Thinking about training at home? All you really need is a good set of weights, a power rack, a bench and maybe one or two other pieces. A good home gym has many advantages over a commercial gym.
Can’t Get To A Gym? What About A Home Gym?
I’ve received a few emails from guys that don’t live near a gym. They are afraid they won’t achieve the development they want. The truth is, you can make great progress training at home. Many of the world’s strongest men have trained at home. The great Paul Anderson trained in his kitchen. Problems with weight training come from a poorly designed program. Also a poor diet, inadequate rest or the wrong mind-set. None of those are caused by where you work out.
Training At Home – Required Equipment
All you really need to build a Herculean physique is an adjustable barbell and enough plates. To be fair, however, it would help if you had a power rack and an adjustable bench. After all, using that barbell for squats or bench presses is kind of hard to do with a power rack. Why not take advantage of the range of exercises and safety that a rack provides?
Beyond that, you can include dumbbells, maybe an EZ bar, and perhaps some attachments for the rack. What can you add to a power rack? A high/low pulley (lat attachment) and dip bars for starters.
One thing about the lat attachment. You can still do your chins and pull ups. You don’t have to do lat pulldowns. However, the attachment lets you do seated cable rows or T-Bar rows. You can do triceps pressdowns. The bottom line is that it’s a great addition. You know that bench you have? What about a preacher pad? Training at home may not be so bad after all!
The only limiting factor is space. You will need a small room with high ceilings. Most power racks are tall, as in 7ft or taller. Same with the lat attachment. Sure, you can find a shorty if need be. Still, the higher the ceiling height, the better.
What if you don’t have an extra small room, or corner of a room, or part of a garage? Then you improvise. Get a chinup bar that fits in a door frame. Invest in some pushup bars, and adjustable dumbbells. In all honesty, you can do almost any exercise with dumbbells. If you can get a bench in there, great. If not, that’s OK. Just work the exercises you can do as hard as you can. Add weight every two weeks. Don’t give up!
Training At Home – Cost
A good gym is justified in charging what it charges. However, for two years’ membership cost, you can own every piece of equipment you’ll ever need. I still use much of the same equipment I started out with at age 16. The only equipment I’ve ever had wear out was the web straps on my iron boots. Also a webhead strap, and the rope that came with a wrist roller. All of these are easily replaced at low cost.
Advantages Of Training At Home
Saves Travel Time
In some parts of the country, traffic is really bad. In fact, in some places gym members spend more time driving than working out. It can be a real hassle. Not to mention, it can interfere with your ability to train regularly. When you work out at home, you have no trouble getting there. When you finish training, you can take a shower and relax.
It may seem odd to find this a plus for training at home. The fact is, I think there’s very little competent instruction at commercial gyms. Of course, some have great instructors. However, they’re the exception. Invest in some good books on the subject. You can educate yourself thoroughly. Read the works of the real masters (Rader, Hoffman, Paschall). Then put their knowledge to work for you. Weight training is simple. There aren’t many instructors in the field honest enough to let you in on that. The good ones have written books you can use.
Training At Home – Privacy
I regard my training time as not to be encroached upon. This is true for both the weights and martial arts. I resent even having anyone near me when I work out. Although I’m not yet totally antisocial, I am 100 percent asocial. Weight training is a highly individual endeavor. Most of those who do it are hardly social butterflies. They like their privacy. No doubt they enjoy self-discipline. They are quite happy doing something for themselves by themselves. That makes home training ideal. Conflicts and antagonisms do develop in gyms. Few things can make a training environment more sour than being at odds with someone there. Who needs it?
Most of those who train in gyms find themselves waiting for equipment. This happens at the very least on an occasional basis. Let’s face it, this is annoying. It wastes time. You never have to wait to use your own equipment at home. Training at home is great. Buy good, heavy-duty basic equipment. Stay away from those “wonderful new” items you see on those ridiculous infomercials. Remember, you build muscle by lifting heavy weight using basic exercises. It doesn’t help to waste money on elaborate, gimmicky stuff.
Don’t feel discouraged or deprived if you’re training at home. Many of us feel it’s an advantage.