Odd Equipment to Up Your Game

As we emerge from quarantine, work out routines will most likely continue to look different for months to come. With limited access to equipment, classes and space, it will pay off to get crafty and remain flexible with what you can do and where. Here are three portable, versatile tools you might have overlooked in the past. Use them at home, the gym or outside.

The Weighted Vest

Weighted vests have been in gyms for years but usually hang unused on the wall. However, many models can hold up to 120 pounds, which can make a major impact on your strength training days without barbell setups or machines. Squats (especially split squats), lunges and step-ups are all easily enhanced with a vest. For your upper body, try some simple pull-up and push-up circuits. If you really need a challenge, load it with lighter weight and add resistance to your sprint session or morning run.

Parallette Bars

Parallette bars are simple tools that allow you to take traditional gymnastics-based parallel bar training wherever you want. The bars are very versatile, but many of the training techniques specifically target the arms, back and core. A standard parallette workout can include: Tri-cep dips, elevated push-ups and L-sits (or knee tucks). Add in some stabilized mountain climbers for added cardio training.

Mace

This tool is not as much overlooked as it is unknown. The mace is a strength training tool that consists of a long rod with a weighted steel ball on one end. It comes in various weights and looks like it could be a relative of the kettlebell. Warriors have used it for centuries as a way to train and as a weapon (obviously, we don’t condone violence with it). Now, people carefully swing it around their heads for shoulder, back and core mobility and strength. Alternatively, you can hold it and squat or lunge to benefit from a little uneven weight training.

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