Home Exercise Equipment

I am considering making a move to workouts at home. Would you have any suggestions on weight training equipment? I want to do this with a minimal investment, but be able to do full workouts without having to go to the gym. Any help would be appreciated.

I recommend finding a suspension trainer as a minimum set up. If your budget allows, also consider investing in a set of dumbbells and an exercise bench. This initial setup is relatively economical, doesn't take up a lot of space, and is very versatile, allowing you to perform a variety of different exercises.

Hoist HF-985A Half Cage Ensemble

Dumbbells

Adjustable dumbbells take up less space than fixed dumbbells and can be adjusted much more quickly than spin lock dumbbells. Only if your budget is a factor, consider a standard size spin lock dumbbell set, which takes considerably more time to adjust than one of the recommended adjustable dumbbell sets.

Bench

An adjustable flat to incline bench will allow for the greatest versatility. Some adjustable exercise benches such the IronMaster Super Bench (external link) offer additional accessories including dip bar, pull-up bar, sit-up leg bar, leg extension / curl lever, preacher curl pad, etc. For those without much space, foldable or travel benches can be stored away under furniture.

Barbell

If a home gym setup ends up working for you, and space permits, expand your home gym with a barbell and rack. Choose between an Olympic size barbell set (2" diameter) or a standard size barbell set (1" diameter). A 7' Olympic bar (45 lbs) is most common, but slightly shorter Olympic barbells (eg: 6' or 6.66') can be found for tighter spaces. Just be sure your barbell rack will fit whatever barbell you buy.

Barbell Rack

A power rack (half or full) allows you to more easily perform various exercises including squat, deadlifts, presses, and many other movements. Some manufactures offer additional accessories built into the rack:

  • Pull-up bar
  • Dip bar
  • Smith machine
  • Cable pulley (high and low) assembly

Cable attachments may include: lat bar, straight bar, curl bar, multi-exercise bar, stirrup handles, and ankle straps.

Other Accessories

Other accessories you might consider include:

  • Power tower (Dip and pullup station)
    • needed only if your power rack or bench does not already have these stations
  • Resistance bands
    • range of resistances to assist pullup or dip
  • Fractional / micro weight plates
    • pair of 1.25lb Olympic sized weight plate
  • Calf Block
    • wide base aerobic step platform (without risers) can also be used for calf work
  • Dip belt
    • allows you to add resistance to dips, pull-ups, or chin-ups

Pictured: HF-985A Half Cage Ensemble. Image used with permission by Hoist.

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