As we’ve all experienced, this COVID self-isolation has led to some amazing new things — more time spent with family, less time driving the car and contributing to air pollution, less money spent on frivolous shopping sprees and more time spent eating home-cooked meals and delicious desserts. One obvious downside, however, is the impact the closure of gyms has had on offsetting all those great meals.

Since most Utah Valley gyms aren’t open and there’s no Peloton or home gym in my basement, I’ve decided it’s time to explore some new ideas for at-home workouts. And, if I set up a solid routine, this workout can even continue and supplement my gym workouts once they fully resume! Here are some great ideas for workouts using weights, videos and even other easy-to-find equipment.

For more ideas, visit our Weather-Proof Workouts board on Pinterest.

Weights

When it comes to toning and sculpting, weights are the ideal piece of workout equipment. Even if you don’t have a full weight set in the basement, you can grab a few weights in pound levels and create a great, strength-building workout perfect for toning up legs, arms and even tightening those abs. Two 10-pound weights are perfect for an entire circuit of exercises including standing obliques, biceps and triceps and even a complete abdominal workout.

Kettlebells are a great, economical option for a weightlifting workout, especially for beginners wanting to build up their own home gym. Nearly every at-home workout exercise can be further enhanced when safely wielding a kettlebell. Sit-ups become much more challenging and impactful on your ab workout when holding a kettlebell with both hands. Squats, lunges, arm-raises and even planks can be enhanced with a kettlebell.

Videos

As a youth I grew up working out with my mom to “Hooked on Aerobics” that was broadcast in the mornings on PBS. Then we advanced on to donning leg warmers and sweatbands to work out with Jane Fonda. Eventually I decided to try Richard Simmons’ “Sweatin’ to the Oldies.” I was clearly, at least in my younger years, a big fan of workout videos, hopping around my front room in front of the television.

Time to find a new approach to some great, motivating video workouts to get the adrenaline pumping once again. This time, however, instead of videos or DVDs, I turn to YouTube for my workout videos that I can now cast to my smart TV. If I want to relive the ’80s, I can queue up some Jane Fonda or I can try some great cardio-filled HIIT videos, practice my hip-hop, salsa, belly dancing or even Zumba dance moves. If I get bored quickly, I can easily find a new video.

Other equipment

My preferred workout, when going to my neighborhood gym, is TRX using suspension straps and my own body weight to build strength in my core while developing flexibility and endurance. But, since I don’t have a TRX system at home, I decided to pick up a couple of different workout equipment essentials to continue my resistance- and core-filled workouts. I grabbed an exercise ball and some resistance bands. Those pieces, coupled with instructions and even videos, has been a great start.

Whether your workout budget is large or small, there are dozens of exercise implements that can transform any humdrum routine into something more exciting and invigorating. Did you love Hula-Hooping as a kid? Find a weighted hoop and challenge your kids to an afternoon hula session. A $3 jump rope, too, is a great way to get your heart pumping when the 3 p.m. lag hits. Even simple household items like a folding chair or a gallon jug of water can be transformed into great workout tools.

— Jennifer Durrant