I was very fortunate to have fulfilled many a powerlifter’s dream of having their own home gym, and the fact is budget wise, it is very doable. I was lucky to have a bunch of my clients chip in and buy be a power rack as a moving gift, but even if not, a home gym is still an option even on a budget. I know for a long time I had these grand aspirations of having an ER competition squat/bench combo rack, calibrated plates, and all the latest and greatest equipment, but I can honestly say after putting this all together, I have everything I need. If you have a large sum of discretionary spending available, by all means buy the equipment you want, but for budget purposes, I will say I do not feel like I am missing out with the current equipment I have, and am extremely happy with the setup.
With that being said, I have had numerous people ask me about my setup and the costs, so to make this easy, I figured it’d be a good time to put a post together in regards to building a home gym. Below is a spreadsheet with 3 sections; Needed, Recommended, and Other Additions. These are all things I currently have, but also understand that some things need to be prioritized. “Needed” means you are going to have a tough time putting together a program and lifting without that equipment, “Recommended” means you can survive without it, but I’ve found it to be very beneficial, and “Other Additions” entails that you can get away with not having it, but they are cool pieces of equipment if you have the budget for them. General prices are included for each item, but this does not include tax or shipping. With gym equipment, be aware that shipping makes up a large portion of the cost. Also, make sure to keep reading on below for notes on the “Whys” for equipment choice and what I recommend, and where I also touch on how to save on shipping costs.
Needed Equipment Notes:
-For the power rack, I went with the Texas Strength Systems power rack. It is absolutely great, but for anyone else I would recommend going with the comparable Rogue power rack. The Rogue power rack has a slightly higher sticker price, but after shipping they are about even. The real reason to go with Rogue though is the shipping time. I do not believe either rack will really be that much better than the other, but it took upwards of 3 months for TSS to finally ship my power rack, where as Rogue can get it there within the week. You will notice a lot of Rogue equipment on here in general, and that is because if you want to save on shipping and get your order quick, go with Rogue on as much as you can.
-You can go with a Texas Power Bar instead of an Ohio Power Bar, which I have both, but I highly recommend the Ohio one. Best bar I have ever used outside of an Eleiko Power Bar.
-Plates aren’t cheap, so just get what you need. I ordered 10x 45lbs. plates, 2x 25lbs., 4x 10lbs., 2x 5lbs., and 2x 2.5lbs. If you get the loadable dumbbell handles from the recommended section, you may need to order more of the smaller sized plates so that you can load two dumbbells as the same time. If there is one thing you do, make sure to go with walmart.com for the plates. The biggest cost is shipping, and Walmart offers FREE shipping. Same exact plates that Texas Strength Systems has, except half the cost.
-OSO Barbell collars are must for deadlifting with steel plates. With those collars the plates won’t move and have to adjust between every set.
-The platform I made is 8×8, and required four 4×8 sheets of plywood and three 4×6 stall mats. I laid two 4×8 sheets of plywood on the floor, with 2 more 4×8 sheets of plywood on top of those, laying the opposite direction. I did not use wood glue as some do, just screws, as I plan to move soon and want to be able to disassemble this. From there, I took two 4×6 stall mats and laid them side by side in the center of the platform, leaving a 1×8 strips on each side that I had to trim the final stall mat to make pieces that fit. Screwed the stall mat into the plywood and I was good to go. Also, with a power rack that does not include a place to rack the weights, make sure to anchor it through the platform into the floor.
-I put a deadlift jack as a must because I tried to go without it for a month, and my back was killing me. It’s not fun loading steel plates without a deadlift jack.
Recommended Equipment Notes:
-Saves a lot of money going with loadable dumbbell handles versus individual. Not optimal, but it works.
-If you have anything other than a barbell that will need collars, get some proloc collars as well. Even though I love the OSO collars, they do not fit on everything. The proloc collars though fit on pretty much everything, specifically the loadable dumbbell handles and the safety bar I have.
Other Additions Notes:
-With all of these items, none are needed, but are items I have bought that are beneficial. If I had to pick my top 3 out of these that I use, it would be the rings, safety bar, and bulgarian split squat stand.