I love working out at home. On a few occasions over the years I’ve been drawn into the world of commercial gyms with shiny machines – only to lose interest a few weeks or months later. Weight training in a home gym, using mostly free weights, has never felt like a short term thing. Unlike going to a commercial gym, training never feels like a chore; in fact I look forward to it.
One of the reasons for this feeling is undoubtedly the fact that my home gym has been designed with one person in mind – me. Everything that’s there (and it’s a pretty simple setup) is there only to enable me to increase my own strength; there are no mirrors, banks of televisions or anything else to act as a distraction. The music is always loud, fast and exactly my taste. Perfect.
A second factor in my love of training at home is the presence of a training partner who shares the enthusiasm for the rugged simplicity of the setup, and doesn’t bat an eyelid when I introduce somewhat unusual exercises into my training. It’s all part of the fun.
So what do I have in this simple setup? The gym revolves around the presence of a power rack, bench, bars and weights. The other items are somewhat periferal – a few toys for grip training, a bike to warm up on and a good assortment of resistance bands. These items afford a vast array of exercises, and I add new ones every few weeks. After a year of regular training in many things I’d feel reasonably well-versed; powerlifting is constantly giving me new opportunities to learn. A wonderful feeling.
If starting again I’d make only minor modifications to the setup, such as purchasing a larger number of weight plates at the outset (fears of the training becoming a phase); and equipping myself with a simpler bench – I began without a power rack, and getting a bench with side stands seemed like a good idea at the time. Now they are unused.
For anyone currently considering the setup of their own home gym, I’d suggest the following:
- power rack
- bench – preferably adjustable to allow incline and decline work
- olympic weight set and about 3 times as many plates as you think you’ll need
- olympic dumbells (adjustable)
Everthing else depends on available space, finances and intended use. If you’re interested in Olympic Weightlifting, a few bumper plates and a lifting platform will be handy (you’re probably best advised to build your own platform – much, much cheaper).
Other items you might like to consider include some of the variety of grip tools (Ironmind’s Rolling Thunder ranks highly on my own wishlist), a sandbag (once again, these are often best when home-made), medicine balls, or your favourite piece of cardio equipment.
Oh, two things that will prove indispensable – a CD player and plenty of hard-hitting tunes. Now you’re set to go.