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Garage Gym Ideas 2017 – Ultimate Home Gym Design

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Introduction to Garage Gyms - Getting Ready to Gym at Home

What do weather, crowds, travel, and time all have in common? They are all things that get in the way of you getting down to your local gym and getting a solid workout in.

There are so many people out there that would like to begin getting in shape but are completely overwhelmed with other priorities in their life that trekking all the way down to their local gym genuinely seems impossible. To those people I would like to propose a solution! Build your very own gym, right in your home. The cost can start right around the same price you'd be paying for your gym membership and time saved is invaluable.

Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.

Once you've set up your personal garage gym to your standards the cost gets eliminated. Building a home gym set is actually surprisingly easy and if you are intimidated by the process we are here to hold your hand as you figure out exactly what type of equipment you are going to need depending on whatever goals you are attempting to achieve.

Through out this website we are going to break down exactly what you need to know about setting up a home gym that will suit your exercising needs. Whether you are building out your gym to gain strength, lean muscle, or simply cut out some of the fat you may have accidentally acquired during the holidays. Whatever your goals are you are going to have one of the garage gyms that people are going to be jealous of!

Garage Gym Equipment - Deciding on the Best Workout Equipment for You

The first thing you need to do when building a gym in your home is to figure out exactly what your goals are. Eventually, to have a well rounded garage gym you are going to want to move towards having three main categories of equipment. These three categories of equipment are the meat and potatoes of any multi station home gym - cardiovascular, compound exercise equipment (movements that use multiple muscle groups), and free weights.

Cardiovascular training equipment:

rowing machine

If you're number one priority is to lose weight and improve your cardiovascular health then without question you should purchase some type of aerobic equipment first. I personally recommend a rowing machine over a treadmill, exercise bike, or elliptical machine simply because it will also help you to build strength while doing aerobic exercise.

Another option that is much cheaper, but has a larger learning curve is to buy a high speed jump rope. Jumping rope is a great way to burn fat but must be done at a high intensity. It also is not recommended to those with knee issues. You can usually find a high speed rope at Walmart or your local sporting goods store.​

Squat Rack / Power Rack

The BEST compound exercise equipment

power rack

This is without a doubt the best choice to buy first if you are looking to gain massive strength in all areas of your body. Investing in a squat rack is an investment that nobody ever regrets (unless you don't use it!). The number one benefit of purchasing a squat rack for your home/garage is the fact that you can hit every single power lift at one station. Bench press, squat, dead lift, overhead press, and barbell rows all at the same station, and most power racks even come with a built in garage pull up bar. This makes doing the Strong Lifts workout, arguably the best workout routine for gaining strength, incredibly simple. If you are looking to build something more geared towards a Crossfit workout this is also the best choice as you can do all of the Olympic lifts.

free weights

Free Weights and other Weight Room Equipment:

If you can't afford to immediately start off with a power rack or some type of cardiovascular equipment for your garage, the best purchase you can make are free weights. Starting with a barbell and bumper plates are a great start if you are trying to gain strength, or burn calories. Crossfit workouts with your barbell work great for burning calories and you will be able to do all of the power lifts, although it will be much more difficult and dangerous to lift heavy without the safety net and easy setup of the squat rack.

If you are really strapped for cash you can also start off with a dumbbells for relatively cheap. The workout options you have with these are pretty limited, and I would recommend holding off until you can purchase the barbell. However, if you just can't wait to get some type of weight equipment in your home, check out our recommendations.

Click here to read our recommendations for the best free weights to start off with


These are the three main components of any multi station gym. While these will get you started they are by no means the end of your journey. Things like a weight bench, kettle bells, medicine ball, and plyometric box should all become members of your household eventually. We have put together a complete checklist for any small home gym which you can find here.

Home Gym Equipment Ideas for Beginners

Have no weight lifting experience? If you can afford it, the smith machine is a great machine for beginners to practice proper form on. A smith machine is basically a power rack, but It has a safety system set up with a chain that provides great resistance while also having a fail safe. You can see our most highly recommended smith machine models here.

barbell

If the smith machine is out of your price range, simply starting off with an Olympic barbell is a good place to start. The weight is very low, you can practice proper form, and it will be very hard to injure yourself as long as you don't overdo it (this shouldn't be a problem since you're a beginner).

Click here to see which Olympic Barbell we recommend

personal trainer

Personal Trainers:

If you are just starting off your fitness journey and have no prior weight lifting training I highly suggest hiring a personal trainer for a few sessions before you try and lift on your own. Hiring a personal trainer for a few sessions has so many benefits it's impossible to list them all. The main thing you should keep in mind is that lifting heavy with bad form is the quickest way to seriously injure yourself. The biggest mistake you will see people make in the gym is attempting to lift a weight they are not ready for. Proper form with lower weight will always be better than bad form with high weight. What's the point of purchasing all of your weight room equipment if you only get to use it once or twice?

If you can't afford a personal trainer there are hundreds of youtube videos out there that can help you practice proper lifting form for all of the main exercises. One of my favorite channels that has personally helped me a lot is the Buff Dudes youtube channel. They have a lot of great content on lifting with good form. Another great resource you can use to make sure that you are lifting properly is the form check subreddit on reddit. Take 5 seconds to create an account and submit a video of you lifting. Most likely someone will comment and give you some advice.

Accessories and other equipment you should consider

  • Ice/Cooling Vests: A cooling vest is a really interesting, yet effective way to lose weight while working out or sitting around. Basically, the vest cools your body down making your body work harder to stay warm. Increasing your metabolic weight.
  • Complete home gyms: A complete home gym is a great way to save money. By purchasing an entire home gym system you can buy vital pieces of equipment all in one machine. The Joe Weider home gym is a great example. Note: These complete home gyms lack many power lifting pieces.
  • Home gym flooring: You really don't want to mess up your floor. Especially with all the weight you'll be lifting. Investing in some flooring will save you a ton of money in remodeling costs in the long run.
  • Large Mirrors: It's important to admire yourself while working out, you need to make sure that your gains are keeping up with your self esteem - All jokes aside mirrors are great for watching and correcting form. Definitely something you should consider.
  • Ab Machines: Abs are cooked in the kitchen but their marinated in the gym. If you want to take your flat stomach to the next level check out some of these innovative an inexpensive ab workout machines.

