With the stay at home order coming down so quickly, hardly anyone was prepared to workout at home. Most people have no equipment because we have gym memberships and have never needed it. Some gyms rented out stuff so that you could stay fit during the crisis but what happens if this resurfaces in the fall and we are back at home? Or maybe you like working out at home a few days a week; you need some equipment.
I have said on just about every platform I have that I do not believe at-home fitness is sustainable, and most of us are feeling that to be true right now in week four of stay at home. But having some equipment available to you if needed is not a bad idea. Maybe even splitting your days at home and the gym when they reopen fitness centers.
Equipment manufacturers have garage gym packages that work, but I will be honest, most of these packages give you things you do not need.
Here are some things I think you should avoid purchasing for a home gym and why.
Barbell & Plates:
This is usually the first thing people want to purchase for their home gyms because it is such a staple in most commercial and micro/studio gyms like ours.
I don’t think that most people need this because everyday exercisers are not powerlifters or Olympic lifters. We do not need regular barbell work to maintain technique or to build absolute strength. Plus, bars and plates only have real functionality when put together.
They also take up a lot of room and require some decent storage space and are a pain in the ass to move.
If you have a gym membership but also want to have the ability to workout at home, plan to attend the gym on days that there is strength or skill work programmed. This way, you can get the strength work you need and focus on metcons at home.
Squat Rack & Bench:
They may have some functionality, but they are expensive, and when the gyms reopen will eventually be used to hang clothes on.
If you do not have a barbell or enough plates, the rack sometimes is pointless to have, and again if you are not training for absolute strength, which most of us are not, you can save yourself the money here.
Some racks have a pull-up bar attachment, which adds some functionality but not worth the purchase just for the pull-up bar. You can buy a wall-mounted pull-up bar for much cheaper.
Again, schedule the strength and skill days at the gym, and it leaves your metcon heavy days for home workouts.
This one price-wise is pretty obvious. These are by far the most expensive purchases for home gyms with rowers costing around $900, bikes around $700, and ski ergs also in that price range.
Running is free, and let’s be honest; we can all be a bit better at running.
These machines take up lots of space, and yes, have some low impact workout value but are just not functional if you are maintaining your gym membership. Almost any gym owner will allow you to stay after and get some extra cardio on a machine of your choice as long as you do not disrupt the current class or use a machine the class is using.
The problem many people have with trying to train at home is that they think they can do it on their own. That they can find workouts and go for it, but for most, this isn’t possible. What you need, even at home, is coaching. You need a program that fits what you have and what you are capable of, rather than trying to purchase stuff so that you can do any program.
Once you have a coach, here is what you need to have a decent variety of equipment for tons of workout options, all for under the cost of one machine.
Dumbbells (2 Pairs)
Kettlebells (2 Weights)
Slam Ball (20-30lbs)
PowerBand (light resistance)
Look for weights that cost less than a dollar per pound, and you could have all of that for under $500—a much smaller investment than dropping over a grand on some of these garage gym packages you see online that are less practical than the list above.
The only way to stay diligent at home is to have a coach that is programming workouts with your equipment, workouts you are capable of and do not have to think of your scaling options, and most of all, KEEP YOU ACCOUNTABLE. As I am sure you all have discovered, it is really easy to stay on the couch rather than walk outside and get a workout in.
If you need any help with coaching or programming, shoot me an email!