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  1. #1
    Registered User vmpolesov's Avatar
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    what would you put in a new home gym

    I'm moving into a new place soon which thankfully is on the spacious side compared to the tiny place I've been wedged into for the last 15 years. I've got a basement area with high ceilings that I'll be using as a home gym.

    here is what I currently have

    1) pull up / dip station. i lucked out and got a heavy duty pro quality unit at a local fitness shop. this is not some wobbly-arsed wallyworld affair.
    2) olympic bar, some plates, and a trap bar (no room for squat cage at old place)
    3) selectable dumbbells (50 lb powerblocks)
    4) a mess of mirrors acquired on the cheap (close-outs ,returns, minor damage, etc).
    5) a no frills adjustable incline dumbbell bench

    here is what i want to add but i am not sure about priorities.

    1) either a full squat cage or a combo squat/bench station with the stick-out style adjustable safeties. truthfully i would prefer the former (full cage) but space is plentiful but not unlimited.
    2) elliptical machine or stationary bike. have to get the cardio in. in my experience running is the best, but this is Seattle we're talking about here where it rains continuously 10 months a year.
    3) maybe some sort of leg station for some isolation exercises.
    4) maybe some sort of cable station. Any recommendations on something that won't take up 400 sq feet?
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  2. #2
    Thunderthighs EjnarKolinkar's Avatar
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    1)full squat cage / power rack nice thread below

    http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showth...hp?t=126624063

    2)stationary bike so cheap on Craigslist

    These would be the best priorities IMO

    Many power racks have add on plate loaded high and low pulleys, or little stacks.
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  3. #3
    Houston Texas ygohome's Avatar
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    Very cool. I'm in similar situation and I'm beginning to build my first home gym.

    It depends on what type of workouts you want to do. For me, I just needed a flat/incline bench, half/squat rack with safeties, bar, olympic plates and dumbbell handles with standard plates (a bunch of tens, fives, and 2.5s). I have an adjustable decline bench specifically for abdominal work. I'm using stall mats on the cement floors.

    For cardio I run outside. Unless it is a storm, I enjoy the rain... And Seattle is so beautiful. Having cardio station would be nice though, but I'd seldom use it unless training for intense uphill runs (but you have plenty of hills in seattle For that). I'd rather save the money and spend it on pro style db handles and more plates.

    Since I don't have a full power cage with a pull up bar, I'm looking at getting a pull up bar that I can bolt to the wall (rogue p-3 or p-4)


    Congrats on your new gym. Looking forward to seeing pictures once you get it all setup.
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  4. #4
    Cold day in hell frozensparky's Avatar
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    Pretty much anything ID or ironwill have in theirs. I would want a leg press for sure if I was into the home gym scene.
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  5. #5
    Registered User DougHolland's Avatar
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  6. #6
    Registered User Brad805's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by frozensparky View Post
    I would want a leg press for sure if I was into the home gym scene.
    Having a leg press is nice, but they can be space killers. I have a commercial one and the silly thing is 8ft wide. The nicer one I wanted had an upper spot to load plates so it was a lot narrower.
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  7. #7
    Not afraid of food! EB68's Avatar
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    If I were starting from scratch a power rack with an upper/lower cable attachment would be top of the list. Something like this with a pull-up bar and dip attachments.
    http://www.americanfitness.net/valorbd7powerrack.aspx
    With a FID bench and weights. Then a leg press would be next on the list. Likely this one.
    http://www.americanfitness.net/BodyS...PressHack.aspx
    That would be about all I would need, other than a set of dumbells to go with the olympic weights.
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  8. #8
    Registered User KeithTheSnake's Avatar
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    OP, a power rack doesn't take up any more room than a squat rack does when you're actually using the thing, so get the idea that you don't have room for a power rack out of your head right away.

    The elliptical that I assembled in my home gym, because my wife wanted it, has an enormous footprint. If it were my choice alone to make, it'd be a free or cheap standard exercise bike off of craigslist.

    You'll hate any leg extension/leg curl attachment that comes on a bench. In my opinion, it's a kind of useless machine anyhow. You could score a vintage vertical leg press cheap on craigslist, and it has a relatively small footprint, if you feel you really need a leg station.

    Do yourself a favor and get a stand-alone pulldown machine with low row if you really have the room. It would be preferable to a pulldown attachment to your power rack. You can find a nice one on craigslist cheap enough. I see fair ones all the time; and I see good ones popping up regularly enough to make it worthwhile looking. Still, if you buy a used power rack that has the thing attached, use it until you find a suitable stand-alone. Patience is a virtue.

