Going to a gym can be inconvenient and the cost of membership can quickly become too expensive for what you are getting. Whatever the reason might be, having a home gym is an excellent option for those who are looking to get in shape or reach their physical peak. So, when setting up your home gym, what are the most important things you are going to want to have?
1. Adjustable Dumbbells
One of the first things you are going to want to get for your home gym is going to be some dumbbells. While you can get a whole set of different-weight dumbbells, getting adjustable dumbbells can help you save a large amount of space and money.
Dumbells are the best piece of equipment you can get for your home gym as they allow you to work almost every muscle in your upper body without requiring that much space. Because of this, they make your workouts safer if you are using a smaller space that wouldn’t be possible with plenty of other exercise equipment.
Along with increased safety, dumbbells are also far more effective at building up muscles throughout your body than just about any other piece of equipment you can get. For example, overhead presses with dumbbells are far more effective using dumbbells than with a barbell.
2. One Kettlebell
While it is nice to have a variety of different kettlebells, you only need to have one in order to get in any kettlebell-related workouts. These also don’t take up much space and are great for a variety of different strength training exercises. In fact, with just a single kettlebell, you will be able to get a good, balanced workout throughout your whole body.
The biggest question with kettlebells might be what weight to get for your first bell. Typically, for males a 40-45 pound bell will be right, while 30-35 pounds tend to be the best eight to start off with for females. You can also go into fitness shops and get a feel for the weights in order to figure out what works best for you.
The main movements that you are going to want to stick to when you are working with your kettlebells are going to be:
3. Adjustable Bench/ Training Bench
Having some sort of adjustable bench that can help you keep you in proper form is very important. Having a simple bench can help you stay comfortable while also keeping proper form, while training benches can open up a number of other workouts. There are plenty of workouts that cannot be done without any sort of bench, including bench presses or dumbbell rows.
Getting a nice, adjustable bench s going to be the best option for your home gym, as you can get set-position benches, but that will just cost you more money and take up more space. When choosing whether you want to get a set-position bench, adjustable bench, or training bench, it comes down to the amount of space that you are working with and the amount you are willing to spend.
4. A Barbell
Along with dumbbells, this is going to be the piece of equipment that you are going to be using the most when you are doing weight training. In fact, having a barbell is essential in order to have a truly effective and quality weight workout.
When looking at getting a barbell, there are going to be plenty of different options, that range in price and quality, but since this is such an essential part of most workouts, you are going to want to make sure that you get a quality barbell that will withstand all the workouts for the many years that you plan to use it.
You will want to avoid cheaper barbells as they typically experience:
- Chipping & Cracking
- Tearing at your Hands
- Squeaking and Rattling
- Unbalanced weight
- Falling apart
5. A Set of Weight Plates
Along with the barbell, you are going to want to get a good set of weighted plates. Obviously, these are going to be best used on your barbell, but there are a number of different workouts that you can do using just the weight plates themselves. The biggest thing you will want to look at with weight plates when buying them is to make sure they can handle a fall without breaking.
You can get either traditional weight plates or bumper plates. The main difference between the two is the fact that bumper plates are coated in rubber or urethane to protect both the plate and your floor. But you still won’t want to drop them unless you have a padded floor that can handle the drop.
No matter what type of weight plate you get, you are going to want to have some sort of plate in order to build up plenty of muscle and make full use of your barbell.
6. A Squat Rack
This is another piece of equipment that is going to work well with your barbell. Making sure that you have a good squat rack to help set you up and give you a good starting place for your squats is essential. This is likely going to be the largest piece in your gym as they tend to be fairly large, and expensive. Making sure you get a strong, durable squat rack is also important as a poor quality one can break and lead to injury to damage to your gym.
Another reason that a quality squat rack is important is the fact that it is also going to act as your spotter if you are working out alone. You want the rack to be able to support the eight when you can handle it, and the cheaper the rack the less reliable it is.
