When the Coronavirus hit the States back in March, most of us thought we would spend a few weeks at home and we’d be right back to “normal” soon after. We were all wrong. One of the most critical parts of so many people’s day is their workouts. Whether that is in a big box gym to lift weights or do some cardio or, it’s a martial arts gym or even a tennis court, that part of the day not only keeps people healthy but it also keeps people sane. In this article, we are going to share some of the best home gym equipment that we use in our home gyms and what we think is basically the easiest, lowest cost way home exercise equipment (next to just pushups and sit-ups) to keep the body and mind in check during these crazy times.
The Basic Pull Up Bar
If you are going to buy something, make it a pull up bar. You could arguably make due with quite a few bodyweight movements minus any home workout equipment but it is not going to be easy to hit the back without at least a pull-up bar. There are several home gym essentials here and if you decide you are going to go all-in with a power rack as we discuss later on, you may not need the separate pull up bar. But, if you are going basic, do yourself a favor and get either a wall or a ceiling mounted pull up bar. You can give yourself a hellacious back workout by changing up your grips and doing several sets of pull-ups.
Barbell and Weights
This is fairly self-explanatory and you should really consider whatever you can get in your budget and if you can find a good deal on some used home gym essentials. The biggest choice you need to make here is the Olympic barbell or standard barbell as that will influence everything that is relative to the bar (weights, clips, other components).
Olympic barbells are considered more the norm and have 2-inch sleeves while the standard has 1-inch. There is also a weight and height difference between the 2 as well. If possible, we suggest going with the Olympic set as there should be more available weights and components and, it will be what you are used to in your public gym.
For most people, a starter Olympic set that comes with a bar, clips, and 300lbs in weight divided amongst 45lbs, 25lbs, 10lbs, and 5lbs plates is more than adequate. Again, check your local marketplaces for used home gym equipment as that is often your best bet.
Similar to barbells, you have the same Olympic vs standard choice here but, you also have the choice to buy selectable dumbbells as well as single weight dumbbells. While single weight is the most sturdy and preferred by public gyms, they are not so easy for the home gym as you have to buy several different weights which can get costly. Our recommendation is to either get yourself a set of selectable dumbbells or, get yourself some Olympic dumbbell handles that you can easily use with your Olympic weight set.
One of the most versatile pieces of equipment you can own is a bench. Whether you use it to do abs, legs, bench press, rows, etc. there are very few pieces of equipment you can use on almost any workout. A couple of key variables you need to consider are weight limit (for those of you using it to bench, do shoulders, etc), and incline and/or decline adjustable. For our money, we have not found a better option than the bench we list below.
Buy your adjustable bench here.
Resistance bands are the lowest cost and most compact item you can purchase to help with home fitness. Prior to the COVID-19 lockdown, we used our resistance bands whenever we traveled out of the country. Often in smaller European or Asian cities, the local hotels will lack a fitness center and resistance bands can be critical to keeping your fitness going during a trip. They are also quite versatile for home gym use and work very well with a power rack.
Buy resistance bands here.
If you have space and you have the cash, a power rack will basically give you the foundation to do nearly any exercise at home that you can do in the gym. From squats to bench press to pullups to adding components for other exercises, these are very versatile. Many factors exist in your choice for a power rack but the biggest consideration will be space. The rack we highlight below is one of the best home gym equipment we use in our own homes. But there are several other choices out there.
Buy your power rack here.
For strength training at home, the same rule exists as strength training at a gym: consistency. While we can recommend you purchase some basic equipment, just do what you can and remain disciplined. Do your best to try and get in a workout at least 5 times per week. We hear a lot about masks and distancing but let’s not forget our physical health is critical if we should get sick.