    All I can say is, it looks like you're on a good path here. I can only encourage you concerning the development of your home gym. Its rewards are manyfold. Keep in mind that the home gym is an ever-expanding thing. It's dynamic; and we have to accept the fact that it will forever change. Good luck.

    So, for priorities: Get the best power rack you can get your hands on; get a lat pull with low row; keep your eyes peeled for an upgrade to your utility bench for inside the rack. Keep selling the things you replace as you replace them. Don't let things that you don't use gather dust once you've replaced them.
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  9. #9
    Deadlift Whisperer ilovethe80s's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by KeithTheSnake View Post
    Keep in mind that the home gym is an ever-expanding thing. It's dynamic; and we have to accept the fact that it will forever change.
    ^^ This is beautiful! lol. The gym is really an extension of the self, I love to reminisce about pieces I've had, pieces I've sold, small additions here and there, sometimes you shed a tear when you part with a piece you've had for a while for an upgrade, it just gets more and more awesome with time.

    You can get a cage with pulley system. Some cages are deeper than others, the shallower cages really don't take up much horizontal space, and it is like the center of your whole gym anyway so worth the space it does take.

    Leg station if you think you need it, one of my benches has an extension and it is a piece of crap, as most of them are, so if you are going to do it, you'd probaly want a legit machine (which takes up a lot of room). If it were me I'd say not worth it, but if you think you'll use it a lot...

    I would get a bike trainer (if you have a bike already) or just get a mountain bike and trainer over a elliptical/ stationary bike, because it doesn't take up much room and you can move the party outside when its not raining.

    If you are going to get a leg press, test it first if you can and make sure it is awesome. I hate my hack squat machine and it takes up a TON of gym space. So if you are going to get any questionable machinery that takes up a lot of space, see if you can test it first.
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  10. #10
    Fighting gravity 69cam's Avatar
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  11. #11
    LBD Tyrbolift's Avatar
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    Agree with others on some sort of cable setup that includes vertical pulldown and mid to low row. Hammergrip and wide bar lat pulldowns, rope and/or v-bar tri extensions, cable curls, cable rows, even some weighted ab crunches can be done with it with continuous effort.

    Something where you can do SOME sort of isolated leg curls other than just bw exercises.

    My main problem with most home gyms is that everything is using the weighted arc curve and I get sick of it/feels incomplete.
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  12. #12
    Powerlifting in disguise induced_drag's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by 69cam View Post

    Yes!^^^^


    My home gym is a compromise as is everything in life. At one time, I had a much bigger space, but our families decision to down-size meant I had to make due with my gym in a much smaller space. (aprox 400 sq ft as well)


    Ironmaster dumbells without a doubt.

    I use a walk-in rack to do all my power movements. Squat, bench, rows, presses....etc

    As for sdjustable benches, there is simply no beating the ironmaster adjustable one.
    This thing is worth it's weight in gold. It is also a dip station and you can get a pull-up attachment for it as well. It is a rock solid bench and no compromise in it's tilting function (unlike the benches that have a break point in them and pivot)



    Other then that....a combination leg press / hack squat is really nice to have. That said, I lived without one for a looooong time and still built a decent physique without one.

    Really with just the above and an ezcurl bar, you can do a whole lot!

    I have a few cable machines, but their use is very small....and I could live without them.

    You would be amazed at what you can do with just a rack, some olympic weights, a set of good dumbells, and a adjustable bench.
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  13. #13
    LBD Tyrbolift's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by induced_drag View Post
    You would be amazed at what you can do with just a rack, some olympic weights, a set of good dumbells, and a adjustable bench.
    I've had to get by at times with nothing more than 12 cinder blocks, a 1in x 6in x 6 foot plank, and a few sofa pillows along with the bar, db's, and free weights.

    Bench flat, bench incline, flyes, various curls, skulls and other tri extensions, squats, rows, militaries. Almost anything free weight possible stand alone with bar and db's, of course.

    But still, nothing cables. That's where I'm coming from.
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  14. #14
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    Registered User azeeb's Avatar
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    I've got a Rogue R3 rack that doesn't take up much space at all. You do need to bolt it down, though.

    If you are truly space limited, I would sell the dip station and get a set of gymnastic rings for dips. I would prioritize the power rack over the dip station. Most racks have chin up bars, or dip attachments anyways.
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  16. #16
    I'll Rest When I'm Dead ironwill2008's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by vmpolesov View Post
    Any recommendations on something that won't take up 400 sq feet?
    A power rack is an absolute necessity, and should be at the very top of your list of additions. You can't squat without it, and you can't Bench Press by yourself safely without it.




