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The Playbook

The coolest gear to refresh your routine

Working out at home can be the ultimate luxury. There's no commute time, no waiting for someone to get off the machine you want to use and no unnecessary time constraints or pressure. And while having a proper home gym used to mean a large room dedicated to housing bulky fitness equipment and racks of weights, such is not the case these days. Some of the best options now are compact enough to be easily stored out of the way and quickly set up so you can get a full workout in any room of your home. We’ve all become experts at the home workout over the past year and a half, but that also means many of our routines have gotten a bit stale. We’ve been testing a range of gear and equipment to bring you the best to refresh your workouts. Try something new as we transition into a new season and start seeing all kinds of new gains. 

Sandbags

These heavy bags are probably a lot more versatile than you think. A sandbag is great for when you want to work out but don’t want to spend your whole afternoon working out. The sandbag’s center of gravity is constantly shifting as the sand moves back and forth—this kicks your core into gear in multiple ways, even when you aren’t doing a core-focused exercises. That means with every lift and movement, you’re getting a whole lot more bang for your buck. Use them for weighted lunges and wood chops as well as deadlifts, curls and rows. Just make sure you’ve got a bag that can withstand the abuse. These Power Bags are moisture-resistant and triple-stitched—making them rough, tough, and ready for even your most brutal of workouts.

From $90.95 at TRX 

ViPR Cylindrical Weight

A favorite of the personal trainers at Equinox, the ViPR is a versatile alternative to dumbbells and its unique pipe-like design makes it easy to press overhead, move from hand to hand and roll on the floor—motions that work the shoulders, back, chest and arms. When not in use, it can easily stand on its own and the minimalist style makes it more like a sculptural art piece than gym equipment.

From $175 by ViPR

Steel Clubs

Made from hard-wearing machined pieces of steel that have been powder-coated for further durability, these heavy clubs are a modern day version of Indian clubs, originally developed in ancient Persia as a means for conditioning soldiers and wrestlers. They were tools used to enhance grip strength and stability. Which is exactly why steel clubs are regaining popularity today. The constant balancing of the weight will help your stabilizing muscles develop and you’ll notice your core strength improve dramatically as you’re forced to brace your abdominal wall and keep your torso locked in while manipulating the weight during movements.

From $27.95 by Onnit

WallBars

This wall-mounted bar gym is an old school piece of equipment that's versatile, simple and stylishly understated—thanks to the sturdy solid-wood construction. Known as stall bars, they can be used for plenty of core, grip and strength-building workouts. Plus, the top folds down for a handy pull-up bar and a detachable workout bench can be used for sit-ups or free-weight training. Wrap a resistance band around one of the rungs for additional exercises and to plus the bodyweight work you’ll do on this apparatus. As for what kind of wood suits your home gym, you can choose from oak, ash, cherry or walnut.

From $699 by Nohrd 

Slide Boards

The slide board is an underrated piece of equipment that's been around for decades but is enjoying a resurgence because of their ability to harness all of the core-building and body-toning power of instability. Of course, not all slide boards are made equal. Like any piece of equipment, you want to pay attention to the quality of the materials because it will directly impact your sliding experience. You want a flat, firm and slippery surface with heavy-duty bumpers at each end to absorb your full weight. Brrrn, the boutique fitness studio, focuses entire workouts on lateral training using their signature slide boards. They're made by the same manufacturer that builds slide boards for the U.S. Olympic team, collegiate training programs and professional athletes. And let’s be honest, these are really a lot of fun, too.

From $229 by Brrrn

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