as a replacement for a dumbbell for overhead presses, lunges, rows, woodchops, or ab twists. Do push-ups while you have one or both hands on the ball. Work your glutes by resting your feet on the ball and bridging your hips on the floor. Lacking a foam roller? Use the med ball in place of it to warm up muscles and increase mobility. Squeeze the ball between the knees while performing lower-body exercises to tone inner thighs.  

When searching for the right med ball, it is recommended that you go lighter than heavier. Most women should be in the perfect range with a five to eight-pound med ball, while men should aim for a ten-pound ball. Rubber balls will not last as long as other materials, so keep that in mind, too. 

 

Other Fun Accessories

Jump Rope

Man Jumping Rope

Image Source: Skysports

There are plenty of other accessories you can use to make your workout routine fun and versatile. A jump rope, for instance, is a great tool to add to your collection. Not necessarily to revert to your double-dutch days, but to boost your heart rate and literally jump-start your cardiovascular fitness. The best thing about a jump rope is that it can be packed up in the tiniest of overnight or travel bags.   

Black Jump Rope

Image Source: Tunturi

 

Yoga Mat

Woman Doing Yoga on Mat

Image Source: Geeky Views

Another easy tool to roll up and pack tightly, a yoga mat creates a comfortable area for your workout routine. Protect your back when you are doing sit-ups or your knees when you are performing fire hydrants. They come in a variety of materials, colours and patterns, and thicknesses, so look for one that suits your personality, style, and workout requirements.

 

Stability Ball

Colorful Array of Stability Balls

Image Source: Rogue Fitness

Not to be confused with a medicine ball, a stability ball (otherwise known as a physioball, Swiss ball, or fit ball) is a much bigger vinyl ball that is used to help stretch and strengthen the body, which in turn improves balance and core stability. The ball forces your core muscles to work harder. Consider substituting your office chair with a stability ball. Imagine how doing that actively works on your balance and core while you work quietly at your desk. Stability balls are designed in different sizes, so check to make sure you get the right ball based on your height. 

Sticking to a workout routine is undoubtedly challenging for just about anyone. You are not alone in your struggles. After all, you have to devote time and a whole lot of energy to maintain a consistent exercising schedule. Isn’t it time to mix it up? By adding in accessories like the tools mentioned above and designing creative workout techniques, you can turn working out into an endeavour that you anticipate with enthusiasm.   

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