Work From Home Fitness: Unstable Workouts for Home or the Office

Work From Home Fitness Tools

With everyone working from home – hopefully going back to the office soon – I wanted to take a moment to talk about some pieces of equipment that can really help your home and office workouts.

Work From Home Fitness Ideas

Today, I’ll be talking about multiple fitness items that create an unstable surface (something other than solid, flat ground), which can add a lot of benefits to your workouts. These are great for your work from home fitness routines.

Types of Equipment

Below is a brief list of some of the types of equipment I’m talking about; I know there are new pieces of fitness equipment being developed daily. With this being said, this is merely a list to get you thinking.

  • Pilates vibration plate/board – a plate/board that essentially shakes at various intensities. This can be used for exercises and/or stretching.
  • Bosu ball -a half sphere shaped object with one rounded rubber side and one flat plastic side. People usually like to stand on the rubber side, but some prefer to stand on the flat side such as myself.
  • Stability Ball – a medium-large circular object that is usually rubber and somewhat malleable. These are great for crunches, hamstring curls, and bridges.

Why Use These Items?

The number one benefit of using these items is that it forces your core to work that much better to keep your body centered and tall.

Unstable surfaces not only add an extra challenge to your workouts. but can also make workouts fun and exciting again by adding something new!

Furthermore, they allow you to continue to hone and train your body to remain in proper form even when something under your feet or hands or body is unstable, which can be quite useful in functional movement training.

This can translate to all sorts of injury prevention techniques as well such as proper falling mechanics.

Lastly, many of these types of equipment are easy to store/take up minimal space, which are great for home gyms and office spaces.

Types of Workouts

Honestly, you can do most types of exercises on these objects. Every piece of equipment has its own limitations. However, your basic plank and pushup are always fair game.

The flatter pieces of equipment such as Bosu ball or vibration plate are great for squatting, deadlifting, and lifting too.

Please note that it is wise to go lighter with weights when using these types of equipment since you are creating more of a challenge for your body and core.

Furthermore, please only attempt to use these types of equipment if it is safe and healthy for you to do so.

Many people are better on stable, flat ground and there’s nothing wrong with that! People with back or knee injuries probably should not attempt to use these items unless cleared by a medical professional.

If you find that you’re struggling with doing exercises on flat ground, it’s probably not a good idea to attempt to make the exercises harder at this time. Slow and steady wins the race when it comes to long -term fitness/health, and regarding most things now that I think about it.

Modifications

It’s also good to note that most exercises done on unstable surfaces can be modified and/or regressed (much like stable ground workouts).

For example: Pushups and planks can always be done on the knees. Also, rep ranges, set ranges, depth of movement, weights, interval duration, and intensity can always be modified.

On the vibration board, the intensity of shaking usually goes 1-100. With this alone, one has a lot of room to play with what intensity works best for them.

So much of health and fitness is about troubleshooting to find what works best for you. It’s always a good idea to take some time to find what is going to serve you best for the short and long-term. It’s important to do this every so often as bodies are constantly changing and evolving. What worked for you last month, may not be serving you any longer.

Fitness is a journey. It’s about altering, adapting, and being flexible. Modification is never a negative! It’s always a positive because it provides more information about where you’re at currently, what your body can realistically handle, and allows you to form goals about where you want to go in the future.

Stretching On Unstable Surfaces

At the beginning of this article, I had mentioned that vibration plates can be a great stretching tool.

Much like a hypervolt or foam roller, they can help bring the body back into equilibrium and help break up adhesions/stress in the body due to the shaking movement that the board can provide.

A favorite of mine to do on the vibration plate is a calf stretch. For this stretch, simply place one heel on the plate and flex your foot upwards. The knee of the standing leg should remain microbent and toes of the standing leg should be facing forward.

I suggest putting the plate on low intensity while stretching.

Where To Get These Items?

All of these items can be purchased on Amazon. Many are available at sporting goods stores as well.

Please note, that due to the pandemic most workout equipment is taking longer to ship and/or purchase.

If for whatever reason equipment is not available, you can make your own “unstable surface” by balancing on one leg when lifting, going into a calf raise when lifting, or having your heels hang off a step when lifting.

One legged planks, pushups, and squats are also another great way to engage the core. However, please only attempt the above if it is safe and healthy for you to do so.

Wrap-Up

I hope you have found this article helpful regarding spicing up your workouts and enhancing core work with unstable surfaces. When it comes to work from home fitness, these same principles apply when you eventually head back to the office!

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out. Stay safe and be well! As always, thanks for reading and stay tuned!