It’s true that some personal trainers will swear by the body-weight only approach. You know, sit ups, push ups, pull ups, lunges and the like. However, an experienced personal trainer knows that effectively all clients can benefit from and see greater results by incorporating a few tools and equipment for personal trainers into a well-designed and progressive exercise program.
With the thousands of equipment options available today such as balance pads, jump ropes, sliders and kettlebells, deciding which personal training equipment you need can quickly become overwhelming.
A Little Training Equipment Goes A Long Way
Chances are you don’t have an entire sporting goods department store sitting in your closet, so you’re probably wondering what the best tools are when you’re just starting out.
When running an independent personal training business, it’s important to spend your money wisely, especially at the beginning when business is just picking up. The good news is that you don’t have to break the bank and most pieces of equipment will pay for themselves over time.
Think of equipment as a smart investment in your business, which will help it to continue to grow. The key is to always look for quality equipment that is safe, effective, lightweight, compact, durable and of course, fun for your clients.
Stick With The Basics
To make things easier on you, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 most recommended pieces of personal training equipment. Below is a list of the most basic training equipment that you should never be without:
- Jump Rope – Perfect for some quick and high-energy cardio, the jump rope is a very mobile friendly tool that helps to build stamina and agility. It’s true that sometimes even the simplest pieces of equipment can be the most effective. Great for both indoor and outdoor use.
- Balance Trainers – These come in all shapes and sizes. One of the best marketed balance trainers is the BOSU ball. Here, BOSU stands for “BOth Sides Up”, as this hemisphere-shaped ball can be used on either side. Each side provides a different level of difficulty and requires a different technique. While a BOSU ball isn’t necessarily the smallest piece of equipment, a simple balance pad can also do the trick. The added instability helps to train core stabilizer muscles for a more complete workout.
- Medicine Balls – Medicine balls come in different sizes, weights and colors. We recommend having one or two of these available, in different sizes and weights. This will allow you to design an exercise program for a variety of clients no matter their fitness levels. Toss, slam or carry these everywhere for an explosive workout.
- Resistance Bands – Much more compact than dumbbells and other traditional weights, these oversized rubber bands allow you add resistance to almost any movement. One of the most versatile tools, some resistance bands even come with interchangeable handles, allowing for tremendous flexibility and functionality.
- Foam Rollers – While foam rollers are the most common, any type of self-myofascial release tool will go a long way towards improving a client’s mobility. With better flexibility, your clients will notice major improvements in their squats, deadlifts and pushups. Self-myofascial release has been described as a “self massage” and it is not surprising since it just feels so good.
- Suspension Trainers – Bodyweight exercises at their finest. Perhaps the most heavily marketed suspension trainer on the market is the TRX band, easily recognizable by its yellow and black color scheme. You’ve probably seen these in use at your local gym or at a nearby park, and with good reason too. Suspension trainers are extremely mobile friendly and open up your program to hundreds of new exercises in every plane of motion. While a new TRX will run you upwards of $100, there are a few other more affordable options available with very similar functionality.
- Exercise Mats – A must have, an exercise or yoga mat will add a bit of padding between your client and the unforgiving floor. Beyond this, a quality mat also provides enough grip and friction to help perfect that yoga pose.
- Field Markers – If you’re planning to do any sort of distance exercises, it’s important to have a few field markers on hand. While you may use anything from a towel, to a water bottle to even a tree or landmark, brightly colored field markers are fairly inexpensive and provide a better client experience. Field markers can also help to avoid inadvertent interference with your training sessions by blocking off a reserved area.
- Stopwatch – Asking your clients to hold a 60 second plank? A 40 yard dash? Make sure you’re able to time it properly. Even if your cell phone has a timer “app”, a dedicated stopwatch will go a long way towards measuring your clients’ progress. Besides, you want to avoid letting your clients think you’re simply playing on your phone during their paid session. A simple stopwatch can cost as little as $10-20 and it just looks more professional
- Measuring Tape and Body Fat Calipers – It’s critical to teach your clients the importance of progress tracking. If you’re overlooking this step, your clients will fail to see success and in turn, so will you as the trainer. Measuring tape and body fat calipers can be had on the cheap, but the value they provide is immeasurable, (a little fit pun for you). Use these tools to take note of a client’s body measurements at predetermined intervals to monitor the need for adjustments to their program. Remember, hitting their fitness goals results in high client satisfaction and continued business for you.
As you’ll notice, most of the items above are basic and commonly found in private personal training studios as well as home gyms everywhere. This is primarily a result of the functionality, reasonable cost and portability of each item.
If you can only pick up one or two of the tools mentioned above, you’re still off to a great start. By investing properly in your business, not only will your clients will thank you, so will your growing income.