Other Important Articles

Weightlifting Shoes

26-adidas-crossfit-shoes

Weightlifting shoes have become an essential training accessory in the gym. They are used to provide the extra support and balance you need when performing heavy compound exercises such as squats, deadlifts and Olympic lifts. Weightlifting shoes for performing squats should have a hardened, cushion free heel, which will prevent the heel from sinking into the show. They should also have a raised heel profile in order to position the body in the ideal alignment to exet maximum power when squatting.

When selecting squatting shoes for exercises such as the deadlift, you want a lower profile that keeps your heels down on the floor. You also want a hardened heel to prevent your heels from sinking into the shoe. The ideal weightlifting shoe will offer you the hardness in the heel that you need, along with a very secure grip that will keep you stuck to the floor.​

Weight Bench

A weight bench is one of the most fundamental pieces of equipment that you will have in your home gym. With it you can perform a whole host of barbell and dumbbell exercises to get you stringer and fitter. But, because it will be supporting your bodyweight plus any weight that you’re lifting, you need to make sure that you’re getting a quality bench that is up to the job.

When shopping for a weightlifting bench, pay attention to the frame. It should consist of steel tubing that is, at least, 2 inches square. The supports should be rigid and low to the ground. Bench padding needs to be comfortable but not too soft. To test the firmness, push your finger into the bench pad – if it goes down more than half way to the base board, it is too soft. Adjustable benches should allow for at least 5 settings.​

Bumper Plates

bumper plates reviews

Whereas in times past, weight plates were essentially the same no matter where you got them, today they come in a range of forms and diameters. The basic distinction is between Olympic and standard plates. Olympic plates have a 2 inch diameter center hole, which standard plates have a 1 inch hole.

Weights may be filled with iron, cement, sand or some other filling. Iron is the best, with the least likelihood to lose their real weight over time. Weights may also be covered in plastic, rubber or have an iron outer surface. Plastic covered weights are often very thick, making them difficult to stack onto the bar.

In recent years, bumper plates have been introduced onto the market. These plates are covered in a thick rubber coating which allows them to bounce on the floor. As well as protecting the flooring, this provides an enhanced level of safety.​

Glute Ham Developers

glute ham developers

A Glute / Ham Developer (or Roman Chair) is a great addition to any home gym. The glutes and hamstrings are an often neglected body area for many home trainers. Strengthening and shaping them, however, will vastly improve your power, while also creating shapely buns.

When shopping for a glute / ham developer, look for a unit that has a solid frame design, with 2-inch square solid tubing. The motion of the machine should allow for a full range of motion in the legs. The weight resistance provided should be smooth and allow for 2.5 pound increments. You will also want a good amount of padding for you to sit on.​

Pull Up Bars

Pull Up Bar

A pull up bar is a basic requirement of any decent home gym. With it, you can do pull up and chin ups to develop width and strength in your back muscles. You can also perform a raft of exercises for the core such as hanging leg raises.

The best type of pull up bar is one that is mounted on a ceiling beam with six sturdy bolts. This will allow you to have a full range of motion without walls or doors getting in your way. Look for a bar that has a number of different grip options. Ideally you will want the freedom to use a neutral grip, where your palms are facing each other, a wide angled grip and a staggered grip. The bar should feature a knurled section to maximize your grip and help to eliminates sweat slippage​

Kettlebells

Kettlebells

Kettlebells have become very popular in recent times, especially among CrossFitters. These bowling ball look-alikes have a handle attached. This provides them with an imbalance that makes it harder to handle them than a dumbbell. That is a good thing as it places more training stress on the body. This makes kettlebells great devices for improving your functional fitness.

When buying kettlebells, you will want a bell that is a complete unit, rather than being welded or bolted together. Make sure that the handle is not to thick to comfortably grab and that delivers a non slip grip. The base should be covered with rubber matting to prevent damage to your floor. Kettlebells come is a range of sizes and you will want a light medium and heavy version. For women this will be around 6, 12 and 20 pounds, while men should go for 12, 20 and 36 pounders.​

Adjustable Dumbbells

adjustable-dumbbells

Adjustable dumbbells allow you to get the full functionality of up to 20 dumbbells in just one hi-tech pair of weights. This saves you a lot of space and money. The dumbbell itself consists of handles with selector dials on their ends. The handles sit on the platforms which also house weight plates. When the dial is turned to a certain resistance, the handles lock in that level of resistance from either end. The weight increments usually go up in 5 pound increments.

When shopping for adjustable dumbbells, look out for the handle grips. You want them to be highly grippable and comfortable. Check that your palm skin won’t pinch the ends of the handle compartment. You also don’t want the plates bashing into your forearms, so check that they are not too big or bulky. The selectorized weight change system should also be quick and easy to change.​

Olympic Weight Sets

Cheap Olympic Weight Sets

An Olympic weight set consists of a 7-foot Olympic barbell, collar and a selection of Olympic plates. Many sets provide you with 300 pounds of weight, consisting of weights in increments of 45 pounds, 35 pounds, 25 pounds, and 10 pounds. The bar itself weighs 45 pounds. Purchasing an Olympic weight set will save you money over buying each part of the set individually.

When buying an Olympic weight set, you need to make sure that you are not getting inferior quality gear bundled together. Look especially at the collars that are included with the set. The integrity of the hold on the weight is critical. You need a solid clamping system that will not deteriorate over time. The bar should have revolving ends that make it quick and easy to get the plates on and off. The best types of plates will have rubber coating to protect your flooring and your body.​

Squat Racks with Bench Press

Squat Rack with Bench Press reviews

A bench press and squat rack is an integral piece of training equipment if you are planning to train hard and heavy at home. It will allow you to train safely on the bench press and squat rack without having to have a spotter on hand. The combination of a squat rack and bench press rack will save you money on buying them separately.

