Where to Start When Building a Home Gym – Part 2
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AFTER THE BASICS
As I mentioned in the previous article, it’s best to start out with a pair of kettlebells, as they are the most versatile, but dumbbells come in a very close second. If you don’t want to spend that much on your home gym, get a quality set of resistance bands with a door anchor.
Now that you’ve got your basics, or you’ve at least picked out which items you’ll buy when they get back in stock, the second thing to look at are what I call the Tier 2 items, which is really just item.
Tier 2 Items- Get these second
If you lift often, you can’t beat a good barbell. However, it’s definitely not essential. The Tier 2 item still feels like it could be essential in that it opens the door for more types of movements or range of motion.
For that reason, my top Tier 2 item is an adjustable bench. Benches come in many different styles, but the adjustable benches, which will let you be in a flat or incline position. These styles are superior, because again, they widen the field for what kinds of movements you can do.
Most people simply think of a bench so they can do bench press. There are other chest moves too, like flies and incline flies or incline chest press. Use that bench for decline push ups as well by putting your feet on the bench and doing a pushup on the ground.
Back moves? A bench still has you covered. You can do things like a 3 point row, or a seal row (on an incline or flat), which are amazing for back strength. Then there’s rear flies on an incline bench and your typical bent over row, where one leg is on the bench, one leg is on the ground.
You might think it stops there but we haven’t even talked about how a bench can help your leg workouts. While not as high as a box, a bench is still high enough for (weighted) step ups. It is a perfect height for doing Bulgarian split squats and pistol progressions as well. You can also use it for box jumps, though it will be lower than standard boxes.
Other things you can do on a bench: dips, incline push ups, incline dumbbell curls, seated shoulder press, seated overhead tricep extensions, tricep kickbacks with one knee on bench, dragonflies and a lot of ab movements.
There are some options for benches and it definitely depends on what your price point is. THIS bench is non-storable and includes rollers because it is heavy, coming in at 53 pounds. However, there are also more budget friendly options like THIS one, which includes an extra leg brace. There are many styles out there, but make sure you are getting one that you’ve read some reviews on, so you know it’s made of quality parts and moves well.
Tier 2 Alternatives: If your budget is smaller and you can’t find a quality bench for how much you have to spend, a great alternative is a wooden plyometric box. “Standard” boxes are 20”x24”x30”, however, the 30” is often wasted. You may find that a box that’s 16”x20”x24” meets your needs perfectly, and they are just over $100. HERE’S one I recommend. Simply throw a towel or yoga mat over the top when you need to lie down on it. You may be thinking why not a flat bench over a box? Sure, that’ll work too, but with a plyo box, you could at least get in some higher steps ups as a bonus or do box jumps for some cardio.