Working out in the gym can be very therapeutic, yet in certain situations it can be fairly stressful. Currently we’ve just started a new year, which means that gyms up and down the country are busier than ever, with people trying to lose the weight they gained over the holidays and get themselves in shape for the summer. The sad reality is that many of these new members will not become regulars once they’ve lost a few pounds and a few weeks have passed, but even so, gyms at anytime of the year can be busy at peak times.
There is nothing worse than a busy gym when you’re in a hurry and are trying to get a workout in. This is why more and more people are deciding to build home gyms. Home gyms and garage gyms are now very popular, as people are discovering that you don’t need expensive equipment and huge open spaces, to get a productive workout in. To prove this, we’ll take a look at 5 of the best items to have in your home gym or garage gym, that will help you make some serious gains.
Adjustable Exercise Bench
Arguably the most important piece of equipment you will ever need when building a home gym, is an adjustable bench. Adjustable benches are ideal because they can be adjusted to different positions, allowing you to target different muscle groups with different exercises. A good adjustable bench should allow you to perform decline exercises, flat exercises, incline exercises, and upright exercises. For example, with a set of dumbbells (more on those next) you can work pretty much every part of your body with the help of a bench.
You can perform different variants of the bench press to target your chest. You can also perform several other exercises including seated dumbbell shoulder presses, bent-over dumbbell rows or you can target your biceps with seated bicep curls and work your triceps with dips. When buying adjustable benches, don’t cut corners by purchasing cheap benches. Buy a decent quality bench for improved safety and ease of use.
If you’re building a garage gym, or if you have more space, you could purchase a set of dumbbells, like you would find at a commercial gym. If, however, your home gym has limited space, a set of adjustable dumbbells are ideal. Adjustable dumbbells basically function as several sets of dumbbells, all-in-on. The user simply turns a dial to select their chosen weight, the device will then engage the necessary weight as chosen by the user. Dumbbells are ideal because you can literally perform a full-body workout with them, and nothing more in some cases. You can perform several different exercises for each muscle group with nothing but a set of dumbbells as you wish, or, as mentioned, you can combine them with an adjustable bench for an even more diverse workout. If you have the space, a small set of dumbbells of different weights will be great, or if you are lacking space, adjustable dumbbells work perfectly.
If your training is going to be geared around functional exercises, and resistance training, a power-rack is vital. A power-rack basically functions like a safety cage that surrounds the user, helping to offer them protection and safety for when they are lifting weights. If for example, you are performing barbell bench presses alone, without a spotter you run the risk of crushing yourself with the bar if the weight is too heavy. With a power-rack, there are two adjustable safety bars that the user can place at different heights, to catch the bar if the user were to drop it. The rack also has safety pins and acts as a rack, so you can use it for lifting the barbell on and off, and re-racking safely. Most power-racks also have chin-up bars and stations, so you can use them to perform chin-ups and pull-ups to work your back.
So far, we’ve only focussed on resistance training, but let’s not forget about cardio. Cardiovascular exercise is an incredibly important component of any health and fitness regimen. Now, we all know that we can do cardio pretty much anywhere, but in the midst of winter, when it is cold, dark, wet, and possibly even icy, not many of you will be enthralled at the idea of going for a jog or a walk outdoors. In these instances, a treadmill or an exercise bike offers a much drier and warmer alternative for your cardio workouts. You can source a wide variety of treadmills and exercise bikes online, and although you certainly don’t need to pay commercial gym prices, our advice would be to stay away from the cheap budget models, as they will likely break fairly easily, and they will certainly not last very long.
Olympic Barbell Set
Finally, the last item on our list of home gym essentials today is an Olympic barbell set. These sets comprise of a sturdy Olympic barbell, with safety collars and a variety of different Olympic weight plates. Ideally you should go for a 7ft Olympic barbell, as that is the size that most power-racks are designed to hold. The great thing about Olympic weight sets is the fact that you have a variety of different weight plates to choose from, so you can use them to perform different exercises. If you plan on squatting inside your power-rack for example, you will almost certainly use heavier weights than you would use if you were using the barbell to perform barbell bicep curls. The amount of weight you purchase should depend on you and your strength levels. Just remember, the more you train, the stronger you will become. Typically plate weights range from 2.7 pounds to 45 pounds. Don’t worry about buying too many plates in one go, as you can always purchase additional plates and add to your collection at a later date.