Building a home gym doesn't have to break the bank. You can do a whole lot with just a few foundational pieces of equipment and a dash of creativity. Go down this checklist to build up your garage of gains, your basement of bulk, your patio of pecs, or your living room of lunges. OR... I'm all out of alliteration. Here's the equipment you should buy.
The Bare Minimum
Barbell & plates
You can do a ton with just a barbell and a plate set. Aside from bench, squat, and deadlift you will be able to do a myriad of exercises using the landmine set-up.
One 45 pound bar and a basic plate set (2 x 45s, 2 x 25s, and 2 x 10s) will set you up for a long time between barbell moves, landmine moves, and bodyweight exercises.
Necessity Number 2
I recommend getting one light pair (10-20#), one medium pair (35-55#), and one heavy pair (75-100#).
This opens up the possibilities for exercises tenfold. I like this distribution of weights for a mix of lower body and upper body training or compound and isolation moves.
Check out this growing library of dumbbell exercises to get started.
Make Life Easier on Yourself
Bench and Rack
Sure, you can floor press and clean to a front squat all day long but that is annoying and limiting.
Aside from just squatting and benching, you will find you can use your rack and bench for tons of other exercises. Rack chins, presses from the rack, inverted rows, supported DB rows, step-ups, split squats, etc.
Variety, the Spice of Life
Kettlebells or Bands
There is nothing special about kettlebells or bands with training. Most of the exercises you can do with a kettlebell you can do with a dumbbell. Bands are great for changing the resistance curve of exercises, doing warm-ups or activation drills, and for workouts on the go.
If you've made it this far... you're outfitting a badass home gym for yourself and you're ready for some of my favorite pieces of equipment. Are these a luxury? Yes. But if you like training and want to invest in your strength then these are a no-brainer.
For more than just deadlifts! So much variety with this specialty bar. Using one can add longevity to your training career instead of always pulling with a straight bar.
Conditioning just got more fun and your neighbors just got curious. There are a ton of options here, but I prefer a drag sled with some straps for a variety of movements like pulls, drags, rows, or power movements.
You definitely do not need a piece of cardio in your home gym but some people are into that kind of thing. I always preferred to do sprints outside or walk briskly for my cardio.
If I had some extra money burning a hole in my pocket I would shell out for the Assault Bike. Brutal conditioning tool.
Some type of suspension trainer would be a great bet. Your calisthenic game will get to a whole new level doing chins, pushups, and rows on these.
You get what you buy... I bought a kettlebell about 10 years ago and it's still the same solid piece of steel it was 10 years ago. This stuff will last a long time so spend a few bucks to get some quality stuff.
Finally, if you need a program to go along with all that gear check out my TRAINING PLANS to work with me.
Thanks for reading!