As mentioned previously, I believe it is extremely important to have three hobbies. One hobby for creativity, one for earning extra money, and one for building your health and fitness. One thing that I have learned over the years, is staying in shape is a lot easier when you can do it in your own home gym. There are 11 items I recommend for your best home gym setup possible.
For many people, leaving your house to find a fitness facility or gym may be a very daunting task. Whether it is because of cost, or lack of time, or motivation- there are many low cost options to maximize your fitness, get your endorphins flowing and massively improve your health in ANY space.
In my early 20’s I lived in a very small, shared apartment. I had to find a way to maximize the space I had. There was enough space between my bed and the wall to do push-ups, kettlebell swings and lunges. Since then, as my living space and budget has increased, I’ve added to my existing equipment to build the best home gym setup capable enough for full body exercise.
Below is all the equipment I have used to build my own best home gym setup on a budget, starting with the most space-conscious equipment to the largest.
Yes, that is a very long name for one piece of equipment, but I assure you, this is the best door-based pull up bar you can buy. The robust material is second to none. The heavy foam pads at the end of the supports will not nick up your door frame. This also comes with a dip bar and nylon rings, which means you can also hit your chest as well as your back. For those of you who have issues with space-this is a no brainer. This all in one door hanger is one of the best home gym setup scenarios you can come across.
Kettlebells are some of the most efficient strength and cardio builders you can use on your path to good health and fitness. Kettlebell swings are known to burn up to 18 calories per minute- hugely efficient for those who are strapped for time and space. There is no need to get too expensive here when buying a kettlebell- they are all the same outside of grip types. Make sure you get an appropriate weight for yourself, if you are new to kettlebells, start with 10% of your body weight as a base.
In order to continue making gains with your Triple Door Gym, it may be necessary to add more weight to your body. I bought this weighted vest because it was cheap and comfortable, and helped me advance with heavier pull ups and dips. You don’t need a full 140lbs, the weights are removable and are typically 6lbs each.
Dumbbells are essential for any home gym. With limited space and adjustable dumbbells, you can perform a significant amount of routines with progressive overload. There is no need to go very expensive here, as long as the dumbbells are safe and comfortable, that is all you need. You can store these under your bed or a closet, out of sight for your guests and away from your feet (I can’t count the amount of times I’ve stubbed my toe on an errant dumbbell).
An ab wheel can help break up a monotonous “crunch based” ab workout. This is one of the hardest exercises you can do for your abs, and works them completely, without the need for excessive additional exercises. They work well on both carpet and hardwood. Beware that they can be relatively hard on knees, so look to use a towel or pillow to stop excessive pressure on your kneecaps.
The next three items were additions to my gym when I had the opportunity to move into a house. Here, I had additional space to create a full gym, however, still on a budget. This entire build was done for under $1,000. Think about this price point when building your full home gym. While it might look like a lot of money up front, a gym can cost upwards of $300-$1,200 a year and more. What you put in early can pay dividends down the road.
The base with which to build a full home gym around is the Bench and Squat Rack. CAP makes a very sturdy, and easily assembled squat rack that is low enough to fit under 8′ ceilings. The bar that connects the rack can be used as a pull up bar as well. This is not the most expensive rack on the market, but it’s build quality is second to none. The rack also comes with an adjustable bench which is easily assembled and can be inclined or declined to your liking. I will say that my one criticism is the bench being harder than I had expected, however, I’ve come to appreciate this aspect more and more and actually now prefer the hard bench to a commercial gym’s soft plush benches. This is the best home gym setup rack and bench you can find on the market.
Weights will be your largest expense. For a basement gym with a concrete floor like I have in my house, I went with bumper plates. This allows me some wiggle room when setting down and possibly dropping weights. For overall fitness, I decided that 370lbs would be the most I would ever need for myself. It is important to not skimp on your plates. Iron can be very expensive- if there is a chance you may damage your house or crack a plate, you want to avoid bare plates at all cost. These are the most affordable bumper plates around, and their quality is top notch. You may need to supplement them with some add on 5lb and 2.5lb plates because the lowest denomination is 10lbs.
A 7′ bar is the last “Must Have” for your full home gym. These bars must be durable enough to last many years and handle high poundages. You may be only working with 10lbs on the bar, but there is still a chance that a lighter and flimsier bar may bend on you. This is the cheapest and highest quality bar you can buy. It is very easy on your grip, the knurling is very effective and durable.
Accessories to keep you safe in your home gym:
The following three accessories will aid in keeping you safe when workout out by yourself in your home gym. For someone who lifts alone, you will want to keep your health and safety at the forefront of your equipment decisions.
One thing that you will see when searching for a lifting shoe is extremely inflated prices. In the era of Crossfit, Reebok and Nike have taken advantage of the fitness movement and have created footwear that is needlessly expensive. Luckily, Adidas has stayed true on the path of affordability and quality. These shoes will keep your body in the optimal squat position, and not break your bank.
Knee sleeves can keep your knees warm and protected when doing squat based workouts. I prefer to wear sleeves more for the mental safety aspect. I wouldn’t say they are a must have for knee protection, but if they help you squeeze out a few more reps, then the low cost is worth it.
Last, but certainly not least, is a lifting belt. This will be one of your most used, and most important accessories when using your home gym. A good belt can last for decades, and help you maintain good form that’ll keep your body in good condition for decades. You don’t need to break the bank on a great workout belt, you can see from the link the ProFitness belt has as near as makes no difference 5 stars, and only costs $30.
Make 2020 your year with my recommended 11 best home gym setup must-haves. You will be well on your way regardless of room size or budget size!