I’ve been asked countless times about what equipment I feel is essential for building a home gym. When the idea of a home gym gets brought up, most people ask about treadmills, a bow flex, or a giant rack of free weights. All of these things take up a ton of space and come with a hefty price tag! In my opinion, a home gym is something that doesn’t need to be extravagant, terribly expensive, and doesn’t take up too much space. Your home gym can actually be pretty discreet, and still give you a bad ass workout! Over the years of training clients, friends and myself, I’ve acquired a whole lot of equipment that I use on a regular basis. However, if I had to boil it all down to some essentials and only keep equipment that I feel I couldn’t do without, it would be the following list!
1.) A Pull Up Bar: A good pull up bar or pull up system is something that I couldn’t do without! So many exercises can be performed with a simple pull up bar such as chin ups, pull ups, around the world pull ups, burpee to pull up, deck squat to pull up, wide grip chin up, archer chins, and well you see where I’m going with this. If the pull up bar or system you have purchased is sturdy enough you can even attach a set of rings to the system to open up a whole world of exercises to really challenge your upper body strength and conditioning! A pull up bar or system can range anywhere from very cheap $20 a to quite expensive $400. Shop around and see what one works well for you. Onnit.com carries a nice one that fits right on your door frame!
2.) A Kettlebell Or Two: Kettlebells are hands down on of the best tools of improving your strength conditioning and mobility. They also take up hardly any space at all and last a life time, which means you only have to buy them once! A good 30lb kettlebell when used correctly can give you a CRUSHING workout. The pressing and over head movements that come a long with a handful of kettlebell movements pair up excellent with pulling exercises on the pull up bar. It’s important to get some proper instruction before using your kettlebell, so make sure to get some lessons from a certified kettlebell trainer or pick up a Mike Mahler DVD and start studying!
3.) A Jump Rope: Jumping rope is one of the best exercises you can do, period! It’s great as workout all on its own or added to a conditioning workout. Jumping rope not only improves you cardiovascular conditioning but also improves you coordination, footwork, and balance. In fact, regularly jumping rope barefoot actually works well as a precursor to running barefoot or in minimalist footwear such as Vibram 5 Fingers. Best of all, a jump rope can be taken anywhere with you! This makes it a great tool for anyone who has to travel often but still want to fit in quality workouts. ONNIT also makes a great speed rope.
4.) A Knowledge Of Body Weight Training: I know it’s not actually a piece of fitness equipment, but having a good grasp on various body weight conditioning methods and techniques is easily the greatest tool you can have in your home gym. Most people have no clue what body weight training really is past the basic push up, sit up, and pull up. When used correctly and programed for specific goals, body weight training can improve your conditioning, mobility, explosiveness, flexibility, and strength through a wide range of motion! There are countless movements/exercises you can learn and add to your workouts and body weight training pairs up brilliantly with kettlebell exercises and jumping rope. The Jungle Fit ebooks on body weight training are a great place to start. “The Body Weight Solution” all by itself teaches how to progress from beginner to advanced movements in pushing, pulling, squatting, lunging, pressing, and core stability. It also discusses how to put together your very own program! Investing in yourself and your own education in fitness is never a bad thing!
Those would be my top answers for essential equipment when building your own home gym. It takes up hardly any space at all, and gives you no excuse for not getting in a quality workout. Best of all, you can put it all together without breaking the bank! Save some money on a gym membership, invest in your own home gym, train hard and be Jungle Fit!