Choosing the Right Fitness Equipment

HorizonEllipticalChoosing the right piece of home fitness equipment—whether that’s a treadmill, elliptical, or exercise bike—depends on what you wish to accomplish from your home training sessions. As you set up your training plan, here are a few things you might want to consider:

Treadmill: Providing a natural workout (as simple as heading out for a walk!), a home treadmill means that your fitness is not at the mercy of weather or daylight. Cushioned treadmills are also a bit easier on your joints compared to walking and running outdoors. You can use your treadmill as a back-up to your regular, outdoor sessions or schedule it into your training plan as an active recovery that takes advantage of the added cushioning and controlled environment. You can also push yourself by including challenging interval runs or hikes, adjusting the incline and speed to push your heart rate and your fitness. Many treadmills also fold, making them easy to move out of the way, a particular advantage if your home gym space doubles as a living area.

Ellipticals:  Elliptical trainers offer a simple, no impact movement, while continuing to burn serious calories and challenge your cardiovascular system. If you’re new to exercise, are concerned about the impact of running, or simply want to burn as many calories as possible while minimizing the wear and tear on your joints, an elliptical is a great option. Additionally, you have the option of strengthening the upper body at the same time, improving your posture. Ellipticals can also be used in a backwards pedaling motion –a benefit unique to this piece of equipment. This allows you to strengthen muscles on the back of your body, improving your ability to spike a volleyball or run downhill, while allowing the quads time to recover.

Indoor Bike:   Indoor cycles are also a great, no impact option for continuing to work out through or following injury or to mix in recovery workouts with a higher impact program. If you’re vulnerable in your low back and knees, you may especially appreciate the natural seated position of the recumbent bike. Recumbent bikes, however, can make it harder to get your heart rate up if you don’t make a conscious effort to overcome that through increasing the resistance and speed of your workout. All indoor bikes are a great option if you’re looking for a convenient, no-impact workout that you can use for cross-training or recovery if you can see yourself branching out into road races or triathlons.

Looking for more tips? Check out our buying guides for treadmills, ellipticals and exercise bikes for videos and what you should consider before making your purchase.

Joli Guenther is a certified personal trainer, yoga instructor, and clinical social worker practicing in and around Madison, Wisconsin. To find out more, visit the Meet Our Writers page.

Creating Your Own Home Gym

Home gyms can be a major time convenience and more cost efficient in the long run than an expensive gym membership. Before you begin assembling a home gym, it is important to outline your goals. Are you looking to bulk up and build mass? Or lose weight and improve your cardiovascular health? Every exercise regimen should incorporate both, but understanding what you want to focus on will help a lot when it comes time to start, especially if you have limited space.

Where to Start

There is no need to go crazy at first. You can still get a great workout with a limited supply of equipment, and this will allow you to make sure you are committed to your routine before investing thousands more dollars in exercise equipment.

One of the things many people do not consider enough when building a home gym is space. Fitness incorporates more than just sitting on a bench or moving your legs on a machine. You need plenty of space to move around and really work up a sweat. If you have limited options, you can always make things work, but think basement before unused den when it comes to your location.

The Budget Gym

As I mentioned above, you do not need to start your gym with a bunch of expensive equipment. Here are some basics that every home exerciser should have:

  1. Stability ball: Although they take a bit of getting used to (they have a tendency to roll away from novices), nothing is better at supporting the spine and isolating your stomach muscles. Give your core the workout it deserves by doing abdominal (ab) exercises on one of these.
  2. Resistance bands: Resistance bands provide a lot of flexibility for your routine and can help build and tone muscles by using your own body against isolated muscles.
  3. Pull-up bar: Many pull-up bars can easily fit in a doorway and will allow you to do several exercises that target your core, back and arms.
  4. Weight bench: You do not need an array of weights in the early stages of your home gym, but a bench will allow you to work with resistance bands and dumbbells to target muscles in your shoulders, back, chest and arms.
  5. Dumbbells: You may also want to add a small set of dumbbells at this point. You can perform lunges and other exercises that will help work your legs, and you can also use them in a variety of ways to work your upper body, too.

The Full Experience

Of course, the above should only be your introduction to the home gym world. As you continue using your home gym, you can add more equipment, such as Cardio equipment: This should be first on your list. Horizon Fitness makes a range of machines that will get your heart beating in no time. Ellipticals, exercise bikes and treadmills offer enormous bang for the buck when it comes to getting a good cardio workout. If you have shaky joints in your knees, go the lower-impact route with a bike or elliptical.

