One of the fastest ways to rev up your metabolism is to increase the amount of movement you build into your day. It’s handy to set a timer on your Apple Watch, Fitbit, Whoop Strap, or gadget of choice to remind you, but unless you have some tools within reach, you might end up staying stuck at your desk. Here are six pieces of affordable, durable, and versatile equipment that can help get you going.
1) The Wave Tool
The Shark Tank investors often say that the best products come from someone recognizing a problem and working backward to find a clever solution. That’s the origin story of The Wave Tool, which was designed by two Boulder-based climbers who also happen to be physical therapists. They realized that after a long day clinging to an exposed rock face, their fingers, wrists, and forearms were well and truly fried. Even with their high level of expertise, they didn’t have a portable mobility device that they could throw in their packs to remedy those tight tissues. So they created The Wave Tool.
While traditional instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM) products are expensive and unwieldy, The Wave Tool is a steal at $49.99 and will fit on your desk or a corner of your gym bag. It’s equally as effective at relieving tightness from typing too much as it is after a hard training session and has a variety of contoured edges and notches specifically designed to work on different parts of your body. For maximum glide across your skin, rub on a little lotion before use and stop scraping if you start to see little red bumps appearing. Not sure how to begin? The Wave Tool’s creators have put together some handy videos.
2) Rep Fitness Kettlebell
OK, you could get a kettlebell from any number of vendors, and if you want to go premium, the thinner handles and perfect balance of the Kettlebells USA Paradigm Pro Elite 33 MM or Kettlebell Kings Competition are hard to beat. But many sellers are perpetually out of stock due to an increase in COVID-related demand, and all you really need for your office is a solid bell that you can do a few reps with when taking a well-earned break from your computer screen.
Enter Rep Fitness’s cast iron bells. Unlike cheaper options, there aren’t any weird instability issues when swinging them. The matte coating is extremely durable, and the bell is cast as a single piece, giving it greater longevity than those created out of several pieces. And while the handle is thicker than competition bells, it hits a sweet spot between being smooth and having enough tackiness to maintain your grip. Another bonus? Free Amazon shipping. So stick one of these bells in the corner of your office and get in a few deadlifts, rows, or presses when you need to get the blood flowing.
3) TRX Minimal System
Former Navy SEAL Randy Hetrick designed the first TRX prototype to help keep his troops fit at forward operating bases overseas that had little to no equipment. In the 24 years since, several variations have hit the market, including a dual anchor version that offers all the advantages of gymnastics rings, while also allowing you to put your feet into the straps for exercises like elevated push-ups. But the TRX Minimal System is arguably the best version for home office use, and it costs no more than a single month’s gym dues.
One of the handiest features is an included door mount that removes the need for additional hardware. Simply put one end between your door and its frame, close it, and presto – you’ve got a complete office gym at your disposal. When you can find a few minutes between meetings, fire up the TRX app to access hundreds of quick sessions created by experienced coaches and trainers. We’re big fans of a circuit that combines rows, lunges, and assisted jumps, which will all get your heart rate up in just a few minutes. Once you’ve finished, remove the door anchor and stash the straps until you’re ready for your next micro workout. Just like the original iteration, the TRX Minimal System should last you for years.
4) MobilityWOD Mush Gemini
Back in the day, CrossFitters started taping two lacrosse balls together to create a mobility tool that fit between the back of their ribs and could feed some slack into the thoracic spine. This works fine in a pinch, but the balls are too hard for the purpose. That’s why the founder of The Ready State, Dr. Kelly Starrett, came up with the original Gemini, which featured a notch for your spine and was tapered to take into account the anatomy of the target area. An updated version – the Mush Gemini – improves on the original thanks to an air hole that allows you to customize the firmness with a basketball or bicycle pump and has ridges that increase the grippiness of the tool. We like the smaller size available online from Rogue Fitness.
The t-spine doesn’t just get tight when you’re snatching, cleaning, and ring dipping but also as you hunch over your laptop all day long. So try putting the Mush Gemini on a yoga mat and sinking your back into it several times a day. Start at the base of your shoulder blades and move up toward your neck, pausing to address any super-sore spots along the way. To increase the stimulus, try extending your arms over your head and/or doing a half crunch. Don’t be alarmed if you hear a little pop – that just means you hit a reset. The Mush Gemini is also useful if your calves get tight from standing for too long, and you can roll it between your forearms and the top of your desk if all those keystrokes start to take a toll.
5) Hypervolt Go
OK, so massage guns are having a moment. Percussion therapy went from an obscure thing that only pro athletes were doing to a mass market modality very quickly for one simple reason – it works. There are several heavy hitters in this space, but we prefer the choice of the NBA, New Zealand All Blacks, and the NFL: Hyperice.
If you want to go for the top-of-the-range model, the Hypervolt Plus comes equipped with Bluetooth and an accompanying app that will let you customize your recovery to your sport or activity of choice, as well as providing access to advice from top performance specialists and athletes’ own post-workout routines. But if you’re just seeking a cost-effective addition to your home office, then the Hypervolt Go is the way ahead. It doesn’t have some of the same bells and whistles as its big brother but still packs plenty of muscle-soothing power into a package that’s small enough to fit unobtrusively on your desk.
The ergonomic handle makes it easy to use on your legs, shoulders, arms, and any other sore spots, and at just 1.5 pounds, doing so won’t feel like you’ve been wielding a sledgehammer. And while it might not be silent for conference calls, the Hypervolt Go is quiet enough to use without disturbing your significant other or kids if they’re trying to Zoom while you’re mobilizing.