You will need to make sure that you purchase an extremely solid and rigid frame. It should be a minimum of 2 inches square and made of industrial grade steel. The bench press should include a secure bench that is not too wide to allow you to get a full range of motion when benching. Make sure also that the bar rack uprights are a little wider than your hand placement, or you will be ripping up your knuckles when you rack the bar.​

Fitness Trackers

A fitness tracker has become an indispensable piece of training kit for many people in recent years. While it won’t actually make you any fitter, it will allow you to accurately monitor your training, diet and rest; set and attain goals and stay motivated to achieve them. When purchasing a fitness tracker, you will want to ensure that it does an accurate job of recording your basic training parameters, such as your pulse rate and calories burnt.

Fitness trackers may include GPS tracking to allow you to get total monitoring of your running workout. Most will also provide detailed monitoring of your sleep pattern. You also need to ensure that the app that is connected to the fitness tracker provides you with valuable and easy to read data. It should also include detailed nutritional guidance. Your tracker also needs to be slimline and be water-proof.​

Gymnastic Rings

rogue wooden gymnastic rings

Source: www.rogue.com

When you are training for functional fitness and a great upper body, you cannot go past gymnastic exercise moves. They will make you more flexible, mobile and strong. And they will pack on some sizable muscle. That’s why it’s a smart move to include a set of gymnastic rings in your home gym arsenal.

Gymnastic rings should have a smooth finish and be made out of a quality timber. Timber is preferable over plastic, which tends to get quite slippery, which means that you may end up with nylon burns. Most rings will come with a small piece of sandpaper, in case you want the surface a little bit rougher. Rings generally come in two widths, one for normal hand size and another for large hands.

If you’re buying a set with straps, look for a carabiner as opposed to a buckling system to provide much faster adjustment.​

Suspension Trainers

Suspension Trainer

Suspension trainers have become very popular over recent years. It’s no surprise, considering that they are very well priced, completely portable and able to provide you with up to 300 exercises. You get a very functional, gravity challenging workout that allows you to leverage your own bodyweight in order to provide a progressive level of resistance. And, you can use your suspension trainer anywhere.

When you need to choose a right suspension trainer, be sure to check the integrity of the webbing system. It should be made from industrial grade material that doesn’t give you any slack. Handles should grip friendly and sweat resistant, with soft padding for your palms. The buckling system should feature carabiners and provide for fast and easy adjustment. You should expect your system to come with a free DVD training guide, as well as a carry bag to house everything.​

Ab Machines

Wonder "What machines to use at home to get a flat stomach?" While ab machines will not allow you to magically cut fat off your belly, they can provide you with a targeted way to work your upper and lower abdominals, as well as the intercostals and obliques. Ab machines come in a number of varieties, with the most common being ab rockers, and ab chairs.

Ab rockers provide you with a convenient way to isolate the ab wall while keeping the lower back protected. This machine will allow you to build up your strength level safely before moving onto more advanced exercises.​

Stepping Machines

stepping machines

When it comes to your home gym, getting quality cardio equipment can be difficult. The expense and size can both be prohibitive. That makes a stepping machine a smart option. Stepping machines range in size and cost from extremely affordable under the desk models to full stand up units with handles that fall in the mid price range. Using a stepping machine is a very effective way to work your thighs, calves and glutes and burn calories.

To get a high quality stepping machine, check for a natural smooth and full stepping motion. You should also be able to adjust the resistance level of the step. A clear monitor should provide you with a readout of your speed, time, distance and calories burned. Stand up stepping machines that have handles should allow for arm extension to provide you with an upper as well as a lower body workout.​

Small Workout Equipment

Small Workout Equipment

To fully equip your home gym, you need to fit it out with the small pieces of equipment that allow you to get a complete workout in every time. These need to include such thing as jump ropes, resistance bands, hand grips to strengthen your grip, exercise mats, a range of different handles for your cable machines, a workout belt and training gloves.

A good jump rope will allow you to turn any workout into a high intensity cardio workout. Simply do 30 seconds of skipping between each weight set that you perform. When buying a jump rope, look for a cable rope, swivel handles and comfortable handle grips. Resistance bands allow you to simulate sports moves with extra resistance. Bands are color coded according to the resistance level. Make sure that your purchase comes with a multi year warranty to protect you from bands splitting.​

Cable and Pulley Machines

Cable and Pulley

Cable pulley machines allow you to take your home gym to the next level. They allow you to perform a whole lot of upper and lower pulley exercises to isolate and work your muscles, both in tandem and uni-laterally. Cables will also provide an option for people who are not yet able to do such bodyweight exercises as pull ups, by doing lat pull-downs.

When purchasing a cable pulley machine, you need to focus on the quality of the cabling. It should be wire cabling that is enclosed in a secure plastic sleeve. The pulley should be made of steel and have a full bushing system. The operation of the cable system needs to be smooth, jerk free and natural. The pulley system needs to be adjustable so that it can be used as both a high and low pulley. You also want to ensure that the framing is very stable and rigid.​

Dipping Bars

Dip Machine

A dipping bar is a great addition to any home gym. Dips are major body weight exercise which target either the chest or the triceps, depending on how the exercise is performed. Because the dips bar supports your entire body weight, it is imperative that it be extremely strong and reliable. It should bolt to the wall studs of your home gym with at least six solid, secure bolts.

Dip bars may be either parallel to each other or slightly angled out in a ‘V shape. It has been shown that the ‘V’ shaped bars are more effective at working the chest, and so these are the ones you should go for. Some dips bars comes as a stand alone unit, in the form of a single piece that you dip in between. Make sure these provide you with a very secure and solid platform to work from.​

Agility Ladders

Agility ladder

An agility ladder is often overlooked piece of cardio training equipment that can rapidly increase your agility, speed, aerobic fitness and help you lose fat fast. An agility ladder is simply a floor placed ladder with webbed strapping and plastic rungs. It normally consists of between and 8 and 20 rungs. You do a range of movements through the agility ladder to work your muscles and increase your speed and flexibility.