  1. Cardio equipment: This should be first on your list. Horizon Fitness makes a range of machines that will get your heart beating in no time. Ellipticals, exercise bikes and treadmills offer enormous bang for the buck when it comes to getting a good cardio workout. If you have shaky joints in your knees, go the lower-impact route with a bike or elliptical.
  2. More dumbbells: A more complete set of dumbbells will allow you to take full advantage of your bench. You can add to these with an Olympic bar and some plates (you will need rubber mats to protect your floor) and you will have a full free-lifting setup.
  3. All-in-one machine: You can finalize your gym with one of these bad boys. Often, incorporating this type of machine will allow you to work your back, shoulders, arms, legs and other muscles in ways free weights alone cannot. With one of these, you will never have to pay for a gym membership again.

Remember, the key to a home gym is actually using it. You cannot tone your body or lose weight if all that equipment just collects dust. Make sure the space is well lit and treat it as a sanctuary. It is your space, so own it, and use it to its full potential.

Bring 2013’s Hottest Fitness Trends to Your Home Workouts

The American College of Sports Medicine recently released its projections of the biggest trends projected for the coming year. Although some fitness trends, such as small-group training and combination classes, are great add-ons to a home fitness program, many of them can be used at home every week to bring new energy and effectiveness to your home workouts. Here are just a few of the biggest trends you’ll see in 2013 and some advice on incorporating them into your home workouts.

Strength Training: Regardless of your age or gender, strength training should top your list as an add-on to your recumbent bike, elliptical or treadmill workouts. Strength training helps prevent injury, fight metabolic resistance and control your weight more effectively than cardiovascular exercise alone. You don’t need to lift heavy weights in order to gain the benefits of strength training. Resistance bands and bodyweight exercises (also high on this year’s list of fitness trends) can both be used at home to provide you with a challenging and convenient workout.

Bodyweight Training: The concept of using your own bodyweight as resistance has been around for years, but this form of strength training is making a serious comeback and is a natural complement to your home fitness workouts. Push-ups, squats, lunges and pull-ups are only the beginning of these functional exercises that work your entire body. For ideas on bodyweight strength training, check out this list (with descriptions) of 50 different bodyweight exercises.

Core Training: Emphasizing the stabilizing muscles of the center of the body, core training includes exercises for the back, abdomen and hips. These exercises can be performed with or without equipment such as stability balls, BOSU balls, foam rollers or other stability challengers. Core work is a natural add-on to your home workout and can be completed in as little as five minutes at the end of your workout. The Mayo Clinic offers a slide show of ways to challenge your core here.

Circuit Training: Consisting of several exercises that are completed in a series with little or no rest in-between, circuit training represents another old idea that has come round again. Circuit training allows you to get an efficient and challenging workout in a short period of time and is a fun way to use your home fitness equipment in combination with other exercises. Rather than counting reps, try completing one-minute intervals of bodyweight exercises back to back with two-minute cardio challenges on your treadmill, elliptical or recumbent bike. You can also use your home fitness equipment as a warm-up and cool-down for a series of six to 10 circuit exercises that include both bodyweight and core work. This challenging, but quick, form of workout also allows you to bring home another fitness trend of 2013….Express Workouts.Sample Express Workouts

Express Workouts: Although fast and effective workouts (think 30 minutes or less) are making a big entry to health clubs for those looking to do the maximum in a minimum amount of time or for those who want to combine classes back to back, you can design your own power workout by combining circuit, core and bodyweight exercises with cardio bursts of three to five minutes. Try using your home fitness equipment for a warm-up before completing three- to five-minute sessions emphasizing strength training or core work, divided by three- to five-minute cardio sessions on your treadmill, bike or elliptical (see the sample format at right). For a more effective workout, set a stopwatch with a timer to keep you moving through your stations and put on some motivating music to help the time pass quickly.

Personal Training/Group Personal Training: This is another big trend in the fitness industry that is accessible even if you’re working out at home. Commercial settings, corporate environments, community-based programs and online personal training are all resources for the home exerciser. A personal trainer can meet with you one-on-one or in a group setting and help you to set up a workout that meets your specific needs.

Meeting with a trainer can also be a great way to check your form and get some ideas for strength training you can continue to do at home to complement your workouts on your home fitness equipment. If you have a friend or two who are also looking to improve their workouts, many trainers will offer big discounts for working with you in a small-group setting. Some trainers may even help to match you up with a group of similar people.

