Exercise equipment doesn’t have to be super fancy, overly complicated, or Bluetooth-enabled to be effective. Regardless of your fitness level, you can get a solid workout with a few functional tools, a killer playlist, and some willpower. What’s keeping us motivated these days is getting back to basics with easy lo-fi workouts and DIY routines that focus on the fundamentals for total-body toning. We’ve rounded up the tips and tools you need for mastering planks, squats, push-ups, crunches, and more—plus a supporting crew for postworkout recovery.
Restore Ankle Weights
Weighted bangles were no doubt 2020’s favorite accessory because a small boost can make a big difference when motivation is low. These two-and-a-half-pound ankle weights help you get more out jumping jacks, mountain climbers, scissor kicks, downward dogs, and walks around the block. And as Gerda Endemann, our senior director of science and research and the most reasonable person on our editorial team, says, “Why wouldn’t you wear these whenever possible?”
Evolve Balance Board
For sneaking in a micro exercise when you’re not actually working out, try a balance board. Balance boards keep your legs, lower back, and core muscles engaged by challenging your stability—try it at your standing desk (or at the kitchen counter, if you’re using it as a desk) or whenever you’re standing for a long period of time. And we all know by now about the negative impact of that prolonged sitting has on our bodies, so consider this a good excuse to get up from the chair and stand more often.
BOSU Pro Balance Trainer
This classic gym standby, the BOSU ball, intensifies any body-weight exercise and is super versatile and great for any level of fitness. BOSU stands for “both sides up” or “both sides utilized,” so with the round side, try core work like crunches, bridges, oblique twists, and tricep dips. Flip it over and go for push-ups, burpees (lift the ball with you as you jump), and mountain climbers.
Take all the powerful mechanics and smart technology of a Theragun, pack it into a foam roller, and you’ve got Therabody’s new Wave Roller: a vibrating roller to help soothe muscle tension and help you recover postworkout. Each of the five vibration levels is whisper-quiet, and the dense foam hits just the right balance of firm and squishy.
Whether you’re going low-intensity or all out with an HIIT routine, stretchy exercise bands are a favorite for adding extra resistance in leg workouts. The grey ones offer the lightest resistance and fit around the ankles for standing kickbacks (these work your glutes and hamstrings) or side leg lifts (to strengthen hip muscles). The pink and black are medium- and heavy-resistance bands that can be worn above the knees for lateral steps, squat jacks, and hip bridges. Plus, the bands tuck away in a drawer, which makes them both a space-saving and an effective workout tool.
The Power Ring
The Bala Power Ring is a sleek replacement for your old kettlebell. It weighs ten pounds and is amazingly easy to handle for kettlebell swings, core twists, and Pilates. It has even weight distribution so that it always feels balanced, and it’s made from recycled stainless steel wrapped in soft, nonslip silicone.
Acupressure Mat Set
A massage might be back on the table, but we’re still invested in self-massaging tools to soothe our sore muscles. On the most basic level, all you need to do is lie down on this acupressure mat, relax, and let the tiny raised plastic points stimulate your body. But if you want to step it up a notch, there are a ton of positions to try that invigorate pressure points in the feet, arms, and hands.
Infrared Sauna Blanket V3
If you want a good sweat without the workout (we don’t blame you), this infrared sauna blanket with layers of amethyst, tourmaline, and charcoal has you covered. It’s especially great for loosening stiff muscles and giving you that just-out-of-the-steam-room glow.
It’s the same Theragun that we know and love but smaller, quieter, and more portable. This little percussion massager has three speeds for hitting tight spots, knots, and cramps, and you can run it for 150 minutes on a single charge. (It comes in a dusty rose color, too.)
Pelvic Clock Exercise Device
Former Olympic gymnastics coach Yana Blinova invented the Pelvic Clock Exercise Device to help people achieve flexibility, strength, and symmetry in the lower back, pelvic floor, and core—in order to prevent pain. You start by lying on your back and placing the Pelvic Clock under your pelvis. (Surprise.) Then you adjust the tilt of your hips until the device is level with the floor. From there, try rocking your hips from side to side or in a vertical line pointing up toward your head and down through to your toes. To help you make the most of the device, Blinova designed exercises for pelvic floor strength; tight hips, backs, and hip flexors; occasional sciatic trouble; pregnancy and postpartum; and core stability.
GRP Yoga Mat
The sweatier you get, the grippier this mat becomes. Which means you can focus more on transitioning from crow to handstand—or chilling in down dog—and less on making adjustments just to keep your asana in place. Plus, good cushion provides support and stability for your practice.
The Larq Self-Cleaning Bottle
We love the Larq self-cleaning bottle. Every two hours—or whenever you press the button on its lid—it purifies your water with a UV-C LED light, which can help reduce the growth of microbes. It’s made from stainless steel and it’s insulated, so your end-of-sweat-session gulps are just as refreshing as your sips at the start.
High School Genes
goop, $90/$75 with subscription
Exercise is important—and so is giving your body the right vitamins and supplements. Our metabolism changes over time, and if you need a little extra support, this protocol is made for women who feel their body isn’t responding as it used to. If you’re not noticing changes even after working out and eating healthily, it might be time to try High School Genes, which supports healthy glucose and energy metabolism with ingredients like chromium, green tea, Chinese cinnamon, and alpha-lipoic acid.