After having spent time in a bunch of different commercial gyms, each with their own environment and community, I came to realize that first of all; I did not need all of this material to train effectively, and also that the solitude of a personal gym or training space has many undeniable benefits that commercial gyms do not have.Â In this best home gym setup guide you will find everything you need to construct the ideal home gym setup.
With Calisthenics, being on a tight budget is not such of a big problem as all you really need is a pair of gymnastics rings and somewhere to anchor them to. But for a complete and efficient full body training setup, you may want to train with more than just gymnastics rings, mainly for your lower body where weighted barbell training is incomparable in terms of the results it brings.
Top recommended pieces of equipment for your home gym
Table of Contents
Due to their high level of practicality, a good pair of gymnastics rings is first on our list. Not only can they be endlessly adjusted for hundreds of different exercises, but they are also light, easily transportable, durable, and an all around extremely versatile piece of equipment. It’s hard to not appreciate the true value they can can bring to your workouts.
The fact that rings are not a fixed, stable pull up bar or pair of dipping bars, means that you will also recruit a larger amount of muscle fibers in every single exercise you do. It’s recommended that one is already somewhat familiar with bodyweight training before picking up a pair of these for more complicated movements like dips though, as the instability can prove to be a great challenge for an untrained person.
Â Another common argument is that if one doubts of the results that can be achieved through ring training, he/she should take a look at the distinct physique a gymnast has. They usually carry a very aesthetic amount of lean muscle mass, and on top of that, they can use it to perform awesome stunts and movements with their own bodyweight.
If you are to build yourself a home gym, rings should be the staple of your equipment. As mentioned above you can take them with you anywhere, including on planes when you travel and in a small bag when just going to your local park or a nearby tree. They are also fairly cheap too, so if you are ready to take your workouts and muscle and strength training to the next step, look at this gymnastics rings buyer’s guide and consider getting yourself a pair-they last forever.
If you are just starting with rings and want some additional information on how to use them as best as you can as a beginner, including joint conditioning exercises you can do, basic exercise tutorials and more, head over to the resourceful GMB article here.
A squat rack with barbell and weight plates
Having a squat rack also opens a world of possibilities in terms of the various exercises you can do. As well as serving as an anchor point for you rings, a lots of squat racks also have pull ups bars on them.
If you want to develop a strong and muscular lower body you could of course just use your own bodyweight, but it would never equal the results you can get with barbell training (do both!). With a squat rack you can safely perform dozens of squat and lunge variations and keep progressively overloading every week. If you wish to, you can also add some bench press and overhead press. Place the bar low for exercises like tricep extensions or rows, the possibilities are endless.
For those who are on a budget and seek a cheaper alternative (although you can get some great quality squat racks for nor more than $150), squats stands may be more suited to what you are looking for. They are generally not as stable as a power/squat rack, and don’t feature a pull up/dip bar and storage pegs, but they are a viable, cheaper opportunity that will certainly do a great job, providing of course that you are not planning to use super heavy loads.
A climbing rope
If you are like me and always felt an urge to climb the long rope hanging from the ceiling in the school gym, you’ll appreciate having this one in your home gym. I was surprised at the strength I developed in the first few weeks after having installed mine, strength that had a great carry-over to many different exercises, but especially pull ups, deadlifts, and griping and pulling movements in general.
The problem with a climbing rope is that it involves having a high enough anchor point to be able to really make the most of the rope. As I didn’t have that luxury, I just climbed up and down and back up again in an l-sit position with my legs in front of me, until my grip and biceps couldn’t take it anymore. You could also attach it to a nearby tree branch if you happen to have one nearby.
If you want to develop thick forearms and biceps, rope climbing is definitely an underrated exercise that one should incorporate into his/her own routine.
Resistance bands are also a versatile piece of equipment that can prove very useful in a bunch of different ways. They are practical for warming up and also serve rather well as added resistance in all of your basic compound movements and even isolation exercises.
For advanced exercises like the front lever or planche, using a resistance band is a good way to gradually gain strength by using less and less assistance by swapping from a heavier to a lighter band. You can combine the gymnastics rings with the bands to assist you in more advanced exercises such as the muscle up or one arm pull up.
