The 7 Workout Accessories Personal Trainers Swear By

“This tool has been around since the 1700s for a reason."
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Year after year, some of the most common New Year’s resolutions revolve around health and fitness. However, committing to those healthy habits may be easier said than done. In fact, studies show that up to 80 percent of resolutions fail by mid February.

To help you be part of the 20 percent who keep their New Year’s resolutions, we spoke with a handful of experienced personal trainers about the workout accessories they just can’t live without. From familiar gadgets like fitness trackers to lesser-known tools like clubbells, these accessories are praised for their versatility and ease of use for beginners.

Whether you’re hitting the gym for the first time or are already familiar with the weight rack, check out these seven fitness accessories recommended by personal trainers to keep your fitness resolution going strong this year.

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A suspension trainer
When working with clients, Chicago-based trainer Quan Bailey abides by the manta: “If you want something you’ve never had before, you’ve got to be willing to do something you’ve never done before.” That’s why he’s a huge fan of the TRX suspension trainer. “It’s so versatile and easy to move from place to place,” he says. Suspension training is easy for clients to learn on and progress with since it’s a safe form of working out. That said, if the TRX is out of your budget, Gaiam has a wallet-friendly suspension trainer (pictured) that Bailey has used before and says works well, too.
Loop resistance bands
“As a busy mom, I try and fit in workouts whenever I can,” says Taylor Merritt, a personal trainer based in San Diego. “Loop resistance bands are super affordable and versatile. You can bring them anywhere and they are easy to travel with… While bodyweight exercises are great, resistance bands help you take your workout to the next level without needing to add any weights. Merritt says she uses cotton loop resistance bands while doing chores around the house or playing with her kids. “A little bit goes a long way, and I am always sore the next day.”
A set of clubbells
David Hardin is a Chicago-based fitness professional who has trained celebrities, professional athletes, military personnel, law enforcement and those with special needs. He swears by the clubbell, a tool used by ancient Persian that resembles a weighted bat. “With its unique design and training methods, the clubbell is a full-body workout that teaches the body to work in unison, instead of isolating muscles. You can lose fat, build muscle, increase athletic performance, all while improving joint mobility and stability, muscle flexibility, and connective tissue strength.” Hardin says the clubbell’s unique design makes it a good fitness accessory for all skill levels. “Plus, you look like a badass when swinging heavy clubs."
A heart-rate monitor
For Steven Dieltz, a trainer based in Washington, D.C., fitness is all about remaining consistent. “You want it to be a slow progression in the right direction toward your goal,” he says. “Staying consistent with diet, workout and cardio is the best way to achieve your goals.” Dieltz recommends smart wearable technology, like the Fitbit Charge 3, to track heart rate, steps, calories burned and workouts in general. “This allows you to see if you are progressing week to week,” he says.
A kettlebell
Sam Hagen is a personal trainer at Evolve Fitness in Chicago. He says that fitness is all about looking at the bigger picture, which is why his go-to workout accessory is the kettlebell. “This tool has been around since the 1700s for a reason,” he says. “The kettlebell helps me teach my clients some of the most fundamental movement patterns in exercise — squatting, hinging or deadlifting, pushing and pulling. While a lot of machines and certain exercises train to isolate muscles individually, kettlebell exercises train your body as a whole, utilizing almost every muscle group working together.”
Some KettleGuard wrist bands
Gina Borgetti-Evans, a personal trainer in Austin, Texas, loves to gift KettleGuards. “These reinforced sweat bands are worn on your wrists to protect them from forearm discomfort when training with kettlebells for exercises such as Turkish Get-Ups or Kettlebell Cleans,” she says. “They're lightweight, machine washable, have adjustable inserts and remove distraction [from discomfort] so wearers can focus on the task at hand.”
The Garmin Forerunner 735XT
“Life changes and healthful lifestyles come from the top down,” says Erin Darby Gesell, a personal trainer currently training and traveling across the U.S.. “If you can take care of what's happening above the shoulders, what is going on below the shoulders will work itself out.” Gesell recommends a Garmin watch for activity tracking. “My Garmin Forerunner 735 can track everything from my steps to stroke rate for paddle boarding,” she says.
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