I'm sure when most people think of training at home, they think of a simple bench with a leg extension attachment, some adjustable dumbbells, some plates and a bar. If you're real lucky, maybe a lat attachment. I'm here to tell you it can get a lot better than that!
Building A Home Gym
A home gym can be impressively set up for any level trainer - from the general fitness trainer to the hard core bodybuilder. With a properly set up home gym, a home trainer can train just as effectively as a gym member.
Now a days, home training is big news. It's so much easier in today's hectic and busy world. If you're older, with a job and family obligations, going to a gym just isn't always possible. Training at home keeps you in close contact to your family, saves you time, and allows you to work out however you need to without worrying about crowds or lines at certain pieces of equipment.
Home gyms can be simple or complex depending on your needs, space available and money available. Here's a look at some good options for home gym training.
For the average fitness trainer, something like the Crossbow or weight stack, "station" machine and some cardio equipment will work just fine. The prices vary, as does the number of exercises you can do and the amount of weight available. All you need is a small room or space, say 10'x 10' and you're set.
On the other hand, if you're more hardcore, this type of setup will never do. At the very least, for this type of trainer, your home gym should have the following:
- Power rack - Critical for safety and strength training
- Adjustable bench with no uprights, a leg extension attachment and a preacher curl attachment
- Lat machine
- Dumbbells, plates and at least a straight bar.
This is a little basic but would serve the beginning bodybuilder well. In fact, every routine in every one of my articles can be done on this amount of equipment.
Treadmill, for example and you're all set. In terms of room, the 10x10 area should work, I've done it in the past. Now, here's a question I've never seen an answer to: what happens if you just don't have room? I mean nothing, no extra room at all (think small apartment).
The answer is a fold away bench. While not top of the line stuff, and not even very common, you can buy a fold up bench with a lat attachment; a leg extension attachment and an arm curl attachment. Sure, you can buy a Crossbow, but one of these fold up benches costs about 1/10th the cost of a Crossbow. What could be better for limited space and a limited budget? You can find them online or at Walmart, CAP and IMPEX are the manufacturers. (Editors Note: Bodybuilding.com is teaming up with Gym Warehouse to bring you every piece of training equipment in one place! Sign up here, for updates.)
Advanced Home Gym
If you really want a good home gym, and have the room and money, here's the one I had in my garage several years ago:
Now this is a home gym any serious bodybuilder would love! Suffice it to say, it takes time to build up a set up like this. This would work well for the serious bodybuilder. By the way, I bought all of my items from a local retailer that just happened to run good deals but these days you can get anything online at good prices. Even Walmart (online) sells a Weider power rack for under $150!
- Power rack with dipping bars and chin bar
- Adjustable bench (Flat, decline, incline), leg extension attachment and an arm curl attachment.
- Lat machine (high/low cable) - You can train back, triceps and biceps with the low cable, several exercises for each. Don't get one without it!
- Standing calf raise
- Seated calf raise - For complete calf development, you need both a seated and a standing calf raise machine.
- Pec deck - Good for detailing the chest and variety, also good for rear delts
- Leg press - Good for variety and this gives you one more calf exercise
- Ab machine - I use a Nordic Track AbWorks machine for intense ab training
- Dumbbells - Either fixed or adjustable
- Numerous bars - 7ft. straight bar, EZ curl, several lat bars (normal, parallel, narrow grip, rope, tricep bar).
- 700lbs. of plates
- Ski machine
Also, you can buy any kind of specialized equipment you need or want, such as arm machines, back machines, chest press machines, and cable crossover machines to name a few. You can order from places like newyorkbarbell.com, fitness factory.com or megafitness.com. Or, you can stop by your local sporting goods superstore (Dick's Sporting Goods or Sports Authority). You're limited only by your wallet and how much space you have.
What Else Do I Need?
No matter where you train, you need a log book to record your work out information: exercises, sets, reps, time started and ended, how you feel, etc.
Don't forget your food journal - I'm a firm believer in writing down what you eat, breaking it down by calories, protein, carbs, fat and totaling it all at the end of each day.
In your home gym, you need mirrors of some sort to check out your form and to
monitor your progress.
So it's possible to set up any level of home gym for any fitness/bodybuilding goal. Is there a drawback to home training? Maybe motivation. If you have one or even several training partners, this should not be a problem. What if you train alone? If you keep site of your goals, work out in a non-interruptive atmosphere - T.V. off, for example, and enjoy training, motivation takes care of itself.
I've trained alone for years and never had a problem. I know what I want to do when I walk into my gym, why I'm there and how important this workout is. I focus on that and find I have plenty of motivation. If you have a problem in this area and don't have training partners, I would recommend joining a gym. Otherwise, it's hard to beat home training!
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