    Just so there's no confusion, here's a pic of a generic power rack suitable for a home gym:

    Last edited by ironwill2008; 01-20-2013 at 10:51 AM.
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  17. #17
    Registered User vmpolesov's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by EB68 View Post
    If I were starting from scratch a power rack with an upper/lower cable attachment would be top of the list. Something like this with a pull-up bar and dip attachments.
    http://www.americanfitness.net/valorbd7powerrack.aspx
    thanks, i like that one. i'm starting to like the cable idea when you get into the quality range higher than the typical cheezy lat
    attachment. i'm sure with more $$ to spend I could get a height-adjustable cable attachment.

    another poster said I may want to ditch my pull-up/dip station in favor of a power cage if space becomes an issue. i'd hate to get rid of it because it is truly a pro quality unit that normally sells for 500 that I got new for like 125. although two pullup and two dip positions becomes redundant and i could use the space for something else.

    interestingly nobody has mentioned plate-lever machines. however I did notice the plate lever machines were pretty popular, with people who looked like they knew what they were doing, at the commercial gym I used to go to before it closed (Bally's).
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  18. #18
    I'll Rest When I'm Dead ironwill2008's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by vmpolesov View Post
    interestingly nobody has mentioned plate-lever machines. however I did notice the plate lever machines were pretty popular, with people who looked like they knew what they were doing, at the commercial gym I used to go to before it closed (Bally's).
    You mentioned having limited floor space. Single-purpose machines such as these take up a lot of real estate for such limited use in a home setting. If you have enough room to consider such equipment, for bodybuilding training, look at a Leg Press/Hack Squat machine as your next-most-valuable addition after a power rack.
    No brain, no gain.

    You can't out-train bad nutrition.

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  19. #19
    Registered User vmpolesov's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by azeeb View Post
    I've got a Rogue R3 rack that doesn't take up much space at all. You do need to bolt it down, though.
    I can bolt. I'm going to be the owner not tenant for a change, my gym room is in the basement. I told the builder to skip the carpet and just do vinyl floor. I could have said skip the vinyl and just do concrete as well but there is the significant-other factor here and that idea wasn't going to fly :-(

    I'm reasonably handy with tools and my understanding is I just need masonry bits, then proceed to drill holes in the concrete, then use some sort of expanding-shank inserts in the holes, then thread the bolts into the inserts. No need to get into epoxying or anything like that, right?
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  20. #20
    Registered User vmpolesov's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ironwill2008 View Post
    You mentioned having limited floor space. Single-purpose machines such as these take up a lot of real estate for such limited use in a home setting. If you have enough room to consider such equipment, for bodybuilding training, look at a Leg Press/Hack Squat machine as your next-most-valuable addition after a power rack.
    Yeah, although I will have much more space than where i'm renting now, it is not unlimited, and space/utility considerations are still high on the list.

    There are a large number of fitness stores near where I live (Northup way aka NE24th in Bellevue, WA). Apparently plenty of Microsoft people routinely drop $10k on high end home gyms to keep the places in business. However their loudmouthed CEO does not appear to be one of them from what I can tell. Many of these places sell mega-combo isolation/stack/smith stations that appear to squeeze a lot of utility into a small space, but they are not cheap and seem to me to have a gimmicky feel to them - they try to do everything but wind up doing nothing all that well.
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  21. #21
    I'll Rest When I'm Dead ironwill2008's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by vmpolesov View Post
    Many of these places sell mega-combo isolation/stack/smith stations that appear to squeeze a lot of utility into a small space, but they are not cheap and seem to me to have a gimmicky feel to them - they try to do everything but wind up doing nothing all that well.
    I completely agree with ^^^^ this. These type of assemblies tend to appeal to beginners with a lot more money than equipment knowledge. Many of these "jack of all trades" machines have no means of adjustment to fit different trainees' height, limb length, etc., and may not 'feel' right from the start.

    Many of the "multi-station" cable-operated systems (such as you'd see at sporting-goods and discount stores) that use one weight stack for all exercises are so poorly engineered that they're simply unusable.
    No brain, no gain.

    You can't out-train bad nutrition.

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  22. #22
    Powerlifting in disguise induced_drag's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by vmpolesov View Post
    interestingly nobody has mentioned plate-lever machines. however I did notice the plate lever machines were pretty popular, with people who looked like they knew what they were doing, at the commercial gym I used to go to before it closed (Bally's).
    I have never used a plate lever machine in my life. Dont think it is hurting me too bad from a development standpoint.

    Like I said.,....You would be amazed at what you can do with a barbel, dumbels, a rack and a adjustable bench.

