ABSOLUTE BEST GUIDE FOR YOUR HOME GYM 2019
- With only a little equipment, a very good and effective workout can also be done at home. Power rack, barbell, weight plates, pull-up bar, adjustable bench, dumbbells and a mat.
- If you have enough space, you can also get a platform for deadlifts, a dip station, a glute-ham-raise machine and a cardio machine. This way you can set up your absolute best home gym at home and train like a pro.
Home gym equipment – what to consider?
The most effective training programmes, whether for professionals or beginners, involve training with free weights (just like everyday weights), so-called “compound exercises”. These involve the large muscle groups of the body working together to generate force against an external resistance.
For an effective workout, the load or weight must be so high that you cannot do more than 5 to 12 repetitions of the exercise. This is one of the biggest mistakes beginners make when training, especially women, low weight and many repetitions and that exclusively. You should train in all repetition ranges (light to heavy weights). Where the emphasis is then placed depends on the respective goal.
Compound exercises put stress on several joints at the same time (in a positive sense) and you therefore benefit the most from these exercises.
These main exercises are squats, deadlifts, bench presses, overhead presses and pull-ups, all other exercises are additional exercises that can be performed depending on your needs and goals. An effective workout is designed around these 5 main exercises.
Training with your own body weight “bodyweight training” is a less than optimal alternative for very advanced athletes, but for beginners or those who are not so well trained it is anything but effective, rather the opposite. The big disadvantage here is that you cannot increase the loads progressively (continuously and slowly) and the choice of exercises is also very limited.
In the long run, this leads to stagnation or, in the worst case, to overuse injuries. For example, handstand push-ups quickly lead to wrist problems and/or shoulder pain in beginners. But that would go too far here to go into detail, please read the corresponding article that will follow shortly.
Professional home gym for little money
- Save many hours of driving to and from the gym
- Save hundreds of Euros each year on membership fees
- Use all the equipment whenever you want, you never have to wait to use it
- Always listen to the music you want to hear
- Set up your studio the way you like it
But you don’t know what equipment to buy, because there are so many things on the fitness market that you have lost the overview?
As so often, the devil is in the detail, you need to know what your goal is, what your budget is and how much space you have available.
But before we get into the details, you should also consider the negative sides that a home gym brings with it.
Disadvantages of a home gym
- You first have to make a large investment of several hundred if not thousands of Euros.
- You are limited in the exercises you can do because you have less equipment than a commercial gym.
- You may not be as motivated in the long run if you always train alone
- You have to repair, maintain and possibly even replace and buy new equipment if it breaks down.
Personally, I have set up a small “emergency gym” at home, where I can do at least the most important exercises and train whenever I don’t have time to go to the gym.
However, I also train in a normal gym because I have more choice there and can also push myself to the limit with the squats because there is a safety rack if I can’t do a heavy repetition.
The best and most important things for your home gym
A main problem for most people is the incredible variety of equipment on the market, medicine balls, TRX trainers, treadmills, kettlebells, strongman equipment and many other “trendy” things. A lot of this is not necessary at all when it comes to building muscle, improving your figure and becoming more powerful.
You only need a few things to get a super toned body and to design your training accordingly.
In the following I will make a list from which you can decide individually what you think is necessary and what is suitable for your requirements and your possibilities.
Equipment Home Gym
- Barbell rack or “Power Rack”
- Weight plates for the barbell
- Adjustable dumbbells
- Adjustable bench
- Pull-up bar
- Weightlifting belt
- Yoga mat
With these 8 things you are already suuuuper set up! Nothing would stand in the way of an effective workout! In addition, there is the following equipment that you could buy, but this would be considered a luxury, but of course TOP!
Additional equipment for a top home gym
- Dip belt, to attach additional weights to weigh you down
- Cable pulley
- “Glute-Ham-Raise” machine, great for back extensors and leg curls
- “Fractional plates” weight plates in very small increments of 0.25 – 1.0 kg
- Wall mirror
- Wireless speakers for music
The equipment is listed in no particular order, depending on space, budget and goal.
The minimum requirements for fitness at home are definitely a good set of dumbbells, if there is no other space, this has to be at home. In the past it was always a problem to have a dumbbell set where you had 2 dumbbells from 5kg – 40kg quickly available.
You either had to spend a lot of money and have a lot of space to buy 2 of each weight or you screwed around like a fool and changed the weight plates accordingly.
Fortunately, there are now high-quality adjustable dumbbell systems that are perfect for the home. They take up little space and are really quick and easy to adjust. I bought the Powerblock for my home and I am completely satisfied. But there are also other systems on the market.
