Are Home Gyms Worth The Investment (Part 2: Equipment Essentials)
Raise your hand if the idea of a home gym conjures up images of huge piles of equipment taking up space in your already cramped basement or garage?!
What if I told you that you don't need a lot of equipment to get in a great workout at home? And *surprise!* - despite what those late-night infomercials tell you, you don't need to buy bulky equipment like a treadmill or an elliptical machine?
As discussed in part 1 of this article series, I experimented with my own home setup to be able to provide time and money-saving tips on building a home gym that suits your space, budget and goals. My goals are building power and muscle endurance so, if that sounds like you read on.
Here are my top 4 suggestions for equipment that's actually worth investing in for your home gym.
#1 A Squat Rack
When it comes to building a gym in a small space, efficiency is the key. I found the squat rack to be both versatile and effective making it my top recommended piece of equipment to invest in.
Squat racks are some of the most versatile pieces of gym equipment because they can be used for a variety of exercises.
For example, you can use a squat rack to do:
- Calf raises
- Bench presses
- Overhead presses
- Biceps curls (usually forbidden in a public gym)
- Rack pulls
BONUS: If you read part 1 of this article series, you’ll recall I mentioned that not having a spotter is a potential disadvantage working out at home - squat racks have safety pins built-in which eliminates that problem!
#2 A Dumbbell Rack
While a squat rack provides the opportunity to put your raw power to work with the help of a barbell, it’s best complemented with a dumb-bell rack that facilitates the development of a functionally and visually symmetrical physique through uni-lateral work.
In other words - a dumbbell rack works by giving each side of your body a dedicated workout.
If you have the space, use both racks to get the best outcomes.
While the squat rack is great for basic movements, the dumbbell rack is specifically helpful for exercises such as:
- Shoulder presses
- Lateral raises
- Triceps extensions
- Dumbbell rows
- Goblet squats
- Dumbbell lunges
- Biceps curls, all kinds of biceps curls!
If you don’t have the space or budget for a whole dumbbell rack, you can opt for a set of adjustable dumbbells that will help you do the work just fine!
#3 Dip & Pull Bars
Some in the fitness world suggest that you should start with bodyweight exercises and then abandon them for weights once you're adapted.
I disagree. In my experience even when you adapt to your own bodyweight, these exercises are still effective for results. And you can always add extra weight any time you’re looking for a more intense session.
If you’re big on challenging body-weight training, you’ll want to consider getting a dip & pull-up bar for your home gym.
This is the equipment that will allow you to do different kinds of bodyweight exercises, including (but, not limited to):
- Chest/triceps dips
- Wide grip pull-ups
- Neutral pull-ups
- Leg raises
- Knee raises
- Active/passive hangs
- More complex bodyweight exercises
#4 A Cable Machine
If you’re looking to build strength, free weights are a given, however, that doesn’t mean you should ignore cables.
Cable machines can give your muscles a serious pump so, it is fair to say that a cable machine can be added to your list of nice-to-have equipment (once you get the aforementioned equipment acquired!)
A cable machine will allow you to do more concentrated work on exercises, such as:
- Triceps press downs
- Cable curls
- Cable pullovers
Conclusion on What Equipment You Need for a Functional & Efficient Home Gym
At the end of the day, a home gym is only as useful as you make it.
You can have all the right equipment but, if you aren’t committed to using it consistently it’s not going to be a worthwhile investment. Getting in the right mindset is so important before embarking on any fitness journey (check out this blog for how to cultivate a warrior mindset and smash your goals).
Remember: When building your own space at home it’s important to choose equipment that fits your lifestyle goals, suit your budget and are realistic for your space. After that, it’s just a matter of putting in the work and enjoying the gains.
I hope you find these suggestions useful as you research your perfect home gym set up.
Leave a comment and let me know how it goes – good luck!