When you are looking for a top rated agility ladder, you need one that features strong webbing that will not rip or get tangled. The rungs should be made of plastic and secure enough that they will not break when you constantly step on them. The rungs should be changeable so that you adjust the distance between each rung. You should purchase a ladder that has a minimum of 12 rungs.​

Wrist Wraps/Straps

Wrist wraps/straps

Your wrists take a beating during your workout. Over time this can cause wrist injury that can cut your workout life short by years. It just makes sense to protect your wrists with a good pair of wrist wraps. Wrist straps allow you to get a more secure grip on the bar when you’re training. This can make the difference between getting those crucial last two or three reps and cutting your workout short.

There are two basic types of wrist wraps; thin, cotton wraps that have straps on then of them to keep them securely in place and heavier wraps that are thicker and made of semi-elastic cotton. They also have velcro attached to provide a secure strapping system. A thumb loop also prevents the wrap from slipping. Whatever wrap or strap you choose, make sure that it easy to apply and provides you with a rigid, dependable hold.​

Plyometrics Box

Plyometrics box

A plyometrics box is a highly functional piece of training equipment that will allow you to get your pulse rising. It gives you a high intensity interval training workout with nothing but a wooden box. This makes it a great way to burn off body fat while also boosting your aerobic capacity. It can also provide the means to turn a standard weight workout into a circuit routine.

A plyo box is simply a wooden box that you jump up and down from. Clearly, you want the box to be extremely rigid as it will be supporting your body weight. There should be a large enough landing surface on top for you to feel confident in jumping up to it. The sides should also be enclosed to prevent you shins whacking against them. The box should also provide you with multiple jumping heights by positioning it differently.​

Deadlift Jack

deadlift jack

Your workout takes up a lot of energy, especially when you’re doing the big exercises, like the deadlift. The last thing you want to do is use more energy getting the weights on an off the deadlift bar. A deadlift jack is a handy tool that can save you that hassle. You simply slide your deadlift jack under the barbell and pivot it to raise the bar and allow you to easily change the plates.

Look for a quality deadlift jack that has as an extremely strong and secure frame, as it will be picking up a lot of weight. It should be able to lift the barbell at least 12 inches from the floor to gives you ample space to work with. Make sure, too, that it has sufficient padding at the contact points to ensure that it doesn’t scratch the knurling on your deadlift bar.​

Workout Chains

Weightlifting chains allow you to step your training up to the hardcore level - and they look badass. But chains do far more than that; they provide you with a way to increase the relative strength required to complete a lift. It forces you to work harder and with more intensity at the end of the lift. This is because it introduces what is known as accommodating resistance.They will also help you to build up your explosive power.

You can buy weightlifting chains in a range of weights,sizes and lengths. You want to have long enough chains to allow you to deload the weight at the bottom of a move like squats. They should also have quality collars to attach them to a bar. Chains are best with heavy strength exercises like squats and bench press, as well as adding extra load to body weight exercises.​

Climbing Ropes

climbing rope

Climbing ropes for fitness have become very popular in recent years, largely as a result of the CrossFit craze. As well as being a fun way to get your workout in, climbing ropes allow you to develop strength, power and endurance, while increasing your cardiovascular efficiency. They also help you to develop superior grip strength and are a highly functional ability. Working out with climbing ropes offer a great challenge as well as an alternative to the traditional pull up exercise.

Climbing ropes comes in three different fiber types; polyester dacron, manila and double braided nylon. Polyester dacron ropes are soft to the touch, which makes them a user friendly option. They also have a high non-stretch and abrasive resistance. Manila ropes are heavier and less expensive. Double braided nylon are the top of the level option, with more durability than the other two. They will not shed fiber.​

Weighted Vests

weighted vest

A weighted vest provides you with an expensive and convenient way to increase the intensity of your training. Weighted vests come in all manner of shapes and sizes, with some closely resembling an army flap jacket. They generally weigh between 12 and 20 pounds, but many of them have the capacity to adjust the weight level. A velcro belt ensures that you are securely enclosed. Iron bars are preferably to sand filled weights, which are likely to leak after some time.

When you are shopping for a weight vest, try to find a product that has multi layer pockets to ensure that the weight won’t cause a tear. You also want to find a vest that has anti wicking properties to prevent you from over heating. Anti bacterial treatment will keep you safe and the vest odor free. The best suppliers will offer a minimum 5 year warranty.​

Dip Belts

Dips are a very effective exercise which will add mass and strength to your upper body, especially the chest and triceps. For some guys, it doesn’t take long to be able to pump out a high number of reps. A dip belt allows you to add extra resistance so that your workouts can continue to be progressive in nature.

Dip belts usually consist of a leather belt with a clip attached with a chain going through. You can loop weight plates through the chain to provide yourself with extra resistance while you are performing the dip exercise. When you are shopping for a dip belt, your should look for one that has a spring loaded rather than a screw on one. This will make it much easier to change the weights. You should also check the max weight capacity on the belt - you don’t want it to fail half through a rep!​

Strongman Training Equipment

strongman

Strong Man training has become hugely popular recently. This throwback to the old time strongmen of the 19th Century and the TV shows of the 1970’s features a shopping list of power events that pit the strong against the super strong. The events in a strong man competition include the Super Yoke, the Log Clean and Press, the Axle Clean and Press, the Conan’s Wheel, the Tire Flip, the Truck Pull, the Sled Drag, the Car Deadlift and the Farmer’s Walk.

If you are serious about training for strong man competition, you will want to have certain specialized pieces of training equipment. These include a lifting log, with built in handles, an axle which has a thicker circumference than a conventional Olympic bar, and a Yoke, which is a large steel frame that you push around. It is also a good idea to train with sandbags.​

Fitness Floss

Fitness Floss Bands

Fitness floss is a stretchy band that you use to manipulate your muscles prior to, during and after your workout. It improves the quality of your muscle tissues by removing a lot of the adhesions between your muscle and your fascia. It can also increase blood flow to the area by flushing the blood out and then allowing it to rush back in. You can fitness floss on any muscle on your body.

