If you want to develop your physique, you need the right equipment. Sure, there are a lot of ways to get a workout for free or cheap but if you really want to take it up to the next level, body weight workouts will just not cut it.
For most, a gym membership is the way to go. You get all of the equipment that you need for very little cost. Memberships these days are just 30 to 40 dollars a month in most cases. Some insurance companies will even pay for a portion of your fee. My insurance, for example, offers a wellness plan for just $25 a month. For that price, I get access to gyms all across the country. It is a great deal, especially if you travel for work
Understandably, gyms are not for everyone however. Maybe you don’t have time to go to one or just do not have one close enough to you to make it convenient. If this is your case, you have only one choice if you want to get built and that is to buy your own home gym.
Buying A Home Gym
You can go cheap or really go crazy when it comes time to building a home gym.
On the cheap side, you can just get a basic weight set for $200 or so and a cheap weight bench for around $100. With this kind of setup you can do all of the basic exercises but you will be a little limited. The lack of a squat rack, is a major disadvantage, for example. In addition, things like military press can be difficult with a basic setup. Still, you can get a decent workout but you will long to upgrade.
If you are going to do things right and you know that this is going to be a lifelong hobby, it may be advantageous for you to buy a system that you can build upon. You will quickly outgrow a basic one piece bench setup and then that will be money wasted.
If you can afford it, it will be much better, in the long run, to buy the right equipment from the get go.
I recently helped a buddy of mine come up with a nice home setup for around $1000 and I think that he has a good base to work from. Does his setup have everything? No, but it can be built upon. Here is what we got for him.
So originally my buddy was going to go cheap but I convinced him to change his mind and not waste his money. Instead of spending $200 on some cheap gear, he took out a loan for $1000 and was able to get some quality stuff. He ended up going with Loan By Numbers which allowed him to get a loan in cash and pick up his gear at multiple outlets.
Once he had the money, we started with a nice cage system for $400. He picked this up off of Amazon. There are a lot of good cages on there for a good price. Choose one that is tall enough to be able to do pull-ups and such and that has enough adjustment points to locate the safety bar so that you get the best range of motion.
Next, we picked him up a nice adjustable bench. It goes from flat to vertical which will allow it to be used for bench, incline and military. No, it does not decline but it is nearly impossible to find a good adjustable decline bench. Most are too limited on the weight that they can carry. The bench set us back another $200.
The next major purchase after this was the Olympic weight set. Because of the, well the weight, of these sets, it is generally best to buy them local. A set from Academy Sports fit the bill at just $200 for a 300 pound set. The bar will eventually need to be upgraded but the weights themselves will be good for the long haul and can be added to.
Finally, we spent the last $200 on some odds and ends to bring it all together. A curl bar was $40, a tricep bar was anther $40 and then a set of Olympic dumbells were $50 and we spent the last bit on a decent weight belt.
There you have it, a nice little home gym for about $1000. With this system, there is almost nothing that can’t be done. Like I said earlier, the bar that came with the Academy weight set will eventually need to be upgraded to a more stout unit but the base bar is good up to about 400 pounds before you really start noticing it bending.
NOTE: If you are short on cash and have patience, much of this stuff can be purchased locally on Craig’s List or my favorite Let Go for a fraction of the cost.