They can also be carried around in a very small gym bag or backpack, are so light you won’t even notice, and don’t cost a lot at all. With all the different types of band thickness and resistances to choose from, you can have an entire workout from just one resistance band.
Other equipment worth Considering for your home gym
The few pieces of equipment above alone are enough to give you the intense workouts you need. However, if you are looking for something more complete, or extra tools that could come in handy and makeÂ your workout routine that much more intense, here are are few recommended things you could get your hands on.
Kettlebells will improve your workout in numerous ways. Mike, from bodybuilding.com, says that kettlebell trainingÂ Â is a form of training that will not only improve the appearance of your physique, it will give you strength and mental toughness that you did not know was even possible. As well as having a very small footprint and therefore taking up little space in your home gym, they can be used for a full body workout and effectively bridge the gap between cardio and strength training
Some sort of cardio equipment
If you don’t like jogging, or doing sprints and HIIT outside, A rowing machine or recumbent bike may come in useful to you as well. You can do low impact cardio from the comfort of your own home, and they are also a great way of warming up prior to a big workout session.
Skipping ropes are also great to work on hand eye coordination, whilst burning calories. Did you know that 30 minutes of skipping rope burns as many calories as running for 60 minutes?
A weighted vest
These are a fantastic piece of equipment that can be used for many different things. If your regular pull ups, dips and push ups have become to easy for you, a weighted vest is a great way of scaling the exercise to make it harder, using progressive overload just like you would in a gym. You can use them as you are running or doing burpees and sprints, or even whilst you are doing household chores.
Benefits of having a home gym
One of the biggest advantages of having a home gym is most probably the freedom that comes with it. It’s your own space, you will never be disturbed and you don’t have to worry about anything else than your workout as there is nobody around you. It’s a quiet place when you need it to be, and loud when you want it to be.
Maybe on one day you’ll feel like having some quiet classical music in the background, and another, blasting heavy metal as you deadlift at your heart’s content (some gyms forbid deadlifting). But you will never have to deal with the same, crappy, commercial music that is playing in the gym 24/7, that you can either do your best to ignore, or try to cover it by blasting your own music in your ears, desperately trying to cover the background music.
You can train in flip flops, in underwear, or naked if you want to. You can use chalk, you can deadlift loudly and drop the weights, you can curl in the squat rack, you can do anything.
Let’s not forget that another great advantage is how you can train at any time you like, or any time that is most convenient to you. Some gyms are open almost 24/7 and are very inviting in terms of their general time schedule, but others have some rather weird hours that may not fit with your own work hours. If you train at home, you can go for anywhere to 15 to 90 minute sessions whenever you can fit them in, and as you don’t have to drive there first, you save up even more time.
Long term cost-efficiency
If you may also be tired of paying expensive memberships all year round every year to only end up using a limited amount of material anyway, things that you could easily get in your own home gym which means you would quickly save money by not having to pay for those memberships and investing in your own material that covers your basic training needs.
Before long, you will notice how much money you’ve saved. Investing in your own equipment will have a one time fee, which will quickly be recouped as you stop paying for monthly/yearly gym subscriptions, which are on the long term, very expensive.
If you ever find yourself coming home after a long day of work and just giving up on the gym because you know that you still have to drive there, before you can even start getting warmed up, this excuse will no longer be available to you as all you will have to do is walk a couple of feet (depending on the size of your home), to your power rack, pull up bar and weights.
On top of the fact that you won’t have to deal with people talking to you during your sets, or taking up all the equipment at the same time and making a general mess everywhere, your gym will always be close by. You can even jump on your pull up bar or squat rack from time to time to do some sets, when you feel like it. In your own gym there are no distractions, no excuses.
best home gym setup – conclusion
One really doesn’t need much to have a quality home gym which has you covered for hundreds of different exercises, and quality workouts. You could even just get the gymnastics rings and have a very complete workout tool for decades of progress with those alone. But if you want to get your hands on a squat rack and some weights as well, then you’ll have everything you could possibly need, all in the same convenient space — your own training space.
Now that you have seen the advantages of having your own home gym, what is the first piece of equipment you will invest in? If you think I have left out any important things that should be in this list, please comment below, and get a discussion going!