While the above activities are some of the biggest fitness trends in 2013 that work naturally with your home workout, you can also combine your home workouts with offerings such as outdoor recreational activities (think guided hiking or camping) or yoga classes (or DVDs) to bring a well-rounded, enjoyable approach to fitness both in and out of the home.

Weigh In: How do you keep your home fitness routines fresh? Are you bringing any of the biggest trends into your workouts this year?

Achieve the perfect fit on your exercise bike

You’re in the middle of your indoor exercise bike workout when, suddenly, you experience tingling or a numbness in your glutes. Or perhaps you’ve fallen victim to hyperextension because of improper pedal positioning. Instantly, your motivation deflates and you’ve cut your bike workout short by 10 minutes. Does this sound familiar? Thankfully, this is an avoidable situation. Read on to learn how to position your exercise bike seat properly for a comfortable and injury-free ride.

A good rule of thumb for a recumbent exercise bike is to place the arch of one of your feet onto the center of the pedal. Then, release the seat lock latch, push with your foot until your leg is nearly straight, and set the latch. If you are pedaling correctly, with the ball of your foot on the pedal, this should place a slight bend in your knee so that you don’t over extend and cause injury.

On the upright bike, the easiest way to position the seat height is to stand next to the bike. Unlock the seat post and raise the seat unit the top of the seat is at the middle of your hip. Then replace the seat post lock, sit on the seat and check to make sure your leg has the slight bend when the center of your foot is on the pedal. If the seat is too high or low, dismount the machine and raise the seat post up or down one notch and try the fit again. You may also be able to adjust the seat forward or backward to optimize the angle of your hips or to perfect the handlebar reach.

On various indoor cycles, like the Horizon Fitness M4, you can also adjust the bike handlebars vertically for maximum comfort. Start by raising the handlebars so they are slightly above the seat height. This allows for proper posture and alignment for even weight distribution while you’re biking. Make sure you can comfortably reach the handlebars without locking your elbows. You want to have a slight arch in your back, so make sure there’s no strain in your neck and shoulders.

If your indoor cycle has fore/aft handlebar adjustment, you can use that to maximize your riding position as well. After you have positioned your seat fore/aft (if the bike has this type of adjustment), release the handlebar fore/aft adjustment lock and place your elbow on the nose of the seat. Then, extend your arm straight pushing the handlebar with the tip your middle finger until your arm is straight and fully extended. Reengage the handlebar fore/aft adjustment lock.

Once you’ve made initial adjustments, ride for a few minutes and fine tune for the perfect fit. If you’re new to cycling or have taken some time off, don’t get frustrated if you can’t bike 10 miles the first day back in the saddle. Start with a mile or two at a time to get your rear familiarized with the bike feel, especially on an indoor cycle saddle, which is much narrower than a recumbent or upright exercise bike seat. Looking for more tips on how to ride? FitSugar.com also has a great video on how to fit an indoor cycle.

Weigh in: What differences do you feel between a proper bike fit and poor bike fit?

Cross Train to Balance Your Home Fitness Equipment Workouts

If you’re using your home fitness equipment regularly, you’ve got yourself covered in the cardiovascular department. But have you found a way to round out your routine? A balanced fitness program includes three components – cardiovascular exercise, strength training and flexibility training.

The benefits of a well-rounded routine consist of:
• Injury prevention and recovery
• Increased motivation and energy
• Improvements in muscle and bone mass
• Better long term physical and mental health

By using your warm-up and cool-down effectively, you can achieve these benefits while adding only a few minutes to your current routine, or you can alternate your cardio workouts with strength- and flexibility-focused workouts to get an even bigger cross training benefit.

Strength Training: You can add strength training to your home workouts by using your warm-up effectively. Start with a few easy minutes of cardio on your elliptical, treadmill or recumbent bike. Then, complete 10 minutes of body weight exercises such as push ups, planks and squats, repeating to fatigue. Follow your strength training with your planned cardio workout. For ideas on adding a simple strength training component to your workout, check out these suggestions from the Mayo Clinic or this at-home workout.

Extra Credit: You can take your strength training further by investing in a few dumbbells or resistance bands to expand the range of exercises available. For ideas on a full at-home, strength training workout that will complement your cardio routine, check out the ideas here.