What you also need is an adjustable bench like you find in gyms, which you can adjust individually, from completely flat to vertical. The gradual gradation of the angles should not be too great and ideally allow for 4 or 5 different angles.
Also, it’s not worth skimping, because the cheap banks aren’t exactly stable and won’t last that long, you wouldn’t be happy with them.
In my opinion, no HOME GYM should be without a pull-up bar. There are various options, for the door frame, for mounting on the wall, etc. Ultimately, it should be stable and suitable for performing pull-ups.
So if you have enough space (e.g. in your basement or garage) then there is the possibility of a “power rack” (also squat rack) in which you can safely place the barbell and perform squats with a safety rest. Overhead presses, bench presses and pull-ups can also be performed.
Or as a variant if you have less space at home, then the barbell stands come into question. The disadvantage is that you don’t have a safety rack and they are a bit more unstable, but you can also do the exercises mentioned above.
Investing money in a good barbell is definitely worth it, because you will need it for many exercises. So saving money here would be the wrong decision.
The barbell should be ribbed where you grip it during the exercises and the manufacturer should give a lifetime guarantee on it if possible.
The barbell and weight plates listed below would be a great starter set up to 100kg.
You get the most for your money here for beginner sets. For starters, 2 x 5kg, 2 x 10kg, 2 x 15kg and 2 x 20kg would be ideal, and if you are already more advanced, you can buy more or if you are getting stronger, you can buy more.
The plates should of course have a round shape and if you train in a flat then you should buy the more expensive rubber “bumper plates”, the floor and your neighbour below you will thank you ;-)!
There are many different floor protection mats available on the internet, for example puzzle mats, they are relatively cheap, but I wouldn’t recommend them because they are not suitable for high loads such as when doing deadlifts. In this case, you should use thicker mats that are particularly vibration-absorbent.
Washing machine mats, for example, are a good choice. These are made of ground rubber and you can get them relatively cheaply in any DIY store or on Amazon.
Anyone who wants to train seriously and long-term with weights is well advised to get a suitable weightlifting belt. It provides additional protection for the lumbar spine by increasing the internal pressure in the abdominal cavity during high loads such as deadlifts and squats. Nevertheless, the technique of the exercises must be mastered, otherwise this will lead to injuries or overloads in the long run, despite the weightlifting belt.
Even those who don’t practise yoga should buy a yoga mat, because everyone does warm-up exercises, stretching or mobilisation exercises and that’s exactly what a yoga mat is for. It’s not a huge investment, but it is very practical and should not be missing from a good HOME GYM.
So with the things just described, you can already cover a large part of the exercises and training possibilities.
In addition, depending on your space, budget and goals, the following equipment is recommended for a well-equipped HOME GYM.
The cable pulley is a very versatile piece of training equipment that can be used to perform a variety of so-called secondary exercises. Of course, there is a huge variety of equipment on the market for different needs.
I will only recommend two of them here. I bought the smaller one myself and am very satisfied with it. It takes up little space, works perfectly and looks good, in my opinion.
The assembly is relatively easy and can be done even by someone who is not very good at handicrafts!
Of course, the costs are relatively high here, but the purchase is definitely worth it for the ambitious athlete.
The second one below is for those who have more space.
In this day and age, a huge problem is the large number of sedentary
activities that lead to the classic widespread diseases. One of these widespread diseases is back pain, which affects everyone at least once in their lives and many people very frequently. By far the best prophylaxis for this is intensive strength training with heavy weights – yes, that’s right, with heavy weights and not with therabands or your own body weight.
That means deadlifts and squats. But there is one exercise I can only recommend to everyone, and that is the “glute-ham-raise” machine. With this exercise, the entire posterior muscle chain can be trained without provoking overuse injuries.
Calves, leg flexors, buttocks and the entire back extensors up to the cervical spine are trained here in interaction. Unfortunately, it is relatively expensive and takes up a lot of space, but it is definitely worth it.
If you have enough space, you can buy an ergometer to warm up, warm down or generally train your cardiovascular system. There are rowing ergometers, cross-walkers, steppers, cycle ergometers, etc. I would recommend a cross-walker or cycle ergometer as they have the least “impact” on strength training as there is less impact like running for example.
With the rowing ergometer you have to pay attention to the execution in order not to strain your back unnecessarily, I speak from experience ;-)!
I hope that this article has given you a good overview of how to set up your own fitness studio and that I have been able to help you with your decision…!
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