The cool thing about a home gym is you can do things in your pyjamas, you can work out even when it is school holidays and you can save time if you are a bit time poor. I also really love having a space to workout on my own and listen to podcasts, rather than having to travel to a gym. Sure, there are things at the gym that you don’t have but the vast majority of things you can do with only a small amount of equipment.
But I’m going to do this in stages, so as you progress you can add to your gym, instead of laying out a whole heap of money at once.
The first thing you are going to need is dumbbells.
These are going to be the most versatile piece of equipment you own. They are more challenging than barbells because of the greater muscle stabilisation required, so you actually need less weights which is a bonus!
Cost: You can pick up a 12kg set for $49, or a $20kg set for $99. If you want to get super fancy, you can get an adjustable dumbbell set which you can set to anywhere in between 2kg to 24kg per dumbbell for $199.
You don’t need a bench just yet, but you could probably use a mat.
A bench is nice, but it’s not necessary for most things – you can do them on the floor – but you might like a yoga mat to make it more comfortable.
Cost: $5 to $49 depending on your level of fancy.
If you’d like to work on your pull ups, but don’t want to invest in a pull up rack, you can get a bar for your door frame.
Don’t worry door frame pull up bars are super safe, and if you can’t do a pull up yet a resistance band will help you while you build strength.
Cost: $29.95 for the pull up bar and $6-15 for a resistance band (you might need to buy more than one depending on the level of assistance required).
So, you want to invest in a bench? Awesome, this is a great opportunity to expand your equipment a bit more.
You could get an incline bench for around $100, but for a bit more you can get one that is going to double as a squat rack (when you get a barbell), is an adjustable bench and includes a leg developer too.
Cost: $100-$199 depending on what is going to best suit your needs.
Some extras that are going to help diversity your workouts
Things that you might like to consider are kettlebells (you can use dumbbells in the meantime, but for some exercises kettlebells will work better), a skipping rope, a medicine ball and a plyo box. It all depends on what kind of sessions you want to do, but those would be good things to consider
Cost: Kettlebells will range from $15-89 depending on weight. You can grab a skipping rope for $5-15. A medicine ball will range from $19-49 depending on weight. And a plyo box will range from $35-$199 depending on what you go for.
A barbell is an investment, but it’s also super versatile too.
Although you can get a standard barbell relatively cheaply, I’d recommend getting an olympic barbell because it’s going to be easier on your wrists and is going to a better investment. Barbells tend to start at around 10kg, but you can get 20kg bars if that is going to suit you better. You are also going to need weight plates. You can get cheaper options, but I’d recommend bumper plates because they are more durable. The great thing about weight plates is that you can use them for a range of exercises, not just on the barbell. So things like russian twists and overhead lunges and squats or even a weighted plank.
Cost: $49 for a standard barbell or from around $129 for an olympic barbell. You can get weight plates from around $35 per 10kg, and bumper weight plates from around $50 per 10kg. Weight plates can be expensive, so it might be a good idea to start with the bar and whatever weight you are at and add to it as you are lifting more weight, rather than buy weights all in one go.
You might want a more permanent pull up bar and a dip station.
If that’s the case, you can upgrade your door frame pull up bar to a rack.
Cost: $120. You’ll still be able to use your resistance bands on the rack too.
I accumulated my little home gym over time. It first started with a few kettlebells and free weights.
Then I purchased an adjustable dumbell set (best invest by far for my small space).
Then along came the barbell and the pull-up bar.
Bands and a suspension training have also are great add on’s to my home gym. Next year, I shall get a few bigger items like a matrix racking system.