Flexibility: If you’re pressed for time, consider adding flexibility training to your routine by extending your cool-down slightly with some gentle stretching. Stretching your muscles when they’re already warmed by your cardio routine allows your workout to be more effective. Slow and gentle is the way to go here, concentrating on areas of your body you know to be tight. Common culprits are the calves, quadriceps, hips and chest.

Extra Credit: For a deeper stretch and bigger mental boost, consider adding a yoga DVD, class, or home workout to your week. Many yoga poses include weight-bearing exercises, allowing you to address your needs for strength and flexibility training in one workout. The emphasis on mindfulness and effective breathing also contribute to improvements in mental awareness and pain tolerance and reductions in depression. Yoga Journal is a great resource for seeking out classes and teachers, finding suggestions on a DVD that will meet your needs, or information on starting a self-guided home routine.

There’s no question that most home fitness enthusiasts see the benefit of staying healthy in the long run. By improving your overall fitness through cross training, you increase your chances of staying healthy, injury free and motivated to continue your workouts. Read more information on the benefits of cross training.

Weigh In: Do you complement your elliptical, treadmill, or recumbent bike workouts with cross training? What works well for you?

Add Personal Training to your Home Fitness Equipment for a Winning Workout

If you think Personal Trainers exist only in the realm of celebrities and gym rats, think again. Personal Trainers have become affordable and accessible without ever setting foot in a gym. If your home fitness routine has become a bit stale, or if you’re having trouble getting started using your new elliptical or treadmill, investing in some time with a professional may be just the ticket to getting the most from your home fitness equipment.

Do you need a Personal Trainer? Although working out at home is the most convenient option for getting in your regular workouts, it can also leave you a bit isolated in designing and carrying out your fitness program. A personal trainer can help you get started on a fitness program, make recommendations for purchases that will complement your routine, bring variety to your program and keep your workouts challenging. Committing to regular appointments can also help keep you motivated and honest about sticking to your program. If you have health concerns or health-related goals, many trainers can also provide you with fitness assessments (such as body fat testing) and a willingness to work one-on-one with your health care provider to ensure your program will meet your needs. You can check out this article for more great reasons to consider investing in a personal trainer.

Find the right person. Personal trainers have traditionally been associated with health clubs, but today’s trainers are more accessible than ever. Many trainers offer in-home or on-site sessions (such as meeting you at your office or in an outdoor location during lunch or after work). If you know of friends or family members who have had positive experiences, they may be able to provide you with a reference. Checking local advertisements, as well as online search tools (see the end of this article for an easy-to-use tool) is also a great way to search for professionals that may fit your needs. A reputable trainer will hold a credential from at least one NCCA certified organization (find a list of those organizations). Common certifications include: ACE, NASM and NSCA among others. Your trainer should also hold current certification in CPR and carry personal liability insurance.

Get the Most from your Personal Trainer. Personal training rates vary from $20-$100 per one hour session, with the lower end rates typical for group and package sessions. Before committing to a trainer, schedule an interview to check out credentials and talk about your expectations. Ask your trainer what they will do to keep you motivated, how often they will change your routine, what sort of assessments you can expect and for references of current clients. Discuss refund expectations, as well as cancellation policies and time limitations on the use of sessions purchased.

Although a trainer is a great way to establish diet accountability and is likely to provide you with tools that will help you measure and monitor your intake, unless your trainer is also a Registered Dietitian, he/she can only offer limited nutritional advice. Be concerned if your trainer pushes nutritional supplements because they are unnecessary for most individuals and the trainer may be receiving a substantial commission.

Finally, discuss the frequency of your sessions. If you’re having difficulty staying motivated, meeting with your trainer on a weekly (or even more frequent basis) can help to drive your workouts. Scheduling a monthly check-in can provide you with frequent updates and a plan for your workouts, while giving you the independence to work out on your own. Many trainers will also offer small group sessions, providing training for you and a partner at substantial discount over one-on-one rates.

Weigh In: Have you used a Personal Trainer to get more from your home fitness equipment? What worked (or didn’t work) well for you?

Home Fitness Equipment Tips for Baby Boomers

Perhaps more than any previous generation, baby boomers are committed to staying active as they age. Although we know that exercise is essential for a long life and physical health, recent research is beginning to demonstrate its importance for maintaining memory and mental health over the long term. Unfortunately, only about half of the baby boomer generation is exercising as much as they need to. If you’re looking to stay healthy and strong as you age, try some of these tips for developing a fitness routine at home.

