In my opinion, easily the best (and most rewarding) way to train.
A Home Gym is a wonderful thing. In this guide we’ll explain exactly how to create your own – everything from the goal-setting and initial planning through to a fully functioning, always-available home gym.
First things first – goals and planning.
Before you start planning the gym itself (we’ll get to that in a minute), sit down and think about what you’d like to achieve by way of your training. Is it to aid a particular sport or activity? Are you looking to compete in a particular field – perhaps one of the many varieties of bodybuilding? Or maybe it’s just a matter of getting – and staying – ‘in shape‘? That was my own plan when I started training.
All of these are certainly realistic, and the basics are much the same. The goal will simply answer any ‘this one or that one?‘ questions that arise.
Let’s dive in.
Josh Hewett – Strength Athlete and Personal Trainer (bio below) recently posted a great video on ‘Creating a Home Gym‘. If you’re just getting started, or considering the idea, this covers the process well.
Over to Josh :
One thing I’ve found which has helped with my own home gym is to always have it available. It’s in permanent ‘standby mode‘.
This means that if I’ve got a few minutes to spare, I can immediately jump in there and do something. A micro-workout if you like.
The benefit of having equipment always set up the way you like it, and always available, is something I didn’t really appreciate until I had it. It’s a wonderful feeling.
Something else to think about : if you’re going to be doing something like Olympic Lifting or Rock Climbing in your home gym (both of which are certainly possible), you’re going to need a little extra space and suitable equipment/environment. In addition to everything that Josh outlined, you’ll need things like a weightlifting platform & bumper plates; or a climbing wall and various training tools like a campus board.
There was an incredible amount of equipment shown in that video above. If you’d like to create something similar, or simply want to check out the prices of various things, here’s a complete list :
- An Olympic weight set. We like the Fitness Gear 300 lb Olympic Weight Set .
NB : it’s easy to find additional plates (either new or second-hand) when you find you need more. Still, 300lb will keep you going for a while.
- Power Rack (sometimes called a Power Cage). Fantastic thing – perfect for all manner of squats, pulls and presses. We recommend the Valor Athletics Inc. BD – 7.
- Adjustable Bench. Together with the rack, this is very much the heart of your home gym. We like the Ativafit Adjustable.
- Dumbbell Handles. Not absolutely essential, but strongly recommended. We like the Body-Solid Heavy Duty Handles.
- Chinning Bar : If you’re buying a rack, you’ll find that there’s a chinning bar (for chin-ups and pull-ups) as part of it. If not, just grab a door-mounted one such as this.
- Dip Handles. Again, if you’re buying a rack, dip handles are frequently an optional extra (they clip onto the rack itself). If not, consider grabbing something like this.
- Suspension Straps. We like the Lifeline Jungle Gym.
- Resistance Bands. There are several available; we’re currently using the Rubberbanditz.
- Stability Ball : optional, but great to have. Something like this is ideal.
- Power Wheel : again this is optional, but great to have. Consider something like the Lifeline Power Wheel.
- Flooring : Something like these Anti-Microbial Puzzle Mats, or any large piece of rubber or carpet that’s available.
And of course, the smaller items – grip toys, chalk, ropes and so on. The good stuff.
Over the years we’ve noted a number of books/DVDs/people/articles that really come in handy with a project like this.
If you’d like to find out a little more about creating your own home gym, check out :
- Straight to the Bar Guides : Returning to Heavy Training After a Break [PDF] (Vic Magary)
- Buyers’ Guide : the Power Rack (Scott Andrew Bird)
- Bars, Plates, Hooks and Collars (Scott Andrew Bird)
- Glossary – Strength Training Equipment (Scott Andrew Bird)
- Video for Gymchat 209 – Setting up a Home Gym (Kirk Fontaine, Josh Hewett)
- The Home Workout Bible (Lou Schuler, Michael Mejia)
- The Ultimate Home Gym Guide (Mighty Joe Stankowski)
- Home Climbing Gyms: How to Build and Use (Randy Leavitt, John McMullen, Anthony Scoggins)
- High Fit Home: Designing Your Home for Health and Fitness (Joan Vos MacDonald)
- Muscle, Smoke & Mirrors (Randy Roach)
And of course the Straight to the Bar Guides. Dive in.
Where to go From Here
As you’ve no doubt seen, the idea of Building Your Own Home Gym is actually quite a realistic proposition in many cases. If, however, you have any questions – or just want to double-check something, come and join us over on Twitter. You’ll feel right at home.
There’s also a load of invaluable information on this site, as well as in the newsletter. If you see an article that sparks a question or two, fire away. We’d also love to hear what worked in your particular case, so we can fine-tune things.
Finally, thank you. I hope this helped, and got you Planning, Designing & Building Your Own Home Gym.