This is the final article in my 3-part series on where to start when building a great home gym. If you missed my Tier 1 suggestion, CLICK HERE. If you missed my Tier 2 suggestion, CLICK HERE.
These items further enhance your workout experience so it feels less like a “home” gym and more “real” gym.
Tier 3 Items- Get these third
Here is where those barbells come in. It does NOT have to be fancy. My first barbell was $60 at Sears. It doesn’t spin and it’s wasn’t quite 45#, which is what the reviews knocked off stars for. But I didn’t care. It was right after I had my son and it helped me to get in a 30-minute workout during his notoriously short naps.
Olympic barbells can range in cost from $60, like I mentioned, to nearly $800 (or more). You will have to decide what kind of barbell is right for you.
The thing about barbells is though, you have to buy plates as well. Not just any plates, but ones that fit an olympic barbell. These can be made from metal, coated metal, rubber, or urethane, among other types of material. The price varies wildly for these, with metal being the cheapest. Know this, if you are buying a large amount of quality bumper plates from somewhere like Rogue Fitness, know that you’ll need to add in a significant amount for shipping as well. Heavy things don’t ship cheap.
Since you’re now going to get a barbell, the next logical investment is in a good squat rack. These can range in price from about $100 (not recommended–you’ll be very limited on how much weight you can use with these racks without them tipping over) to over $2500 if you’re going for a full rig/power rack combo (again, not recommended–takes up too much space and it’s just overkill). My suggestion is to do some research and find a rack that holds as much weight as you think you’ll own/or can lift on any movement and that also has at least 4 stars. Read the reviews for the ones you are considering, on whichever site you decide to buy from.
Make sure the squat rack is adjustable or has pegs that can be used higher for a squat, or overhead press, and a lower adjustment setting for bench and incline bench press. If you don’t have an adjustable rack, you’ll find it’s usage very limiting.
Finally, my third suggestion in this category is a power tower. These apparatuses will have a bar for pull-ups, a spot for dips, and typically a pad or way for you to do leg/knee raises.
Note: If you are tall, make sure you are checking the height/weight capacity on the power tower. When I bought mine, I didn’t think about my husband who wanted to use it as well, who’s 6’2”. Mine is already short for me when I do pull-ups so there’s really no way he can do them, even with his legs bent (which is such bad form anyway!).
Tier 4 Items – Nice to have
Pretty much everything else falls into this category. Having organization is nice, but not a necessity. Slam balls are one of my favorite, but they aren’t life-changing. Sandbags, another favorite, are versatile and fun, but aren’t going to radically change your workout.
So whatever that “thing” is you think you need that I’ve failed to mention, it still falls into this category.
Buy these items on a basis of how often you’ll use them, not by what sounds fun or interesting, as I’ve done. I use my BOSU pretty often and especially with clients. I also use my landmine attachment fairly often.
I have a TRX system that I have never used myself, only with clients, however, it’s one of those things I bought thinking I’d use. I just don’t prefer to workout like that, and I should have known better than to spend $170 on something I wouldn’t like or enjoy.
Conclusion: When you start shopping for home fitness equipment, you’ll realize that there are A LOT of products and models to choose from. While I wrote this guide for the general population, think about what your goals are and how you like to train and then decide on what you really need first. Keep building from there. Good luck on building your perfect workout haven!