Ever struggle to get up out of a squat or feel pain kneeling on the gym floor? There are some exercises that simply don't work for every body. And that's OK! But that doesn't mean they're totally off the table.
With a few affordable fitness finds, you can make less-than-accessible exercises work for you. Browse our 15 trainer-approved adaptive exercise tools to make your workout better fit your body and needs.
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Although they're best known as yoga straps, these are way more versatile piece of workout equipment than you might imagine, according to Christine Bowden, CPT, a certified personal trainer, yoga therapist and adaptive athlete. "Yoga straps are often underrated and an amazing, budget-friendly way of making a modified workout more efficient," she says.
You can loop a yoga strap around your feet to add length to your arms and legs, helping you deepen your stretches while you warm up or cool down. Or use them to add more stability during exercises like single-leg deadlifts. Just wrap the strap around a stable structure (like a squat rack or stair railing) and hold the band in your free hand for a little extra balance.
1. Gaiam Yoga Strap
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $7.98
2. SANKUU Yoga Strap
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $9.98
3. Tumaz Stretch Strap
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $12.95
Protecting your joints while you exercise is always a plus, but it's especially so if you're prone to any aches or pains. To give your knees or elbows a little extra cushion and comfort while you train, Bowden recommends investing in an exercise pad.
When you're on your knees or elbows, just place the pad under your joints for extra support. You can also place the pad on your lap during hip thrusts to make your hip bones a little more comfortable.
In the product description, look for a mat that's made with anti-slip material. And prioritize a mat that's marketed for knees or joints in general.
1. Yes4All Foam Exercise Pad
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $19
2. ProsourceFit Exercise Pad
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $19.99
3. Virtee Exercise Pad
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $19.99
Your gym may already have a suspension trainer available but if not, you can pack one right in your gym bag. Or, you can use yours at home.
This piece of workout equipment is great for building fundamental strength because it can help you modify and get extra support during a ton of exercises like squats, Bowden says.
All you need to do is attach the handles to a high anchor that can securely hold your weight. Then, let's say you need a little extra assistance at the bottom of your squat. You can pull the handlebars to help your body return to standing.
1. TRX ALL-IN-ONE Suspension Training
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $167.95
2. GO Suspension Trainer System
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $129.95
3. Lifeline Jungle Gym Suspension Trainer System
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $99.99
Yes, you can use a towel to wipe off at the gym. But it also makes a pretty handy workout tool, too. A towel is a simple way to add a little extra support and cushion around the gym, according to Bowden.
You can place a towel under your knees when you do a kneeling exercise to give your joints some extra support. Or, if you have a sensitive back, you can roll it up and use it for extra support when you're sitting on a bench.
1. Bobor Gym Towel Set
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $8.99
2. AIDEA 4PK Cooling Towel
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $8.95
3. THE RAG COMPANY Workout Towel
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $9.95
Long-Loop Resistance Band
Most often, people use these to do assisted pull-ups, she says. All you have to do is anchor the band to the top of the bar and slide your knee or foot into the band. This gives you a little extra boost as you pull your body up.
1. MKAS Long Resistance Bands Set
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $14.99
2. LEEKEY Resistance Band Set
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $28.97
3. Tifereth Pull-Up Bands
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $10.99