There can be so many reasons one could want their own personal gym.
Training at home comes with many pros:
- Less time spent commuting and
- having the ability to workout in the comfort of your own home definitely top the list.
How many times did you find yourself caught up in 100 and more things to do with almost no time to squeeze in a good sweat session?
Having direct access to equipment could make your life so much easier in the types of situations. But what exactly should the equipment be?
And how would one go about starting to build their own personal home box?
Best equipment for your home gym
With the sheer amount of products now available on the market for independent buyers figuring out what exactly to buy can be a bit daunting.
What type of equipment should you prioritize?
How much weight is enough weight?
And what are the best brands out there? Or could you DIY?
All these questions and many more will find their answer in this in depth article.
The rower is, justly, considered the king of Crossfit conditioning equipment.
It requires a well coordinated effort from both your lower and upper body as well as your core.
Additionally it’s one of those “movements” that can always benefit from being practiced consistently both to develop better technique as well as stamina in the movement itself.
Lastly it is a yearly starring member of the Crossfit Open that is infamous for featuring it in some of its most nasty workouts.
Bike-> Assault/Storm bike or bike stand
When it comes to selecting a bike option the options are vast.
Personally we’d recommend opting for a bike featuring both hands and feet pedals.
These types of bikes are definitely superior when it comes to building resistance to very high intensity strains and can also be used as strictly lower body bikes when you need an easy 20’ recovery spin.
Not to mention they can be a fun finisher for your upper body accessories when you opt to only use the hand pedals.
We do have one note to make:
If you happen to already own an outdoors sports bike and are looking for a way to maintain your conditioning in the colder seasons a great option is the “training blocks”. Used by many professional bikers they allow you to keep training on your bike while indoors and can be a slightly cheaper compromise compared to buying a whole new bike.
Skierg / Storm Ski
A great way to develop conditioning as well as pulling stamina, the skierg is definitely more space efficient compared to a bike or rower.
It still allows to build a great engine but because it is so reliant on your shoulder joint it isn’t our first choice.
If your upper body is prone to inflaming easily adding more strain by having the skierg be your only option of cardio equipment could hinder your joint health.
A CrossFit classic.
Just like wizards need their own wand it is almost mandatory for Crossfitters to have their own personal jump rope.
If you still haven’t invested in one THIS is the time to do it.
And they don’t even have to break the bank, there’s plenty of affordable options on the market that work perfectly fine.
Bodyweight and gymnastics equipment
A great piece of equipment, the wallball takes up little space and is relatively inexpensive.
Many of Crossfit’s OG workouts involve a wallball.
It’s a great tool to develop explosiveness and power but you shouldn’t limit its use to squats: it can be used in core strengthening exercises as well as gymnastics movements to increase their difficulty.
The pullup bar is on the lower end cost wise but it does require you to have an adequate spot to position it.
If you do happen to have a wall high and sturdy enough, as well as protected from weather inclemencies, you should definitely consider investing in a pullup bar.
Pulling strength is often the most hard to develop with limited equipment and a pullup bar allows you to incorporate a wide range of pulling bodyweight movements.
Rings are a versatile component of a home gym as they allow you to work both on pushing and pulling movements.
Additionally with the added factor that you can vary the strap length you can set them up for a variety of movements from rows and dips up to ring muscle ups.
Another OG of Crossfit workouts and nothing is quite as effective as a vest at making deceptively simple workouts incredibly hard.
And as a plus they are easy to bring around with you wherever you choose to take your workout, and they take up little to no space.
Barbell and bumper plates
Probably the most important pieces of equipment you should buy.
A barbell and bumper plates allow you to develop strength overtime and, some would argue, are the most featured piece of equipment in Crossfit.
They allow you to perform the widest variety of exercises of all the equipment components we feature in this article, and because a good set of plates and barbell can last you a lifetime we suggest you invest your money on quality equipment that will be on your side through years of fitness development.
There’s just so much weight you can pick up before you will start needing a squat rack.
And given how the squat is king especially when your goal is to develop strength for Crossfit it can be one of the most beneficial investments you make when building your home gym.
If you are serious about weightlifting you will eventually need a platform.
Although it shouldn’t be on top of your priority list of equipment you may want to start thinking about acquiring one especially if your home gym will be your sole training spot.
