Two-for-One Tools

Turn your training on its head by using these "Why didn't I think of that?" swaps.

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A Weight Plate

Not just for loading onto the ends of a bar, weight plates are fabulous as an on-their-own resistance option. Hold a heavy plate against your chest while doing squats or farmer’s walks, or try this leg and core cincher: get into a plank position on your forearms with a 10-pound weight plate under the toes of each foot. Extend one leg out to the side as far as you can, sliding the plate along the floor as you go, then return to the start. Repeat on the other side and continue alternating for three sets of 15 reps on each leg.

An Exercise Mat

Roll up an exercise mat, and you’ve got yourself one versatile piece of fitness gear: use it as an impromptu punching bag when sparring with a pal (just make sure to hold it with extended arms as your partners jabs it), clench it between your knees during crunches to further engage the pelvic floor and inner thighs, or place it under your palms during push-ups for a bit of added instability.

A Pull-Up Bar

Even if you can’t perform a full pull-up, you can still benefit from this weight-room staple. Release tight back muscles postworkout by holding the bar with an overhand grip and allowing your body to go limp. Stay here for as long as you can to stretch out your muscles and improve grip strength.

A Foam Roller

Don’t just save this knot-kneader for after your routine — use it in your strength exercises, too! Lie on top of it so it runs vertically down your back as you perform abs exercises, or kneel on it as you do moves on all fours (such as donkey kicks).

A Jump Rope

This one is another postworkout stretching tool in disguise. Try this: sit up tall on the floor with your legs extended. Fold a jump rope in half, loop it around the balls of your feet, and gently pull on both ends to draw your toes towards you. Hold for 20 seconds to stretch our your hamstrings, then release.

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