Straight to the Bar

All Things Strength


The Home Gym
Posted By Scott Bird

Home gym

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.

Incidentally, if this has got you thinking about grabbing one for yourself, swing by the SttB Strength Store. Massive range.

Over to you. Drop us a line on Twitter ( @scottbird ), or add a comment below.



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Straight to the Bar is the online home of fitness enthusiast Scott Bird, and looks at the many training approaches, essential techniques, uncommon exercises and superb equipment to help you become as strong as humanly possible. In short, this site is the home of all things strength.

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Written By Scott Bird
Scott is a long-time fitness enthusiast (Jan 2004!), writer and photographer living in Sydney, Australia. If you share the passion for spending a bit of time under a bar, welcome. Love hearing how everyone else trains. You can connect via X (Formerly Twitter), Facebook and the various networks listed in the sidebar.
Drawing of Scott Andrew Bird performing a deadlift. Artwork by Vince Palko.