Whatever your reason for wanting to set up a gym at home – whether to save money, make it more convenient for you to work out, or just so you can work on your fitness in an environment that is just the way you like it – there are a few tricks I’d like to share with you that will allow you to set up an outstanding home gym for much less money than you might think necessary.
The math is simple – gym membership often costs $50 per month. $30 a month is $600 a year. If you can set up a home gym for less than $1200, it will pay for itself in two years. Not only that, but you’re sure to work out more consistently when you don’t have to drag yourself halfway across town, sometimes through rain or snow, every time you want to exercise.
Gyms nowadays are packed with useless equipment like treadmills and a whole catalogue of those strange contraptions that look like medieval torture devices. Whatever your fitness goals, you can advantageously dispense with most of that stuff and stick to a few simple hardcore basics –
Every commercial gym I see has nearly a full wall covered with a selection of dumbbells of all different sizes. It’s great to have this variety, but you probably don’t have the space to store about a hundred dumbbells. Even if you did, it would be outrageously inconvenient and expensive to set up.
The best solution is to use adjustable dumbbells. These can be had for a few hundred dollars, and a good pair will last you a lifetime.
Barbells are the workhorse of physical culture. A solid simple iron bar and some plates, when used over weeks, months and years, transforms a human body into a beautiful, lithe, athletic form. The sort they use in the Olympics can cost several thousand, but you can a seven-foot bar with a full set of plates for under $200. Look in local papers or on Craig’s List for second-hand ones.
I suggest building your own squat rack, rather than buying a commercial one. The exact design you use will depeend on the space and materials you have available to you. There are several excellent guides to building squat racks online; some use ridged metal bars angled against a wall and set with cement, others have upright bars dug into the ground.
If you’re interested in real, functional power and high performance, rather than just pretty pecs, you’ll need to incorporate plyometric power training into your routine. See our article one designing a plyometric workout for more information.) There is probably no area of fitness where so little work will yield such huge performance gains. And there is probably no better investment of your money than a few sturdy plyometrics boxes for your home gym
Back in the Victorian golden age of physical culture, gymnastic rings were as common a sight in gyms as mirrors and ferns are now. There is a good reason for this, even if gymnastics is not your sport. Greg Glasman of CrossFit has written that “The ringman, pound for pound, presents more upper body strength, along more lines of action, than any other athlete.” This is quite true.
The regulations for competitive gymnastics state that rings should have a diameter of 18cm, should hang 50cm apart from cables 9.8 feet long so that the bottom is 8.5 feet from the ground. For a home gym, you can get away with shortening the cables, so that they hang, say, 7.5 feet from the ground from cables only 4 feet long, but I recommend you stick with the standard diameter and gap between the rings.
Again, you can buy rings fairly cheaply, for around forty to eighty dollars, or you can make your own for under ten bucks. There is an excellent guide to building rings here – http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-make-PVC-gymnastic-fitness-rings/
I sincerely hope this little article has been of some help to you. I wish you all the best in setting up your gym and working in it to grow in health and strength!
var _gaq = _gaq || ; _gaq.push(['_setAccount', 'UA-26646672-1']); _gaq.push(['_trackPageview']);