5 Fitness Tools to Checkout during the COVID-19 Shut Down

We all need to do our part to flatten the curve during the COVID-19 outbreak. Severely limiting human contact with those you do not live with is a very effective way of slowing the spread of this disease. Unfortunately, that includes staying away from the gym and fitness community. However, having to stay home to workout and train gives us all an opportunity to try new things, get creative and maybe even buy some new exercise equipment. There are a lot of options but I want to highlight 5 fitness tools to have at home during the COVID-19 shutdown.

  • B Strong Bands for BFR: BFR stands for Blood Flow Restriction training. Yes, you heard that right. BFR is a HIGHLY effective way to turn your bodyweight movements into a stimulus that will actually make you stronger. Study after study is demonstrating how training with BFR bands creates a stimulus to your muscles and endocrine system that is on par with lifting heavy weights. The concept has been in use for decades and has really taken off in the US in the past 10 years. You can read about the science of BFR here but essentially the bands limit how much blood is being delivered to working muscles while also stopping the return of blood from the working limb(s). This results in more muscles being recruited to perform easy tasks and that creates more byproducts of exercise like lactic acid. When these byproducts interact with the endocrine system there is a hormonal reaction that leads to muscle growth. This reaction happens when we lift heavy weight, and at a time when we can’t go to the gym to lift heavy weight this is a great option to keep and even build muscle. Instead of buying a ton of weights to have around the house, consider buying BFR bands. You’ll see a lot of cheaper options out there but we recommend B Strong bands for their design, safety, effectiveness and portability. Research and purchase your B Strong Bands here and use the code MOVEMENTGUIDES to save some cash on your purchase.
  • Tonal: This is the smartest home gym system that I’ve ever come across. Tonal is basically a cable machine with 2 arms that can change height and angle to allow for just about any movement to be performed. It hangs on your wall and looks more like a computer screen than an exercise program. Its sleek, black and has a large monitor that lets you follow along with your favorite coach or class as you do your resistance training. But, that is not what’s exciting about the tool. The rad part is that the resistance is electromagnetic. Correct, that means there are NO actual weights being moved. It’s all digital and can provide up to 200 pounds of resistance. Cooler yet, it has “smart” settings that can add extra load on the eccentric portion of the movement, spot you (lower the resistance) in the middle of a rep that you start to struggle with and track your progress and performance. You don’t have to decide what weight to use, it will do it for you per your performance. You’ve got to watch their videos to get a true sense of how the system works. It’s not cheap but it’s not outrageous either. You can get it at about the same price point as a Peloton bike. Check out Tonal Here
  • TRX Suspension Straps: Unless you’ve been self quarantining yourself for the last 20 years you’ve probably seen suspension strap training systems. The OG of this phenomenon is the TRX Suspension Trainer and it is still the best system out there. Why? Well, it’s got the best designed handles, attachments and length adjustments.. It was also designed by a Navy SEAL and he has had to spend a fortune to defend his idea against copycats. Why should you have a suspension training system? When you think about training primarily with body weight as your resistance but without any type of tool you’ll soon discover that it can be hard to find a way to work on upper body pulling strength. The floor does not really give you any way to grab and pull. When I treat or train people who use Yoga as their primary source of fitness I usually find that they lack upper back and pulling strength compared to their pressing strength for this reason. This is why I highly recommend a suspension training system like TRX straps for any home gym.
  • 3 in 1 Foam Plyo Box: You need something to step on, jump on, fly off, lay on, put your feet on, place your hands, rest your shoulders on and be adjustable in height….oh, and that thing should be heavy, sturdy, but also soft for safety. What is that thing? It’s a 3 in 1 Heavy Foam Plyo Box from Titan Fitness. We bought one of these a couple of years ago but that model was too light so when we jump on it it tends to want to roll over. No bueno. This model is heavy and sturdy which makes it incredibly safe. There are so many exercises that become available when you have a plyo box and the 3 heights in 1 box makes it a very affordable and efficient piece for home. The good news is Titan Fitness often has the best prices in the game.
  • T-Dot Mobility System: Yes, I’m going to plug our own soft tissue treatment system. It’s called the T-Dot and the tool is designed to allow you to treat your own muscle aches and pains more effectively than ever before from home.  Since you probably are not going to visit your massage therapist anytime soon, you might as well take what you’d spend on a couple of treatments and invest it in something that can give you relief at home for years to come. The T-Dot allows you to target the massaging head on any spot on your body, at any height, at any angle, with any amount of force, with or without movement. You do not need to lie on the floor and the tool will never slip out of place. You can stand up, lean in and move your head, arm or leg to really get after those painful spots you’ve been developing while watching the zombie apocalypse take hold on your cell phone.  Psoas pain? Get on it. Shoulders slouching forward? Improve your position. You know that horribly painful spot above your shoulder blade? Give it some love with the T-Dot Mobility System. Order your T-Dot here and save 20% off your entire order with coupon code “trainathome”.

There you have it friends, 5 tools that can take your home fitness program to another level. Please take a few minutes to check out each tool and let us know what you think. If you have any questions leave a comment and please share this article if you enjoyed it.

Stay safe, be well and keep moving.

Kyle Sela

Co-Founder, Movement Guides, Inc.

Move. Like. This.

Kyle Sela, PT, DPT, OCS, SCS, CSCS

Kyle is a physical therapist who is a board certified specialist in sports and orthopedics. He completed a sports medicine fellowship at Duke University in the Management of Division I Athletes and served as a physical therapist on active duty in the US Army where he cared for a Brigade Combat Team during a deployment to Iraq. His passion is in movement efficiency and maximizing every patient's potential to live life to the highest quality. The SquatGuide™ reflects years of experience teaching people to squat with great form and efficiency so that they may benefit from this great exercise.

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