April
3

How to set up a home gym that gets great results without breaking the bank…

After 6 years in my current house my family finally outgrew it with the addition of our new son, Z. Yeah, that’s right, I named him Z. And yes, there is a story behind it I’ll share some day…

The point is that the time came for us to sell our current house and find a new one with the room we need. We were lucky enough to find find a house that not only has enough room for my family of 4 and our 2 dogs but a full gym in the basement. The basement is HUGE and has enough room for my gym, mats for BJJ training and a bouldering room – plus a hang out area for the TV and XBox.

That is the other cool thing about a home gym set up – it is truly an investment since training equipment will last forever.

Planning my dream home gym area brought me back to when I decided that I needed to set up a home gym the garage in my current house. At some point everyone who is serious about training will end up with some sort of home gym. While having access to a gym is nice, sometimes you just need to be able to crank out a workout without having to drive anywhere.

Hell, I owned a training facility that was only 15 minutes from my house and even I had trouble getting in there for a workout sometimes.

For some people the home gym is simply a collection of a few key pieces of equipment – like a kettlebell or two and a jump rope – that is meant to serve as an emergency back up for days they can’t get into the gym but for others it becomes a way of life. Let’s be honest – most riders feel like strangers in a strange place in most gyms. You either have the big box gym where most people are more worried about how they look in the mirror or you have a bootcamp type facility where everyone is trying to see how much punishment they can take before puking or getting hurt.

Given the choices it is no wonder that most riders I hear from are asking about what they need to do my workouts at home. For these riders the home gym has to expand a bit to include a few essentials that will make sure they are not cutting too many corners with their workouts. Here is a list of what I think are the “must have” pieces of equipment for a home gym:

A heavy, medium and light kettlebell. What this means exactly depends on a few things but here is the chart I use to help riders figure out what works for them…

Male

Light

Medium

Heavy

< 3 years training

12 kg/ 25 lb.

16 kg/ 35 lb.

24 kg/ 55 lb.

Male

Light

Medium

Heavy

> 3 years training

16 kg/ 35 lb.

24 kg/ 55 lb.

32 kg/ 70 lb.

Female

Light

Medium

Heavy

< 3 years training

8 kg/ 15 lb.

12 kg/ 25 lb.

16 kg/ 35 lb.

Female

Light

Medium

Heavy

> 3 years training

12 kg/ 25 lb.

16 kg/ 35 lb.

20 kg/ 45 lb.

A pull up bar

– A foam roller and mat

– A jump rope

While that list will allow you to perform a lot of quality workouts, it is the “no frills” option and I personally like to add a few more things. I recently set up a home gym and here are some of the extras I’ve included:

A TRX suspension trainer

– Extra kettlebells

– A couple of medicine balls

– A few steps/ risers

– A Valslide

Light, Medium and Heavy superbands

– A couple of sandbags

With that list of equipment I can add a lot of quality variety to my workouts. In fact, I can do 90% of what I would normally do at my more fully stocked training facility.

Here is a picture of my original set up:

As you can see I have a rack that I use for my chin up bar and to suspend my TRX. I also have some rubber flooring (which isn’t cheap) and a TRX Rip Trainer (something I bought to play around with) so my set up is a bit more elaborate than what you need but I have also had a few years to acquire the extra stuff to make this set up work.

That is the other cool thing about a home gym set up – it is truly an investment since training equipment will last forever. You can start out with the bare bones basics and then slowly add to your equipment list each year, eventually ending up with a really nice set up.

So there you have it, my take on setting up a basic home gym. Of course, when I get my new home gym set up in my new house I’ll be sure to post some pics and give you a virtual tour of the set up. In the meantime I’ll be getting a good old fashioned workout hauling boxes and household furniture, taking the “home gym” concept to new levels…

-James Wilson-

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James Wilson
Author and Professional
Mountain Bike Coach
James Wilson