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Keen to get back on the fitness bandwagon? Thanks to these tips from haven contributor and personal trainer Courtney Robinson, it’s never been easier. Train at home, the park or the beach with this perfect take-anywhere workout kit.

We get it – the delayed back to school start, the carousel rounds of COVID, the drudgery of endless weeks of school holidays… those New Year’s Resolutions to start 2022 fitter, stronger, faster and leaner have hit a speed bump.

If returning to the gym fills you with dread, or you don’t want to risk catching COVID in group fitness classes. Or you just don’t have time to commit to timetables and schedules. We’ve got you, with the perfect take-anywhere workout kit.

Whether you’re traveling for work, or training at home. Whether you want to hit the park after school drop off and enjoy the sun. Whether the whole fam wants to jump into a quick workout before dinner to shake off the day. Whenever you need a fitness boost, these five workout essentials will deliver. And you can buy the whole lot for under $50. Take that, gym membership!

SKIPPING ROPE

Make sure you get a good one with weighted handles and a covered rope. Speed ropes burrrrrn, which is a fast way to ditch it in the back of your car for good. To test the length, stand on the middle of the rope. The handles should come up to just about your armpits. Adjustable handles make light work of adapting one rope for every member of the family.

Try: Kmart weighted skipping rope, $4.50

How to use it: Intervals – 30 seconds skipping; 30 seconds off. Try five rounds for a heart-starting warm up or finisher. Or alternate rounds of skipping with box jumps, plyo lunges, reverse lunges or push ups for a full body burner.

SLAM BALL

Not a basketball. Not a soccer ball. A slam ball has both weight and heft, so you can slam that sucker down and unleash the day’s frustrations into the ground, before moving fast to grab it on the rebound. But don’t just use it for slams – weighted balls are great for overhead squats, weighted wall sits, crunches and single arm push ups (place one hand on the ground, one on the ball, push up, then swap sides).

Try: Nordic Fitness 6kg slam ball, $24

How to use it: For a conventional slam, raise the ball above your head with arms extended, rise onto your tiptoes, breathe in deep then with core tight SLAM that ball into the ground. 12 reps, 3 sets with 30 seconds rest in between. To wake up your obliques, try rainbow slams – rather than slamming the ball between your feet, twist and slam to the side of your right foot, return to standing, then slam in an arching motion to your left foot. Repeat, 12 times each side, 3 sets.

YOGA MAT

Even if you’re not a yogi, yoga mats are an essential. Providing a waterproof surface if the ground is wet outside, adding comfort for prone moves like ab workouts and push ups, you can bust out your mat for yoga, pilates, a core circuit or roll it up tight, place it under your lumbar spine in ‘legs up the wall’ position and allow your chest to open. Breeeeeathe deep.

Try: Big W 3mm printed yoga mat, $5

How to use it: This quick core circuit. 30 seconds each movement, continue without stopping – traditional plank, side plank (right), side plank (left), mountain climber, burpee, then finish with pilates 100s. Your waistline will thank you.

BOOTY BANDS

Get the thick fabric bands, not the elasticated rubber versions which split, roll and generally annoy the pants off you. Booty bands are not just for your booty – great for ankle stability, hip function and even shoulder retraction. They normally come in a bag of three with instructions, so you can make up your own circuit too.

Try: Dick Smith Set of 3 Fabric Resistance Bands, $9.95

How to use it: Monster walks – place the mid-heavy band around your ankles and walk 12 steps forward, 12 steps back. Your aim is to maintain tension on the band the entire time.

Crab walks – place the band at your knees and squat down into a standing squat. Then take 12 steps to the left, return 12 steps to the right, moving laterally the whole time. 

Banded clamshells: lie on the ground on your side, knees bent, toes in line with your butt, band around your knees. With weight stacked over hips, lift your top knee slightly, then return. Repeat. 

FIELD MARKERS

Sure, you could use a hat and a discarded hoodie. Or you could spend $6 for brightly coloured field markers – perfect for marking sprint distances, agility drills or soccer “goals”.

How to use it: Mark 50m for sprint intervals, mark your distance in broad jumps (jump as far forward as you can), place markings around a 400m oval to prompt you to switch up your running pace, set in an open area to identify circuit stations.

Try: Big W Spartan Field Markers $5

Total cost: $48.45. (BONUS: You could even add in a cheapie handball for strength, coordination, agility, hand grip and releasing tight shoulders.)

The Perfect Go Anywhere Workout

Warm Up

  • 1 set monster walks
  • 1 set crab walks
  • 5 minutes gentle skipping

Circuit

Set your gear in a circuit with enough space that you can easily run from one station to the next. 

Working time: 30 seconds

Rest: 15 seconds

Repeat: 2-3 times depending on your fitness and time available

  1. Medicine Ball Slams (traditional)
  2. Medicine Ball Overhead Squats
  3. Medicine Ball Slams (rainbow)
  4. Medicine Ball Push Ups
  5. Traditional Plank (revert to knees if necessary)
  6. Banded Glute Bridge
  7. Side Plank (right)
  8. Banded Glute Bridge Pulse (hold the bridge, pulsing for the entire 30 seconds)
  9. Side Plank (left)
  10. Skipping – high intensity. 5 rounds.

Cool Down

  • Mark a 50m length of flat ground. Jog to one end and walk back, moving more slowly each time for 3 repeats.
  • Standing hamstring stretch.
  • Standing quad stretch.
  • Finish in child’s pose on your mat.

Next month: how to custom-build your own perfect workout, gym or home!

Courtney Robinson

Courtney Robinson  

Courtney Robinson is a Gold Coast mum, passionate foodie, whole foods recipe creator and personal trainer certified in holistic digestive health and nutrition. Follow @athletist_ or visit athletist.com.au for recipes, workout tips and training hacks.