Home gyms: The kit that will keep you fit

Best in Class: From dance routines to bean can lifts, you may never go back to the gym


The Covid-19 lockdown can’t keep choreographer Jane Shortall from standing still. Like many of us she’s taking steps to try to beat the confinement. The dancer, who worked on the recently released film, Four Kids and It, an adaptation of a Jacqueline Wilson novel, was hired to coach 13-year-old lead Ashley Aufderheide in her first dance role.

Inspired by the poptastic work, she is is hosting Confi-Dance workshops from her Dublin 8 bedroom to help you wind down after the working week. The idea is an easy-to-follow tutorial that takes you through certain dance moves for certain songs. So far, she's done Flashdance and Womanizer by Brittany Spears. It's uplifting and, for now at least, free to attend, virtually via either Facebook or Instagram. Dance like no one is watching and get fit into the bargain. janeshortall.com


Stay-at-home dad-of-five Dexter Fit Dad is an Instagram hit for his practical approach to staying in shape. His sandbag Sunday workouts are legendary but if that sounds like running before you can walk, start by following his workout routine, which he has painted onto his garage wall in tonal shades of green by American paint company Sherwin-Williams.

It is an incredibly simple and easy to replicate idea that will allow you to follow programmes set by you or your personal trainer without having to look at any screen while breaking a sweat. You get to stay in the workout zone. Try painting the instructions in Midgetgolf Green from Dulux atop Fleetwood's Pantone range in Deep Teal 19-4919. @DexterFitDad; dulux.ie; fleetwood.ie



Irish-designed yoga mat company Holder Eight produces 4mm thick mats that feel like velvet underfoot. They provide a comfortable, anti-slip base from which to practise arm balances and kneeling postures, and also keep you warm and supported while you relax deeply into your savasana. Made from 100 per cent naturally biodegradable rubber, the firm launched a set of limited run prints this year that are inspired by bold botanicals to better connect you to Mother Earth and nature. They cost €89, with travel-size versions costing €60. The range includes BPA-free water bottles featuring hand-drawn prints that can keep hot or cool drinks, €29. holdereight.com


As well as supplying hotels such as the Marker and the Shelbourne with Technogym equipment, Kingscourt-based TT Fitness installs the luxe brand in homes where a specific gym area is now as common as an open-plan kitchen, says managing director Tony Maguire.

“It’s a place clients are spending 10-12 hours a week,” he says. “Clients favour its sculptural lines because it aligns with the overall look of their interior.”

Pictured is its cross personal trainer, €10,468, ex Vat, which is scheduled to be showcased at Design Shanghai, now due to take place in May. It also can control your constant pulse rate to keep you within a range that is safe for your age, making it a smart investment for older actives. ttfitness.ie; technogym.com/int/


Battling ropes were designed by US-based John Brookfield. He developed the system in his back yard, and trained military stationed at nearby Fort Bragg, North Carolina, using them to sustain strength, speed, power, and also mental endurance over time, instead of just interval training. In fitness training they're used to increase full body strength and conditioning. The action of the ropes creates velocity, strength and speed at the same time and there's no lull in the action so your body has to work constantly. Dublin-based McSport sells a set of ropes by Hit Fitness that are 15m long and cost €189.95. mcsport.ie


If you don't feel you can present your arms to the public, you can improve definition by lifting cans of beans in the kitchen or you could invest in a leather RDX speedball, €32.99, available through Littlewoods Ireland, that is used for boxing to improve hand speed, reaction time and hand-to-eye co-ordination, but can also help improve upper body endurance, agility and cardio. It will also let you vent when being contained indoors with flatmates or family starts doing your head in. It comes with a HG-Steel ceiling swivel to provide stability and security but you will need to buy boxing gloves separately. littlewoodsireland.ie


If you have a roomy back garden or a spare field, one of the more upscale solutions is this very cool mirrored glass box by Pod Office Solutions. Its three-glass wall design gives you 270 degrees of views, if you site it in a beauty spot. It comes in two sizes – 14sq m or 21sq m – that, under the current building regulations, do not needing planning permission as they are less than 25sq m in size, with prices starting respectively from €30,000 and €59,000 for an empty but insulated space. Theycan be customised to suit your needs, additional head height in the studio for gym use or decoupling of the floor to facilitate a running machine, explains its director, Kara Cramp.

A kitchenette is another optional extra. So too is a bathroom. For the latter you will need to apply for planning permission and prices start from €3,000 for a basic fit-out. The structures use a minimal concrete and steel leg system and can be built on some sloping sites. Delivery and installation is four to six weeks. Podofficesolutions.ie