Working out at home was the best decision I have made. There are many advantages I will detail later in this article, but just the environment alone is much greater. For the money you put out on gym memberships, just one year would get you some great equipment for your home gym.
This article is designed to help you decide what to order, where to order, some good informational websites, one of my favorite programs, and similar things like that. The ideal place for a gym is in a room, be it a basement, spare room, etc. But if you don't have something like that, a garage will do just fine. Working at home may be for you, but it may not be. But as I said, it's been the best decision I've ever made. Here's a list of equipment you should consider buying:
Things You Must Have For A Quality Home Gym
You can't have any equipment if you don't have space. Mine is in the garage, and it took me a few days to clean it out, but it was worth it. If your garage is a mess, just stack things on top till you can get around to cleaning it. My parents aren't too happy, but I convinced them to let it stay like that till it gets cleaner.
My gym is 9 feet X 19 feet. That has room for 5 different sets of hex dumbbells, 500 pounds in weights, a power rack, bench, a recumbent bike, and a good amount of space for exercises like Deadlifts, Shrugs, Curls, etc...
Quality Weight Set
You won't get very far without one. You can have all the equipment in the world, but it won't help unless you have a weight set. I recommend a good 300 pound Olympic set, that's made out of quality material. If you need more weights, just buy more, but only buy the ones you need, unless it's a sail, then feel free to invest a few months into the future. Try to get Olympic sets, as they are much better quality then most standard sets you will find. If you're lucky, some will include adjustable dumbbells.
Sturdy Weight Bench
This is another piece of vital equipment, due to the fact you can do many more exercises with this piece of equipment. I found a mid-width bench on sale for 100 bucks at my local sporting goods store. It came with a good lat tower, incline/decline/flat ability, a built in squat rack, and leg curl, extension, preacher curl pads which I never use. If you plan on buying a power rack, your basic bench without the arms to hold the weights will do because the rack will be able to spot your weights.
Dumbbells will also increase exercise variety greatly, and are an excellent addition to a home gym. The hex dumbbells are the greatest quality, and if you can afford them are very good. But adjustable will also work, but it just annoying constantly changing them. If you buy hex, only buy the ones you need because you might not ever use a certain pair and they can become quite expensive.
Items You Should Greatly Consider Buying
I use this for a lot of exercises, ironically I don't use them for curls! These are nice and can be used for things like skull crushers, bent over barbell rows, and exercises to that degree. Must people use these for curls too, and this is a must have for a gym.
Sturdy Power Rack
It took me a while to realize that this was a great piece of equipment to have. If you workout at home and have no spotter, then this should be a piece of equipment you consider having. I had to go lighter before since I didn't want to get pinned by the weight. The first week I bought this it saved my butt four times. Don't settle for the squat racks. Power Racks allow you to use it for more then squats, which make it much better then a squat rack.
It enabled me to train more intense, and allowing, after my week off which usually my lifts go down a tad, to increase my bench by ten pounds, squat by 20 pounds, military press by ten pounds and my incline bench by 15 pounds. It's best to find one that has a lat-pull down station, dip handles, chin-up bar, and can hold 1000 pounds. Since I don't have a lot of money, I just got the plain one that had a chin-up bar only. This is a very worth piece of equipment to have.
Pull-Up Bars, Dips Handles, and Leg Raise Station
These are nice to have around and are a nice addition to a gym. They run for around 100 bucks and a solid piece of equipment. But if you don't have the money, you can buy pull-up bars that attach in your door frame that run for about 15 bucks, and you can just do seated leg raises. The dips you can add them to your power rack for about 30 bucks. This is a good piece of equipment to have at a home gym.
These are nice to have around. Where I live it's either blazing hot in the summer or freezing cold in the winter. This way you don't have to go outside and run where you can't get a good performance because it's to hot or cold. It also isn't a weakness to bad weather. But if you live along the coastline or something, screw the cardio equipment. Go running!
Lat-Pull Down System
My bench came with one, but it wasn't the best. But it's better then nothing. I've seen them for as cheap as 200 bucks, which isn't bad. Get one that you add the weight yourself too, so it doesn't go in increments of ten. You can get an add-on to your power rack also for 200 bucks, which fits really nice.
Misc. Equipment That's Nice To Have
As stated, the weather here's not perfect, so I get the help with some technology. Right now I just use a fan that's sitting in the garage doing nothing for summer, and I currently don't have access to a heater. Now if you're inside or something, apparently you don't need one of these. These are primarily for garages.
These are nice to have to avoid plates being scattered everywhere. They are all conveniently located on one plate tree. The better ones come with bar holders, generally holding two bars. These are a good addition to have in a quality gym.
Some Sort Of Flooring
These are great because it keeps the bottom of your equipment protected from various things. If you spilled something, must garages are slanted, then it would go under the equipment and if it doesn't get cleaned up in could ruin your equipment. It also keeps the garage warmer, because the ground is usually the coolest part of the garage, so it keeps the coolness under the mats. Some use carpet, but I just use the rubber mats and they work like a charm.
These are great to have because nothing is better then listening to your favorite music while lifting, Not like a gym where there's always boy bands playing. This is your gym and you listen to what you want. You don't have a buy the best CD player out there. Chances are your parents won't be too happy if it shakes the house when you workout. What I did, is use my CD player for on the road, and use my dad's old computer speakers. To avoid using batteries, I use the AV outlet and it works great.
