Building your dream body is an exciting endeavor! So is building a home gym!
Let’s face it, driving to the gym, waiting on sweaty equipment and listening to know-it-all gym rats sucks!
I thoroughly recommend you create your own in-home gym as soon as possible.
The main objection to this is price. But I think you can create a cheap home gym if you stick to the essentials and compare the price to you’d spend to months & years of gym membership.
The convenience itself is priceless. I love being able to have my main meal of the day and then simply walking into my garage and cranking out some real muscle building sets.
Once you start working out at home you’ll never go back! I haven’t set foot inside a gym in about 4 years and I don’t plan on ever returning.
Free Weight Home Gym Equipment
So what home gym equipment do you really need? Here’s a list of the equipment I have at home and I think you should have too:
Home Gym Essentials
Rack – Absolutely essential for performing squats, bench presses & military presses when working out alone. This PowerLine Power Rack will allow you to workout safely by yourself.
Small Rack – If you haven’t got space for a rack that size you can always opt for a smaller one that will still do the trick. A good quality one is required though.
Bench – You will, of course, need a bench. It must be sturdy and it’s absolutely GOT to be adjustable. When researching I found this Best Fitness BFFID10 FID Bench which is quite cheap for a good piece of equipment. Don’t go too cheap please. A cheap bench just won’t do as it’s unlikely to be able to handle enough weight without snapping! Remember, a flimsy bench could kill you, quite literally.
Barbell – A must for barbell curls, military presses, bent over barbell rows etc…
Dumbbell Set – Self explanatory really (We are building a ‘free weights home gym‘ – no bowflex or Chuck Norris endorsed contraptions please). Needed for dumbbell bicep curls, dumbbell shoulder presses, flies…Basically, you’ll not get far without them. I think it’s best to buy the bars and weights separately like the Weider Chrome EZ Spin-Lock Dumbbell Bar. This gives you the freedom to decide the increments by which you will progress week on week.
Weights – You need the actual weights themselves of course. I recommend you get a wide variety of plates. You’ll need some very light weights too as this allows you to incrementally increase the weights you lift over time. For example, being able to increase your dumbbell curls by small weights like 1kg or 2 pounds is invaluable to anyone serious about pursuing continual muscle growth.
Sit-Up Bench / Slant Board – Once you get past ‘beginner level’ abs work, you need a decline or slant board to really stimulate the abdominal muscles further. The Spartan Sports Slant Board is exactly like the one I use at home.
Home Gym Accessories
Gloves – As you may have noted from a previous article, I’m a fan of the Valeo Ocelot Wrist Wrap Lifting Gloves. These gloves offer wrist wraps for supporting the wrists and prevent injury.
EZ Curl Bar – Necessary for the very effective EZ bar curls.
Tricep Bar – Great little piece of equipment for blasting your triceps!
Magnetic Wheel Exercise Bike – This is what I do my cardio with. You know by now that I avoid cardio like the plague most of the time. However, when cutting I use a bike like the Phoenix 99605 Upright Magnetic Exercise Bike. The motion is smooth and quiet which makes cardio a little more pleasant 🙂
I really cannot recommend this highly enough. You’ll save time and money. You’ll also be more likely to stick to your workout plan if you don’t have to travel to the gym. There are no disadvantages to this!
It will change your workout life!
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I totally agree with your premise. When I have 30 to 45 minutes to spare, I can get in a quick workout without leaving the house. With the help of your plan, and my own home gym, I have been able to be consistent with my workout routine. I know you said no bowflex, but I am using the selectech dumbbells from bowflex and I love them. They are expensive but the quick weight change and the limited amount of space they consume make them worth the money. Have you ever used them?
Those dumbbells sound fine. I was referring to the bowflex machine that some people use instead of free weights.
Several of my friends have told me that you just can’t work out in your home and be effective etc etc. Well, my busy schedule pretty much precludes me from going to the gym regularly… I have most of the equipment above and can therefore get a decent workout w/o the overhead of driving somewhere to work out. The real bonus is that I can hook speakers up to my iPod and blare the music as loud as I want without bothering anyone!
I totally disagree with your friends on that one 😉
Totally agree on the freedom to choose your own music 🙂
Hey Mark, i loved your program, i have implemented a program like the one you outlined in your book, its working great so far. I am unable to make a home gym at the moment as i live in an apartment but i only live right down the street from a gym. anyways your info has really helped me break through a plateau so thanks, and i look forward to hearing from you!
I agree with working out at home. I went on craigslist and was able to find most of the stuff mentioned above ( weights, bench, dumbell set) right in my local area, and paid next to nothing. Good post Mark
Has anyone ever use PowerBlocks dumb bells? They are a space saving adjustable dumb bell set like the bowflex ones but they look like they might be a bit sturdier and they are cheaper. Just wondering if any has any first hand experience with them.
I have the PowerBlock dumbells. They rule. 🙂
My wife bought them for me for Christmas (a hint maybe? ;)) and I have really enjoyed using them. ‘Enjoyed’ is not a word I would have used previously with any of my training toys.
The fast weight change is easy and smooth, and really helps when doing multiple sets with different weights or switching exercises.
I have been afforded the opportunity to work from home. I set up a basic home gym about 12 weeks ago and I love it. Its conected to my work office so I have no excuse to miss a work out! I’m new to lifting and have been following your work out routines and after 12 weeks I see and feel a big difference! Thank you!
hey mark i recently got the tricep bar, how do you put on the collars to hold the weights, it seems very hard to do.
Hey mark, my weight plates that i use for my barbell can’t fit on the tricep bar, is there any thing i can do to make my weight plates fit on the olympic tricep bar?