Let’s face it, commercial gyms can suck. It’s busy all the time, you’ve got to fight a million other people for equipment, and people don’t rerack their weights or wipe their sweat. A germaphobe’s worst nightmare.
Some of my online fitness coaching clients have home gyms. They can’t be bothered to deal with the time it takes to commute, the gym fees, or how slammed it gets during peak hours.
If you have the space, building a home gym is incredible because the equipment is a one-time purchase and you can work out whenever you want without all the commercial gym annoyances.
Luckily you don’t need a lot of money or space to build a decent home gym. You also don’t need to be buying everything at once. In the beginning, you should be focusing on purchasing the basic equipment that gets you the most results. These basics will do and anything else is just icing on the cake.
We don’t want to be buying anything that you are not going to end up using. If you’ve been looking to put together a home gym, here is the equipment that I recommend:
Barbell and Plate Set: Since you’re going to be strength training, you need to focus on the basic fundamental movement patterns: squatting, deadlifting, pressing, and rowing. You can do all of those exercises with the barbell. Depending on how strong you are, the weight plate set you’re getting is going to vary. You also don’t need a super fancy elite weightlifting barbell, just a standard 45lb bar will do.
Rack: Along with the barbell you’re going to need a rack so you can set up your presses and squats. If you don’t have the space for a rack, you can always clean the bar up and squat or press the weight like back in the olden days.
Adjustable Bench: Having a bench is pretty important to do many of your strength training exercises. When figuring out which bench to get, be sure it’s one that can be adjusted from many different angles instead of just a standard flat, high incline, and upright one.
Adjustable Dumbbells: If you don’t have the space for a barbell and a rack, dumbbells are great alternative. You should also have them anyway because with some exercises, they are superior to barbells and there are so many things you can do with them.
With dumbbells, you don’t need to spend tons of money on multiple pairs of that take up lots of space. You can get yourself a pair of adjustable ones that can go from 5 to 52.5lbs. Bowflex sells a great one that many of my clients have.
Bands: Bands are awesome because they are cheap, can do so many exercises with them and for some exercises, they are superior to barbells and dumbbells because of the tension you get from it is totally different. Not only that, you can also use it as extra resistance for certain exercises such as pushups, squats, and rows.
Ab Wheel: Super cheap and builds your core like no other. The ab wheel is one of the best tools you can use to strengthen your core. If you have a problem with hyperextending your back, then doing rollouts will help you with that by teaching you to keep a neutral spine. Perform multiple sets of 10-15 reps and watch that core strength go up.
Stability Ball: A highly underrated tool that gets overlooked because people do circus acts with them. I love using the stability ball for leg curls and other core exercises. Not only that, you can also use it as a tool to stretch and improve your mobility. A standard 55cm one is good for most people.
Pullup Bar: Pullups are one of the best exercises that you can do for your upper body. They build mass on your biceps, lats, upper back muscles, and core. Depending on your grip, it emphasizes certain parts more than others. Using a neutral grip, or palms facing each other, targets your forearm muscles (brachialis) more. With a supinated grip, or palms facing you, your biceps get targeted more.
You can mount a pullup bar on your doorframe in your home and you can knock them out in your workouts, or do one every time you walk through that door.
Work it Out
When it comes to building a home gym, all of your equipment that you should purchase should be used. Stick with the basics, get strong using all of them and you can reach your fitness goals without the hassle of being in a gym.