This is going to be a multi-part article with how-tos, tips & tricks, product reviews, and stories.
For almost 2 years, I have had visions of my own personal gym.
I’ve gone so far as to sit and meditate and see, smell, and feel the weights in my gym.
Things came up and I had to push that dream to the side and move on.
Well now that things are back on track, I am fed up with the only decent powerlifting gym here where I live; they have too many unruly patrons, their equipment is always breaking (from said idiots), and it’s just not good for my training.
My New Home Gym
Like I said, ever since I had envisioned having a warehouse gym, I knew that I would need at least a power rack, an adjustable bench so I can bench inside the rack, at least 1 good powerlifting bar, and enough weights you can possibly have.
I train by myself and I’m not actively looking to change that any time soon, but open if the right person came along.
Safety needs to be a priority; there is no reason not to use safety pins, catches, or even saw horses to catch a bar while you are benching alone.
Since this gym is going to be in my bedroom (long story there), I am going to be limited on space.
I’m looking at either a power rack with an adjustable bench, or some squat stands and an adjustable bench.
Ideal Equipment for Home
- Jesup Power Bar – A buddy of mine, Jonathan Byrd told me to pick up one. Their Olympic power bar is built for powerlifting and is rated for up to 1500 pounds. This is obviously has enough strength to hold up for a long time.
- Texas Deadlift Bar – Like I mentioned in my Build a Bigger Deadlift article, a Texas Deadlift Bar is an amazing bar. This isn’t something I have to get, but getting one will be a sound investment and you will see some pretty good pulls from me.
- EZ Curl Bar – I don’t feel that a lot of isolated, direct work on your bicep is going to make or break you in regards to building huge guns. I will say that some direct work helps with most presses, and should be used as an accessory if you are a powerlifter. My main reasoning for purchasing one of these is for things like skull crushers and other tricep work; less stress on wrists is always a good thing
I’m pretty basic when it comes to the types of equipment I use in the gym. Dumbbells are great for an accessory lift, but dumbbells are too expensive.
I’m going to have to make some sacrifices or mess around with some of the types of dumbbells with the spin locks or the others that use the same weights as a power bar. The reviews will be plenty.
I prefer incline dumbbell bench press, some delt lateral raises, and especially 1 arm dumbbell rows for some of my accessory work.
Seeing how I can do 100lbs for reps on my dumbbell rows, I’m going to have to come up with a way to get some weight on those puppies.
3.) Power Rack
A power rack is like the swiss army knife of the gym.
If you choose a nice enough rack, you can add accessories like a dip bar, extra safety pins, and most come with a pull up bar.
Since I am a wide squatter, I have to find a rack that either adjusts wide or find a wide rack.
I like the York power rack that is in my gym, it is bolted to the floor and sturdy as can be with everything I’ve thrown at it.
There are a lot of racks out there so either I will have to have some trail and error or drop a chunk of change on one I know will work.
A solo bench with some face savers or if I use some saw horses would be ideal.
A good and sturdy bench would be great, would help me practice and hone in my form without having to worry about it breaking while I’m on it.
Since room is tight, I’m going to look for a higher quality adjustable bench that I can use inside of my power rack so I can push myself past my limits and know I’m safe if I get pinned.
If I cannot find a decent adjustable bench in my price range, I will use a flat bench and maybe put a piece or three of 2×4 under the leg to give me an incline.
I would like to see myself get around 800 in plates, purchase some chains later on, and get more bands since half of mine got stolen.
Weights are expensive and this will take some time to get enough weights at a decent price.
Sure, I can go buy 1000 pounds from a store, but I’m going to pay probably over $1 per pound which on a budget isn’t too pretty.
If you are also looking at building your home gym, be sure you make something that will protect your floors.
I’m currently trying to find what most people suggest, I know what my gym uses and it has held up to 800+lb deadlifters.
I will probably be getting either some plywood or MDF, some horse rubber mat from somewhere like tractor supply, and enough 2x4s to line my floor.
Don’t skip this step and ruin wherever you are lifting.
Training On A Budget
Although my dream of building a home gym isn’t new, having the ability to purchase equipment is.
Even if you are rich, there is no reason to over spend and get things you don’t need.
On the other hand, you need to know what you need to be able to train effectively and safely.
In later issues I will talk about different equipment I’ve purchased to try, what I would suggest on saving money, and how to get the most out of your hard-earned dollars.
What I Currently Have and Final Thoughts
I got paid today and I wanted to make my first step into having equipment for my home gym.
I quickly realized there isn’t much of an opportunity to buy equipment immediately so I ran to Dicks Sporting goods and got their 300 pound weight set with a bar for $220.
I also purchased another 2 overpriced 45 pound plates there as well.
I haven’t trained in a couple of weeks due to work and life getting in the way. (I used to wake up at 4:30am and train before work and then go to bed at 9pm at night, so it’s drastic)
The bar is only rated to 300 pounds and I went a little past that rating for reps on deadlifts.
It held up but I notice it has a very slight bend already. I think if I take care of the bar and not toss it around carelessly, it will serve as more of a purpose than I originally thought.
I am surprised at the knurling, it’s not like a deadlift bar, but I am happy with the it.
Be sure to subscribe to the site so you can get updates, I plan on making this a regular post, adding in more info on different equipment, pricing, and availability.
Get strong my friends.
Questions and comments below, I’ll get back with you fast.