Like most people, my local gym has closed so I am going to set up a gym and workout from home. What should I buy first?
Ever since COVID-19 hit, more and more gyms have closed – and it’s not clear when they’ll re-open.
A home gym is a wise investment. It’s always open, never crowded and they’re always playing the music you like. There’s no commute, no need to wait for equipment and it brings the idiot factor down to zero.
What To Buy First
The first thing you want to buy if you haven’t already is a copy of convict conditioning. KNOWLEDGE is power, and having knowledge about how to work your entire body with virtually no weights is most important.
Second, I’d buy a trap bar with sleeves at least 13” long (not 10”, which is the standard). They should be long enough to allow you to add 7 45’s per side. 8 or more being ideal. If you had to use only one lift to build muscle for the rest of your life, it’d be the trap bar. It gives you the best of both the squat and deadlift.
Next, I would purchase a 300lb weight set. Yard sales are your friend, you should never pay more than $1/pound.
After that, I’d find yourself a good, sturdy adjustable bench.
The next purchase you’ll want to make are a pair of spotter racks. Buy them rated to 1,000lbs, and adjustable in height from around 22 inches to 36”. You can space them as wide or as narrow as need be. They’ll allow you to perform rack pulls with your trap bar, as over time you should be able to pull and hold close to 1,000lbs.
Powerblocks and Bands
Powerblocks or like adjustable DB’s are a luxury and they aren’t cheap. However, they’re a much better buy than a whole rack of DB’s, and take up a LOT less space.
Over time, you can add bands and other odds and ends as they allow you to dramatically increase resistance at a pittance of the cost vs. free weights. Bands also allow you to perform bodyweight work such as banded good mornings, banded pushups. You can also get creative by adding them to certain DB and BB movements.
Ideally, 2 workouts a week with one focusing mostly on BW work and the other on heavy, weighted movements.
Don’t go overboard though and remember this: A gym’s usefulness is usually inversely proportional to the number of machines and other gimmicks it has.
Bodyweight work and lifting real weights builds the most muscle. Always has, always will.