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What you need in your home gym [Article, Video]

Posted by Pascal Landshoeft

Dec 21, 2019 10:52:02 PM

What you need in your home gymWhat you need in your home gym

This is an overview of what to get for your home gym and how to approach the task. Good planning is everything for a project like this to come out in the budget and happy with your decisions. Make sure that you buy hat you are actually going to use.
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What home gym is best

The home gym you actually use is the best one you can get. It is easy to get carried away when you equip your home gym. The budget will mushroom and need cuts if you are not specific about what you want to achieve. Here are some tips: 

Goals for your home gym

Before you buy anything to put down in writing 
  • What are your goals 
  • What are your plans 
  • What are your challenges
  • What is your timeline
Take time to determine these points and make this a manifesto. A written plan like this can be the reference point for any decision further down the line. Make this a long process so that you won’t have overlooked anything major. One hour spent on panning is five hours saved in execution. Still put down a date by when you want to act to avoid analysis paralysis. 

List of exercises 

List all of the exercises you are currently doing regularly. Not training regularly yet? Don’t invest in a home gym. It is likely that you will not use it. If you exercise less than three times a week your home gym will most likely not be the magic fix. Push the current arrangements to the limit so that you can be sure you will get your money's worth from a home gym. Once you train three times a week make a list. 
  • Which exercises do you do regularly?
  • Do these exercises support your goals? 
  • Which exercises are you not doing that support your goals? 
  • Would extra equipment fix this?
By elimination, you will get more bang for your buck. Make sure that the equipment you buy covers the exercises you are doing the most. 

Survey the area 

Once you have your list of goals and exercises ready, survey the available space. Answer questions like:
  • How high is the ceiling 
  • Will the flooring take the beating
  • What is the square footage 
  • Are any construction pieces obstructing heavy equipment 
  • Which way do doors and windows open 
  • Where will the equipment be stored when not used 
  • Can I get the equipment to the room where I want to j stall it 
  • Heat?
  • Cooling?
  • Electricity?
  • Water? 
Based on this design space you will actually use. If you are into yoga there is no point in getting a power rack and having a great view and peace with a view is a waste of good money if you like training in a dungeon while listening to Rammstein. 

What home gym equipment

Here is some equipment that you might want to consider if you are into lifting and CrossFit. 
Rogue RM4

Rogue RM4

The Rogue RM4 is a solid choice as a centerpiece of a home gym with an interest in strength. You will be in the middle of the price range for one of the best vendors for fitness equipment out there. The monster series will protect your investment and can be equipped with a lot of accessories to fit our personal needs. 
Rogue Ohio Bar

Ohio bar 

The Ohio bar is the all-around option from Rogue. It comes in at a reasonable price and is produced in the states. It works for Olympic lifts, CrossFit and powerlifting. Especially good when you buy in bulk or want to save money in the Rogue portfolio. For personal use, you might want to consider the Cerakote versions which can be customized. 
Rogue Stealth package

Bumper plates 

Bumper plates are cheap and versatile. They are also easy on your fingers and toes of you get them caught between or under these plates. The only downside to bumper plates is that they want to max out the weight you can put in the bar. Up to 180kg, you will be all right going bumper. 


The cheapest and most compact full body gym you can get according to Pavel Tsatsoulin. I personally would agree with him. Women can start with 8kg while men usually can start with 12kg. Only the sky is the limit but I feel that the bigger kettlebells can only be used for swings. Maybe diversify your kettlebell exercise selection or try to execute with more speed before moving up in weight. 
rogue hex dumbbell


Dumbbells are most famous for the bicep curls. Probably one of the less useful exercises. Dumbbells can be used for a lot more than just curls. Also, I think kettlebells are a little more useful once you know how to keep them balanced for presses. 
Fraser SR2

Jump rope 

The jump rope might be the best piece of equipment apart from shoes to keep your cardio up. Use it and start simple. Make it harder and harder and start doing tricks over time. Someone who is mostly interested in weight loss only needs a good pair of runners, a jump rope and a kettlebell


Have horsemats for strength and judo mats for yoga and martial arts areas. This way you will save money and keep yourself happy. 


I am personally not a big fan of treadmills but I get it when you live in an urban area with a lot of traffic. It’s not great to run outside when you are in constant danger to be run over. 
If you live in an area where you can quickly get to a river or lake by foot or car with a decent footpath i recommend running g outdoors. For bad weather get a rogue echo bike. They are easier to move and great for interval training. Treadmills have a tendency to break and take up a lot of space. 
which home gym equipment is good

Which home gym equipment is good

When you look for gym equipment for your home go for the quality. You will only need one piece of each that will last for years to come. To see whether the equipment is good, check out the following trademarks. 


Where it is appropriate, check whether the vendor used stainless steel or an equivalent.  Just gym equipment is supposed to be hard to move so if you read materials like plastic or Aluminium check whether this is with the intent for better moveability. If it is made of a material that clearly was used with the only intent to save cost, try to stay away from it. 


If you put your full body weight on it you want it to be relatively heavy. Anything that is light enough to be quickly moved under a bed will break. You might as well get a good pair of runners for cardio instead or a Jump rope for indoors. 

Good quality 

If you buy something for your home gym check the reviews. If people talk about it in. a sense „good quality, high price“ it is probably worthwhile. If the feedback goes along the lines of „does the job for a good price“ it’s ok but you might want to stay away from it. 
Good points to check quality are: 
  • Seams 
  • Friction points 
  • Welds 
  • Color
All of these are finishing touches and lower quality machines will show signs of scratches, inconsistencies or cheap material. 


