If the holidays have left you more than a little strapped for cash (read: a $150-per-month gym membership is NOT in your budget), getting in shape for the New Year can be quite the daunting task, especially if the weather is keeping you cooped up indoors. How the heck are you supposed to get an action hero bod like Cara Delevingne when you’re working with a space the size of a shoebox and a budget to match? Never fear. In addition to picking up some gym equipment that fits in your apartment and maybe even figuring out a small space home gym setup (no pressure), we chatted with celebrity yoga guru and pilates instructor Kristin McGee (the gal responsible for getting LeAnn Rimes Cibrian, Bethenny Frankel and Tina Fey fit), to get the lowdown on how you can actually put that stuff to good use… for $30 or less.
1. TheraBand ($14): McGee suggests beginning with the TheraBand, probably the cheapest and most simple piece of equipment to use.
Try Backrows: “Sit with your legs out in front of you and wrap the Theraband around the soles of your feet,” she says. “Hold each end of the band in your hands and pull your elbows straight back. Squeeze [your shoulder blades together] and let go.”
Try Bicep Curls: McGee says this exercise is great for those of us (ahem, or, more likely, all of us), that sit with a rounded back looking at our iPads. “From that same seated position, turn your palms upright, [and], still holding each end of the band, pull your palms toward your shoulders with your elbows high in the air.” Bonus points? “This is also great for your abs if you lean slightly back,” she shares.
If you want to mix things up, McGee says it’s also okay to stand and “wrap [the middle of the Theraband] around a handle (such as a door handle) and take each end [in your hands] and step a few feet away” before performing the motions described above. But do be warned – McGee says the band can slide off handles, so beginners may be safer keeping the band around their feet, where it can’t slip off.
2. Stamina Pilates Magic Circle ($25): “The Magic Circle is another thing I love,” McGee gushes. “It’s great for toning your inner thighs.” Oh, and it’s also under $30. (Tell us more, tell us more!)
Try Thigh Squeezes: This move is just what it sounds like. “You can lie down on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat,” McGee says. After positioning the Magic Circle between your inner thighs, you simply squeeze them together for 20 reps. Do three sets of these. Easy peasy!
Try Skull Crushers: Don’t be scared by the name of this one — it’s not as intimidating as it sounds. “[Put] one end of the Magic Circle around your foot and lie down on your back,” McGee instructs. “Hold the other end.” With your feet flat and your knees bent, McGee says to hold the Magic Circle straight up above you with your hands wrapped around it (your fingers should be facing your face). Bend your elbows back toward you while squeezing, and then extend them back out toward the ceiling.
3. Gymnic Mini Exercise Ball ($13): “The ball is similar to the Magic Circle, in a sense,” McGee tells us.
Try Ankle Squeezes: “[Lying] down on your back, [place] a squish ball between… your ankles,” McGee begins. “Lower your legs down to the ground and then back up, squeezing the ball [as you go].” She says this works that hard-to-reach lower pooch as well as your inner thighs.
Try Bridge Up: “While you’re still lying with your back flat on the floor, put your feet on the ball,” McGee coaches. “Then try to press into your feet to lift your hips. This is killer for your hamstrings, glutes, lower back and abs.”
Try Tick-Tock: Sitting up with your knees bent in a tabletop position, McGee says to place the ball between your inner thighs, then drop your knees from right to left. This targets your obliques and waistline while “still getting your hips and inner thighs.”
4. Empower 3-in-1 Kettlebell ($27): McGee tells us that an 8-10-pound kettlebell ($27 at Target) is a good weight to start your home gym out with.
Try Single Leg Dead Lifts: “Stand on one leg and hold the kettlebell in the [opposite] hand,” McGee says. Then lift the leg on the side of your body that is holding the ball and hinge slightly forward, then stand back up. “This is awesome for your tush!” she exclaims.
Try Lunge Passes: “With the kettlebell underneath [your] legs, step forward with your right foot,” McGee says. Pass [it] under your left leg to your right hand.” Coming back to a standing postion, she advises continuing the move by stepping forward with your left foot and passing the kettlebell under your right leg to your left hand. Repeat.
McGee recommends doing the above exercises in three sets of 15-20 reps each, depending on your strength and skill level. **Insert strong arm emoji!!**
Game to try the exercises McGee shared with us? Let us know if you’re feeling the burn @britandco.