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Home Gym Guide 2022 – How to make your perfect home gym

Where do you start with creating a gym at home? 

Home gyms are becoming more and more popular, and for good reason. Over the past year and a half of lockdowns, with most gyms having to close their doors, people were left without any serious means of getting strong, while those with home gyms found that little changed with regards to their fitness regime. If anything, with the added free time, people with home gyms may have left lockdown stronger than when they entered! 

Regardless of whether gyms are open or not, home gyms can make a lot of sense. They let you get fit with quick, effective, and accessible workouts when you might otherwise not have enough time to go to a gym – it saves the time, money, and stress of both the journey to the gym and back, and means you can clean up in your own shower afterwards.

That’s not even getting on to the savings you can make by cancelling your gym membership, which when considered over a long period of time, can rack up to a very significant amount! Having a home gym means that you can completely personalise the space and fill it with the equipment that you need, meaning that you don’t have to compromise on anything.

Never again will you need to queue to use the squat rack while someone sits on their phone!

It can be slightly daunting to start your own gym though, so below, we’ve collected some of the best gym ideas we could come up with, to give you a good idea on how to get started. At the bottom, there are two kit lists – one for beginners, one for more advanced gym goers – have a read through and see if you feel inspired! 

 

Home Gym Checklist – The most important items you’ll need

Home Gym Barbell

home gym barbell

At the centre of most strength regimes lies the barbell. As well as the three main lifts, the squat, deadlift and bench press, there are almost endless exercise options when you have a barbell. We recommend the barbells by DTX fitness, specifically the 6ft and 7ft options, both weighing in at 15kg.

Having a good quality barbell makes a big difference; cheap ones are hard to grip, and the bearings at the end can wear out and start to squeak annoyingly quickly. 

Having a good quality barbell makes a big difference; cheap ones are hard to grip, and the bearings at the end can wear out and start to squeak annoyingly quickly. 

The options from DTX come in both chrome and black – we think the black handles better and is a cleaner, cooler aesthetic, but if you want chrome, it’s there as well! Getting a standard bar can restrict your training options, and inhibit muscle growth, hence why we’ve recommended these. 

DTX Fitness 6ft Chrome

DTX Fitness 6ft Black 

DTX Fitness 7ft Black

 

Home Gym Weight Plates

Home Gym Weight Plates

To go with your barbell, you’ll need a good selection of weight plates. It’s a good idea to have both heavier and lighter weights, so that you can increase the incrementation gradually, allowing for safe and consistent progression as you develop. Lighter weights like 5kg and 10kg are great for rows and curls, while heavier additions like 15kg are essential for compound movements like squats, deadlifts, and bench press.

Both the sets we’ve listed below offer weights from 5kg to 25kg – an assortment of each weight, with maybe more at the lighter end, tends to be a good idea, to allow for steady incrementation.

Muscle Squad Bumper Plates

Body Revolution Olympic Bumper Weight Plates

 

Home Gym Bench

Home Gym Bench

Key to any home gym is a good quality workout bench. In order to do a complete range of exercises, you’ll want an adjustable bench, not one that just lies flat. Having an easily adjustable and comfortable bench makes a world of difference to your workout, and marks the difference between an ‘ok’ home gym and an excellent one. Below, we’ve listed both a bench with a barbell rack and dip bars, and a stand-alone, adjustable bench.

Ideally, if you’re a serious lifter, you’ll get the standalone bench, and use a squat rack to rack your barbell for bench press. This setup facilities a far broader range of exercises, and means you don’t have to compromise in any way.

WINNOW Adjustable Weight Bench – Foldable

WINNOW Adjustable Weight Bench with Dip Station

 

Home Gym Squat Rack

home gym Squat rack

At the heart of any gym lies the squat rack. Despite its name, squat racks are for far more than ‘just’ squatting. With a good gym bench, they’re the perfect set up for bench pressing, and you can use the additional safety features to bench up to your max without a spotter, something which is especially useful when you’re working out alone at home. 

Getting a squat rack with a pull up bar can be a good idea, especially if you’re into calisthenics and bodyweight exercises. Pull ups are a great way to train, and you can also do muscle ups, leg raises, and a whole host of other exercises. The quality of your squat rack is also very important – they have to handle very heavy weights, and if they break, could seriously injure you; it’s certainly not something to try to be cheap about.

JX FITNESS Squat Rack

DTX Fitness Squat Rack Power Cage With Pull Up Bar

 

Home Gym Dumbbells

hex dumbells

Having a good set of dumbbells is another essential element to your home gym. While barbells are wonderful for heavier exercises, dumbbells really come into their own when you start to work on smaller muscles; the fact that they move independently also involves a lot of smaller but equally important muscle groups for stabilisation, helping you stay injury free and strong. 

It’s a good idea to have a wide range of weights; a lighter set between 8kg and 12kg are great for warming up and working smaller muscle groups, while a heavier set of 16kg to 20kg are essential for flies and curls. If you’re a more advanced weightlifter, you may also want some in the 20kg+ range, but that’s only if you’ve been working out for a long time and really know what you’re doing. 

TNP Accessories Rubber Hexa Hex Dumbbells (Pair)

 

Exercise Resistance Bands Set

FitBeast Exercise Resistance Bands Set

Resistance bands have long been an asset of many a pro athlete, and are becoming more and more popular in home gyms. They’re an excellent way to warm up before heavier lifts, and can be incredibly helpful with rehabilitation after injury. They’re also great for stretching at the end of your workout, and can really help with working on your mobility. 