When selecting your brand of fitness floss, look for a product that offers exceptional gripping ability against the skin. They are designed for a tight fit, so you need a band that can deliver. Te band should also be flexible enough to work with any muscle and joint combination in the body. Try to find a fitness floss band that will not leave marks on your body once you’re done flossing.​

Foam Rollers

foam rollers

Foam Rollers are cylindrical hardened foam massage devices. They are to be placed between the body and a hard surface such as the floor. Foam rollers allow you to provide deep myofascial release to your pressure points in order to bring relief. Doing so will allow you to get deep into the muscle and fascia. Foam rolling before your workout will also increase your training flexibility and increase your post workout recovery.

A key aspect when selecting a foam roller is the density of the roller. This should correspond to the weight of the user. If you have a lot of muscle, you will want a very dense roller to allow you to get deep into the muscle. Foam rollers are available in a range of lengths, from 12 to 35 inches. There are 3 different foam roller materials:

  • Molded foam rollers
  • Polyethylene EPE
  • EVA

Resistance Bands

resistance band

Resistance bands are a cost effective way to get in a great workout. They provide resistance in both the eccentric and concentric parts of an exercise, while being amazingly lightweight and safe to use. Resistance bands are also extremely portable, making them great for travelers. They also provide you with dynamic tension in the fully contracted position, so that you get a strong resistance in the top part of the exercise. Bands are color coded according to their resistance level.

When selecting your resistance bands, the strength and integrity of the band is crucial. That is why you need the protection of a substantial warranty, with 10 years being the minimum. Resistance bands come as either a continuous loop band or a fixed length with handles at either end. Make sure that the handles are comfortable and have a sweat wicking ability.​

Grip Strengtheners

When you’re serious about your training, the strength of your grip is vital to getting a good workout. Your grip, dictated by the strength in your forearms and wrists, is the lever that connects the weight to your body.

When you’re working with heavy dumbbells, barbells and kettlebells in moves such as the deadlift or shrugs, you need a powerful grip to ensure that you don’t drop the weight before your working muscle is exhausted and can’t perform another rep.

To strengthen your grip, you should invest in a hand gripper. The spring grip has stood the test of time because it works. There are a range of newer, more techno looking grip developers on the market today, too. To exercise, you close your hand to compress the spring. Resistance levels vary from about 30 pounds to in excess of 300 pounds for the super heavy models.​

Knee Sleeves

Top Knee Sleeves Reviews

Your knees do a lot of the heavy lifting in the gym. Unless you look after them, they can cut your training career short. That’s why knee sleeves are so important to keep you healthy and active. They keep your knees lubricated and warm, giving a good deal of support to the entire patellar area. They can even help you to squat more heavily.

When selecting your knee sleeves, you should look for a pair that provide you with a firm, form fit. They should provide your entire patellar area with a good level of warmth, while also having a moisture wicking ability to prevent sweat build up. Check online reviews to make sure that the sleeve is not prone to slipping down or bunching up while you are wearing it. It should also be double stitched for extra durability and provide a soft feel against the skin.​

Massage Balls

massage ball

Massage balls are small balls of different textures and hardnesses that are used for self manipulation of pressure points on the body. They allow you to perform self deep tissue massage before and after your workout to bring immediate relief. Muscle spasm and pain is extremely uncomfortable and the right massage ball can do wonders.

Choosing the correct massage ball for your needs involves getting the right size, weight, hardness and grip. Massage balls come with a range of different nubs and protrusions. These allow you to get deep penetration into your areas of pain. Some even have spikes that give you extreme penetration. Larger balls mean that you can get deeper penetration into some areas, while smaller ones allow you to work delicate areas, such as under the armpits.

The most durable massage balls are constructed from EVA rubber. Expect to get an instruction manual with your purchase.​

Battle Ropes

Battle ropes have become extremely popular recently in gyms all over the world. They are also being used by many home gym users. The reason for their popularity is that they offer a very low impact way to get in an effective overall body workout which is both aerobic and anaerobic. It also does a great job of strengthening your forearms.

Most battle ropes are 50 feet long. This provides you with a 25 foot length from each arm. Longer ropes are more difficult to handle. You can shorten the length of the rope simply by tying a knot in the middle of it. The standard thickness of ropes is 1.5 inches. To really test your grip strength, you can go up to 2 inches. The three types of ropes that you can choose from are manila, poly and nylon. Poly fiber is the best but most expensive.​

Kinesiology Tape

Kinesiology Tape for knees Reviews

Kinesiology tape allows you to support and protect your muscles, joints and tendons during training. They also speed up post workout recovery time. Kinesiology tape works through decompression. It actually lifts the muscle away from the skin, which increases blood circulation for enhanced oxygen and nutrient delivery. ‘K’ tape is great to bring relief to back pain, knee injuries, hamstring strains, shin splints, ankle strain and swelling.

Kinesiology tape may come as either a complete roll or as pre-cut strips. The most cost effective and efficient way is to purchase complete rolls. The key factors to look out for when choosing your brand are stretchiness, stickiness and durability. You will also find a range of colors and design to suit your taste. Make sure that your purchase is covered by a 100% money back guarantee.​

Reformer Pilates Machines

good cheap Reformer Pilates

A Reformer Pilates Machine allow you to perform a large number of pilates based exercises. It consists of a sliding carriage and a number of pulleys to provide progressive resistance levels. It also provides variable elevation - the greater the elevation, the higher the resistance level. Reformer Pilates machines range in price from $150 to more than $5000. When shopping for a Reformer Pilates Machine, there are three key considerations:

  • Number of levels of resistance
  • Types of exercises that can be performed
  • Cardio training capacity

The best Reformer Pilates Machines will come with a rebounder or jump board that allow you to do cardio training. Although these machines do take up quite a lot of space, they can be folded for ease of storage. Frames are either made of hardwood or steel. You should expect your purchase to come with a workout DVD and a 10 year plus warranty.