7. Pullup Bar
Having a pull-up bar in your home gym is a simple but great workout option. With some squat racks, you might see that they have one pre-attached, however, if not they are very easy to get and take up almost no space. The majority of pullup bars that you will find online are going to be made so you can simply set it up in a doorway and then start using it.
Using a variety of different holds when doing pull-ups can work a number of different muscles throughout your arms, shoulders, chest, back, and core.
8. Resistance Bands
Another great piece of equipment that you are going to want to have in your home gym is a good selection of resistance bands. These can help in most aspects of a workout, from helping you get a good stretch and warm up before you start, to helping build up muscles when you are pushing yourself the hardest
You can typically find a wide variety of different resistance bands for a fairly cheap price. You will want to make sure you get a variety of resistance weights when purchasing them, as different resistances will be more effective during different workouts.
There are two different types of rope that I am going to talk about here. Both have the same general purpose; conditioning. They are different in the parts of the body that they work, but both will have you breathing hard and building up your conditioning.
The battle ropes are the large, somewhat heavy ropes that are typically connected to the all that you alternate raising and lowering. These ropes heavily work out your arms and shoulders as the longer you go the heavier the ropes are and the harder it is to continue to lift and throw down with force.
The only problem some people might have with battle ropes is the fact that they require a fair amount of space in order to use them properly and most effectively. Along with that, some people don’t like that the ropes can scuff and wear down the wooden floors they use in their home gym.
You probably already know what a jump rope is and how to use it, but when working out with one you are going to be trying to be going as fast as you can. This greatly helps build up your conditioning, especially if you can go a long time without hitting your legs and interrupting yourself.
10. Cardio Machine
There are plenty of different options that you are going to have when choosing some sort of cardio machine. I will cover the most popular machines that people tend to use. But a general problem that many people have with these machines is the fact that they take up a decent amount of space and limit the room you have for your other workouts. If you have a small home gym, it is recommended that you don’t get a cardio machine to give yourself more space for other workouts.
A rowing machine is a great choice as it can work out nearly every muscle in your body if you are using the proper form. There is a reason that competitive rowers are so fit, and it is because rowing builds up your shoulders, arms, legs, core, and stomach. And rowing machines are also great for cardio as they are an intensive workout.
The treadmill is a classic cardio option that most people prefer, and with more technology being added, often they have guides who walk or run with you through a variety of different locations, making it a more fun experience to go fun a jog. The main issue with treadmills is the fact that they take up more space than any other machine and can easily be substituted by running outside.
The last common option that people turn to for their cardio workouts is spin bikes. Just like with the treadmill, the advancements in spin bikes allow you to bike to a variety of different locations. Along with this, there are trainer options that make it like you are biking in a gym class, in the comfort of your home gym.
11. Plyo Box
One of the last things that you are going to want to pick up for your home gym is going to be at least one plyo box. Typically these are sold with multiple boxes together offering you a variety of different options. This allows you to perform a number of other stretches and workouts. These act as solid surfaces for you to use in your home workouts.
12. Clock/ Timer
While it doesn’t seem like a clock or a timer in your gym is going to do that much in order to help you out, it is very important. If you go to your local gym you will notice that there are several timers or clocks spread throughout the gym in order to help those there keep track of how long they have been doing a specific workout.
Having a clock in your home gym greatly helps limit the likelihood of overworking yourself, and lets you better keep track of all of your workouts.
What To Avoid In A Home Gym
All of the things listed above are great to include in your home gym, but there are also plenty of different things that you are also going to want to avoid including. I will cover the two biggest things that you will want to avoid.
You are going to want to avoid making your home gym too cramped. Plenty of exercise requires a lot of space and if you have too much around you it can easily lead to poor form and increase the chance that you end up hurting yourself. When getting your home gym set up, figure out how much space you have and try to leave as much of it as possible open in order to keep you safe.
Another thing you will want to avoid is weight machines. These aren’t that bad, but you can do better workouts that are both safer and more effective with your dumbbells, kettlebells, or barbells. Along with this, weight machines take up a lot of space, and as mentioned above, you want to keep your workout area clear and open.