BUILDING YOUR OWN HOME GYM
Updated: Oct 21, 2019
This particular article will probably backfire on me and other gym owners out there, but I feel there is always value in providing knowledge to those who need it. Even though it may seem attractive to own a home gym, it does come with a few caveats and I shall list them out later but first let’s setup our home gym.
The most important factor to establish before setting up a home gym is to know what you set out to achieve from this home gym. Will this be your only venue to exercise or is it meant to supplement your gym membership elsewhere? What this means is to have a place to break a little sweat on your non-gym days or perhaps you’re the type who likes to have a little morning cardio before shower. If this is the case, your gym need not be equipped extensively. Determine what kind of cardio you enjoy and just get that machine. No need to vary your machines, especially if space is of concern, as you’ll get that from your other gym. Perhaps buy something that your other gym doesn’t have although I doubt that very much if you are a member of a globo gym. I would also suggest yoga mats for stretching or core exercises as I’m pretty sure you don’t do enough of that out there when you’re pumping iron with your bros. Conversely if your main form of workout is the non-strength kind such as yoga, pilates, cycling, running and the list goes on, then your home gym needs to house some form of strength equipment. The simplest form of strength implement to have is resistance bands but this can get stale very fast. Personally as a coach, I mostly use bands for warm ups or high volume isolation work. What I would like to suggest is dumbbells and since almost no one has the space to house a full-length dumbbell rack, get one of those all-in-one Powerblock. Problem solved. And contrary to popular beliefs, you don’t really need a bench to compliment the dumbbells. You need a bench for simply one exercise only ie the bench press and this can be done as floor press instead. When done properly the gains can be just as impactful.
What if you are not a member of a gym elsewhere and you want your home gym to be the envy of all your family, friends, neighbours and their dogs. The kind of home gym that can justify charging someone for entry. Then first thing first, you need to have the space. We are not like our American friends where some of them have garages or basements and get to convert them into Ironville. We probably have to convert one of our rooms or perhaps balcony to become one. But assuming that you do and you have the moolah to do so, the first thing to have is a barbell and its accompanying weight plates. If you have the ceiling height to accommodate a power rack then great. Or else a simple squat stand would do. This time don’t forget your adjustable bench. With these you can already get strong and jacked but if you wish to have some variety in your workout then yes, add the Powerblock, resistance bands and perhaps one cardio machine if you are not already running or cycling at the other times. Save yourself the money and do not go for the fancy machines that they try to sell as it will be like buying a bodykit without actually buying the car.
A fully equipped home gym can serve all sorts of training programs, be it bodybuilding, powerlifting or even CrossFit. But here’s where I’m going to start babbling about the caveats. And these are all to make sure your home gym does not end up being a white elephant in your house. And believe you me, there are plenty out there.
First and foremost, please make sure you are the kind of person who can and or like to train alone. You do not need to feed off someone else’s energy to get motivated. It can be lonely in there. Yes, you can blast your playlist, but it doesn’t hide the fact that there is no one around you. Please throw extra caution in putting a TV in there as you may get distracted and slow down your workout. Speaking of training alone, do be careful as well. There are certain exercises that can be dangerous when going heavy such as a bench press so progressively overload with caution. Know your strength that day. Check your ego.
The second caveat is programming. As convenient as it is to have a gym in your home, you need to know what you’ll be doing on a daily basis. It doesn’t matter what you are training for as long as you have a steady program to adhere to. You can’t be walking into your gym and see how you feel that day and do what you like. Yes, doing something is better than nothing but keep that up and you’ll soon realise you are doing the same thing over and over again and neglecting the ones you don’t enjoy. The result of that would be lagging body parts and disproportionate strength. A good program will also keep your workouts consistent and progress you through strength and hypertrophy nicely.
Last but certainly not least, do be mindful of the load bearing on your floor especially if your gym is going to be upstairs. Do not underestimate the total weight you will be putting in that room. You could get up to a tonne if you are carefree in equipping your gym and these could have a long-term repercussion if you do own the house.
So there you have it. Be it a simple treadmill or stationary bike in your living room or a full-on Ironville in your basement or garage, you have no excuse now but to get to that super wellness state you set out to achieve. Train everyday as if it’s your last day. Persevere and always stay determined.