Four years ago, after years of dealing with crowded commercial gyms I decided to invest in a home gym. I got tired of dealing with people who went to the gym to socialize and who got in my way while trying to get my workout down. I go to the gym to get work done and the commercial gym was not doing it for me anymore. I looked for a gym that met my needs, but was not able to find a great one in my area.
I decided to research equipment prices and products. I was living with my parents, so I had money to spend. I thought of it more of an investment in myself and not spending money. I thought if I invested in my own equipment it would force me to stick to working out. Otherwise, I would have been throwing money away. My parents allowed me to use one stall in their three car garage to build my gym, as long as my equipment didn’t scratch my dad’s 1935 Ford.
The first equipment I bought was a Rogue power rack, Rogue Ohio Bar, bumper plates, regular plates, adjustable dumbbells, and a bench. These are basics of any home gym. If you are looking to build a home/garage gym here is some of the equipment I recommend.
A good squat stand or power rack will allow you to squat, bench, and overhead press. I suggest you invest in a solid stand or rack that is stable and will not wobble or move while lifting. There are many different types and models. Some that set on the ground and some that can be bolted to the ground for more stability. I have a Rogue RML-390F rack. This is a solid sturdy rack from one of the best fitness equipment manufacturers in the world. I use this in my garage gym, but I also have a Titan fitness short rack in my basement due to the low ceilings. The Rogue rack is more expensive, but the quality is also better. The Titan rack gets the job done for the winter months here in Wisconsin though when I don’t want to lift in a cold garage.
A barbell is a versatile piece of equipment. From sqauts and bench press, to rows and landmine presses, you can do a ton of different lifts. I have a Rogue Ohio bar and a cheap bar my dad got me at an auction. There are also different specialty bars that are not necessary, but are great tools. I own a trap bar, neutral grip bar, curl bar, and a safety squat bar.
Another versatile piece of equipment, dumbbells can be used for all of big lifts and accessory lifts. You can either look for a set of dumbbells or purchase adjustable ones.
Once you have a barbell, of course you will need weight plates. There are many types and styles of plates. Rubber bumpers work well for deadlifts and Olympic lifts. Steel plates are also great and you can usually find good deals on these on Craigslist or buy them secondhand.
I also recommend some sort of pull-up bar. If you buy a power rack you can get a pull-up bar attachment. You can also get pull-up bars that attach directly to a wall or doorway.
With a home gym you should also have multiple bands. Bands can be used for lifting, as well as mobility and stretching. Get a few different bands so you have multiple resistances.