EZ Curl Bars

top rated EZ Curl Bar Reviews

A Curl Bar is a type of barbell that is used mainly to perform bicep curl movements. The bar is five foot long, making it shorter than a conventional barbell.It features angles on the bar where your hands grip. The angle is usually at about 30 degrees, but some bars have angles as steep as 45 degrees. This allows you to use a variety of wrist angles, which takes a lot of pressure off the wrists, as well as working the biceps more directly.

Curl bars, also known as EZ Curl Bars, are available as a standard bar, an Olympic bar and a super curl bar, which provides more acute angles than a standard bar. With a super curl bar you can do the curl exercise with a parallel grip. All three types of curl bar have knurling on the bar to indicate where to grip to work your biceps, wrists and forearms.​

Wall Balls

Best Crossfit Wall Balls Review 2016

Walls balls are hard balls around the size of a medicine ball, which is designed to be thrown against a wall as you are exercising. It provides a combination of muscular throwing action and cardiovascular training to deliver an excellent workout option. The weight of the ball varies, allowing you to work the muscles of your arms, shoulders, lower back and core at progressively harder levels. This is also a good way to work your synergistic muscle groups.

The best wall balls are PVC covered. They should be both strong and flexible, having the ability to absorb the velocity of the ball after it has been thrown against the wall. If you are getting a range of balls, buying a set that is color coded for size is very useful. Your wall ball should be double stitched with extra reinforcing in the lacing eye-lits.​

Powerlifting Belt

how to buy Weightlifting Belts

A powerlifting belt is a necessary piece of training equipment for people who are going heavy on such exercises as deadlifts, squats and Olympic lifts. The belt provides you with a solid brace in order to support your lower back and abdominals.

When shopping for a powerlifting belt, you should go for a belt that has a uniform width all the way around. A good width is 4 inches (10cm). This provides a good amount of stiffness for the abs to push against, providing support for the spine. You want your belt to be as thick as possible, as a thicker belt provides more stiffness. The ideal thickness is half an inch.

Belts are either secured with a single prong, a double prong or a lever. Double prongs can be difficult to get on. Generally, a single prong belt will do the job fine.​

Crossfit Grips

Best Gymnastic Hand Grips / Crossfit Gloves for Pull Ups

Pull Up grips are strips of leather which are worn on your hands when you perform pull ups. The leather strip covers the palm and has a wrist wrap to secure it to the hand. They usually have two finger holes that allow you to get a firm grip. Pull Up grips allow you to get firm hold on the bar, prevent sweat slippage. They will also prevent your wrists from ripping up and becoming calloused.

The basic differentiation between Pull Up grips is dowel and non-dowel. Beginners should use non-dowel grips. These follow a uniform shape, with two holes for your fingers. Dowel grips are available as either skinny, straight or curved grips. Skinny grips allow you to get a better grip on the bar. Straight grips give a wider area of hand coverage, while the curved grip gives you happy medium between the two extremes.​

Lat Pulldown Machines

Alternative Cable Lat Pulldown Machines

Adding a lat pulldown machine to your home gym is a great investment. Not only will it allow you to do the lat pulldown exercise, but also a whole range of exercises for your triceps, trapezius, shoulders and biceps. It is also a great device for people who need to build up their strength levels in order to perform pull ups.

When it comes to buying a lat pulldown machine, you should check to see whether it has both a high and a low pulley. This will effectively double your range of exercises, allowing you to do a whole range of curling and pulling exercises. The seat on the lat pulldown machine should be both comfortable and adjustable so you get a custom fit. It should also have pads for you to position your knees under so that you are securely locked in place. You should also expect a full warranty.​

Leg Extension Machines

top 10 Leg Extension Machines Review

A leg extension machine allows you to target your quadriceps muscles like no other piece of training equipment. It provides you with the ability directly stimulate the inner or outer area of the quads. Leg extension machines may be either round weight plate loaded or use a cable system with stackable pin selected weight plates. Plate loaded machines are much cheaper than cable machines.

When selecting a leg extension machine, you will want to ensure that the unit is easy to get into and has adjustable settings on the leg pads to allow the pad at your mid shin level. It should have soft, comfortable padding. The range of extension needs to be full, so that you can lock out in the top position if you desire. The machine should also provide you with a secure back support and firm hand grips.​

Leg Curl Machines

Leg Curl Machine at home guide

The Leg Curl machine allows you to directly target the hamstrings, which are an often neglected body part. Leg curl machines are usually in the form of a bench on which you lie and curl your legs up. However, there are also standing leg curl machines available, which allow you to work one leg at a time.

Your primary consideration when buying a leg curl machine is the adjustability of the machine. This will allow you to customize the unit for your body type. It should also provide a full range of motion with a constant resistance level. The padding for you to slip your calves under should be comfortable along with the bench padding. Handle grips should also be provided alongside your body.

Leg curl machines may be plate loaded or come with a cable and pin selectorized weight stack. A pin stack should allow for increments of 5 pounds.​

Preacher Curl Benches

Preacher Curl Bench benefits and Reviews

A preacher bench, also known as a Scott Curl bench, is a seat that has an attached angled pad which you are able to lean over and perform curling exercises on. This allows you to isolate the curling action to focus on the biceps and remove and momentum or involvement of the lats and legs. It is a valuable addition to your home gym.

When looking for a preacher bench, look first at the top of the pad. You want a curved top surface to allow your body to fit securely over the pad. If the top is square, it will not provide a good fit. The second consideration is the actual angle of pad. Angles range from 30 degrees through to 75 degrees. The ideal angle seems to be about 50 degrees. There should be a comfortable amount of padding, which is sweat and slip resistant.​

Leg Press Machines

cheap Leg Press Machines

Adding a leg press machine to your home gym will provide you with the ability to max out on your leg training. It will also provide you with a viable alternative to squats if lower back or ankle issues prevent you from stepping under the squat rack.

