8 Machines And Equipment You Really Need in Your Home Gym

8 Machines and Equipment You Really Need in Your Home Gym

Building a home gym is an investment with huge returns for your fitness. It can be a quick setup in your garage, a corner of your bedroom, or a dedicated room in your home. Any way you make it, you’ll want to know what equipment to use to outfit your dream gym.

All the options on this list come in various configurations and price ranges. Your specific product choices vary depending on your budget, space, and fitness goals.

Here are the top eight machines and equipment you really need in your home gym.

1.) Training Bench

A training bench allows you to expand your possibilities in your home gym that goes beyond bench pressing.

You can get a complete workout from a floor mat, but a quality training bench improves your range of motion and offers you a better place to lie than the floor.

A few considerations when choosing a weight bench are weight capacity, height, adjustability, and pad width. Some heavy-duty training benches have weight capacities of over 1000 pounds. Unless you’re a competitive powerlifter, a quality bench with about 700 pounds capacity will serve your home gym well.

Think about how you’ll use the bench to determine whether a flat or adjustable one will serve your needs. A bench may come with attachments for leg maneuvers you’re interested in too.

Beyond horizontal presses, you can use a bench for step-ups, prop your feet or hands to angle your body, or lay face down for chest-supported rows.

2.) Barbell

The barbell holds the weight plates that you’ll be lifting. Without the barbell, your bench, weight rack, and weight plates are of no use.

Durability is a key factor when choosing the right barbell. A high-quality barbell can last decades or a lifetime as long as you don’t drop in with no plates on it.

A barbell with bearings allows the weights to spin separately from the bar. You can reposition your hands more easily during movements like the clean and jerk and snatch with a barbell with bearings. However, powerlifters tend to prefer a bar that doesn’t spin for deadlifts, squats, and bench presses.

3.) Weight Rack

Strength trainers, bodybuilders, and competitive lifters likely find the weight rack the centerpiece of their home gym. It’s an essential piece that holds the barbell in place and provides extra plate storage. The option to add cable pulleys, dipping bars, or other extras makes your weight rack a multi-use training session station.

Space is a vital consideration for many machines and equipment on this list. Planning for a weight rack is no different. Three possible configurations are a power rack, a squat stand, or a foldable rack.

A regular power rack should have a sturdy frame and attachments to expand its usefulness in your home gym. Usually, it has four upright posts that support band pegs and dip bars at various heights.

A squat stand looks like a trimmed-down version of a power rack. It has two upright posts with holes for adjusting the height of pegs and dip bars. Some models feature spotter’s arms. You’ll likely be able to bench press from the floor with a squat stand.

The most compact option is a folding rack. A wall-mounted rack that folds back against the wall when you’re not using it is perfect for a garage home gym. The drawback to this setup is limited additional features.

4.) Weight Plates

Now that you have a training bench and weight rack you want to invest in some quality weight plates. These are what you load onto the barbell to increase the weight you’ll be lifting. Some types work with loadable dumbbells and kettlebells too.

Two key factors that make a high-caliber set of weight plates are weight accuracy and durability. Accuracy means you can correctly track your progress, especially for competitive lifters. You want to know exactly what you’re capable of. They should be durable enough to last about a decade.

Traditional weight plates are made of iron or steel. They are less expensive and easier to store than bumper plates, which are coated in rubber or urethane.

A couple of reasons you may consider investing in bumper plates is because they are quieter and less likely to damage your floor if you drop them. The rubber coating keeps them from clacking together or scraping against surfaces. Iron plates are also prone to rust if they are exposed to humidity or moisture.

5.) Dumbbells

You’ll always use your barbell and weight plates with both hands. Dumbbells allow you to work one side of your body at a time as in dumbbell rows. The muscles in each arm work independently even if you are using one in each hand.

Buying separate pairs of dumbbells is the most expensive way to build your collection. You can get iron dumbbells or ones coated in rubber, like bumper plates. You’ll get a greater range of weights with individual pairs than with adjustable dumbbells too. You can also rest these dumbbells on the end of your thigh between reps. Adjustable ones have a locking mechanism preventing this.

Adjustable dumbbells usually have a bar on which you load small weight plates and a locking mechanism to keep them in place. Many are made of plastic, making them less durable than a set of rubber-coated dumbbells. You also use up time changing the weight plates.

Once again, space becomes a factor in your choice of dumbbells. If you want a broad range of weights you’ll need a storage rack and space to put it for individual fixed dumbbells. They come in 5 lb increments, so that can add up quickly. An adjustable set saves space.

It comes down to thinking about your space and what type of dumbbells will best serve your needs.

6.) Kettlebells

Kettlebells have the advantage of compact, versatile performance. You can combine weight training with effective cardio through kettlebell flows.

Kettlebells are a space saver in that you only need a few or just one to gain the benefits of a kettlebell workout. You can do some kettlebell swings when you’re short on time, too.

Using kettlebells has a positive impact on all areas of lifting. A proper kettlebell swing teaches and reinforces proper hip hinge mechanics that translate to good form with a barbell. You’ll get your heart pumping to add a cardio session too.

You improve your hip hinge mechanics during kettlebell swings because you squeeze your glutes at the top of each rep. According to research, your body receives instant feedback on whether or not you sufficiently activated your glutes. That makes kettlebell swings the perfect way to practice hinging technique under less loaded stress than when deadlifting.

7.) Resistance Bands

Resistance bands may seem redundant if you have a sweet weightlifting setup. But bands provide variety in your workout that contributes to your gains in unique ways.

For example, using a barbell for bicep curls means your muscle is relaxed at the top and bottom of each rep. The weight feels heaviest at the midpoint. An elastic resistance band challenges the muscle through the full range of motion.

Bands also provide accommodating resistance when lifted or looped around another implement. This means the resistance curve is reversed compared to what the muscle is used to. Uniquely working the muscle has positive effects on your gains.

You can use bands to increase the intensity of your bodyweight movements. Banded push-ups and squats to bump up your training.

One last recommendation for adding resistance bands to your home gym: they’re cheap. You can keep several lying around without dropping a lot of cash.

8.) Cardio Machine

Heart health is one of the most important aspects of taking care of your overall health. A solid cardio routine goes hand in hand with strength training and bodybuilding.

Donning your running shoes and pounding the pavement may not always be an option or a desirable scenario. Many people live in areas with long seasons of extreme heat or cold. This is a time when a home gym seriously contributes to your gains.

Space is the most valuable commodity for most of us setting up a home gym. Luckily, a cardio machine or equipment doesn’t have to hog precious square footage. Battle ropes, an exercise bike, or stair-step system all give you a great aerobic workout without taking up the whole room.

If you have more space to commit to a cardio machine, there are excellent machines to help you meet your goals. A treadmill, elliptical, or rower are popular choices that most of us already know how to use.

So, What Do You Really Need in Your Home Gym? 

Your home gym can be your little corner of fitness paradise. Even if you build it slowly by investing in each piece over time, starting with this list will make a home gym where you’ll want to work out every day.

  • Training bench
  • Barbell
  • Weight Rack
  • Weight Plates
  • Dumbbells
  • Kettlebells
  • Resistance Bands
  • Cardio Machine

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