When setting up your home gym there are three key things to identify before you even start making any buying decisions. How much space do you have? What kind of training do you do? And importantly how much is your actual budget?
So space… First you need to identify where you’ll be training. How much space do you have available? Will you be training in your living room or bedroom whereby you’ll need to think about storage and packing equipment away, which might lead you to a couple of well selected dumbbells or adjustable dumbbells, or will you be training in a designated space either a garage or a room specifically for your gym, in which case you have more freedom to choose bench, dumbbell sets, barbells and even full size racks. What is the floor space available, and how high is the ceiling? Does the floor need matting for protection? These are all questions you need to ask yourself about the space available.
What kind of training you actually do will also have a huge impact on your purchase decisions. Are your goals muscle building or general fitness? Do you favour cardio over bodybuilding? Are you a powerlifter or do you train in circuits and do CrossFit? All these things will determine the kind of equipment you will want or need. A powerlifter can make do with a barbell, some weight plates, a bench and a rack, whereas someone who favours cardio may prefer a rower and a bike. If you’re into CrossFit then a jump rope, box, and slam ball may be on your list, but if you’re a bodybuilder maybe a bench, set of dumbbells and a cable machine might be more your thing.
Then there’s budget… This one kind of rules it all, because if you hardly have any money to spend on your home gym, it will inevitably look different from someone with an unlimited budget. Be smart, allocate an estimated amount on what you have in mind, and then shop around for the best prices. Make smart decisions, don’t just start by buying single expensive specialised pieces of equipment that you can only really do one thing with, look for multi use items.
Once you’ve established how much space you have, and the type of training you would like to do in the space, along with the rough amount of money you’d like to spend, you can start making a list of “essentials” and things you would like to have if the budget allows.
So, if you have a designated garage space, you’re probably going to need flooring to help protect your equipment, and your joints, but also to make it look and feel a little more like a gym you would WANT to train in. Remember it’s your own, so make it homely. Once you’ve got the flooring in, you’re going to need some sort of resistance, whether that’s dumbbells or a barbell & plates. This will probably be determined again by your fitness goals and preferences but usually dumbbells and barbells are a great place to start. If you don’t have the space to be throwing a bar around, then dumbbells are your best friend. Dumbbells paired with a good sturdy bench will allow you to train pretty much every body part in some way shape or form. If you do have the space, then next comes a statement piece like a squat rack or functional rack, and bar with plates. If your budget allows try and get one with cables or a single cable attached to it, and you’ll save a bit of money if you go for a plate loaded version, because you load the cable system with those same weights on your barbell to do your squats, deadlifts and benching. Storage is the next step, dumbbell racks are great, and try and get a rack with weight plate storage built in so that your plates can be stored on that. Kettlebells and slam balls are great for cardio, if you don’t have space or the budget for a bike, treadmill or rower, and even more affordable than that is a jump rope.
But what if I don’t have much space or much of a budget? Well, depending on your goals, you can really do a lot with a mat, a pair of dumbbells, and a set of resistance bands, that way you could literally train anywhere in your house! Add a pull-up bar into the mix and you’ve got more than enough there to really have a good workout!
Setting up your home gym can be daunting but really doesn’t have to be a hard, long process, it’s whatever you make it. So enjoy it, think about what you want, and what you want to achieve, and then go for it!
Creative, Brand Manager & PT