The Home Gym

Fancy training at home but have no idea what equipment to buy? Read on, Amigo…

The Home Gym

    So what should a good home gym consist of? Do you really need to spend many thousands on equipment to put together a set-up that will send you on your way to your goals?
    Of course not!
    When it comes to a home gym, space is often the most important issue. You don’t want to waste space with big, single-purpose pieces of equipment. Nor do you want to buy equipment that performs an exercise you can easily replicate using other means. The idea is to have a streamlined yet effective home set up that can cater for almost any goal.
    Make sure whatever you decide on that you have the space to be able to use the equipment properly and safely.
    Here is what I suggest…
    An Olympic Bar and Bench
    The barbell is the most versatile item in your gym. Using a barbell you can perform Squats, Deadlifts, Presses, Curls, Olympic lifts, Rows to name but a few. A barbell and enough plates is almost a gym on its own! The bench is used for the pressing movements, but can also provide a base for dips, single leg lunges single arm rows etc. A Squat Rack
    A good squat rack is an essential addition to a home gym. With squats being the king of all exercises, it makes sense to have an area in which you can safely and effectivcely squat. A good squat rack will have adjustable spotter-pins that will allow you to safely release the weight at the end of the set or if the going gets too tough! No home gym is complete without a good squat rack! Weight Plates
    You need to have a good selection of weight plates in your gym. You want to progress, so I would suggest you have at least 160kg in store. That should cover you for a good while. Ideally the plates will consist of both large and small weight intervals. 1.25, 2.5, 5, 10, 15, 20kg plates would be a good start and would allow you to make significant progress. The smaller plates mean you have plenty of versatility to make this progress.
    A good storage rack means you will have easy access to the plates and won’t take up much room.
    An Adjustable Bench
    A good quality bench is essential for your home gym. Ideally a bench will be able to incline, lay flat or decline. Importantly you are looking for something with plenty of padding and stability. The last thing you want it to collapse during a heavy set. A trip to casualty with broken ribs and a punctured lung is not my idea of fun. I doubt it is yours either.
    Adjustable Dumbells
    Dumbells are a good alternative to the barbell for many exercises, forcing each limb to act individually. This erases any strength imbalances and can provide the body with a different method of performing an exercise. Dumbells allow you to perform exercises you couldn’t with a barbell, such as Lat Raises, Arnold Presses, Hammer Curls, Piston Presses etc.
    Buy dumbells that are compatible with the plates you use for the Olympic bar to save both money and space, negating the need for an extra set.
    A Chinning Bar
    Chins are an exercise delivered from the devil. They are also an amazingly effective way of developing the back, biceps, rear deltoids and your all-round bragging rights. A good chinning bar (one that won’t snap as you hoist your sweaty self up on it) is essential for any gym.
    A Padded Mat
    A padded mat is one aspect of the gym people ignore. I think all gyms should have a padded mat- it is comfortable for abdominal work and it is ideal for performing your stretches on. I used to ignore stretches until I had a good sports massage and realised then I was about as flexible as an iron bar. Word of advice- get a mat and use it!
    A Skipping Rope
    Although not essential, a skipping rope can be used as an excellent warm up, high intensity cardio tool or even a stretching device. It takes up little room. You may think skipping is an exercise for little girls, but boxers have trained with skipping ropes for years. Anyone fancy telling Ricky Hatton he is a girl?
    Thought not.
    You may or may not have noticed I have not included any cardio equipment in this list. The reason why is simple- the world is your cardio machine! Go for a run or a bike ride. I am assuming space and money are tight with this article, so why take up space with large and expensive cardio equipment? If you must have cardio equipment in your home gym, I would suggest a rowing machine. It provides an all-body warm up or can double as a high intensity cardio tool. It is much smaller than the average treadmill and can be positioned up against a wall as an ideal space-saver. A hard training session on a rower is vomit inducing. Actually, add a bucket to that list….
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