Keep it Consistent. Consistency is the most important part of ensuring the success of your fitness routine. Brisk walking on your treadmill, cycling on your recumbent bike, and using your elliptical in the comfort of your home are all great ways to maintain cardiovascular fitness that will benefit your body and your brain. A good program will have you exercising for at least half an hour most days of the week to maintain your fitness. If you’re looking to lose weight through exercise, you need to gradually increase that time to 60-90 minutes most days. If you can’t fit it in all at once, try scheduling exercise breaks of at least ten minutes throughout your day.

Balance Your Workouts. Cardio is important, but a good routine will also include strength and flexibility training to decrease injury and promote skeletal and muscular health. You don’t need to schedule separate workouts to get the benefit of these types of training. Try including some body weight exercises (such as push-ups and squats) after you’ve warmed up with a bit of cardio exercise. This will help you maintain better form and burn more calories during your workouts. If you’re looking to add some weight to your workouts, resistance bands are widely available and easy to use at home or on the road. Flexibility training can be added to the end of your workouts to avoid injury and balance any tight areas of your body. Click here for more tips on creating a balanced fitness routine.

Enjoyment. Sticking with your fitness routine is much easier if you’re having fun. Find activities you like and ways to make your routine enjoyable. Many models of Horizon Fitness Equipment come equipped with docking stations that allow you to include music in your workouts and personal fans to make your workouts more comfortable. Teaming up with a friend or partner for weekend activities or joining in on an athletic fundraising event, such as a heart walk or cancer prevention fundraiser, can be a great way to keep your motivation high and add social connections to your workouts.

Avoiding Injury. It’s more possible to have fun with your fitness routine when you avoid injury. Although a consistent, balanced routine will go a long way, you should also check with your doctor for advice on how to begin the right program for you. Start your workouts slowly with a warm-up of your planned activity and include gentle slow stretching after your workout to reduce soreness the next day. If you’re noticing sharp pains or inflammation associated with your workout, it’s time to get a doctor’s opinion. And finally, remember to schedule some rest between workouts. Strength training should not be done more frequently than every other day and hard workouts should be limited to two or three times per week. Click here for more ways to avoid injury.

Weigh in: Are you a baby boomer who’s committed to staying fit as you age? Share your story with us here!

 

Beat Sedentary Life Style Health Risks Using your Fitness Equipment at Home

If you’re contemplating an investment in fitness equipment for your home, consider this…recent research demonstrates that decreasing the amount of time we spend sitting each day is at least as important to our health as the amount of time we spend exercising. Click here for a summary of findings. Although cutting edge office furniture, such as treadmill desks, may help a few beat the health risks of a desk job, for most of us the key is to decrease sedentary time outside of the office. Your Horizon fitness equipment can help you find places to squeeze in exercise by using it during times you’d normally spend sitting. Try using your recumbent bike while reading or your treadmill while watching television. Click here to find out how every little bit of physical activity makes a difference in your fitness level and health. Even incidental daily activities (such as chores or shopping) will help reduce the health risks of a sedentary life. However, to really gain the most fitness and weight loss potential from the time you spend exercising, keep the intensity high. Your Horizon fitness equipment can help you do that through the aerobic or interval settings on many models.

Add in Strength Training to Make your Fitness Equipment Workouts Do More

It’s no secret that making it to the gym can be tough to fit in (that’s why you purchased your home fitness equipment in the first place, isn’t it?), but if you’re skimping on strength training, you’re missing the chance to get the most from your workouts.  Strength training reduces your chances of injury, letting you workout more intensely and burn more fat to show off that great looking muscle that you gained by (you guessed it) strength training.  

Unless you’ve managed to fit a complete weight room into the corner of your basement, a successful at-home workout needs to be light on equipment requirements and time commitment and heavy on the motivation.  Circuit training is a great way to fit that bill.  Turn on some music to keep your energy high and hit the following exercises for one minute each.  If you’re really strapped for time, you can do each station once before your cardio routine (see my blog post earlier this month for more on using your warm up to squeeze in some strength training).  For even bigger results, try alternating this workout with your usual cardio every other day and work up to completing three circuits.  

Squat to Row:  Holding a pair of 5-10 pound dumbbells, stand with your weight on your heels and squat down.  As you come up, lean slightly forward rowing your arms with elbows bent at your sides to work the muscles of your middle back.  

