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Amid a pandemic, many gym-goers have been forced to pause or cancel their memberships due to closures. Others want to get/stay fit but find themselves saying “I don’t have time”, “the gym is too far”, and countless other excuses. If you find yourself in one of these situations and looking for a solution, then it may be time to follow in the footsteps of thousands of Americans and start building an EPIC home gym.
This may seem like an intimidating project, but with some guidance you can create your dream fitness space in the comfort of your home or garage. If you are not sure where to begin, here are a few equipment suggestions to get you started.
If you have the budget and space for it, then a rack should be one of your first purchases and will likely be the centerpiece of your gym. From power racks to squat stands, you can perform almost all of your barbell movements to maximize strength gains in a safe environment. If you start off with a power rack, you can then slowly build down and add the smaller bits and pieces to your home gym.
A barbell is a must-have if you enjoy compound lifts like squats, bench press, deadlifts, and more. Serving as the foundation of strength training, you may not be able to get by without a bar. If you are looking for your first barbell, you may want to lean toward an Olympic bar but as you get more experienced and want to expand your training you can add specialty bars to your gym later on. Make sure to check out this in-depth post before buying your first barbell!
While you can use an empty bar, you are going to get more out of it by adding weight in the form of Olympic plates or bumper plates (depending on how you intend to use them). If you will only use them for movements that will not make contact with the floor (curls, squats, bench press, etc.) then you should consider Olympic. But if you need to protect your floor or perform lifts where you may drop the bar at times (deadlifts, clean & jerk, snatch, etc.) then bumper plates may be a better option for your home gym. While you can mix and match different kinds of plates, it is best that you stay as consistent as possible. Find all the plates you need to outfit your home gym here.
Though many gym-goers may see the weight bench as a fairly simple piece of equipment, it will likely be one of the most useful in your home gym. If it’s a free-standing bench, you can move it around anywhere in your gym you wish to use it for almost any exercise – you can even slide it between the uprights of your power rack to replicate a dedicated bench press station. If you need more functionality/versatility than a flat bench, look for adjustable benches where you can perform incline and decline exercises in addition to flat bench movements.
Though relatively simple, dumbbells can be used to train almost every muscle in the body. Whether you are using one or two at a time, dumbbells allow for greater range of motion than you may experience with a barbell. For example, the dumbbell bench press lets you bring your hands lower at the bottom of the rep than a barbell bench press simply because you don’t have a bar to stop you once you hit the chest. Dumbbells also allow free range of motion in the wrists, rather than a fixed position from a barbell, which may be important if you have any limiting injuries. Another reason to add dumbbells to your home gym is the ability to train unilateral strength, so you can develop your weaker side and translate that strength to barbell movements where your dominant side may bear the brunt of the load. To protect your home gym floor, be sure to find dumbbells with a rubber capped weight and a hexagonal shape to prevent rolling.
If you enjoy functional fitness, developing explosive power, or you’re just looking for a more fun workout, consider adding kettlebells to your home gym. These oddly shaped weights are an all-in-one, total body conditioning tool used to improve strength, balance, and body awareness while taking up very little space. Use for basic kettlebell swings and more advanced movements such as the Turkish get-up to transform your body and performance. To learn more about kettlebell training, make sure to read 4 Ways Kettlebell Training Will Improve Your Health.
7. Conditioning Equipment
It never hurts to improve your conditioning, so make sure to add some equipment that can increase your heart rate and burn calories. You can start small with jump ropes, ladders, or battle ropes and work your way up to more intense exercises with sleds, bikes, and rowing machines to train your heart and lungs. Whichever way you like to train, you can find all of the conditioning tools to improve your endurance and long-term health here.
Though it may appear to be costly at first, you can save money in the long run without the monthly membership fees by investing in a home gym. Forget waiting for equipment, spending time on the road, and scheduling your workout with gym hours – now you can work out in the privacy of your own home! Be sure to build your dream fitness space with quality equipment, so be sure to head over to Valor Fitness for well-made equipment at an affordable price.