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These days, given our current health situation, we've been spending more time at home than ever before. This is not without its challenges, whether you're feeling the effects of work-from-home burnout, struggling with loneliness, or simply navigating your mental health each day. For us at Byrdie, one thing that has made us feel a bit better during quarantine has been to get moving—which is totally possible at home, thanks to apartment-friendly fitness equipment and top-notch online workout classes (many of which are free, which we love). Here, our editors have hand-picked the workout gear they've relied on over the last several months, as well as the programs and apps that have helped them feel motivated and positive.
Read on for the best home workout equipment, according to Byrdie editors.
When Byrdie senior editor Lindsey Metrus saw the Bala Bangles all over Instagram, she was intrigued. "I was curious how big a difference 2 pounds on each leg (or wrist) would make," she says. "Turns out, the change is hugely noticeable."
Pair With: "My Pilates flows, which mostly come by way of Melissa Wood or Move With Nicole, are made that much tougher with the addition of a little extra weight on my limbs," says Lindsey. "I swear they've made a difference in better sculpting my muscles."
Lindsey introduced Byrdie associate editor Holly Rhue to Bala, too—and the rest was history. "Lindsey gets credit for introducing me to this brand by way of its keystone product, Bala Bangles," says Holly. "I use the Bangles regularly, but lately, the Bars have been the perfect way to level up during online workout classes."
Pair With: Holly loves to use the Bars during the sculpt classes she takes through Obé. "They're easy to grip," she says, "which means I don't risk losing a weight (or a lamp) to the burnout arm circuits. This combo is sure to get your heart rate and muscles pumping."
Holly says this Lululemon yoga block has helped her improve her form during those same Obé sculpt classes.
Pair With: "The Obé instructors reiterate the same golden rule throughout the class: keep your shoulders down and away from your ears," she explains. "While I find it manageable to keep my shoulders in proper position during a standing arm circuit, I've yet to be able to do so successfully when it comes to side planks. This yoga block takes some of the tension off of my wrist while simultaneously giving me some support to keep my shoulders locked in place. Quality reps with proper form are more important than the number of reps, so I'll continue to level-down with this yoga block until I'm strong enough to keep from hunching into my shoulder. It's a journey!"
After Byrdie VP/GM Leah Wyar had her second child, she was having trouble finding the time to work out—that is, until she invested in this trampoline.
Pair With: "A friend of mine started posting her LEKFIT workouts (a combo of trampoline work, as well as weights and bands for full-body results) on Stories, and she looked so strong and borderline joyful working out," she says. "I'm all in now! The cardio is hard but very fun—and, compared to running, much gentler on my postpartum body."
For Senior Commerce Editorial Director Dwyer Frame, resistance bands are a must-have. "They might be small, but resistance bands pack a punch," she says. "Whenever I use them on leg day, I'm so sore the next day. I also love that I can throw them in a bag to take on the road." Byrdie News Editor Jazmine Ortiz is also a fan: "Resistance bands have been the best during quarantine," she says. "I don't have space [in my apartment] for heavy weights, but these bands come in different resistance levels that are much heavier to lift than my little 5-pound dumbbells."
Pair With: "These bands have also proved very useful when I am doing my Isaac Boots/Torch'd workouts," says Dwyer. "He uses them for arm exercises and it burns so bad!" Jazmine, on the other hand, loves the FitOn app: "They have all kinds of workouts and some incorporate bands," she says. "Even the ones that don't, I'll just incorporate them sometimes for an extra burn. I like the classes with celebrity trainer Jeanette Jenkins and Gabrielle Union."
"My trainer would always stress the importance of foam rolling, but I didn't really put it into practice until I was gifted this pretty foam roller," says Jazmine. "Since it's aesthetically pleasing and goes with my decor, it kind of just sits in a corner of my living room in my eye view. If I see it, I'll use it. I like to use it after a more intense workout session when I know my muscles will be sore the next day."
Pair With: "I follow Massy Arias, who's a big fan of foam rolling, on Instagram. She includes days just for foam rolling on her workout plans (available for purchase on her website) but shares some free videos and tips on Instagram as well."
"If you were wondering if the DB in The DB Method stands for Dream Butt, you'd be correct," says Byrdie Editorial Director Faith Xue. "My motivation levels to work out in my tiny NYC apartment are usually zero, but this machine only requires 10 minutes of my time a day in order to sculpt the butt of my dreams. Plus, I love that the machine comes with add-on weights if you really want to turn up the toning factor."
Pair With: "I'd pair this with any of the workouts on The DB Method YouTube channel," Faith says. "There are ways to use the machine to work other body parts too, like your abs or arms. It's such an innovative machine that makes working out feel not so daunting."
"I love these bands from my friend and fitness instructor Bec Donald a.k.a. Sweat With Bec," says Faith. "They come in three different resistance levels. I'm a baby so I usually use the blue ones, which are the lightest resistance."
Pair With: "I pair them with her workouts," she says. "She does Zoom workouts and also teaches outdoor classes, which she announces on her Instagram—but also any toning resistance band workout. Trust me, you'll feel the burn when using these for even deceptively simple-looking moves. I'm always sore in the best way after her classes. I love that they're so easy to toss in my bag and take anywhere, too."
"Gaiam makes the best yoga mats, hands down," says Faith. "They're the perfect amount of squishiness and grip, and they're easy to take on-the-go (and I swear they weigh less than most)."
Pair With: "I pair my Gaiam yoga mat with Glo app, which offers yoga, pilates, and meditation classes (both pre-recorded and live-streamed)."
Beauty & Style Group Editorial Director Elspeth Velten just replaced her rental gym equipment with dumbells and a kettlebell from Goldens' Cast Iron, a made-in-America cast iron company that also sells cooking equipment and fire pits—and she's never looked back. "Weight training equipment has been a hot commodity as gyms have been closed during the pandemic—finding 15-pound dumbbells to maintain the physical and mental benefits of my fitness routine became my Everest when my former gym asked for my equipment back. Needless to say, it was a relief that it only took about three weeks for these to arrive at my door after I bought them. They’re not rubber-encased, so I just layer my Alo mat over my carpet and hope for the best for my downstairs neighbors."
"This Alo yoga mat is thicker than your average yoga mat, which I really like," says Byrdie Senior Social Media Manager Kelly Gallagher. I get wrist pain while in downward dog if the mat is too thin. Additionally, it has a really grippy texture on one side so it's not sliding on my hardwood floors."
Pair With: "I loved taking Sky Ting's yoga classes pre-pandemic and am so grateful that they have Sky Ting TV, an online platform with yoga classes that vary from three minutes to an hour and a half."
For Karli Bendlin, Byrdie's Email Editor, these massage balls have been a "lifesaver for relieving tension" after a tough workout.
Pair With: "While I miss my in-person Pure Barre classes—and the luxury of 50 full minutes without any interruptions from my dogs or my phone—I've been trying to fit in as many Pure Barre Go classes as I can from home," she explains. "I've been able to keep up with the actual workout part, but I find myself skipping the end of class stretch all too often, which usually leaves my shoulders and thighs feeling tight a few hours later. I place one under my shoulder or leg and roll it around against the wall or floor, and I swear it gives me instant relief in minutes."