Material which is single-purpose and stays the same is usually of higher quality. As soon as you have a „transformer“ piece of equipment it is more prone to error.

What weights for home gym

Weights are one of the best options to save a bit of money. They are more expensive than most people think. So if you can pick up a couple on Craigslist you should as they are simple material. Just be sure that they fit your barbell and other equipment

Bumper plates

The cheapest and most versatile option for a home gym. They can be dropped on the floor without doing much damage. You can also use them indoors as well as outdoors. What they lack is precision. Bumper plates are the ones with the highest variance from the weight stated on the plate in the market. 

Olympic competition plates 

Competition plates are precisely manufactured and have a very little variance from what weight is stated on the plate. They also have a metal core surrounded by rubber. This way they can be dropped from overhead while still having a weighted center. This makes them more stable for the Olympic lifts. They come in different colors. The downside of them is their high price. 

Steel plates 

Steel plates are great when you want to maximize how much weight you can get your barbell. For the same weight, they take up less real estate on the sleeves. They are also relatively cheap and commonplace. The downside of steel plates is that they can not be dropped from overhead often and do not well outdoors. 
What you need in your home gym

What you need in your home gym

Here are some points to consider when you want to create your own home gym. 


It is always nicer to have more space than less for your home gym. Rather than filling it up with clutter think about how and where you are going to move around your gym. Keep some space between different pieces of equipment so you are able to walk around them. 


Basement and garage gyms are usually not lighted very well. Think about where to install the lights before moving the equipment in. This makes changes easier. 



Think about where existing radiators are or where you will place that electrical heater. If possible hold everything up to a deadman switch that enables you to turn everything off when you leave the gym. 



Does the room already have electricity? Where would you get it from? Plan ahead to not be surprised and having to cram at theist minute. 


A rack can often form the centerpiece of a home gym. Especially if you want to work with weights. If you want to use dumbbells also think about where and how to store them. 


Cardio equipment is usually one of the biggest pieces you will get. Think about placement and how you might get it through doors. 
Garden rooms

What size for your home gym 

Home gyms come in various shapes and sizes. It all depends on where you live, how much money you want to invest and which equipment you want to use. 4m by 4m usually works well. Think about how to fit these two pieces of equipment in tk get an idea for size: 
What machines for your home gym

What machines for home gym

These are the machines I would personally recommend for your home gym. It all depends on your personal tastes and needs. 


A treadmill is what most people get for their home gym. While I am not a great fan as I prefer running outside I can see the value. Especially in a busy city where you can not get to the next river or lake for a nice run easily. Treadmills take up space and need power. You might want to look at the self-propelled options. Even though a little more expensive since they are less prone to failure. 


This is my personal favorite for cardio at home. I personally hate cyclists who n the roads as I think they endanger themselves and others. Especially the I es who think they are fast but are anything but. If you are an athlete you don’t cycle in double file. Any way Airbikes are great, especially the interval setting that most of them have. 


For a rack you would need to decide whether you want to store your weight mates in the rack or somewhere separate. If you want to store your plates on the rack I would recommend a one and a half rack. If you store your plates on a plate tree or on the walls I would say go for a half-rack or full rack depending on space. 

Lat pull 

A lat pull is big and simulates most of the pulling motions which are hard to do with a dumbbell or barbell. Most lat pulls can also be used as a rowing machine. This wouldn’t be my first purchase but once you have your cardio and power rack covered this can be a very good addition to work on your back. 

Bench and dumbbell 

If you want to save money but still lift weights you can invest in a bench and dumbbells. This is usually cheaper than getting a rack and the equipment will still be relevant once you upgrade to a rack and a barbell. Keep in mind that multiple deliveries mean fewer discounts per item and higher shipping costs in total for your gym. If you can try to order in bulk so that you get a free shipment.

What to have in your home gym

Rather than only thinking about which equipment to have in your gym spend a little time what you actually want to do in your gym and then choose the equipment. The functions a gym can fulfill are
Strength equipment is heavy and usually needs more space. Keep that in mind when placing it near doors, windows, and radiators. Try to keep free moving areas near infrastructure you need to access on a regular basis as it is unlikely that you will move the heavy equipment once it is placed. The biggest items for strength are the rack, bench, and barbell.


Dedicate some space to cardio if you don't do it outdoors. While most strength equipment does not need to be near sockets, most cardio equipment does not to be plugged in. Some are self-sufficient, but especially treadmills will need power. Consider this before making your final choices on what goes where. If you are more into conditioning boxing bags are usually better placed in a corner than in the middle of the room to be effective. The same goes for most other martial arts equipment. If you want to be able to fully circle around it gets a moveable punching device rather than hanging something from the ceiling in the middle of the room. This is usually not a wise use of space if you have little to go around.


For any stretching or yoga make sure you have an area with easy to clean mats. Judo mats are usually a good choice, but you can also go for other options. The mats are good for stretching or usually not great for lifting. Here horse mats are the better choice for stability and resistance.


Your home gym has also to be able to store plates, kettlebells, dumbbells, jump ropes and other equipment you place in there. Think about how and where to store material before getting it so that your gym does not turn into a mess. 

Topics: Kettlebell, Strength, Rogue, Powerlifting, Barbell, Plates, Bench, Rack