Home Gym Essentials
If the COVID-19 pandemic forced you out of the gym and into your home for your daily exercise, and you happened to realize that you enjoy it way more than having to go somewhere else for a good sweat sesh, you’re not alone.
Now, with the pandemic still hanging around and leaving us with that lovely sense of uncertainty mixed with guilt any time we leave our house, you might be considering taking your home workout relationship to the next level. We’re talking about creating a home gym, and who better to guide on the home gym equipment you need than your resident fitness and supplement experts!
Why Create a Home Gym?
Some people love the atmosphere of a public gym and draw energy from working out with other people—even if there isn’t much communication happening. However, there are many reasons to create a home gym.
Some of those reasons are:
- Fewer germs
- Curated equipment
- Music choice
Obviously, COVID-19 is still a prominent issue depending on location, and some people are more concerned about it than others. For example, perhaps you have young, vulnerable children at home or take care of an aging relative. Regardless, moving your workouts to a home gym reduces the COVID exposure risk significantly.
COVID aside, normal germs like the common cold, flu, and RSV are easily transmitted in a gym environment. In a public gym, you’re relying on strangers to clean up after themselves and wipe down the equipment, but you still have exposure. So again, while the common cold or catching the flu might not seem like reason enough to build a home gym, your current health and the health of your loved ones might warrant the move.
Curated Home Gym Equipment
Even if you’re someone who adores the atmosphere of a public gym, you can’t deny how awesome it would be to have a personal place chock-full of home gym equipment that you love to use. Unfortunately, it’s rare to walk into any one gym and find every single piece of equipment you need. Often, you end up choosing a similar exercise for which there is the equipment, or you skip it altogether. In a home gym, you’ll be able to have everything you want and more (depending on your budget).
Stick with us on this—we’ve all been here before. You saw a really tricky exercise on Instagram or a workout challenge on Tik Tok, and you really want to give it a try, but you’re embarrassed you’re going to fail or wipe out in front of a bunch of strangers (or friends) at the gym. In a home gym, you have all the freedom in the world to try a new, challenging exercise—and if you’re someone who’s worried about what their clothes are doing during certain exercises (are these leggings squat proof?), you’ve got no worries at home!
Your Own Music
Whether your gym plays your kind of music or not, at home, you’ll get to blast the music you want to hear while working out and get really pumped up. We’d argue that this alone might lead to your best workout ever!
Things to Consider When Planning Home Gym Equipment
The big things to consider when you’re building a home gym space are:
How Much Space You Have
Do you have a corner in the office or an entire basement to use? This will determine how much home gym equipment you can fit so you can prioritize the most important and multifunctional pieces.
How do you like to exercise? Are you lifting heavy weights? Doing CrossFit? Love hot yoga? The exercises you like to do will determine your home gym equipment as much as your space will.
How Big Your Home Gym Budget Is
The money you’re willing and able to drop on your home gym is important. If money is tight, you’ll want to limit equipment, stick to the basics, and perhaps some multifunctional items. If you have a relatively high ceiling for your budget and the space for it, you’ll likely want to build the ultimate home gym.
We’ve broken this up into two categories, the basic home gym equipment for those who are on a budget and the ultimate list of home gym equipment for those who have no limits on space or funds to build their dream home gym.
Basic Home Gym Equipment
At a minimum, to call it a gym, you should include these pieces of home gym equipment:
- Bands and hip circles
- Olympic bar
- Cardio equipment
Bands and Hip Circles
Resistance bands are the long rubber straps that come with or without handles. They’re great for warming up, resistance exercises, rehabbing injuries, assisting during pull-ups and dips, or even making exercises like push-ups harder.
Hip circles are the resistance bands that are loops that fit perfectly around the thighs for lateral steps, banded step-ups, and hip thrusts or bridges. Look for hip circles made from thick fabric elastic that have rubber on the inside. In our experience, these are best in terms of not rolling up or slipping down.
You’ll need at least a set of heavy, medium, and light dumbbells to perform a wide array of exercises for your whole body. You’ll need very light for things like rear delt flys and much heavier for squats or hip thrusts.
You can certainly get all your lifting in with dumbbells, but we don’t think a home gym is a home gym without the classic Olympic bar and some plates.
Again, you likely want a range of weights for your Olympic bar; some light, medium, and heavy should be fine depending on just how heavy you’re lifting.
A Cardio Piece
Cardio is essential; whether you’re a trained runner or you despise all cardio, it’s important to get your body nice and warm before starting resistance and weight training. Choose the kind you like the most: treadmill, stationary bike, elliptical, or even a rowing machine.
Ultimate Home Gym Equipment
Your ideal home gym might vary depending on the way you like to exercise. However, for someone who enjoys mainly weightlifting, we recommend the above basics, along with a few other pieces:
- Squat rack
- Incline/decline bench
- Glute bench
- Lifting straps
- Rubber floor
- Pull-up/dip apparatus
- Bosu/stability ball
- Supplement station
A bench is a staple piece that can be used for anything from bench presses to incline and decline push-ups, Bulgarian split squats, and more.
Squatting is a basic, compound movement that many weightlifters prioritize (and for a good reason). To squat as heavy as your legs will allow, you need some way to get the weight up on your back, which is why you need a squat rack. You can also use the rack for heavy bench presses and more.
While you can always load the standard flat bench onto a couple of plates to create an incline or decline, it’s not the safest setup. If you like to perform any exercises at an angle, invest in a bench that can be adjusted.
If you are a fan of hip thrusts, you need to get one of these for your home gym. No more loading the bar, shoving weights behind the legs so it doesn’t budge, and trying to wiggle up onto the correct area of your back. Simply lean back, and you’re off. Life-changing.
We’re not getting into the room structure, but rubber gym flooring is an excellent addition to any area. The puzzle tile pieces are especially helpful if you’re in an unfinished basement on the concrete or you’re trying to protect some hardwood floors. In addition to protecting the flooring, they also help protect your weights from damage if they’re accidentally dropped down a little too hard.
In addition to dumbbells, kettlebells are great for a home gym for various exercises, including Romanian Deadlifts and kettlebell swings.
Pull-Up/Dip Set Up
A station designed for classic movements like pull-ups and dips should be a priority in the ultimate home gym.
Bosu or Stability Ball
These pieces of equipment are great and inexpensive, so you might as well add them for the ultimate experience. They’re great for ab work and stability work.
A Supplement Station
Last but not least, don’t forget about a place for all those quality supplements that help bridge any nutritional gaps and create the body of your dreams!
The COVID situation has had many of us reevaluating the way we work out. If a home gym is right for you, get started with this handy guide and build an awesome place for you to take care of your health and wellness!