Yoga Cobra to Down Dog:  For illustrations and descriptions of this and other yoga poses, check out this link.  From a prone position, lift up to a yoga cobra then push back to a down dog.  Return to your prone position and repeat.  You’ll work your postural muscles and get a great stretch for your whole body.  

Lunge to One Legged Overhead Press:  Stand, holding a pair of 5-10 pound dumbbells and step one leg back into a long lunge, bending both knees. Step back to your starting position, lifting the same knee in front of your body while raising both hands overhead.  Repeat using the other leg.

Push Up to Plank Leg Raise:  Complete a push up (knees or toes) and come to a high push up position/plank.  Keeping your abdominal muscles tight, lift one leg from the floor.  Return the leg to the floor then repeat for the other side.  

Squat Touch Down to Calf Raise:  From a standing position squat down with your weight in your heels, bringing your butt low towards the floor.  Touch your ankles, push through your heels to lift up to standing, reaching your arms overhead and lifting to your tip toes.   

Abdominal Crunch to Leg Extension:  Lying on the floor in a face up position, bring your knees above your hips with shins parallel to the ground.  Tuck your chin in and pull your belly tight while lifting into an abdominal crunch.  As you hold the crunch at the top, extend one leg, pull it back in and then release your body to the floor.  Repeat on the other side.  

Once you master the simple moves of this workout, you’ll be able to increase the intensity and pace of your movements during your one minute training blocks.  If you’re doing this workout on its own, warm up and cool down for five minutes on your favorite piece of fitness equipment before and after your workout and finish with a few stretches focusing on your major muscle groups.

Great Warm-Ups for Workouts At Home

You probably know that a good warm-up leaves you energized and ready to get the most from your fitness equipment.  Did you know that it can also be used to prevent injuries and build strength?  If you’re confused by the idea of a pre-workout warm-up and settling for a few held stretches (or skipping the warm-up entirely), it’s time to start getting more from your home fitness equipment workouts. Think about adding in one of the following warm-up options to your workouts at home.

Start Slow:  The simplest approach to warming up is to do whatever you’re planning on doing during your workouts but more slowly and gradually expanding your range of movement. So, if you’re hitting your recumbent bike or elliptical, use the first 5-10 minutes to enjoy working through your range of motion at a slower pace than usual.  Runners might hit the treadmill at a slow jog, or even a walk.  Warming up in this way allows your circulation to gradually feed the muscles that will be working hard.  This means fewer muscle cramps and an opportunity to work more intensely after you’ve warmed up.  Listen to your body to determine how long your warm-up needs to be.  Fatigue, dehydration, age, and diet can all play a role in determining how comfortable our workouts feel.  By giving yourself enough time to warm-up (somewhere between 5 and, on a bad day, 20 minutes), you can reap the benefits of a longer, more intense workout.

Build Strength:  By mimicking the movements of your workout and even working into a greater range of motion, your warm-up can be an opportunity to work in some strength training, especially if you tend to fall into the cardio-only approach to exercise.  For one approach to a strength training warm-up, check out this link.  A strength focused warm-up should be between 5 and 10 minutes in duration and emphasize the use of body weight resistance at a slow pace to ease into the range of motion you will use during your workouts.  Examples of exercises that fit into this category are lunges, planks, pushups, and body weight squats.  Your goal is to energize those muscles that are used and to get your major muscle groups working together, rather than to exhaust yourself before you get to the meat of your workout.  Look for more on strength training in my blog post later this month. 

Avoid/Recover from Injuries:  Have you noticed a nagging sensation in your left calf since your last elliptical workout?  Maybe your lower back is aching ever since you started your cycling routine.  A customized warm-up gives you the chance to address your own aches and pains and make sure that they aren’t compounded by your next workout.  Start with enough movement to warm the muscles, followed by dynamic stretches for problematic areas, then slowly ease into your workout.  To dynamically stretch your muscles, gently move into and out of a stretch (without bouncing) of any areas that have been injury prone or troublesome.  Follow this stretching with a gradual increase in intensity of your planned workout.

Customize:  Adapt your warm-up to your needs on any given day.  You can pick and choose from the above approaches to design a warm-up that leaves you ready to get the most from your home fitness equipment.  By the end of your warm-up, you want to feel slightly flushed, perspiring, and psychologically ready to tackle your workout.

Weigh in:   Do you use a warm up when using your home fitness equipment?  What’s your approach?