The Best Fitness Training Tools, Uses & Alternatives
When creating the Ocean Monkey Jedi training program I could see pros and cons about using equipment. This program is for windsurfers and water sports aficionados. Being a professional windsurfer, I know that 8 years ago if you told me to invest in a stability ball or a bosu I would have replied “no way I need to save up for a new sail” and “how is that gonna fit in my board bag anyway?!”
The more I worked on it, the more I confidently concluded that this program would be most successful for my customers and clients using props. Not your typical fitness training program, OMJ is designed to challenge you in ways that mimic the unpredictability of the wind and the water. In the workout videos, I demonstrate how to perform all the exercises without equipment or how to create alternatives (water bottles if you don’t have dumbbells, a pillow instead of a Bosu for your single leg balance). This way, NC6 Training programs support the reality of wind sport lifestyle, by offering practical workouts that can easily travel and adapt to your unique routine.
Here is a summary of each prop used in the Ocean Monkey Jedi workout videos, why I think they are a worthy investment for this program, future ones and your overall fitness journey.
TIP: Always look on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist for deals on used fitness props. "Re-using" is better for the planet and for our wallet! See resources at the bottom of this blog for links to purchase each item.
The Stability Ball
This versatile fitness tool has been around awhile for good reason. You may even have one rolling around in your backyard shed or being used as a toy by your children :) If not, have a look for a used ball online, ask a neighbor or purchase one through your favorite fitness equipment provider.
Seated twists in the "Kanaha Core & More" workout
ALTERNATIVE: When traveling, the stability ball can be replaced with a chair for the seated exercises in Ocean Monkey Jedi and still challenge your core strength.
TIP: The stability ball is also great to stretch. Try a side, chest or hip stretch. It’s also a life saver when you have too many friends over and run out of chairs :)
The Bosu Ball
Named after the acronym 'Both Sides Up' because it can be used either way, the Bosu is more of an investment than a stability ball but also a very popular tool, which means it should not be too hard to find a used one for sale near you. Creating unstable-yet-still-safe surfaces to workout on, the Bosu has the ability to mimic the unpredictability of the water with all its chops, bumps and currents.
ALTERNATIVE: For single leg balance exercises, you can replace the Bosu by a balance pad or a well stuffed pillow or a bolster or even a folded mat/towel (but no jumping, just balancing haha!). For quadruped exercise you can use a stability ball instead but it will be slightly more challenging.
TIP: Training with unstable surfaces makes your body “smarter” and able to better respond to micro perturbations without you even thinking about it.
Foam roller uses in the Ocean Monkey Jedi program
The Foam Roller
This prop is highly recommended for both the Solid Shoulders and Ocean Monkey Jedi program. Ever since I started foam rolling I noticed the positive effects it has on my body. I feel less aches and pains and am able to move more freely, with a feeling of looseness. Foam rolling is fairly mindless and easy to do while watching a little TV but too beneficial to skip!
In Ocean Monkey Jedi I get more creative with the foam roller. It adds some spice to classic core exercises, assists in placing the pelvis in key position for more targeted muscle contractions and adds challenge to balancing moves.
This is another item that can be found in every gym or that won’t break the bank if you go for the classic foam ones. A foam roller can be used for self myofascial release (better known as foam rolling) for the legs, back and lats as a form of recovery or as a part of your warmup.
TIP: I recommend dense foam versus soft and a 90cm (36 inches) tall foam roller so you can have both head and tail resting on it in exercises like snow angels and dead bug switch.
The Elastic Band
This might be my favorite tool used in the OMJ program. The elastic band is underestimated in its ability to progress push-ups and pull-ups... and by 'progress' I do not only mean increase the number of repetitions. In Ocean Monkey Jedi I invite you to practice of single-arm push-ups, explosive pull-ups and clap push-ups using the elastic band. By setting up a thick 2 arm length elastic band on a pull up bar, you can use it under your hips during push-ups or under your feet during pull-ups. This allows you to safely build strength and coordination while still performing the exercise in the exact same position it is intended to be performed without support.
TIP: If you followed the Solid Shoulders program you also know that the band is a great stretching tool whether it’s used as a strap for hamstrings stretches or looped under your feet and on your opposite first rib to lower your shoulder in neck and arm stretches. And it conveniently fits in even the smallest of suitcases ;)
NC6 Training is not affiliated with these products and does not endorse a specific brand of fitness equipment. The following suggestions are based on Sarah Hauser's professional experience and the ideal props to compliment NC6 Training programs.
Stability Ball (recommended diameter: 65cm if you're tall , 55cm if you're short. When seating on the ball your knees should be bent at about 90 degrees)
Bosu (recommended diameter: 65cm)
Foam Roller (choose a high density + 36 inches tall roller)
Elastic Band (the thicker the band, the easier the pull-ups and push-ups)
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