How to start a home gym. Two people exercising on a home gym Strength training in your home gym is a possibility.

By now, you all know that a strong body is a healthy body.

You also know that strength training can be one of the most efficient ways to lose unwanted body fat.

And, ladies, you know that you won’t get bulky by incorporating strength training into your fitness routine.

While treadmills, ellipticals and stationary bikes are great and can be a solid addition to your home workouts, I highly recommend the following pieces of strength equipment to not only give you unlimited options on the exercises you can do, but also to help you build the strong, healthy, fit body you deserve!

Barbell & Weights

A weightlifter using a standard barbell or Olympic barbell in a home gym. Barbells can come in various lengths and sizes but there are two main types that you’ll most likely have to choose from…standard and Olympic.

Standard bars are one inch in diameter and utilize weight plates with 1 inch holes in the center. They’re a good starting point but are not the best option for heavier lifting (over 150 lbs.).

Olympic bars, on the other hand, are built to handle a bigger load. They are typically 7 feet long and weigh 45lbs. without any weight added to them. The end sleeves are 2 inches in diameter, so the weigh plates have larger 2” holes through the center.

Barbells allow you to do a wide variety of exercise from presses to pulls to squats to deadlifts. They also allow you to progress by being able to add small increments of weight as needed.

Bumper plates are also a great option for your barbell and the home gym setting. These rubber plates are made for Olympic size bars and are easier to move around and a better (safer) option if you will be doing any floor-based lifting.

Power Rack

A in shape woman lifting with a power rack in her home gym. While it may sound a bit daunting, a power rack is actually one of the most versatile pieces of strength equipment you can add to your home gym.

First of all, a rack goes hand in hand with your barbell. It allows you to do almost anything with your barbell from bench pressing to squatting to racking your bar for deadlifts, curls, push-ups, shoulder presses, etc.

The power rack also adds the ever important measure of safety by allowing you to rack your weight and know that safety bars can be put in place in case you cannot complete a lift.

Racks also allow you to add accessories to your home gym. Many offer built-in pull-up/chin bars and allow for add-ons such as dip attachments and band pegs.

Racks come in many different sizes, so don’t be fooled by the thought of it taking up too much space. You’ll be surprised with just how much you can accomplish within a power rack with a barbell and weight plates.

Dumbbells

Chrome dumbbells in a row on a dumbbell rack. Dumbbells are just as versatile as a barbell and allow for an unlimited number of exercise options. And, like barbells, you’ll have a couple of different options to choose from.

Selectorized dumbbells are also popular with the home-gym crowd these days. They’re a bit more expensive than the plate loaded bells, but allow users to quickly change their weight. They may not, however, be the best option for those in need of heavy dumbbells (above 50 lbs.)

On the other hand, if you have more space and a higher home gym budget, you may want to consider going all out and getting a commercial-style dumbbell rack with fixed-weight bells. Most commercial gyms are equipped with dumbbells that range from 5-100+ pounds. This makes for a very convenient option as far as quickly grabbing the weight you need, but like I said, they will eat up a lot of space and add quite a bit to your home gym investment.

Utility Bench

A folding utility bench in a home gym. To get the most out of your barbell and/or dumbbells, I highly suggest adding a utility bench to your home gym.

A bench allows you to perform any exercise that requires you to lay down (bench press, pullovers, tricep extensions, flyes, ab work, etc.) or work in a seated position (shoulder press, lateral raises, bicep curls, overhead tricep extensions, etc.)

Benches are relatively inexpensive, but can get a bit more expensive as you move up to more of a commercial grade piece that is built with a heavier grade steel and often has more padding and higher quality upholstery.

Benches can come in just a fixed flat position or one that can be adjustable up and down to accommodate for incline and decline exercises.

The heavier duty benches should have wheels that allow you to easily move them around, while the home model flat benches are usually light enough to pick up and move.

2 Bonus Strength Pieces

A woman using TRX suspension kit in her home gym. While the equipment above will go a long way in providing you with a great strength-based home gym, there are a couple of budget-friendly/space-friendly pieces of equipment that you may want to consider adding:

Suspension Trainer. Systems like TRX allow you to utilize your own body weight and are a great addition to a strength training routine. The straps are easily attachable to your power rack, a door or a support beam. They are relatively inexpensive when you consider the wide variety and overall number of exercises you can do with them.

Resistance Bands. These are a great strength tool for any home gym and can be utilized for a wide variety of exercises. You can attach them to your rack, to a door, wrap them around equipment, or utilize your own body to stabilize them for a wide-variety of pushes, pulls, etc. Plus they take up minimal space….always a bonus when it comes to your home gym!