Revealed: Every workout gadget you can still buy to keep fit during COVID-19 – and how to use them to sculpt your dream body in isolation
- Gyms across Australia closed their doors on March 23 due to coronavirus crisis
- Demand for home exercise equipment has soared since the pandemic began
- Panic buyers stripped shelves of gym gear, but some gadgets are still in stock
- Pilates wheels which strengthen the abs and core are in stock at Kmart for $19
- Resistance bands perfect for lower body workouts on sale from Rebel for $16
- Learn more about how to help people impacted by COVID
Gym-deprived Australians are working out with unusual gadgets after coronavirus closures prompted fitness fanatics to strip traditional home exercise equipment from the shelves of stores across the country.
Gyms closed nationwide at midday on Monday, March 23 along with pubs, clubs, restaurants and swimming pools under the second phase of the federal government’s social distancing laws designed to slow the spread of COVID-19.
But it wasn’t until the roll out of stage three restrictions, which brought an end to boot camps, studio classes and even swimming at Sydney and Melbourne’s most popular beaches from March 30, that fitness-related panic buying reached fever pitch.
‘Sold out’ signs appeared in the stores and on the websites of Rebel Sport, Kmart and Harvey Norman within hours of the announcement, with dumbbells, yoga mats, resistance bands and boxing bags among the first to vanish in the rush.
Those who missed out must resort to the curious collection of gliders, ankle straps, metres-long battle rope, wrist strengtheners and Pilates wheels still left online – so here’s how to use them.
Pilates wheels like this $19 device from Kmart are wide, plastic cylinders which deepen stretches to increase flexibility, improve balance, roll out the spine and strengthen muscles all over the body
Pilates or yoga wheels are wide, plastic cylinders which deepen stretches to increase flexibility, assist in advanced yoga positions, improve balance, roll out the spine and strengthen muscles all over the body.
Available from Kmart for $19, the wheel stretches the entire front side of the body, opening out abs, hip flexors, shoulders and muscles in the chest.
It also massages the length of the spine as you move into deep postures, which reduces the risk of injuries like pulled muscles and ligament tears.
To use the wheel, sit on the ground and bring the cylinder directly behind you so that it rests against your lower back.
With your feet firmly on the ground, extend your arms over your head, lean back and slowly roll back and forth on the wheel.
ANKLE STRAPS AND POWER HANDLES
Desperate gym-goers can build a DIY resistance training system at home with ‘ankle straps’, ‘power handles’ and some resistance band for less than $50.
Available online from Rebel Sport, $14.99 ‘ankle straps’ tone the glutes, inner and outer thighs and calves by clipping onto $16.99 ‘power tubes’, which are lightweight rubber bands that create resistance against the body to tone muscle and burn fat.
For the upper body, $14.99 power handles build muscles in the shoulder, back, abs and chest, leaving them strong and sculpted.
Heavy-duty metal clips on the end of the power tubes easily attach onto metal rings on the ankle straps and power handles, which means you can switch between upper and lower body workouts in an instant.
To tone the legs and glutes, simply fasten a strap around each ankle, clipping one end of the band onto each metal ring.
Available online from Rebel Sport, $15 ‘ankle straps’ (left) tone the glutes, inner and outer thighs and calves while power handles (right) sculpt the arms and upper back by clipping onto ‘power tubes’, lightweight rubber bands that create resistance against the body to tone muscle and burn fat
Heavy-duty metal clips on the end of the power tubes easily attach onto metal rings on the ankle straps and power handles, which means you can switch between upper and lower body workouts in an instant
Standing firmly on one foot, raise the other leg behind you and slowly return to its original position.
To tone the arms and upper back, clip one end of the band onto the metal rings of your power handles.
Holding the handles together in front of your body, separate them, extending your arms out as far as they will go before bringing them together again.
A Queensland customer gave the straps, handles and power tubes a five star review, calling them ‘great to use when restricted on gym options’.
Available on eBay for $25.99, the ‘Wrist Strengthener’ promises to improve power, speed and flexibility in the wrists and fingers by performing wrist curls, which build muscles in the forearm and strengthen grip.
To perform a wrist curl, slip your hand through the foam cushioned end of the device and take hold of the handle, pulling it towards your body and slowly releasing away from yourself.
Wrist strengtheners are recommended for athletes and musicians who load heavy weight onto wrists with dumbbells and instruments for hours each day.
This $25.99 ‘Wrist Strengthener’ promises to improve power, speed and flexibility in the wrists and fingers by performing wrist curls, which build muscles in the forearm and strengthen grip
Glider discs look similar to frisbees and are used on the feet or hands to perform a range of upper and lower body exercises, which tones and sculpts every inch of the body as well as improving strength and balance.
Just as the name suggests, ‘Glider Discs’ slide smoothly across carpet or hard flooring to add friction to your usual workout which sculpts the legs, arms and stomach, making your limbs leaner and your waist line smaller.
Available online from Australian fitness label FitazFk for $25, the discs increase more muscle tone than a regular workout by engaging multiple muscles at once, which tones the inner and outer thighs and firms and lifts the buttocks.
They also strengthen your core, making abs more pronounced, by creating extra tension to work against when performing exercises like lunges, mountain climbers, push-ups, sit-ups or planks.
Just as the name suggests, ‘Glider Discs’ slide smoothly across carpet or hard flooring to add friction to your usual workout which sculpts the legs, arms and stomach, making your limbs leaner and your waist line smaller
To perform mountain climbers using glider discs, assume a plank position with both feet on discs.
Engaging your core, slide one foot underneath your body towards your elbow, and slowly move it back into your original plank position. Repeat the movement on the other side.
Alternate legs as quickly as you can, making sure to carry your body weight in your arms, for a full body workout.
Small enough to fit in a gym bag, glider discs are a portable and affordable way to add difficulty to home workouts until gyms open their doors again.
Usually confined to elite personal training studios, battle ropes are weighted ropes which are used in cardio and full body strength training to build muscle in the arms, shoulders and core.
The weight of the rope creates force and tension from angles that are not achieved with basic weight training using instruments like dumbbells and barbells, which means more muscles are challenged and toned in rope workouts.
A 12 kilogram, 15 metre battle rope is still available on eBay for $199.95, and can be used in three movements – waves, slams and flies – all of which can be tailored to your individual fitness level.
Waves are performed with feet firmly planted on the ground and knees loosely bent.
Holding the end of the rope in each hand, move your arms up and down as quickly as you can to create rolling waves. This move tones the abs and upper arms.
The weight of a battle rope, like this $199.95 option from eBay, creates force and tension from angles that are not achieved with basic weight training using instruments like dumbbells and barbells, which means more muscles are challenged and toned in rope workouts
Slams are performed by lifting both ends of the rope above your head and slamming it onto the ground as hard as you can. This move targets the shoulders, back, upper arms and abs.
Flies are performed by assuming a squat position and whipping each end of the rope at the same time, holding your elbows outwards to mimic a bird flapping its wings.
This move builds strength and muscle tone in the legs, upper and lower back and shoulders.
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