I am pretty sure that every gym goer, if they had the space and money, would love nothing more than to have a badass home gym. Your own space to throw about weights with your own music playing, nobody sitting on kit texting and if you want to curl in the squat rack then goddamn it you can curl in the squat rack.
Well folks I happen to be lucky enough to be one of these people and I can say it has been one of the best investments in time and money I have made. So today, I thought I would discuss home gym must haves and some hints and tips to save yourself some cash when you’re putting together your home workout haven.
One of the key items you need along with actual weight plates itself is a good quality Olympic Bar. You’ll need this for Squats, Deadlifts, Bench, Shoulder Press, Cleans, Upright Rows, Curls, T-Bar Rows, the list is endless.
Now out of everything to scrimp and save on personally, I would spend a little extra and buy a really good quality bar. Remember this thing is going to be dropped and bashed about for years. There is nothing more annoying than trying to use a bar which has bent over time. Bite the bullet and get one which will last a lifetime. I would recommend the BodyMax Competition Olympic Weightlifting Bar.
Olympic Plates/Bumper Plates
Obviously, there is no point in having a top quality Barbell without plenty of weight to put on it. Again, this isn’t just a straightforward matter of buying a few plates. You need to decide what you plan on doing with them. If you’re planning to do plenty of exercises which involve dropping the weights to the ground e.g. Deadlifts and Cleans (which you should be) then you should definitely invest in a set of Bumper Plates.
Due to the thick rubber coating on bumper plates, they will not bend or crack over time and can take a considerable amount of abuse. If you have enough money, then a full set of bumper plates would be ideal. You can often get cheaper ones if you go for plain black rather than colour coded (although coloured ones look mint). However, to save money I would say to get one set of 20’s or 25’s and then buy cast iron or rubber coated ones for the rest of your plates.
The next must have for any home gym is a lifting platform. This will give you a solid platform to work on, reduce the noise of the weights dropping and prevent you damaging the floor in your house/garage, etc. Now these can be pretty expensive, so a sensible option is to pay one up which you can do for less than Â£15 per month. This may seem like a big investment but will look amazing and last a lifetime.
Squat Stand, Squat Rack, Half Rack or Power Rack and Bench
Obviously we need something to put the weights on to carry out any exercise we want to do. As you can see from the pictures above, there are a few options and in an ideal world, we would all have a heavy-duty power rack. This would allow you to squat, bench, shoulder press (among other things) without the fear of dying from being trapped under the weight. It also allows you to do pull ups, dips and T-Bar rows with some added attachments.
For me personally the main issue I have is space, so squat stands for me are ideal. These are also more easily moved, but lack the host of benefits of a full power rack. Squat stands are also considerably cheaper and the price and benefits increase as you move up to a squat rack, half rack and so on.
Finally, unless you plan to do exercises on the floor, a good quality adjustable bench is your next port of call. What to remember with this is how much stress the bench will be under with your bodyweight and then potentially the bar and plates as well. The last thing you want is a wobbly cheap bench which could collapse over time so again without going too crazy, invest in a decent quality bench which will last a lifetime.
Now as far as I’m concerned, that is the minimum you would require to allow you to have excellent home workouts. Obviously depending on each individual the list could be expanded on and on. For example I also have a whiteboard to record my workouts, a large mirror for selfies and such like, T-Bar Row Landmine, Ab wheel, Kettlebell, Dumbbells, Resistance bands. I’m considering getting chains because they are a fantastic tool to assist in your progress.
In my opinion if you’re planning on training forever, as I am, then it’s a great investment to make and having your own workout space is awesome.