To get a good workout, you don't need any equipment, just your bodyweight. However, to get a complete workout, your body is not enough, you need gym weights. If you intend to build a home gym, this article is for you. In it, we will explain what should be your top priorities when buying home gym equipment. We will consider the best value for money, and also utility value of each piece. Stay tuned.
Home gym essentials
The first group on our list will include the essential items. Get these, and you will be ready to hit every muscle group:
Dumbbells - without question, dumbbells are the key component of every (home) gym. They offer unmatched flexibility, and with them, you can hit every single muscle from head to toe. Also, they are incredibly affordable and easy to store. If you are wise enough, you will get dumbbells with interchangeable weights. That will save you space, and will also give you even more flexibility, to add more weight as you gain strength. Furthermore, if you get a dumbbell set that can use regular (Olympic) weight plates, you will be able to use them later, for your barbell too. You can find weights for sale almost anywhere. If you're not that picky, you can get a rusty pair in a garage sale for almost nothing; your muscles won't know the difference.
Bench - it is impossible to perform exercises safely and conveniently without an exercise bench. While you can do some exercises on the floor, or on regular furniture, that is far from ideal. You can get seriously injured, and you will ruin your furniture. Get an adjustable exercise bench that will let you perform exercises on different inclines. Some even let you go decline, to hit those pecs, triceps, and abs even harder.
Pull-up bar - even if you can't do a single pull-up, you should invest in a pull-up bar. Ideally, you will install one that lets you hang with your legs fully extended. But, if that's not possible, get a bar that you can attach on a door frame. Many of those don't require any screws or drilling, and you can even remove them after finishing your workout. A pull-up bar will let you perform pull-ups, chin-ups, but also ab exercises, and if you put something for leg support, you can do inverted rows. And every time you stretch by hanging from it, your spine will say a big "Thank you!".
You can go without these items, but obtaining them will allow you to hit your muscles in many different ways:
Barbell & plates - you would probably expect to see a barbell in the "essentials" part of the list, but we have put it here, and here is the number one reason why: convenience, or better, lack of it. Olympic barbell takes up space, and it requires you to get extras that take up even more space. First, a barbell is almost useless without plates. Then you will probably need a holder to store those plates without damaging anything, and you will need one for your barbell too. And if you want to perform exercises safely, you will need to buy a power rack.
Power rack - this might seem extreme, but if you want to do weights training with a barbell, you must have a power rack. You probably got that barbell to perform the bench press, back squats and deadlifts, and you can't perform the first two without a power rack, at least not safely while working out alone. A power rack is a lifesaver, literally. You just put the safety bars on an appropriate height, and you can go all-in, exercising to your new personal best, all by yourself. If something happens, and you drop the bar, safety bars will catch it. You will not damage anything, and most importantly, you will not be harmed. However, not everything is ideal - a quality power rack is expensive, and it takes up a lot of space. But the number of exercises it allows you to perform makes it well worth the investment if you have the required space.
EZ-curl bar - this short zig-zag bar is ideal for working out your arms as its shape places less stress on your wrists. You can even use it for other muscle groups. And it uses the same weights as your dumbbells and barbell, which is convenient. A very useful piece of gear, and quite affordable, that is why you should consider buying it.
Lastly, accessories. These items are extras, but as you are about to see, they will help you put your fitness on another level:
Bands - exercise bands are so flexible and versatile that some even put them into essentials. WIth them, you can work out any muscle group, and they can completely replace weights. They are easy to carry, and you can take them while you travel. Just get a few different types so that you can target both the weaker and stronger muscle groups.
Pilates/swiss ball - this is another flexible item. You can use a swiss ball instead of a bench. Because it is unstable, it will work out your muscles even harder, especially abs. An exercise ball is good even without weights, mainly for hitting your chest and abdominals. Considering the price, you should definitely buy this great item.
Jump rope - surprised? Don't be! To get a complete workout, you need cardio. Treadmills are expensive and take up space, same goes for exercises bikes and ellipticals. Jump rope is affordable, and it will burn even more calories. Plus, it is fun to use, helps your hand-eye coordination, is safe, low-impact, and you can store it away after you finish your workout. Great!
That was our list of equipment that you need to have in your home gym. If you want to buy and are not into those garage sales we mentioned earlier, check out our website. There, you will find the best fitness equipment in Ireland, with competitive prices. Just remember to put the work in. It is one thing to buy weights, working out regularly is something entirely different. Start slowly, stay dedicated, and you will start noticing results, sooner rather than later.