5 essentials for your gym bag this summer

These pieces of equipment are relatively inexpensive, portable, and so versatile, writes David Last.

OVER THE LAST few weeks in my summer series of articles I have given you healthy habits for the early-morning riser, my top four fitness tips to keep you on track this summer and a number of full-body outdoor workouts.

This week I’m going to take a closer look at equipment, and more specifically the five essential items to have in your gym bag.

Whether you’re a person who hits the gym floor, wants to bring their workout to the local park, or find yourself on the road or on holiday; here are five tools that will come in handy for a workout.

1. Mini roller and lacrosse ball

I regularly highlight the importance of working on your mobility and flexibility. It’s an area that most people neglect as some people don’t see the importance of it or don’t know what to do.

Doing yoga drills, basic body maintenance or even using mobility tools such as a foam roller or lacrosse ball is something I would suggest you do in almost every session, that’s why it’s great to have them in your gym bag.

They are quite cheap, portable, and don’t take up much room in the kit bag.

If your body often feels quite stiff and/or sore, I would suggest you seek advice from a trainer who knows how to improve your mobility. Alternatively, you can watch a simple video I made below using some of the tools mentioned above.

David Last / YouTube

2. Resistance bands

These are possibly my favourite piece of kit and something I use in nearly every training session.

The best thing about the bands is that they are cheap, easy to pop into the gym bag and you can do so much with them; from mobility drills to challenging workout movements.

Much like the foam roller and lacrosse ball, not many people will know how to use these correctly.

The options are endless so I have put together a basic video below giving you some ideas on what movements you can do with a basic set of resistance bands

David Last / YouTube

3. Mini bands

These are similar to the bands above but they are smaller, looped bands which are perfect for glute-activation drills.

Whether you are an office worker, gym-goer, GAA or golf player, you need to activate your glutes before every session.

I have talked about lower back pain before and how weak or inactive glutes are one of the primary reasons why people struggle with lower-back issues.

I have put together a quick and easy routine of drills you can bring into your session with a simple set of mini bands.

David Last / YouTube

4. Gym rings/Suspension trainer

A set of rings or straps is also an ideal tool to carry around in your gym bag. The brand I use is the TRX.

It comes in a small, netted bag and is very light. You simply hook the TRX up to any door frame, tree, or railing and you’re good to go.

It’s a great piece of equipment that can be used for all fitness levels and can train any body part.

Squats, pistols, rows, presses, planks and holds — you name it. The TRX featured in last week’s article on my top four outdoor full-body workouts.

5. Timer/gym clock

A good sports watch, gym clock or timer is something I use for all my workouts. Using a clock, especially if you are training alone, can keep you moving and holds you that little bit more accountable.

When doing trail runs I generally use my Garmin Forerunner. These are a must-have for anyone who is interested in logging and keeping track of their data.

A good GPS watch will measure heart-rate, speed, distance, calorie burn and a whole lot more.

When doing a gym or park workout I will either use my timer app PushPress or go with the Gymboss interval timer.

David Last is a personal trainer based in Dublin. For more information you can follow him on FacebookInstagram and Twitter. Or you can send him a direct message here.

You can also see some of his previous articles here.

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