Exercise equipment: picks for your home fitness routine...

Stability ball (Swiss ball):

While a stability ball is best known for engages multiple muscle groups during abdominal training, that is only the beginning. It offers the same benefits for upper and lower body toning. Adding controlled instability to your workout promotes muscular endurance and challenges your body’s ability to balance itself.

Resistance tubes:

A lightweight total body shaping aid ideal for the space challenged and/or for those new to exercise. Unlike Therabands, resistance tubes resemble jump ropes and feature triangle-shaped handles on each end for grip comfort and stability. Recommended by the American Council on Exercise (ACE), they vary in length, thickness and color. Usually, thicker, shorter, darker-colored tubes provide more tension.

Dumbbells:

Equipment that adds includes external resistance in the form of weights, such as dumbbells, is essential for muscle growth or hypertrophy. Ideally, you need several sets of dumbbells as certain exercises require heavier weights while others require a lighter set. Consider opting for adjustable dumbbells as they offer multiple resistance levels while saving space.

Other options for strength training at home include medicine balls, Bosu trainers and kettlebells. Even household items can double as fitness accessories. Remember, your own body weight, working against gravity, provides resistance for many challenging exercises, such as the military-style push-up.