Training from Home; Set-up and Equipment
Approximately 6 Minutes Reading Time
Brief Article Overview
- The first things to contemplate before buying any equipment for your home gym are; space, permanence, goals and budget.
- Once these are decided, we suggest starting from the ground up. The type of flooring you choose will determine the rest of your gym set up and equipment.
- A little can go a long way. You don’t need big fancy equipment for an effective workout. Invest in versatile bits of kit that you can do multiple exercises with, like dumbbells, kettlebells, bands and suspension trainers.
- When your training becomes more advanced and your goals become more specific, then consider specialised pieces of equipment, like power racks and barbells.
- Cardio equipment should probably come last in your home gym checklist. We like cardio to be done in the great outdoors, but when the weather’s really bad, rowing machines and assault bikes can offer the most effective full body aerobic workouts that don’t take up too much floor space.
Our mission during this period of home isolation, is to help keep you fit and active! With the inevitable gym closures, this is the perfect time to invest in that home workout space you’ve always wanted!
But where to start? We take you through the important decisions you’ll need to consider when designing your perfect home workout space.
We’ve also put together a comprehensive list of recommended equipment to get you started.
Have you Identified your Space?
First thing’s first…find your space. Be it a spare room, garage, basement, garden or simply an area in your living room, assess the amount of space you have and go from there.
We believe that if you can lie down flat, roll side to side and stand up with hands above your head, you have enough space for an effective workout.
It goes without saying, before buying anything make sure you have enough available square footage for it (and appropriate storage if needed…more on that later).
How Permanent Will It Be?
The permanence of your home gym should be the next thing to consider. Can you dedicate a room or area to keep equipment in for good, or are you going to have to move things around and “set up” your workout space on the fly, then have to store them away afterwards?
If the area is going to be permanent, you’ll be able to invest in more fixed, heavy duty structures such as rubberised flooring, as well as ceiling or wall fixings and any other heavy objects which are difficult to move on your own.
If your area is going to be a “pop up” space, then light, versatile and portable equipment will be needed.
What Are Your Goals?
Your goals will dictate your home gym needs! For example, if you’re just starting out, or your goals are general health or weight loss, just the bare essentials should be enough.
If you have more advanced goals such as strength / power / cross-training / muscle gaining or specific performance goals, you may need specialised equipment to meet your required needs.
What’s Your Budget?
Like most things, the sky’s the limit when it comes to the price of gym equipment! We believe that investing in high quality, reputable brands is really important when it comes to buying gym equipment. View this as a one time investment, which will stand the test of time!
If these criteria are met, the equipment is well made and functions properly, it’s unlikely that you’ll need them to be top of the line or even brand new (unless you want them of course!).
Start From The Ground Up
As you’re going to be throwing weights around and getting up and down off the floor, it’s important to provide protection for your existing flooring, as well as comfort for yourself.
If you need your floor protection to be light and portable. Invest in a thick, durable roll out mat, ideally non-slip. Please don’t lift on a yoga mat, they’re too delicate. Look rubber mats which are about 7mm thick (GXMMAT are good for example).
If you’re looking for something semi or fully permanent and want to chuck some weights around we suggest sizing up your flooring and investing in some interlocking rubber tiles such as these from slip-NOT;
Home Gym Equipment Starter Pack
We’ve put together a good starter pack kit list, which we believe most people should have at their disposal. This pack is highly versatile, won’t break the bank and doesn’t take up too much space:
These probably provide the most versatility and will allow you to provide some load to your movement. The premium options have twist lock mechanisms (no need to remove and add plates). If you’re on a budget, go for the spin lock dumbbells with plates. There are quite a few on the market so feel free to do some shopping around to ﬁnd something of decent price and versatility.
Again these provide a lot of versatility too and will allow you to load your exercises. You can probably be a bit more dynamic with some of your exercises selection and allow you to include some power based exercises too. We recommend getting 2 or 3 at varied weights. You can choose straight cast iron (for the purists!) or if you want to protect your flooring, go one with a rubber / neoprene covering.
Bands are really useful to pull and twist and will allow you to include a lot of exercises that will balance out your workouts. Heavy resistance bands can be used by themselves or added to dumbbell or kettlebell exercises for extra resistance. Mini / loop bands are really useful for core and glute exercises.
Suspension trainers are awesome and are incredibly versatile along with being light and easily transportable. TRX is probably the best brand here and they now offer different tiers to accommodate how you intend to use them.
Provide you with some added dynamism to your training which in turn can help with balance and stability.
Will open up some cool core exercises and will allow you to include a stability edge to your workouts.
Foam Roller / Self-Release Tools (Lacrosse Balls etc)
These are good warm up tools and helps you desensitise sore/tense tissues ahead of a workout or as part of a recovery session.
More Advanced Options
If you’re looking for a more permanent gym space and take your strength training, why not think about these;
Power Rack, Bench, Barbell and Plates Combination
It’s a significant investment, but this is the ultimate all-in-one which will cover all of your strength-training needs! Invest in a solid power rack, a good olympic bar, an adjustable bench and enough weight plates to keep you progressing for years! This combination will allow for full body barbell workout, plus most power racks include extras like pull up and dip bars, as well as offering attachments for suspension trainers and bands.
Calisthenic Bar and Parallettes
Callisthenics are amazing for upper body and core development. Master your bodyweight with pull-ups, muscle-ups and toe touches. Like the power rack, you can attach bands and suspension trainers for extra exercise options.
If you don’t have the time, space or money for a full blown lifting platform, but want to perform deadlifts / Olympic lifts without worrying about damaging your floors, investing in some heavy duty dampeners may be a great option for you.
If space is at a premium, then clever storage solutions are a must, here are some things to consider;
- Use Versatile Equipment
There are some great bits of kit out there which are small, light and portable, which you can do a lot of different exercises with. TRX straps, Valslides, and resistance bands are just some examples (which is why we included them in the starter pack!).
Opting for adjustable dumbbells compared to a full set of separate dumbbells will take up considerably less space.
- Utilise Vertical Storage
From heavy duty racks to wall mounts and peg boards, use as much vertical storage as possible to save on your floor space.
For a budget friendly option try a gladiator rack from your local Home Depot.
Here are some great and creative examples we’ve come across:
A big error we encounter when helping people with home gyms is the insistence on treadmills or cross trainers! They eat up your floor space, are heavy and difficult to move, require floor protection, and are very expensive for what they can offer. Of course if space and budget aren’t issues, by all means go ahead!
We like the idea of getting your cardio by making the most of being outside! Investing in a skipping rope, a real bike, a pair of running shoes and a good waterproof jacket and you’re good to go!
That being said, for bad weather days or more specific training spin / assault bikes and rowing machines can give you a savage workout, plus they take up minimal floor space and are storage friendly. Cross trainers and treadmills are more permanent fixtures, which should be treated as luxurious extras.
Food for thought? If this has encouraged you to think about your health, fitness & wellbeing, why not click this link and fill out our enquiry form. We’d love to see how we can help you on your journey.
Disclosure: This article is not to be used as medical advice. If you are currently experiencing physical or mental health issues, please seek professional advice from a fully qualified Nutritionist, GP or Physiotherapist.