    I think a lot of plate loaded machines do the best they can to isolate one portion of a free weight exercise. When it comes down to it, very few of us really need to "isolate" anything....and a the free weight compound is much more "bang for the buck". You end up needing to do 2 or 3 of the plate loaded levers, to hit what you can hit with just one compound free-weight exercise.

    As you can tell.....I am a fan of free weights..... Did I mention I dont do abs either? They get hit plenty with free weight exercises too
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  23. #23
    Registered User vmpolesov's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ironwill2008 View Post
    I completely agree with ^^^^ this. These type of assemblies tend to appeal to beginners with a lot more money than equipment knowledge. Many of these "jack of all trades" machines have no means of adjustment to fit different trainees' height, limb length, etc., and may not 'feel' right from the start.

    Many of the "multi-station" cable-operated systems (such as you'd see at sporting-goods and discount stores) that use one weight stack for all exercises are so poorly engineered that they're simply unusable.
    true, although some of the higher end stores around here like Precor seem to have some decent equipment if you want to shell out the $$. Like this one for example, doesn't try to do too much. If I had my heart set on an adjustable cable station, but it is over $2k, money that I'd spend first on a power rack.

    http://www.precorhomefitness.com/ins...ional-trainer/
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  24. #24
    Registered User vmpolesov's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by induced_drag View Post
    Like I said.,....You would be amazed at what you can do with a barbel, dumbels, a rack and a adjustable bench.
    I agree, and I was always perplexed at why people were lining up for the lever machines and the squat rack was empty.
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  25. #25
    Registered User azeeb's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by vmpolesov View Post
    I can bolt. I'm going to be the owner not tenant for a change, my gym room is in the basement. I told the builder to skip the carpet and just do vinyl floor. I could have said skip the vinyl and just do concrete as well but there is the significant-other factor here and that idea wasn't going to fly :-(

    I'm reasonably handy with tools and my understanding is I just need masonry bits, then proceed to drill holes in the concrete, then use some sort of expanding-shank inserts in the holes, then thread the bolts into the inserts. No need to get into epoxying or anything like that, right?
    That's right, just use a masonry bit. I bought the recommended concrete anchors directly from rogue. They are more of a course threaded lag bolt, and there is no expanding insert. Just drill the hole the correct size, and use a ratchet to tighten the bolt down.
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  26. #26
    Registered User bodyrokk's Avatar
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    def get a power rack..i bought a smith machine when i started out.now im selling it to get a power rack..
    It seems there's always something. Tryin' to bring a good man down. I have no fear of falling. But I hate hitting the ground ...
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  27. #27
    Registered User soonerman4life's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by bodyrokk View Post
    def get a power rack..i bought a smith machine when i started out.now im selling it to get a power rack..
    To each his own I guess. I bought this one and love it. I don't use the Smith portion that often except for calf raises (standing and seated) and occasionally pressing movements if I want to isolate the muscle. It's very solid and not flimsy at all. I use the free weight safeties when benching or squatting heavy and feel protected throughout the motion.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WEgisSmJiLY
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  28. #28
    Not afraid of food! EB68's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by soonerman4life View Post
    To each his own I guess. I bought this one and love it. I don't use the Smith portion that often except for calf raises (standing and seated) and occasionally pressing movements if I want to isolate the muscle. It's very solid and not flimsy at all. I use the free weight safeties when benching or squatting heavy and feel protected throughout the motion.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WEgisSmJiLY
    I use my smith machine for a leg press, and I do shrugs on it from time to time. I use my power rack for most everything else. I have an upper and lower cable on the smith also that I use in almost every session.
    Eric

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    My goal was to keep it simple and spend all my money on a really good cage. I lucked out on a steal of a deal on a bodysolid multi squat rack.

    bodysolid.com/Home/SMR1000/Pro_Club-Line_Multi_Squat_Rack

    It allows me to lift heavy and safely. Then got a really good set of rubber coated plates and nice bar. I also found a body solid multi bench.

    Home depot has $60 36x60 mirror which is cheap! I got two of those. I then found a farm supply company and bought a couple of stall rubber mats at $40 each. That roughly $60 cheaper then the gym supply company.

    My next purchase will be iron master dumbells...but that's in a couple of months. When I left the gym I gave up a lot of machines and a lot of hastles. I now watch what I want of tv and the only people that bother me are my 6 year old son who likes to ask strange questions right at the bottom of a squat.
    Small attainable goals are magical.
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    Registered User wds2's Avatar
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    I have kettlebells for my garage gym and love them. Also have a home-made heavy bag, jump rope, door frame mounted pull up bar, and sand bags. Looking to have a home-made Bulgarian Bag made out of a big tire inner tube made as well.
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