Here’s what you need to look for when buying a leg press machine:​

  • Track roller system - the track roller system will determine the level of smoothness with which the machine gies up and down. A quad track rolling system will do the best job, providing you with a smooth, jitter free movement.
  • Hack squat adaptability - you will want your leg press to adjust to be able to perform the hack squat, which works your quads, hamstrings and glutes from different angles.
  • Back and Shoulder Support - you want a machine that provides you with a generous amount of padding and support through the spine and shoulders.

Hack Squat Machines

top Hack Squat Machines Review

The Hack Squat is a terrific auxiliary exercise which will allow you to develop your strength and power on the back squat, while also building the sweep of your quadriceps. This is a great machine to add to your gym inventory if you have the space and the budget. Often, a hack squat machine will double as a leg press machine, which is the preferred option in terms of cost, space and functionality.

When looking for your new hack squat machine, the integrity of the tracking system is the paramount consideration. You will want to have a quad track rolling system in order to deliver the smoothest carriage ride possible. The track should allow for a full range of motion in both directions. The shoulder padding needs to be soft and comfortable without scratching or leaving marks on your skin. You also need a solid back support.​

Peck Deck Machines

Peck Deck and Chest Fly Reviews

A Pec Dec / Chest Fly machine is a device which allows you to target your inner chest muscles. It involves a seat with handles attached. You move the handles through a predetermined track to squeeze and stretch the pectoral muscles. This is one of the best pec isolation exercises that exist.

The most important consideration to take into account when purchasing a pec dec machine is the range of motion. Many home versions, especially those that are attached to multi gyms, provide a very limited range of motion. This will not give your pecs the stimulation that they need. Look for a unit that allows you to stretch your elbows back beyond the level of your torso. The seat should also be adjustable and the handles comfortable.

The cable system on your pec dec machines need to be fluid and jerk free. Cabling should be made of wire and encased in plastic tubing.​

Exercise Balls/Stability Balls

Best Exercise Balls Review

A stability ball, also known as a fitness ball and a resistance ball, is a great multi purpose exercise device which you should have in your gym.Stability balls provide you with a high level of instability when you work on them, forcing you to work harder as you balance your positioning. It is great for turning exercises into core centric moves. Using a stability ball as a bench when doing exercises like the dumbbell bench press will make the exercise far more effective.

When selecting a stability ball, you firstly need to get the correct sizing. To determine the proper size for your body, sit n the ball. If your legs are bent at a 90 degree angle then you have the right size. You should also ensure that your stability ball is burst resistant. This gives you the assurance that it will not burst apart when you are sitting on it.​

Lifting Straps

Best Weightlifting and Deadlift Straps

Lifting straps are lengths of material that you loop around your wrist and then wrap onto the bar you are about to lift. This provides you with a very secure hold on the bar, allowing you to extend your grip even after your wrists and forearms give out. The are especially beneficial when performing one rep max lifts on the deadlift and doing heavy lat pulldowns.

When shopping for lifting straps, check first on the durability of the strapping material itself. It should feature military grade webbing to allow you to safely lift your max weight without fear of your gear failing. It should also have padded areas to provide skin protection along with velcro wraps for an easy and secure fit. You will also need a good amount of length to ensure a very secure fit. Don’t go with a product that has been dyed as the color will soon fade.​

Calf Compression Sleeves

Compression Sleeves review

Calf sleeves are an excellent way to reduce pain in the lower legs that may be caused by shin splints, swelling or cramping. Calf sleeves make use of compression to bring relief to your aching calves. Compression allows you to increase your blood circulation to bring more oxygen and nutrients to the area. It will also remove lactic acid from the area to bring immediate relief.

When shopping for a calf sleeve you need to look for a product that produces graduated compression, with the greater level at the lower part of the sleeve. This will speed up your blood circulation even further. It should also have a top band which will prevent the band from slipping or bunching up. Moisture wicking and anti odor and static properties will make the sleeve much more comfortable. You also want a sleeve that is able to be easily taken on and off.​

Weightlifting Gloves

top Weight Lifting Gloves Review

Weightlifting Gloves provide you with the secure grip that you need to get a firm hold on the weight that you’re lifting. They also protect your hands from calluses, scrapes and scratches. Many gloves alo provide extra protection for the wrists when working out. Gloves are available on men’s and women’s designs and sizes. There are also specific gloves for CrossFit, Powerlifting and bodybuilding.

When choosing your weightlifting gloves, you should firstly consider the level of padding and comfort that they provide for the palm. It should be enough to prevent blistering but not too much that it detracts from the natural feel of the weight in your hands. Gloves are usually made from such durable materials as nylon, leather and neoprene. Leather gloves are the most hard wearing. To enhance the grip, look for a glove that has non slip padding in strategic areas of the palm.​

Tennis Elbow Braces

top Tennis Elbow Braces

Tennis Elbow is a painful condition which affects the elbows of not just tennis players, but all manner of athletes. It is a common problem that afflicts weight trainers and racquet sport players. Using a tennis elbow brace will help you to continue your daily activities while healing. It works by redirecting stressful forces away from the elbow, effectively reducing the pain. The brace also has a compressive nature, which speeds up the blood circulation around the affected area.

To get the most benefit from your tennis elbow brace, position it around the widest part of your elbow when you play sport or perform repetitive actions. When putting the brace on, you should rest your elbow on a pillow in order to reduce pain and stress. Hold the strap in pace as you wrap the brace securely around the upper forearm.​


Workout Gloves/WOD Grips

WOD Gloves CrossFit/Gymnastics reviews

Crossfit can take a lot out of your hands. Ripped skin, calluses and scrapes and scratches can take their toll, causing a lot of pain. Palm / WOD gloves can bring relief. They can provide the padding that you need to get a great workout without the pain.