These are nice to have around. Not so you can be like a typical teenager and flex with your ten inch gunz, and do one set of bench-press and one rep, but to monitor your form. Having mirrors will help you notice if you're using bad form. I don't personally have them, but they are nice to have.
Notebook, White Board, Etc...
You should have these to track your workouts. I have a big white board that has the following: day, routine for that day, muscle worked, exercise, weight, reps, set, warm up weight, and week number. This is a must have if you want to monitor your progress.
Things like straps, belts, workout logs, etc are nice to have around. They cost next to nothing and will aid you in your workouts by having that little extra something. Click here for more accessories!
Places To Get Equipment
Either you have it or you don't.
It's best to buy these locally. I'm yet to find a place online that offers free shipping on weight sets. If you buy them online, the shipping will cost more then the set itself. They generally run for about 150 bucks for a quality 300 pound Olympic set.
Another thing best bought locally. Shipping on benches will be an extra 75 bucks, so you can find a better deal at a local sporting goods store. These are generally 150 bucks, give or take 100.
Something like a local Sports Authority, or other sporting goods store is good. They sell them cheap. Again, online ordering for a 30 dollar set of 35 pound dumbbells, shipping would be 56 bucks. Locally they're about 50 cents a pound for me.
Again, best bought at a local sporting goods store. Their probably pretty good quality their, but if you can tell it's not, go to newyorkbarbells.com and buy one. Generally, they're 45 bucks in a store.
I'm yet to find a place locally that carries them. I got mine for 260 bucks at newyorkbarbells.com and it is great quality and can hold 1000 pounds. This is free shipping, so that's why it's good ordering online.
Pull-Up Bars, Dip, and Leg Raise Station
Again, best found locally. Near me, they generally run for about 100 bucks, and are great quality. Online they can be pretty expensive.
Buy it local. Shipping online will be a lot, and locally generally sells them cheaper. I got mine for 200 bucks, but it's not the greatest, but it's a recumbent bike, that doesn't have all these settings. These range from 200+ bucks.
Lat Pull-Down System
A good quality one is at ewyorkbarbells.com and is 200 bucks add-on to the power rack. I'm yet to find one of these locally.
Go to your local Wal-Mart, Home Depot, or Lowe's to get one of these. They can range from 50 bucks+ depending on how big it is.
Your call on this one. You can buy it at newyorkbarbells.com or at a local sporting goods store. They both have them, just depending on what you want is the price difference. These run from 40-200 bucks.
My dad found these at a local Pep Boys. It covers 24 square feet and was 10 bucks a bag. I got five of these and it worked great. If not, Wal-Mart sells them for 17 bucks also.
Go wherever you want to buy this locally! These run from 70+ dollars. Or you can move the one in your room to your gym area.
Notebook or Whiteboard
I got a big one at Office Max for 35 bucks. Enough to put more then I need on there. This is where to get stuff like this to write down what you need.
These can be found at Bodybuilding.com. These items can range from 2 bucks to around 20 for the better items.
That covers the equipment part of it. This requires money, but you don't need ten thousand dollars. For my weight set, bench, power rack, dumbbells, flooring, and bike, it cost me 700 dollars, which isn't too bad. I asked my parents, since I'm too young to have a job, to loan me a little money. They did that, and I worked and paid it all back. If you need money explain to your parents why you need it and ask if they have jobs. Most of the time, they're understanding.
Reasons To Workout At Home
I like training alone. This allows me to do so without having to share equipment and putting up with anyone at the gym that thinks they know it all, but they don't. None of these stupid teens, or boy band music. It's all you and what you want.
When I went to a gym, I just couldn't put up with the music, and the staff wouldn't change it. I couldn't take it, so I put together a home gym. Doing so allowed me to listen to my own rap and rock, and not putting up with stupid music.
You don't have to rush to the gym because you're running late. You just walk in, do your stuff, and walk out. It takes 30 minutes less then driving to the gym and doing what you need to do there. Everything you need if you forgot something is a few steps away. You don't have to worry about not going to the gym due to a car breakdown or something; you don't even need a car!
You're The Only One In YOUR Gym
No more of these bench/curl jockeys that just do all bench press and curls and then go and flex their 10 inch gunz. You don't have to let anyone else in your gym but yourself. And no putting up with these gym experts that really knows nothing and is thick-sculled.
No Gym Hours
There is no 4:00 rush hour in your gym. There are no closing hours. You choose what time you workout, whether it is 1:00 PM or 1:00 AM.
Food Always Nearby
You don't have to worry about missing a meal due to traffic. I mean, unless there's Fat Billy guarding your door, then there's no way you can't get to your meals. You can even take your food inside your gym. I even have a miniature water dispenser that I keep with me at all times.
Those are just a few reasons why workout out at home is, in my opinion, better. If you workout at home most people know the difference from the gym and at home. Now that we have equipment covered, I'm going to list an excellent informational website and product website. This site provides me with great information updated every day.
Bodybuilding.com by far is the best informational site, and has the cheapest supplement prices. They have helpful calculators, articles, databases, the largest fitness forum on the internet, chat rooms and much more...
There is endless amounts of information on the site. Over 10,000 pages and counting.
Be sure to also check out: The Complete Dumbbell Workout!