I always look back and laugh at how home gyms began to flourish in 2020.
We all started building out home gyms in living rooms, spare bedrooms, garages, and basements. Soon you couldn't find a single dumbbell on any website and people were selling their gym equipment on Facebook for 3x the retail price. And people were buying it!! Woof.
The cool thing is now you're still building out your gym to provide yourself options -- don't want to go to the in-person gym? That's okay, you've got some things at home that'll work for your workout today. Or, perhaps you've completely transformed your basement to be a full gym with allll the things. I love that for you.
I love my garage gym, and any time (all 3 times) I've gone to my local rec center, I am reminded why I'm grateful I invested in a home gym. I can avoid the crowds, have clean equipment, and not have to wait around for a squat rack to open up. Maybe that's me being impatient or me being an introvert, but either way, a home gym makes sense for me and my needs.
If you're looking to build yours out or curious where to start, these are the pieces of equipment I'd suggest investing in:
- 1 set of relatively "light" dumbbells (8-15 lb)
- 1 set of relatively "heavy" dumbbells (25+ lb)
- 1 relatively "light" kettlebell (15-25 lb)
- 1 relatively "heavy" kettlebell (35+ lb)
Not needs, but big wants:
- Multiple sets of dumbbells or kettlebells or interchangeable dumbbells
- Barbell + plates
Would be nice:
- Resistance bands
- Squat rack with pull up bar
You can find dumbbells, kettlebells, resistance bands, and mats nearly anywhere. These are items I don't feel are necessary to be tied to a specific brand. Target, Dick's, Amazon, etc. all sell these pieces of equipment for a reasonable price. Your choice will be based on your preference.
For interchangeable dumbbells, I suggest BowFlex.
You'll notice I've omitted many pieces of equipment you often find at gyms such as stability balls, BOSU balls, TRX, medicine balls, slam balls, etc. These pieces of equipment are useful, but if you're starting a home gym from scratch, you'll want to invest in versatile equipment first. Dumbbells and kettlebells can be used for almost every type of exercise under the sun. A stability ball does not offer that same versatility, nor does it offer the opportunity to follow progressive overload. Invest smart from the start.