What you need for in-home training and a great home gym
In-home training has always been an option for people to workout. It has many positives to it that training at a big, commercial gym doesn’t offer. It is private, you can train whenever you want and you can pick and choose which equipment you want. A couple of years ago during Covid and the quarantine it became not just an option but the only option for many people. Many people who trained at home during that time enjoyed it so much that they decided to continue to train in their homes and build upon their home gym setup. They added equipment and rearranged their homes to accommodate a more thorough and complete home gym setup.
Over the years I have worked with a lot of clients out of their homes. They have had everything from a full gym in their home to having virtually no equipment at all. I have been able to make it work in both instances and been able to give clients a great workout and training program regardless of what they have. I often get asked though by clients what equipment they need and what they should get. I think your goals, your starting point (fitness level) and your budget are the biggest factors that will dictate what and how much equipment you need. If you are sedentary and just starting out on your fitness journey you probably won’t need as much equipment as someone who has been training for years. A sedentary person may be able to get a great workout with just bodyweight exercises and minimal resistance or external load. If you have been training for years and are in really good shape you will probably need more equipment as your strength will require you to need more resistance and more equipment in general. If your goals are more specific and loftier you may also need more equipment. People who are competitive bodybuilders or fitness competitors as well as high level athletes will probably require more equipment to fit their goals and needs. Also, if someone is on a budget what and how much equipment they will need to get will be an important factor.
So, with all that being said, where do we start? I think the best way to do it is start with the most important equipment and most affordable equipment and work our way out from there. With this list of equipment I am going to stick with just strength training equipment. Someone can purchase cardiovascular exercise equipment or machines such as treadmills, exercise bikes and stair steppers. The cost of them is usually high though and a lot of cardiovascular exercise can be done outside with no equipment and at less or no cost such as walking and running, hiking and biking.
The first thing I usually have people get regardless of their goals or fitness level is resistance bands. They come in all sizes, types and with different levels of resistance. You can do a bunch of different exercises with them, you can train the entire body, they aren’t expensive and they don’t take up any space. If someone knows a decent amount of exercises to do with them and combines them with bodyweight movements they could get a complete workout with just that. Even if you don’t know all the different exercises you can do with bands, the internet and social media can be a good resource to find different exercises to perform with them. Perform Better (one of the leaders in fitness equipment) is a great company that manufactures fitness equipment and resistance bands and their social media is a great way to learn different exercises to do with them.
The next thing I have people get is a good set of adjustable dumbbells. Adjustable dumbbells are a set of dumbbells that you can vary and change the resistance with just a twist of dial at the end of the dumbbell. They usually come in a set of 2 working their way up in resistance in 2 ½ and 5 lb increments with resistance ranging from 5 lbs all the way up to 50 or 55 lbs. They can also be purchased with levels of higher resistance. They usually can be purchased for $300 or $400 online. The adjustable dumbbells I like and have are the Nautilus adjustable. They go from 5 lbs up to 55 lbs. An adjustable pair of dumbbells allows you to have all different weights of dumbbells without having to buy a pair for each weight. They are a lot cheaper this way and don’t take up nearly as much space. I have always said that if you have a good set of dumbbells and know how to use them you can get a great workout with just that. The amount of exercises you can do with dumbbells is almost endless and you can work your entire body and every movement pattern with them. You can also really progress your workout along by increasing the weight when needed.
The next piece of equipment on the list is a bench, preferably an adjustable bench. An adjustable bench is a bench that goes from a decline position all the way up to an incline position. A bench allows you to do a variety of different exercises including presses, different types of row, shoulder and arm exercises, leg exercises such as step-ups, hip lifts and rear foot elevated split squats as well as a host of other exercises. They aren’t too expensive. I have seen some for as cheap as $50 dollars online.
Next on the list would be a power rack or squat rack along with the barbell and weight plates to go with it. A power rack is a rack that people use at the gym that they do barbell squats in. They can be purchased separately or with the barbell (olympic bar) and weight plates to go with it. The best bet is probably to get them all purchased together. This will be cheaper and save you the time finding and purchasing the weight plates. A power rack along with the barbell and weight plates allows you to do any exercise performed with a barbell which is extensive. With the weight plates, similar to the dumbbells, you can also progress your workout along by increasing the resistance as needed. Another benefit to having a barbell and weight plates is the ability to do any, what is called landmine exercises. Landmine exercises are exercises where the end of the bar is secured on the ground, usually in a corner. The other end of the bar is used for doing a variety of different exercises. A power rack along with the barbell and weight plates is particularly helpful for the more advanced and stronger person.
As we work our way down the list the pieces of equipment here become more optional and more for the advanced person. An adjustable set of kettlebells is another good piece of equipment. Kettlebells come in adjustable pairs or can be purchased singularly. They adjust and go up in increments just like the adjustable dumbbells do. The list of the amount of kettlebell exercises is long and they allow much more flexibility and versatility in your training program.
The last piece of equipment that I usually recommend is a cable pulley machine. A cable pulley machine is seen in almost every big, commercial gym. They can be looked at as almost extensions of dumbbells as many of the dumbbell exercises one can perform can also be done with a cable pulley machine. There are cable pulley machines that are smaller than the cable pulley machines seen in big, commercial gyms and that are made for in-home gyms or smaller personal training studios. That is probably the type that someone would want for an in-home gym. These can get expensive so this is one of the main reasons why they are at the bottom of my list of in-home gym equipment. They can be very useful though as one can do a bunch of different exercises with it. An option to a cable pulley machine is cable pulley attachment that I was introduced to in the past year or so called an Ancore. It is a singular cable pulley attachment that attaches to a post or power rack or almost anything you can wrap it around. It comes with additional weight attachments for additional resistance and with various handle attachments. Ancore cable pulley units are much cheaper than an entire cable pulley machine and take up hardly any space. They can be purchased as one singular cable pulley unit or you can buy two to do more exercises that work both limbs of the body.
There is obviously additional equipment that one can purchase but this is usually what I recommend and the order in which I usually recommend them in. If one has all the equipment I listed they would be able to create a great training program and really progress it along as their fitness level increases. The amount of things you could do would be almost endless.
Before going on any specific diet or exercise program it is important to consult your doctor before starting.
Thank you for reading my blog article. I hope you found it helpful and informative. If anyone is interested in personal fitness training or sports performance training reach out to me via my email Dan@eidensfitness.com or you can contact me directly at 702-521-6012.