The home stretch: Our pick of the home gym kit - Features - Health & Families - The Independent

The home stretch: Our pick of the home gym kit

From a new spin on the Hula Hoop to cellulite-busting leggings...

Pummelling one's flesh into respectable shape must, by definition, be difficult. If your exercise routine doesn't, at times, leave you struggling for breath or unable to heave your torso from the floor, then it's unlikely to be having a huge impact on your body. So if the weaker-willed among us are to stand any chance of sustaining such efforts over time, everything else about our regime needs to be as painless as possible.

Everyone's deal-breaker will be slightly different. For some, finding the time to get to and from the gym is a flat impossibility. For others, it's the tedium of the solo routine. In all cases, there are a multitude of gadgets that promise to alleviate our woe and a lot of us are prepared to risk sizeable chunks of our cash for the mere chance of a magic fix.

Certainly, there is a fair amount of snake oil out there, but even perfectly functional pieces of equipment can be white elephants if they are not chosen with your individual requirements in mind – hence that curious furniture hybrid of the 1980s, the exercise bike-cum-clothes horse.

If you are reluctant to exercise in public, for instance, then renting a piece of equipment for your home is a good way of testing whether you're in it for the long haul. Meanwhile, even fitness novices can see and feel results quickly via the quiet swishing of the WaterRower.

No excuses for those who claim their wallet is hindering their work-out – there are plenty of low-cost options. Dyna-Band's latex resistance bands, for example, are a fantastically cheap and portable aid for building muscle strength. Likewise, the Power Hoop – the weighted Hula Hoop that's a hit in the US and appears on our cover – is an inexpensive, take-apart bit of apparatus that seems like frivolous fun but is actually a serious waist-whittler if used regularly.

Of course, the truly exercise-shy may never be transformed into fitness freaks by hardware alone, but even us slackers can ramp up our day-to-day activity by merely swapping our usual shoes for a pair of muscle-toning trainers – Reebok EasyTones are the current must-haves (finding a store where they are not sold out is a work-out in itself).

But the bottom line, before you invest in any kit, is to be honest with yourself about what you will realistically be able to build into your life. So feel free to peruse our selection, but bear in mind that, ultimately, it will be all about you.

1. Power Hoop

Comes in different weights depending on your size and strength £49, sooperhoop.co.uk

2. Dyna-Band

Available in four resistance strengths, there are few exercises that cannot be intensified with the addition of the Dyna-Band £9.99, dynaband.co.uk

3. WaterRower

A realistic rowing experience, this works muscles throughout the body and can be stored upright From £749, waterrower.co.uk

4. HoMedics MiBody 360 Analyser Scale

These hi-tech scales give an accurate body fat and muscle-mass reading £74.99, homedics.co.uk

5. Adidas miCoach Pacer

Accurate data on your pace, speed and distance, plus real-time coaching tips. Then upload to the website to create customised routines £120, johnlewis.com

6. Shoe wallet by Hilly

Just the right size for a key and cash, this can be fixed to a trainer or worn around the wrist £10, johnlewis.com

7. Reebok EasyTone trainers

The sole creates slight instability, which increases muscle activation £70 , reebok.co.uk

8. Solidea Silver Wave Corsaro shorts

The patented "wave" knit is designed to stimulate circulation and thus break down cellulite £48.95, victoriahealth.com

9. Gym Performance Shorts and Seamless Yoga Vest

Functional and feminine sports gear £40 each, sweatybetty.com

10. Sennheiser/Adidas PMX 680 washable sports headphones

Designed for heavy activity and resistant to water and sweat £49.95, johnlewis.com

11. Muscle Relief Bath Soak

A post-exercise soak with a blend of minerals and oils £18, spacenk.co.uk

12. Shake Weight

This wobbly single dumbbell promises toned arms from six minutes of exercise a day £29.95, shakeweight.co.uk

13. David Kirsch Super-charged Greens and Thermo Bubbles

Kirsch's detox-support products deliver all the vitamins, antioxidants and probiotics you need Bubbles (by bath soak), £35; Greens, £52, spacenk.co.uk

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape
music
News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
News
i100
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Project Manager (retail, upgrades, rollouts)

    £40000 - £45000 Per Annum + benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Project...

    Project Manager (upgrades, rollouts, migrations)

    £350 - £425 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Project Manager - 3 mont...

    IT Administrator - Graduate

    £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

    Funding and Data Support Worker

    £17000 - £20500 per annum: Randstad Education Birmingham: Working with the edu...

    Day In a Page

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week