8 Workout Tools For Busy Dads - Dean MC Menamin

8 Workout Tools For Busy Dads

Many dads want to save on time traveling to and from the gym.

Some just don’t like the gym scene and prefer to work out at home.

Many don’t really know what they’re doing, so don’t feel comfortable getting started in the gym environment.

And many don’t have spare space to build an entire home gym with all the bells and whistles.

If any of that resonate with you?

I’ve got a powerful small list of equipment that will help you shift the dad-belly and have an athletic-looking body at home.

In fact, even with my own dedicated garage gym space, these are all staple regulars in my own workouts.

Plus, lots of the impressive transformations I’ve helped busy dads achieve have been done with home workouts and a few basic tools. 

So, if you’re looking to upgrade from dad-bod to rad-bod, and have to do it from home with limited space and time?

I’ve got the kit list for you!

(And, I’ve listed some places to find them in the PS section at the bottom of this article. And no, I won’t get any rewards for recommending them. These are just the ones I like.)

Now before we get into the list, understand you don’t need all of this stuff now. 

And certainly don’t need anything to start. 


Case in point: 

My client, James, achieve this in his hotel rooms whilst working away from home with nothing but his body weight, a weighted vest, some resistance bands, and an ab roller.

So, get started with what you have now, and add whatever kit you can, when you can, to your homemade, athletic body-building collection along the way.


Here we go:


1. Pull up bar

I’ve yet to come across a client who wouldn’t like to achieve a pull-up.

Many can’t do them in the beginning because of their weight, lack of strength, or both.

But I’ve helped many men in their 40s go from 0 pull-ups to double figures in less than a year.

You don’t need to be able to do pull-ups to start on pull-ups.

Just starting by hanging from the bar will strengthen your grip, arms, and back muscles, whilst developing the important body control you need to start working on pull-ups eventually.

Start with 3 sets of 10-30 seconds, then slowly build up to 60 seconds over the weeks and months.

Then, add some flex hangs into your routine for 5-15 seconds for a while. These will help you get there.

Here’s how to do those:

Active Hang:

Flex Hang:

Overhand Pull-Up:


2. Suspension trainer, TRX, Gymnastic rings, or Angles 90 straps

I use Angles 90’s straps and grips, but a TRX, suspension trainer or Gymnastic Rings all do similar jobs.

These are great tools for building upper body strength, that doesn’t take up a lot of space or cost a lot of money.

Here’s a couple of ideas of what you can do with them:

Inverted Rows

Press Ups:

And, more join-friendly pull-ups:


3. Adjustable Dumbbells (ideally going up to 30+kg per dumbbell)


If I could only have 1 piece of kit, it would be these. 


You can build your entire body with these, and it’s far more join-friendly, and space-friendly than say, a barbell and lots of big weight plates.


The only downside is they don’t come cheap, but are worth the investment.  


And no, 5-7kg dumbbells aren’t cutting it. Those are great to get your 9-year-old daughter started, but not you.


4. Set of Resistance Bands

Add bands to any bodyweight exercise and you make them harder. You can also use them for pull-up assistance, and bicep and tricep work if you have no dumbbells (yet).

Plus, when you’re travelling or on the road you can pack them in any bag and barely notice they’re there.

Here’s a few ideas:

Band Press-Ups

Band-Assisted Pull-Ups:

Banded Lat Pull-Downs:


5. Weighted Vest

Bodyweight movements create full-body muscular activation, but, eventually, if you’re training properly and making progress, you’ll become too strong for the basics to keep challenging you.

Slip on a weighted vest and your problems are solved.


6. Slant board


I don’t know about you, but I want to be able to hike mountains and be active with my kids for a long, long time.

Doing your squats on a slant-board can help you do this.

Here’s why:


7 & 8 are additional bonuses…


7. Kettlebells


If push comes to shove, I’m gonna say these probably aren’t essential.


But, they’re a nice alternative for some of your dumbbell movements to keep things varied and interesting, plus, these are incredible HIIT tools.


Especially if you’re short on time. Start a Tabata timer for 4 minutes and do 20 seconds of work/10 seconds rest of kettlebell swings, snatches, cleans, clean and presses, or a mix of all.

An ideal set for men would be 16kg, 20kg, and 24kg bells.


8. Adjustable bench. 


Not everyone has room for a bench. 


And to be honest, getting strong on all the different press-up and weighted press-up variations will do a lot for your chest. 


Your shoulders and arms are well covered from everything else I’ve mentioned, too.


So it’s definitely not essential if you’re ok with average chest development. 


But if you want better than the average? 


You’ll need an adjustable bench for some incline, decline, and flat dumbbell bench pressing. 


And that’s pretty much it.


More than everything you need to turn yourself into a home-built athlete. 


I hope it was helpful. 


– Dean 

PS – Here’s some recommendations of quality gear for your home gym (No, I don’t get any rewards for recommending these, I just like them):

Angles 90 for grips and suspension trainer: https://uk.angles90.com/collections/onlineshop

Adjustable Weighted Vest: https://bulldoggear.com/products/weighted-vest?_pos=6&_psq=weighted%20vest&_ss=e&_v=1.0

Resistance Bands: https://againfaster.eu/en_gb/again-faster-resistance-bands.html

Slant board: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Professional-Adjustable-Incline-Stretcher-Stretch/dp/B07K9N28TK/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?keywords=slant%2Bboard&qid=1636980947&s=sports&sr=1-1-spons&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUEzVEdXUDUxTDhEMVlFJmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwNjUyMDc0OVBVUkFSMUZMRUg2JmVuY3J5cHRlZEFkSWQ9QTAxMDI2MDEzRFg2MzFLSTUyOVpKJndpZGdldE5hbWU9c3BfYXRmJmFjdGlvbj1jbGlja1JlZGlyZWN0JmRvTm90TG9nQ2xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ&th=1

Pull-Up Bars:

  1. https://againfaster.eu/en_gb/again-faster-home-pull-up-bar.html

2) Or… https://www.pullupmate.co.uk/

Adjustable Dumbbells: https://braingain.fit/collections/adjustable-dumbbells/products/32kg-adjustable-dumbbell-pair

Adjustable Benches: https://againfaster.eu/en_gb/search/?q=banch

Kettlebells: https://againfaster.eu/en_gb/again-faster-kettlebells.html

About the Author Dean McMenamin

Dean McMenamin is an Army veteran, father, dog-lover and online nutrition & exercise coach helping busy men transform their bodies, regain self-confidence and be healthier role models for their kids. He's also a big eater of ice-cream.

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