One way to get around some of these issues is by adding a few valuable pieces of equipment to your garage, turning it into a home gym.
Before you jump the gun and throw your hard-earned money at the door gym or ab master pro 3000, make sure you consider the following questions to see if a home gym is right for you.
- Are you happy to train alone? I built a commercial grade gym in my garage but still longed for a social environment to train in.
- Do you consider yourself introverted? If you’re extraverted and get energy and motivation from being around other people, starting a home gym might not be the best idea.
- Does your budget match what you want to achieve? Think about your goals and what equipment you need to achieve them. E.g. If you want to be a power lifter who can deadlift over 200kg, flooring, a plate set and a bar may break your budget.
- Do you have adequate space to do what you intend to do?
- Are your reasons for starting a home gym justifiable?
- Do you have somewhere to put your car(s)?
I’ve seen many people make the mistake of purchasing unnecessary and expensive equipment only to let it all collect dust and then be thrown on the nature strip to join hundreds of other pieces of landfill. If you answered yes to the above questions and your goals are resistance-training-based, then consider the following important pieces of equipment.
1. Barbell $100+
It’s especially worth investing in an Olympic barbell if you’re a taller person as smaller bars can be restricting. They’re usually 220cm and 20kg for a men’s bar so make sure you have enough room to use it. The Olympic bar is also more universal for plate sets (both iron and bumpers).
2. Plate set $3/kg+
Aim to buy enough weight to satisfy your training style needs (e.g. power, strength, hypertrophy or endurance) and consider how much you can lift for your main compound movements (bench press, squat and deadlift).
3. Power rack and bench $400+
The rack is central to all of your compound exercises. This is also where you can hang your rings, do pull ups and tie your resistance bands from various angles. Spotters are hard to come by when training from home, and a huge benefit of having a power rack is that there’s adjustable safety bars. Make sure you utilise them, unless you want to #epicfail and feature on @gymfuckerytv.
These three items are the most important as they facilitate the fundamental compound movements: bench press, dead lift and squat.
Here’s a short list of exercises that can be performed with these pieces of equipment:
Push (Chest, shoulders, triceps and abs) – Bench press (incline, flat and decline), military press and skull crushers.
Legs (Glutes, quads, hamstrings and calves) - Squat, lunges, deadlift variations, cleans and snatch.
4. Resistance bands $10-30ea
Various thicknesses will provide various resistance levels. Resistance bands are comprehensive as they can be used to target any muscle group and also be used for warm-up activation drills.
5. Olympic Rings $30+
One of the most comprehensive pieces of equipment when it comes to bodyweight training. They are great for upper body strength, stabilisation, mobility, proprioception, versatility, training transference and - most importantly - fun. The rings can be adjusted to make exercises harder or easier.
6. Speaker System $50+
The garage can be a quiet, dark and lonely place. Music will help you get into the zone and smash out a decent workout.
These prices are a rough minimum. If you really want a bargain, do a quick search on Gumtree or eBay to see if someone with similar intentions has decided to put their equipment up for sale.
Having access to a home/garage gym is a luxury and incredibly convenient. Just make sure your decision aligns with your personality and lifestyle, and most importantly does not interfere with you achieving your goals.