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The Ultimate Guide to Home Gym Equipment 2018

The Ultimate Guide to Home Gym Equipment

Basics

Bodyweight

This is the ultimate gym shortcut! You’re spending nothing and taking up zero space in your home. More importantly, you can get a great workout routine going with bodyweight exercises.

Bodyweight exercises have definitely become more popular these days. People are seeing how useful they are for saving space and money. Also, they’re great if you’re travelling and don’t have a gym in your hotel or AirBNB.

You can cover just about every muscle group with bodyweight exercises, and they’re going to get a great workout with them. It’s a little bit more challenging for back and biceps, but it can be done.

Another great reason to do bodyweight exercises is a lower risk of injury. Since you’re limited to using the weight of your body, it’s a lot less likely that you’ll overdo it and tear a rotator cuff or hamstring.

These exercises are great for teenagers who are starting out with lifting because they can help build up your major muscle groups as well as those stabilizer muscles that are so important. Also, there’s no cost for them!

Pushups

Some beginners may be thinking that they can’t start off with bodyweight exercises because they can only do a rep or two of each exercise. But actually, every exercise has other exercises that you can do to build up your strength until you’re ready for 8 to 10 reps of the regular exercise.

Also, you can do a little cheating to get yourself ready for the regular exercise (or increase the intensity of your bodyweight workouts by adding some drop sets). You can put your knees on the floor when doing push ups, for example.

Obviously one of the biggest benefits of bodyweight exercises are that they are free. No money spent on equipment, gym memberships, etc. This is great for beginners as you figure out which kind of workout fits you best.

Also, you’re going to save a ton of space because you don’t need to store any equipment in your place. This makes it ideal for people working out in their apartment.

Dumbbells

Once you have some bodyweight exercises mastered and you’re looking for a few more options, picking up a set of dumbbells is your best bet.

Adding these to your home gym is going to exponentially increase the number of exercises that you can do. For smaller muscle groups like biceps and triceps, it’s great to have some lighter weights. Those lighter weights that you get with dumbbells can really help target those muscle groups.

You’ll also be able to increase the kinds of workouts that you can do. When you have some dumbbells it makes it possible to do drop-sets or supersets. These are great for targeting your muscles in a different way. Regularly changing up your routine can help to keep you from plateauing in your workouts.

What’s more, one of the main benefits of dumbbells is that you’re going to be able to save a lot of space since they won’t take up as much room as a machine. They can be stored pretty much anywhere.

dumbbells

If you have a bigger budget and are a bit more advanced with your training, it’s worth considering buying a pair of adjustable dumbbells. Having a pair of dumbbells that go up to 90 lbs each will mean you can really get a good workout for pretty much every muscle group.

If you’re looking to build mass, then go for the adjustable dumbbells which offer a bit more weight. However, if you’re looking more at strength training or cutting, you could go for a pair of adjustable dumbbells with less weight. Remember, when you’re training, you never want to go with a weight that is too heavy and may lead to sacrifices in terms of form. That’s how most injuries happen.

For people with a more limited budget or for people who are just getting into working out, you might want to go with a regular set of dumbbells. Going for a dumbbell set is good because they come with two bars and some weights, so you can switch up the weights. This can save you from having to lot of different individual dumbbells.

The drawback with these kinds of dumbbells is that you need to change the weights each time you change up your exercise. It’s a small inconvenience, but it will take a little more time.

Pull Up Bars

Once you have some dumbbells, the next piece of equipment you might look at investing in is a pull up bar. There are a few different kinds of bars so there’s one for pretty much any budget.

One of the main reasons to get a pull up bar is that you can get a great back workout. Pull ups are one of the best exercises to work your back and to improve strength overall.

You can of course get a back workout in with dumbbells by doing deadlifts, rows, and shrugs. But it’s nice to have the option of doing some chin ups, pull ups, and hammer-grip pull ups.

If you’re not sure if you want to try these exercises or not, you could practice for free by getting creative. Maybe you have a strong tree in your yard - you could practice pull ups on a branch. It’s probably not a good idea to practice on any beams in your house, but if you can find something strong enough outside, it’s a good way to practice.

pull up bar

Luckily pull up bars that fit on your door frame are great for people who have a limited budget. You just want to make sure you do a little research about which one is best for your weight and which one will fit your door frame (without scratching it).

If you have a little more flexible budget, a pull up tower is a great investment. You get more stability than you would with a doorway pull up bar. Also, you don’t have to worry about putting screws into your doorframe or scuffing it up.

