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There comes a moment for every sports enthusiast when they decide it’s time to build their own Home gym.
When you start projecting your home gym, there are a few steps that you must follow in order to avoid unpleasant experiences.
These simple steps can save you money, time and a lot of headaches.
Let’s get to work!
First, you must choose a location. Know that you don’t necessarily have to use your entire garage for your home gym. If you don’t have an entire spare room, also a spare corner will work.
Before you start organizing and writing the list for your equipment, it is very important to know your goals and what kind of training you’d like to do. I advise you to choose a style of training that you really like so you will be constant in your training even when you will feel like lying on the couch.
When choosing the location, you have to take into consideration the flooring. If you will train with a barbell it is probably a good idea to have a good, thick, concrete floor, that you will cover with rubber, weightlifting platform or maybe some other special foam pads, which absorb all the vibrations and sounds of your heavy drops.
If you choose weightlifting, powerlifting or strongman style of training, it is advisable to choose a weightlifting platform with at least 2 to 3 cm thick rubber.
If you choose cross training it’s also a good idea to take the anti-vibration foam pads so you can drop multiple sets and your neighbors will still say hi to you when you meet them on the street.
Take the measurements. Measure the height, depth, and length of the place you choose for your home gym. Pay attention to the measures and don’t forget that a barbell is 2200mm long and you will need about 2X3m for normal training. When you have these measures, you can start choosing the right rack that will fit into your home gym.
If you plan on having many pieces of equipment you will also need a storage system. You can buy wall shelves at your local furniture company or storage made for sports equipment. There is nothing wrong with buying the storage at a furniture shop, but don’t buy storage meant for storing prickle cans only because it’s cheaper. It is much better to buy good storage that will last forever and you will not worry about destroying it with your heavy equipment.
Cross-training home gym
If you decide that cross-training is the best training option for your lifestyle, you will need proper floor protection. You will train with high repetitions so your bar will be dropped more often and your flooring will be at bigger risk of being destroyed. If you choose 2-3 cm rubber tiles, it should be ok.
*If you have ceramic tiles flooring, your best option is to choose anti-vibration foam pads.
When you will be choosing a barbell my advice to you is to take a good hybrid knurling barbell and a pair of lockjaws.
For most of us, chrome men’s or women’s barbell between 180.000-205.000 PSI will do a great job.
Please don’t buy a cheap barbell, you can save on other equipment, but don’t save on your barbell. If a bar breaks or bends when using it, it can cause some serious injuries or even death.
When starting a new home gym you will need about 100 – 150kg of Bumper Plates. If you are willing to spend a bit more you can buy a more resilient version, like the Hi-temp bumpers. With that kind of bumpers, you can also train in your garden.
The next important piece of equipment that a cross-training gym can’t lack is a Rack or a Stand.
You have a lot of options here. You can choose a Power rack, a foldable rack, a wall power rack, an Air rack or a Squat/pull-ups Stand.
If you have enough space, I strongly suggest a Power rack. It is more stable and you can add a wide variety of accessories. You can do Pull-ups, Squats, Dips, Bench Press, Shoulder Press and so on. It also has an option to add a quick fit rack for bumpers storage.
But if you don’t have space for a freestanding Power rack, you can choose other options like a wall power rack or foldable rack that can save you a lot of space.
A TNT foldable rack and 3-sec PU bar are foldable options that take even less space than a regular wall rack. You unfold them and install them in less than 30 sec and when you are finished with training, you just fold them back up and use the space for other activities or to park your car.
I would also add Speed rope, Kettlebells (16kg or 24kg), Dumbbells ( pairs of 5kg, 10kg, 12.5kg, and 17.5kg), Wall Ball (6kg or 9kg), Gym Rings, elastic bands, foam rollers, microplates to the list of a home gym essential equipment.
There is a lot more equipment that you can get for your home gym, i.e. Plyo Box, Bench, Rower, Weighted Vest, GHD, but it all depends on your space and your budget. If some of the equipment doesn’t fit in your garage or you can only buy a bar and bumpers, don’t worry! You can do a lot of great WODs with only a few pieces of equipment! That’s the best part of cross-training.
Weightlifting home gym
If you decided that weightlifting is what you really want to train at home I have some tips for you.
First of all, you will need a weightlifting platform. The best option is a combination of wooden middle and side rubber. You can choose from a platform of 20mm to 70mm thickness or even a combination of foam layer under the platform and a rubber layer on the surface. This is the best option for people that don’t want to upset their neighbors. Platforms can cost from a few hundred to a few thousand euro, so you must do some research and really know your desires and needs.
Secondly, you will need a good weightlifting barbell. If you really want to train properly, you have to look at barbells with 200.000 PSI+ that have WL knurl marks and middle knurling. Also, don’t forget to buy weightlifting collars.
The next step is to buy bumpers. You will need between 100-200kg of Competition Bumpers. As you well know, the microplates make the difference between an old and a new PR, so you will also need a set of those.
You can’t forget the Squat Rack. I suggest you find a rack that can stand 500kg or more.
Other essential equipment: Weightlifting belt, Weightlifting straps, elastic bands and a lot of magnesium.
Powerlifting home gym
If powerlifting is your passion, it is the right time to build your own powerlifting home gym. First of all, you will need a platform. You will only need a platform for absorbing the drops of deadlifts, so a standard one with 20-30mm rubber will do just fine.
You will also need a good barbell. A good powerlifting barbell can cost from 250€ to a 1000€ and more. Don’t save money on your barbell, even if your budget is limited. When you lift a couple of hundred kilos with your bar, you don’t want it to break or bend.
If you must save, save on the plates. You can find great deals everywhere on iron cast steel plates. If your budget allows you, I would certainly recommend steel competition plates, but if not, the classic plates will also be ok. For a start, you will need 150kg+.
Same as for a cross-training home gym, you will need a Rack. For home powerlifting, I recommend a Power Rack or a Combo rack.
Safety always comes first, so I strongly advise you to spend a few more € and get safety straps or safety pins in the case of a back squat or bench press repetition gone wrong. If you choose a Combo Rack, you will save on your space and you will not need to buy an extra flat bench.
Other essential equipment: Dumbbells (pairs of 12.5kg, 17.5kg, 22.5kg, 25kg, and 30kg), bands, microplates, bench (with a fat pillow), deadlift Jack, powerlifting straps and powerlifting belt.
Completing Your Home Gym
To complete your home gym you will need a few more things.
In every home gym, you need something to track your time. You can have a watch, a phone or a Timer. You need to be able to measure your training time and check your scores in the same workout to see your improvement over time. Tracking will give you a lot of motivation for your training.
A TV. I’m not a big fan of having a TV in your gym space, but if you want to have it, you can. You can watch motivational videos about training or some exercise instructional videos. If you don’t have a stereo, you can also listen to music on TV, but I strongly advise you to buy a hardcore stereo and put on some music you like. It will help you get through the hardest of workouts.
If the walls are white, you’re doing something wrong. On the wall, you need to attach motivational stickers or banners of your favorite athletes.
Don’t forget about the training program. You have a lot of online programming on the internet. Choose the one that suits you best. I know you probably think that online programs are a waste of money, but it’s not true. A good program can give you a much better combination of exercises and thus better results. Also, let’s be honest here, if you are like most of us, you don’t know a thing about making training programs, so let’s leave this to the professionals.
These were the most important tips to help you build your home gym. Just one last advice, even though it is “your home gym, your rules’’, I strongly advise you to clean after your every training. This way the next session you will start fresh and you’ll be ready to reach your new PR.