April 24, 2009

To keep the results coming, you'll need to continue changing your strength training routine and stimulating your muscles.

A pair of dumbbells and a 55- to 65-centimeter stability ball (depending on your height) can help you get started (or, for next-to-no money, you can use a full water bottle in place of a dumbbell and stand on a sofa cushion or folded towel to challenge your balance).

Eventually, though, you may want to add a few more exercise moves and tools to your toolbox for variety and to take your strength training routine to the next level. Try some of these top-notch toning and balance tools, ranked by category from least to most expensive. They won't take up much space or break the bank.

Toning/Resistance Tools for Your Workout Routines

Medicine ball

price $15-$150, depending on weight

description A weighted ball, ranging from 2-25 pounds in 2- to 5-pound increments

how it works Hold in both hands to add resistance as you do strength moves or twisting exercises.

Body Bar

price $23-$90, depending on weight

description A 2- to 6-foot-long weighted bar with padding; comes in 4, 9, 12, 15, 18, 24, 30 and 36 pounds

how it works Use like a barbell in your strength training routines to do moves such as squats, upright rows and biceps curls.

Read on for more great exercise moves and tools to add to your strength workout routines![header = Exercise moves & tools will push your strength training routines to the max.]

Shape recommends more tools and exercise moves that will push your strength training routines to the max.


price $119

description A foam wedge that can be used as an incline bench, step or crunch board for variety and added resistance

how it works Lie on ramp, or place one foot on top, to do moves like incline crunches, decline flies and lunges.

Here are balance tools that will boost the effectiveness of your strength training routine. Try them in your workout routines today.

SPRI Xerdisc

price $25

description A lightweight, air-filled disc that looks like an inflated Frisbee

how it works Stand with one or both feet on the disc to challenge your balance.

AIREX Balance Block

price $50

description A soft foam cushion; good balance tool for beginners

how it works Stand with one or both feet on top to create instability.

BOSU Balance Trainer

price $130 (with pump, exercise manual and how-to video)

description An inflated half-dome on a platform (looks like a stability ball cut in half)

how it works Stand, sit, lie or kneel on the dome side, or flip over for an even bigger balance challenge.

Reebok Core Board

price $150 (with how-to video)

description A board on an adjustable base that tilts, rocks and swivels

how it works Do strength moves while balancing on top for a serious core workout.

To order any of these products for your workout routines: