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Building a Home Gym

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How to build a home gym

Working out from home has many advantages over joining a gym – it means we save money by investing in equipment rather than wasting money on a membership every month or every time we go (not to mention the joining fee, induction fee, cancelation fee…); it means we can work out in privacy without feeling embarrassed with others watching or having to queue for equipment; and it means we can do it far more quickly and easily with no need to travel and waste gas and time or get wet if it's raining. In other words then, putting some time and money in now to developing a home training set up will greatly benefit you in the long run. But what exactly do you need to purchase?

Well the first thing you'll need is some dumbbells. The reason for this is the sheer range of movements they can provide as well as the fact that it's very hard to train your biceps without them. As well as curls though, they'll also help you with dumbbell raises (obviously), lateral raises, rows, shoulder presses, chest presses, pullovers, wrist curls, squats, lunges, calf raises and pec flies. They really are the only piece of equipment you'll need. Make sure you get adjustable ones though so that you can change the weight depending on the exercise and as you progress. If you get long ones you can then add to this – I use two lots on one set of dumbbells giving me the option to go 40kg if necessary. Alternatively I can do 5kg and do some wrist curls.

Another incredibly versatile piece of equipment is the pull up bar. These are very cheap (around £5 in the UK) and can fit into any door frame. From there you can then do pull ups, chin ups, supine pull ups, upside-down sit ups, leg raises and frog kicks as well as all manner of variations on these (one armed pull ups, rocking pull ups, etc etc).

This list is being compiled in the rough order that you'll want to use the equipment, and if you're starting out then just the two items above will work just fine for the first year perhaps. In fact just the dumbbells would be fine but there just really isn't any reason to neglect the pull up bar as it's so cheap and practical – it will really help you to keep your workouts varied.

Something else you'll need right from the beginning however is space. This might seem obvious, but a lot of rooms in your house probably don't provide the space you need. The reason you can get away with having such little equipment is that a lot of the pec, ab and leg exercises will be performed with just your bodyweight: press ups, sit ups, sissy squats etc. Make sure you have at least a space of ten foot by six foot to workout in.

As you get better though you will start to want to add more items. Probably the next item to get is a bench. These can fold up to be hidden behind wardrobes and will give you a platform for which to practice many of your exercises. You can use them for dumbbell presses, pec flies, isolation curls and more and it will make all of these things more effective. Furthermore, if you buy one that has an adjustable incline, you can use it to train the muscles at a different angle adding variation to your workouts and shape to your physique. If it has pads for your legs you can also use this incline to do incline sit ups, crunches or leg raises.

The next port of call once you have a bench is a barbell. These come later on as most of the exercises can be performed similarly with dumbbells. However a barbell will give you facilities to do the proper compound movements as they were intended – the squat, the deadlift and the bench press (along with your bench). Depending on the weight you're using however you may also need a rack for both the squat and bench press to support it while you add weight and lift it into position. This is now beginning to add up to a fairly high cost as a 20kg weight for the barbell will likely cost about £20, as well as space to fit the barbell and racks.

An alternative to getting a barbell and weights rack is to purchase a multi gym which will handle the process for you. These can range in price from about £100-£300 and take up various amounts of space. However they will greatly increase the range of exercises you can do – both free weight and resistance machine operated. Things to look for are a lat pull down, chest press, pec dec, leg extensions, hamstring curl and a cable at the bottom for cable curls and rows. If the multi gym has all these things then it's a worthwhile purchase.

For more information checkout Build Your Own Home Gym Equipment


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