Selecting the right WOD glove starts with finding gloves do an effective job of cushioning the palms and protecting them from injury. At the same time, they need to enable you to retain your natural feel on the bar. The best gloves will feature gel padding to optimize the comfort level. They should also be double stitched and made of leather or neoprene for ultimate durability. Thick gloves will give you a greater level of protection, especially when going heavy, but they will not be as reflexive of flexible as thinner ones.

You will want your gloves to have a good moisture wicking ability.​

Workout Supplements

Workout Supplements

When you are training in the gym, you break your muscles down. It’s only when you put the right nutrition into your body that they are able to get stronger and grow. A key aspect of nutrition is supplementation. Getting the right pre / intra / and post workout supplements into your body will allow you to maximum your body’s anabolic effect, allowing you to build muscle faster, while also optimizing your strength levels.

When it comes to choosing supplements there is a mind boggling range of options. When you’re looking for a pre-workout supplement, make sure that it is not stimulant heavy in such compounds as caffeine, as they can lead to some serious side effects. All supplements should be very low in terms of sugar content and free of artificial flavorings or other ingredients. Your post workout supplement should include high quality whey protein isolate.​

Ankle Weights

Best Ankle Weights Review 2017

When you are wanting to increase the intensity of your workouts, ankle weights are a smart option. They are easy to apply and can be used straight away. You can use ankle weights when going for a run, doing other types of cardio or when doing your weight training workout.

The two different types of ankle weights are fixed resistance weights and adjustable weights. Fixed weights are available from a quarter pound all the way to 25 pounds. Adjustable weights have a number of sleeves or pockets for you to add or remove small iron plates or those made of sand. Beginners should go with a fixed weight set that puts extra resistance on but is not hard to lift.

You’ll want to make sure that the velcro on the weights is extremely secure. This will ensure that the weight will not slip down around the bottom of your foot.​

Knee Wraps

Best Knee Wraps Review 2017

Knee wraps provide your knees with the protection and security to be able to confidently push out your max weights on squats and other power exercises. Wraps add compression to the entire patellar area, fast tracking nutrient and oxygen uptake to the area. It also provides an elastic power surge that allows you to actually lift more weight.

When buying knee wraps you want to get a thick width to allow for maximum coverage. A three inch width is a good option. It also needs to have a good length to ensure that you get a tight, secure fit. A wrap that runs to between 70 and 80 inches is a good range. The wrap should be made out of a durable elastic material while also providing a high level of tension. Your selected wrap should also be a one size fits all model.​

Ankle Braces

Best Ankle Brace review

Your ankles take a lot of pressure, whether you’re on your feet all day, playing sport or working out. A good ankle brace will bring you comfort and relief, allowing you to continue doing what you love. It will also allow you to recover more quickly from exercise and sports sessions.

When choosing your ankle straps, you will want to make sure that the brace provides you with a high level of compression, to speed up the blood flow and bring more oxygen and nutrients to the affected area. A figure 8 wrapping system along with a top cuff and comfortable fit. It should also be moisture wicking and provide you with anti static and anti odor properties.

Some ankle straps come in the form of wraps while others are sleeves. Generally wraps provide you with the highest level of compression and tension, while still being flexible.​

Compression Socks

Best Compression Socks

Compression socks allow you to bring relief to tired and sore feet. They can bring you immediate comfort from plantar fasciitis, achilles pain and ankle and heel injury. Compression socks come in short and long varieties and may be a full sock or one with open heel and toe. Socks may be specifically created for specific ailments, such as plantar fasciitis, for athletes and sports and for certain professions, such as nursing.

When shopping for compression socks, look for a pair that provides you with graduated compression, with the heaviest compression levels centering around the mid-foot area. You want a sock that provides with a good level of responsiveness and flexibility so as not to impede your range of motion. Breathability should be high, with effective moisture wicking abilities. You will also want the sock to be anti odor and anti static.​

Reliable Vendors for Your Garage Gym Store

Rogue Fitness

When building a gym in your garage you will inevitably come across rogue fitness. Rogue fitness is the number one home weight room equipment store out there right now. They have basically everything you are going to need when starting a gym in your home and the prices aren't half bad either. The quality of their products is top notch and their customer service is great as well.​

Click here to check out Rogue's products.

Rogue is famous for having some of the best power racks on the market. You can check our complete review of Rogue's power racks here.

Vulcan Strength

Vulcan strength is another option for important equipment like the Squat rack and barbell. The difference between Vulcan strength and Rogue Fitness is minimal. Vulcan Strength typically will be more affordable than Rogue Fitness but with fewer models/options and a less established brand. If you're not someone who cares much about brands or brand history Vulcan is probably the best choice for you.​

Click here to check out Vulcan's products.

Emerge Fitness USA

Emerge Fitness is one of the top crossfit equipment companies out there. They constantly produce top quality products at a super affordable price. Read my reviews of Emerge Fitness products here.

Click here to check out Emerge Fitness Website

Amazon

Finally, we have our non-specialty stores. You can order basically anything online at Amazon and typically for a much better price than the specialty stores. The benefit of purchasing through Amazon is simply the selection that they have. You can basically get any model or brand of any type of equipment through them.

Click here to check out Amazon

There are other options but these are the big guys, and typically they will have the best combination of affordable prices and quality. I will go more into detail about the other vendors and commercial gym equipment brands in some of the more specific equipment guides. Certain parts of your gym will require products that the above vendors may not sell or specialize in.

We also asked 45 different fitness experts what their favorite equipment is. You can see that article here

I hope you enjoyed this article and would love to know if it helped in any way. Leave a comment with any questions or general criticism/out of date information. Please share the article on any social network if you enjoyed it what so ever. Good luck on your future workout cave!


Kien Quoc - February 12, 2016

Thank you for this article. I’ve been working out for a long time but suddenly just can’t find to the time to go to the gym. I have little equipment here and there at home to start. I work out almost everyday. But it’s not the same atmosphere as when you’re at the actual gym. Motivation is what I need it.

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