Most pull up towers have a grip that lets you do dips as well. These are an awesome exercise for arms, especially triceps. Some towers enable you to do hanging leg raises too, which are great for abs.

Advanced

Bench

Once you have those pieces of equipment, you can start to think about adding things like a bench. A bench is going to further expand the kinds of exercises you can do.

Having a bench and a set of dumbbells means you can do exercises like bench presses, the ultimate chest exercise. Also, you can use them to do some more back exercises and to do a lot of different ab and core exercises.

You’ll want to go with an adjustable bench if possible so that you can do some incline exercises. Having a bench that declines a bit is nice, but most of them won’t decline that much.

If you’re looking for a more economical option, benches that are not adjustable are also a decent choice. It’s better than using the floor to do your dumbbell bench press.

barbell

Barbell and Barbell Plates

Once you’ve mastered the workouts that you can do with the equipment above, you might be looking to increase the amount of weight you want to lift. This is especially true if you’re doing powerlifting or looking to bulk up.

Dumbbells are limited because most of the adjustable dumbbells only go up to 90 lbs each. Once your lifting serious weight on your bench press, deadlift, and squats, you’ll want to invest in a barbell and barbell plates.

Also, changing up your routine by changing the exercise from dumbbells to barbell can benefit you a lot. This can also help keep you from plateauing in your workout. Most any exercises can be done with either dumbbells or barbells.

You can start off with two 45 lb barbell plates. Also, getting four 10 lb plates and two 5 lb plates is a good idea to start off with. That way you have a good range of weight for your exercises. You can often get a set of barbell plates for a good price.

However, as you increase your weights, you’ll need to look at getting more 45 lb barbell plates. The costs can start to add up as you keep getting barbell plates so keep your eyes out for sales or even used plates.

Luckily for most people you won’t be increase their weight so much that they regularly need to buy 45 lb barbell plates. Also, you want to make sure that you don’t go overboard with weight and injure yourself trying to lift too much.

When you’re looking at getting a bar, it’s better to go with a 2 inch Olympic bar. There are lots of 1 inch bars out there, but most 45 lb plates are made to fit the 2 inch bar.

Make sure that you buy a bar which can handle a decent amount of weight. Double-check the maximum weight allowance. Remember, you’ll probably only need to ever buy this once, so it might be worth spending a bit more money on it.

Squat Rack

At the same time as when you buy your barbell and barbell plates, you might want to think about getting a squat rack too.

It’s next to impossible to safely do a barbell bench press without a squat rack since you need something to rest the bar on afterwards.

One of the best options is getting an adjustable portable squat stand. This comes in a set of two so that you can position them wherever you need to. These are going to save you a lot of space compared with a fixed squat stand.

Obviously being adjustable is key so that you can change the height. For squats or shoulder presses you’ll need them a bit higher whereas for bench press you’ll need them to be a bit lower.

You should also be able to adjust the safety holders so that if you’re not able to put the bar back on the rack, you can rest it on the holders.

squat rack

Barbell Clips

These should be bought when you buy your barbell and barbell plates. It may seem like you don’t really need them because maybe you have a really stable grip.

However, it’s always recommended to invest in some good clips. You never know when you might max out on an exercise and not be able to get the barbell onto the rack or safety holders.

The last thing you want is the barbell plates sliding off of your bar and smashing your floor up.

Luckily barbell clips are pretty reasonable and probably won't break the bank. There’s a good range of prices.

Some of the spring-loaded clips are less likely to hold up for a long time. They tend to lose their tension after a while. So getting some barbell collars is always a good option. Thankfully they are pretty reasonable and most importantly, won’t lose their tension.

Stability ball

Another piece of equipment that you might consider is a stability ball. There are a lot of great core exercises that you can do on a stability ball

It’s also possible to do some dumbbell lifts when sitting or lying on a stability bar,, so as long as you’re using a moderate weight (especially to start off).

These can be stored most anywhere, though they can get a bit big and awkward. You’ll want to make sure that you aren’t running out of room in your home gym at this point.

stability ball

Conclusion

These are all different kinds of equipment that you can slowly add to your home gym. Starting off with nothing but bodyweight exercises and maybe some dumbbells is a great way to start. It’s low-commitment and also a great way to develop strength.

As you get more comfortable with those exercises, you can start to add some more equipment like benches and barbells. This is especially great to have to keep you from plateauing in your workouts.

The important thing is to get started with whatever you have now, then look at adding equipment later on.

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