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If you want to improve your workouts, then consider some additional accessories that are increasingly making their way into CV and bootcamp style exercises. Performance accessories like kettlebells and power bags are relatively simple accessories that you can use in a variety of ways. Likewise, a suspension trainer needs no free weights or specific equipment, you use your own weight and a nearby static object. In fact, there's no need for a gym, but they help to make a home gym!
Many of us don’t have a huge amount of time to work out. Often we are trying to fit it in with work and family commitments so it is essential that when we are working out we are as effective as we can be. Variety is also important to keep us enthused and motivated. So there are a number of training accessories that should help here. Below we have selected some products that we think really tick all the above boxes.
Kettle bells are a great addition to any training programme. Whilst they have become increasingly popular in recent years they go back centuries. The swing is what it’s all about. Using either one or two hands you swing the kettlebell from between the knees to anywhere from eye level to above your head. The benefits of exercising with a kettlebell are huge, from increasing your muscular power, to increasing muscular endurance. Your glutes, hamstrings, lower back, shoulders, arms and core muscles are all worked out when you are swinging that kettlebell. Use them aerobically by using a lighter weight kettlebell with high reps and you will really give your heart and lungs a good workout. So, for what is a small piece of kit you get a great all body workout.
Power bags can also be a great tool to introduce into your training. They look like something in between a punch bag and a duffel bag with handles either side. They are essentially bags filled with sand that come in various weights from 3kg up to 50kg weights. One of the great advantages of the power bag is that if you are travelling you can empty the sand up and refill it when you have arrived, so it’s a great training aid to take on holiday. Powerbags work by being more unsteady than traditional weights. When you work out with them you have to stabilise yourself more, so working out your core with great intensity. Also when you lift, throw or push a power bag you use a full range of motion. You can also add them to your plyometric movements for even greater intensity.
Medicine balls are also a great way to liven up your training. About the size of a basketball they can really help to build core strength. Simply by holding a medicine ball and throwing to a partner will work your core. If you are working out alone simply face a wall and toss the ball back and forth. You can build muscle mass by squatting or lunging with a medicine ball and work your arms, shoulders and back by simply lifting the ball up and over the back of your head. You abdominal training can be made more difficult with the medicine ball by bringing the ball up to your knees as you perform the crunch. When buying a medicine ball you will see that some come with handles making them easy to hold, these can be well worth the extra money.
For working on your agility and coordination try using agility poles. Agility is all about moving quickly and easily and changing the position of your body in a controlled way. This skill is required in many sports like football and rugby. You probably see footballers using agility poles in training but why not try them out yourself, again the objective is to introduce little things into your training to keep your training effective. Agility exercises are great at improving speed and quickness. You can incorporate lateral movement by designing a course with the poles that requires you to move sideways. Speed hurdles are also a great idea if you want to improve your agility and do some different kind of training. You can side step over them, do the high knee step, straight leg swing and probably the most challenging exercise of all the single and double leg hop!