Do we even have to explain these? If you buy a barbell and weight make sure you buy a set of safety pins as well!
Kettlebells are another mainstay of Crossfit workouts, their unique shape allows you to use them for an incredible amount of exercises from swings to push presses to all the accessories you can dream of.
We recommend starting off with the weight required for RX workouts in your division and then expanding your collection from there.
Another essential component of a great home gym are dumbells, both commonly required in qualifying workouts as well as the Open and used to perform an array of accessory exercises to help you stay healthy and looking great.
Bands are great, they are cheap, take up no space, and can be used in your warm up as well as your training and recovery.
They can help you scale down an advanced gymnastics movement by partially supporting your bodyweight, or they can help increase the difficulty of other movements by adding extra resistance throughout the range of motion.
Shoulder specific bands
If you struggle with shoulder problems you need these in your life, they are a great way to warm up the joint, prehab and rehab them as well as strengthening them so you can build bulletproof shoulders.
Any bench press aficionados out here? The bench isn’t just useful to build a strong chest it can be helpful in a variety of accessory exercises such as dumbbell rows or bulgarian split squats.
These are another must have on our list.
Not only will they appease your nosy neighbours who may be bothered by the sound of weights being dropped they will also lengthen the lifespan of any equipment you may happen to drop on the floor.
And let’s not forget they help protect the floor itself from any impact related damage.
Overall there’s a reason why most gyms have rubber tiling on their floor and we believe home gyms shouldn’t be any less.
Although less necessary than tiling, crash mats can be another key component of your gym, especially if noise can be a complaint issue from neighbors especially when dealing with heavier loads.
Who doesn’t love a good burpee box jump over workout?
But plyometric boxes don’t have to be limited to box jumps and their variations, they can be a great tool to perform a variety of accessory exercises and they are often featured in gymnastics drills.
Rigs are not limited to your typical Crossfit box. Nowadays you can find plenty of single station options that allow you to have a barbell rack, a pullup bar, a support for your rings and a wallball target all in one.
And not so basics
Although not an essential piece of equipment (in most scenarios) the sled can be much more useful than you would expect.
Additionally it’s often a great tool to maintain leg stamina for athletes who may be struggling with a knee injury.
This odd object commonly seen in strongman training has been increasingly gaining popularity in the Crossfit community and for good reasons.
Not only is it great to develop raw strength but it can be used to build a strong and resilient core and lower back.
You probably already have one laying around the house and if you don’t you can buy a couple for cheap in sports department stores. They are great for self applied trigger point release both as a way to loosen up before training as well as to help you recover after your session.
Although the scientific consensus supporting foam rollers is divided many athletes have found great benefit in using one. They are now so widely available you can buy one for cheap and later on decide if it’s worth investing in a higher end model.
Building the perfect home gym
Now that we’ve given you a full overview of all the best equipment you can buy for your home gym we’re going to address just what you should start buying first.
For most people building a gym is a multi step process.
What equipment should a home gym have?
It’s important to start off by acquiring the basics you need, based on your training style, and then with time add on more and more equipment until you have achieved the personal gym of your dreams.
We personally recommend starting off with this list:
Barbell, plates, safety pins
2x rubber tiles
1x Conditioning equipment
Set of bands
Regarding the total amount of weight you should shoot for when buying plates we recommend starting off between 60 and 100kg.
What weight should a home gym be?
For the dumbbells and kettlebell we recommend buying the weights that are most commonly found programmed for your division or within the training plan you follow.
We also suggest you buy a pair of dumbells of the same weight as many workouts will require you to have two of the same.
Of course these choices will heavily depend on your current strength as well as the type of training you are aiming to do most inside your gym (conditioning, weightlifting, endurance or accessories).
Easy and cheap additions you can add on once you’ve got your main setup done are additional kettlebells or dumbbells, a wall ball, extra tiling, a weight vest and smaller fraction plates.
Rings and pullup bars are also on the cheaper end of the spectrum but, if you have the space, you may want to consider investing in an actual rig given it’s multiple functions in one single purchase.
If you find yourself strongly committed to your home gym then feel free to go big and stay home 😉 and throw in an extra cardio machine, maybe a Dball and an actual weightlifting platform.
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