I have not belonged to a gym in about 7 years. After my daughter was born, I decided to give up my membership 1. because we were trying to cut back on spending 2. I wanted to get back in shape, but didn't want to leave her in a gym daycare and 3. the thought of working out within my own home was way more appealing at the time. I decided to start collecting equipment and building a garage gym. I did not buy all of this stuff at once. Some of it were gifts, and I have been collecting things over time. If you have the budget to get it all, then great! But, slowly start to accumulate these great pieces if you are interested in a home gym.
Now, let me start by saying, if you belong to a gym that is awesome! You have a lot more options with equipment, classes, and interactions with people. Sometime I wish I could go to a gym to get that, but working out at home is best suited for me and the season I am at right now. It could change in the future.
Because I workout at home, I often get asked what equipment I use in my garage gym. My space is not big, but there are so many possibilities when you take a workout outside.
Here are a few of the items I use through out the week.
One of the first things I received was this barbell. It is a standard barbell with weights from a dumbbell set. Ha! It was a given to me by my parents and it was the first barbell I learned to do basic squats, deadlifts, and lunges with. It served me well for being a beginner, and is less expensive than an olympic set, but as I grew both mentally and physically I knew I needed an upgrade.
This past Christmas I bought an olympic barbell and weight plate set. Now, my set is on the cheaper side and is not meant for throwing around (like you could with bumper plates), but it gets the job done. One day I will get some bumper plates and a squat rack, but until then, it works for me.
The other thing I got at the same time as my barbell was this bench. I originally wanted a box, but they can be costly and I knew my husband wouldn't build me one. So, I invested in a bench instead. I think it is a lot more versatile. I use it for box jumps, chest presses, tricep dips, step ups, bulgarian split squats and more. Bonus, it was super inexpensive and one of my most used pieces of equipment, besides my weights.
Next thing you need to invest in are free weights. If you cannot afford or have the room for a barbell, then stock up on the free weights! They are probably my most used item because you can use them for legs, arms, core, or pretty much any workout. They don't take up a lot of room, and are very versatile. I started with 5lbs, then 8lbs, and then my dad gave me a set that you can change out the weight up to 40lbs. If you can't buy anything else, my advice would be to start collecting free weights or investing in something like adjustable weights.
Next on the list are accessories. A few of these are a necessity, but many are fun things that will change up your workout and keep you from getting bored.
#1 Speed ladder. I love this thing. It is very inexpensive and can give you a great workout while working on speed, agility, and balance.
#2 Yoga mats. Pretty self explanatory. I think everyone needs a yoga mat for floor work, if you want to take your workout outside, or to roll up and place under your knees for added protection.
#3 Resistance tubing. This is a great piece of equipment to start with if you cannot get dumbbells. They are inexpensive and you can wrap them to change the resistance.
#4 Jump Ropes. The ones shown are from CrossRope. I used to have a basic rope, but once I received these I won't go back to it. They are amazing! It is an interchangeable jump rope set made for speed and building strength. I have 4 ropes which consist of a speed rope, agility rope, and a 1lb and 2lb weighted rope to build muscle. Those things are killer! This would be a great investment, but you can always get a $5 rope to start.
#5 Resistance bands and pull up asset band. These are a great addition to any workout, especially if you cannot squat due to knee issues. The pull up assist band is great for building strength for pull ups.
Another must have is a foam roller. I didn't learn about foam rolling until about a year ago, and it has been life changing. I'm not going to go into great detail about it, but it is a necessary tool to help with recovery.
Another great piece are the suspension straps. There are so many different workouts you can do with these. They are also portable, so you can take them with you when you travel and hang them over any door. Plus, mine are pink and that makes me happy :)
The yellow thing is my speed ladder.
I recently bought the orange cones. They are definitely not a necessity, but they are so inexpensive and can be used for not only cross training, but if you are a runner too. You can use them for tracking sprint distances, relays, or agility type exercises.
Wall ball (or medicine ball) and kettle bells are up next. Again, they are not the first thing I would buy, but they are great for changing up your workouts or doing crossfire style workouts. I use mine weekly, but I know not everyone does.
Pull up bar. This was a gift for Christmas and I love it. One thing you may not know about me is that I suck at pull ups. My grip strength is not the greatest and my upper body is weaker than my lower, so I really wanted a pull up bar to work on those things. Now, I had my dad install it because I did not trust myself or my husband with it (I don't want to be falling out of the ceiling in the middle of a workout) and he is the handy man. I would let a professional install it if you decide to get one. I try to get on this thing daily to improve grip strength and work on those darn pull ups. You will also see a gymnastic ring set. These were a gift that I honestly don't use very often. My hope is to one day be able to do ring dips and muscle ups on them, but for now I use them to practice grip strength and pull ups, as well as letting my kids clown around on them.
Flooring is definitely a must have for hard surfaces. It will be a lot gentler on your knees for HIIT workouts or anything that involves you on the floor. The flooring I have is a really cheap foam (see a trend here, ha!), and is not the greatest as far as staying in place, but it gets the job done. One day I will invest in some rubber flooring, but until then this works just fine.
I love, love, love my WOD (workout of the day) board. It makes it so easy for me to see what exercise is coming up next, especially from a distance. I made it from a picture frame that I put fabric inside and painted the outside. I use a dry erase marker on the glass. Or if you are not the most creative person, just hang a dry erase board.
I also pictured my blue tooth speaker. I love music so this is a much have!! On occasion I use my blue tooth headphones, so I don't disturb neighbors or my family, but you can normally find me blaring music from my garage.
Last, but certainly not least are fans!! Living in Florida these are a must have! It gets really hot out there during Summer months, so having all the air pointing on me is necessary. You may not need to have a fan depending on where you live, but they are great for circulating stuffy air in the room. The big one pushes out a lot of air, while the smaller one is not as powerful. Although, the more air blowing on me, the better!
One thing that I think is a must have, but don't have put up yet are mirrors. I have a small one for now, but I think they are a crucial for checking your form. If you can't see what you are doing, you can't correct your issues.
And there you have it. Nothing fancy or too expensive, but it all fits within my garage, helps me reach my goals, and what I am looking for in a workout. I'm still adding to it, and will probably ask for more stuff at Christmas time, but it has served me well.
Below is a list of all the things I mentioned above and where you can purchase them. Of course these are all suggestions. It's best to do your own research. But, be looking at local garage sales or for friends who may be getting rid of equipment. You never know what you may find.
Happy working out my fellow home gym goers!
Standard barbell set
1.Olympic barbell set
2.Olympic barbell set
Resistance tubbing set
Resistance bands-Use code TORIELINFITNESS at check out to save 10%
Suspension straps- Use code TORIELINFITNESS at check out to save 10%
Kettle bell set
1.Pull up bar
2.Pull up bar