The $8 solution to a total home gym


Stay in tip-top shape during coronavirus self-isolation with one piece of equipment.

As gyms were forced to close down across Australia after strict social distancing and gathering measures were enforced to curb the spread of COVID-19, people have been looking for alternatives to maintain their fitness.

Fortunately, working out at-home hasn’t been hard thanks to most gyms now streaming their workouts online. But some of those workouts require weights or other equipment that you probably need to splash some cash on to get a *real* sweat sesh. Sure you can use water (or wine) bottles to replace dumbbells or paper plates as sliders, but it’s just not the same.

So, if you’ve got a spare $8 or so lying around (which TBH, you would’ve spent on your morning coffee if you weren’t in iso), purchase yourself a resistance band to take your workouts up a notch. Try this one from Kmart for $8.

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Not sure how to use it? Libby Babet, PT and founder of The Upbeat, shares six exercises that will give you a full-body resistance band workout so you can walk out of lockdown in tip-top shape.

1. Rows – standing or seated

Standing up, loop the band around a pole or door handle at approximately your chest height and take a big step back so there’s some distance to ‘pull’ the band towards you (alternatively you can sit down with your legs extended straight in front of you with the band looped around your legs). Hold one end of the band in each hand and stand back until there’s some resistance, then squeeze your shoulder blades together behind you, pulling the band with you as you go until the handles are by your side and your elbows are slightly behind you. Release and repeat!

2. Squats

Stand on the band with your feet just wider than shoulder width apart and hold the handles up near your shoulders with the band sitting behind the back of your arms. Slowly sit backwards and downwards into a squat, like you’re sitting on to a low bench behind you, keeping your chest lifted and core long. Come back up to standing, pushing through the heels and squeezing your butt muscles.

3. Booty builder

Kneel on the floor on all fours, with the middle of the band looped underneath one foot and the handles in your hands, which should be right underneath your shoulders. Lift your knee slightly off the ground and push the band all the way back behind you, pushing against the resistance of the band. Keep both your hips straight and facing towards the ground, and keep your core long. Tuck the knee back under your body, then press back again. Repeat for many repetitions until you’re feeling a good burn!

4. Deadlift to Tick Tock

Stand on the band, feet just less than shoulder width apart and holding the handles of the band in each hand. There should be some resistance in the band, so if there isn’t hold it a little further down. To perform a deadlift, start with soft knees and keep your spine long and your shoulder blades slightly switched on, as you hinge forward from the hip, feeling a stretch in the back of the legs before squeezing your glutes to help you stand upright again. Now it’s time for the tick-tock! Simply push one leg out to your side, lifting the foot off the ground, and then replace and do the same on the other side.

5. Lunge to bicep curl

Place your right foot on the centre of the band on the floor and hold the ends in your hands. Step your left foot behind you, keeping your heel off the ground. Lower towards the ground, keeping your knees at a 90-degree angle. As you press back up through your right heel to a standing position, complete a bicep curl (if you don’t know what this is, google it, it’s an easy one to find and nail!)

6.Supine hamstring stretch

This stretch just feels too good not to include! Lie on your back (we call this supine position) with the ends of the band in your hands and your legs out straight. Bring one leg to your chest and loop the middle of the band around your foot, then extend that leg straight above you. Use the band’s resistance to create a beautiful deep hamstring stretch and hold it for a while before changing sides. As an added bonus, this is also a great stress relieving pose!

Libby Babet is a PT and founder of Bondi fitness studio The Upbeat. Follow her on Instagram @libbybabet.

More essential coronavirus reading:

Read up on what the government lockdown means for you, understand why Aussie doctors are up arms, be aware of the ‘hidden symptom’ of COVID-19 carriers, prepare yourself for the long-term mental health effects of the pandemic, get your sweat on at home with these free online workouts before reviving your over-washed hands with this DIY balm, and then console yourself with these unexpected joys.