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Creating your Killer Home Gym with Coach Sam

Alright guys, this month we are continuing our home gym tips write up.  We are going to focus on identifying the core pieces that create the foundation for a home...

Alright guys, this month we are continuing our home gym tips write up.  We are going to focus on identifying the core pieces that create the foundation for a home gym, how to identify functionality and quality of different pieces of equipment, and how to find the best bargain buys.

So you want to build a home gym, but don’t know where to start? First, review last month’s newsletter (March 2024) to understand planning considerations for your identified home gym space, protecting your flooring, and budgeting.  Once you’ve identified your space, and identified how you will protect your floors and purchased/laid out your flooring protection, you’re ready to begin actually building your home gym! No matter the type of training program you’re following – Hypertrophy, general strength and conditioning, CrossFit, etc., the centerpiece of your home gym will most likely be your power rack.  It’s very important that you spend the time researching and understanding the different offerings from each of the major gym equipment manufacturers BEFORE you lock yourself into a potentially multi-thousand dollar purchase.  For example, if you are only looking to build a modest home gym, and don’t have a desire for a modular power rack that can integrate “add ons”, then your requirements may be met with something like a stand alone squat stand.  Rogue Fitness, Rep Fitness, Elite FTS, Titan Fitness, Sorinex, Valor Fitness, Prime Fitness and CAP are all examples of gym equipment manufacturers that range from your standard budget friendly options to more premium options.  Most gym equipment providers have their “flagship” line of equipment (Rogue’s Monster Line, Rep’s PR-5000 line) that offer the most add-on features for upgrading your rack for the integration of attachments.  Today, you can integrate a variety of features into a small space, with just a power rack if you know how to build it properly, such as – Squat Rack, Smith Machine, Lat Pulldown, Low Row, Belt Squat, Cable Crossover, Lever Arm attachments, Plate Storage, Barbell Storage, Band Pegs for accommodating resistance, Pull-Up Bar, and Plate Storage.  The options are nearly endless, BUT be careful not to self limit yourself into not being able to upgrade by purchasing the incorrect power rack due to a lack of research.  I highly recommend garage gym reviews by Coop.  There are written articles & youtube videos that dive into the most nuanced considerations for home gym equipment that will save you a headache and your wallet.  Once you’ve decided on your power rack option, the next piece you will want to consider purchasing is a barbell + plates.  This is another area you will want to conduct some research into – more for the barbell than the plates.  Barbells can range from $100 to close to $1,500 depending on the manufacturer, quality, bearings, etc.  If you aren’t a competitive Olympic weightlifter, you’re probably ok to not purchase an expensive Eleiko barbell.  A standard barbell from one of the above-mentioned manufacturers will likely meet most athlete’s requirements, but brand preference, quality, and finish are all additives that you’ll need to consider.  For plates, I recommend having a mixture of bumper and steel plates, as steel plates generally take up less space for storage.  I would recommend searching for used barbells and plates to save yourself some money on Facebook marketplace, OfferUp, and Craigslist, or any other crowd sourced market for purchasing items. The next item you’ll want to purchase is a set of Dumbbells.  There are quite a few options here.  You can purchase rubber hex or circular dumbbells in pairs, up to your desired end weight range, or you can look to purchase a pair of adjustable dumbbells.  Consider that the more dumbbells you purchase, more floor space will be required to store the dumbbells, and you’ll potentially need to purchase additional dumbbell storage.  However, for athletes that use multiple dumbbells in a workout for supersets, or drop sets, adjustable dumbbells can sometimes be a headache to constantly have to adjust.  Dumbbells are another home gym feature that I recommend be purchased after market/used on one of the aforementioned online marketplaces.  The last major item you’ll need to round out your initial home gym purchase will be an adjustable bench.  This, like your power rack, is something to consider the potential after market integration features.  For example, a company called PowerTec offers a flat, incline, decline adjustable bench that can have the following features integrated into it – leg extension/leg curl attachment, preacher curl attachment, pec fly attachment, seated dip attachment.  If you purchase a flat bench without the ability to adjust it for an incline, you can prop it up on some plates as a ”hack”.  Consider the weight capacity of the bench you purchase as well.  Some of the more budget friendly options may feel “unstable” and have a lower weight capacity limit.  Lastly, as an initial purchase “bonus” feature, consider buying a pair of ThundrBands and a Heel Wedge to allow you to fully integrate the Muscle Anarchy training program right at home!


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