Resistance bands are also great because of their portability; if you travel a lot for work, you can pack them in your suitcase and keep up with at least part of your training while you’re away.

There are heaps of videos showing ways to get creative with them on YouTube, or if you want a more personal approach to instruction, you can always contact a physio or personal trainer to give you some workouts. They’re a great way to prevent injury and stay healthy, so don’t overlook them just because they’re not metal and shiny – I know that I have in the past!

FitBeast Exercise Resistance Bands Set

 

Home Gym Ab Roller

Gym Ab Roller

We all know the importance of core workouts, but whether at home or the gym, they can be incredibly boring. Ab rollers are great for adding variety to your core routine, and can facilitate some really hard workouts! 

As with exercise resistance bands, there are some great YouTube channels for ab roller workouts if you find yourself lacking in inspiration. They give practical advice, a healthy dose of motivation, and someone to share your pain with, even if it’s through a screen. For under a tenner, we can’t think of a more affordable and versatile core workout tool, a seriously valuable asset to your equipment collection.

H&S Ab Abdominal Exercise Roller

 

Home Gym Flooring/Mats

Fitness gym floor mat

Unless you don’t mind your floor being absolutely trashed by all the weights, you’ll want to get something to cover it with. The best option is a foam mat flooring; the option below comes in squares, which lock together so that they don’t slip.

Not only do the mats stop your floor from being ruined, they also help provide a durable and non-slip surface to workout on. There’s a reason that gym floors aren’t slippery, when you’re handling heavy weights, the last thing you want to do is to be tripping up. For floor workout like core circuits, they’ll also provide a comfortable surface to lie on, helping to protect your elbows and knees.

Mat Foam Exercise Mats (60×60)

 

Home Gym Design and Décor

Home Gym Design and Decor

There are near endless options when it comes to the design scheme for your home gym, but we tend to think that a simple, clean aesthetic is better than something complex, colourful, and potentially tacky. 

We quite like an all-black aesthetic – not only does it look great, it also shows the dirt less than chrome and white does, and doesn’t mark and show its wear in the same way. Some people like to have mirrors on the wall to help work on their form, but others may find that reflections are distracting – of course, it’s up to you which you choose, there’s no right or wrong. 

In terms of lighting, again, the choice is yours – some people like a bright environment, with plenty of bright LEDs to keep them awake, while others prefer to have their pain cave a place of darkness and introspection. With adjustable lighting, you can have both, but also, you can change the bulbs at any time, so don’t feel like you’re committed to any single approach. 

 

Home Gym Garage Ideas

The most common place for man cave home gyms is in the garage. They’re a great space for it, normally with durable floors, and a large door to open if things get too hot. They’re a slightly separate space from the rest of the house, which is a good thing – it makes it feel like the gym is still a separate entity from the other, more relaxing spaces like the living room, and can help with motivation. It also means you can blast your music and shout your power screams without disturbing anyone else who might be home!

A man cave gym is a step up from just some dumbbells and a sit up machine; it’s far more complete, and when you’ve finished it, you shouldn’t feel like it’s lacking anything that a ‘normal’ gym has. It’s something that will evolve, and a space that you can take pride in. 

At the end of the day, the nicer you make it, the more likely you are to work out, so don’t hold back – you’re investing in your health and long-term wellbeing, while at the same time saving on gym membership fees. Make it a place you love to be in, and watch yourself grow from strong to stronger.

 

Home Gym Starters Kit List – A Summary

  • DTX Fitness 6ft Black
  • Body Revolution Olympic Bumper Weight Plates – 10 kg and 5 kg 
  • WINNOW Adjustable Weight Bench with Dip Station
  • TNP Rubber Hex Dumbbells – 8 kg or 10 kg
  • Mat Foam Exercise Mats, 60 X 60 cm Gym Flooring Mat

 

Home Gym Advanced Kit List – A Summary 

  • DTX Fitness 7ft Black
  • Muscle Squad Bumper Plates – 15 kg, 10 kg and 5 kg 
  • WINNOW Adjustable Weights Bench 
  • JX FITNESS Squat Rack Multi-Function Barbell Rack
  • Or DTX Fitness Squat Rack Power Cage With Pull Up Bar
  • TNP Rubber Hex Dumbbells – 10 kg and either 16 kg or 18 kg
  • Mat Foam Exercise Mats, 60 X 60 cm Gym Flooring Mat
  • H&S Ab Abdominal Exercise Roller 
  • FitBeast Exercise Resistance Bands Set

 

Questions we’re often asked about creating a home gym

How much does a home gym cost to make? 

Whilst the answer is largely ‘it depends’ based on how much room you have in the home, we’d recommend putting aside at least £500/$700 to be able to get the variety of equipment that is required for a premium home gym. With that being said, you can certainly build one cheaper by looking for secondhand equipment via online marketplaces. 

Can I just use a multigym? 

Technically yes, but you may struggle to do some of the more specific exercises that individual equipment are specifically made for. As an example, lifting heavy weights with a specific squat rack and also having resistance bands for toning - these specific products have more of a singular focus than an all-in-one solution. 

I don’t have the room for a squat rack - what are the best alternatives? 

If you’re looking to squat heavy but don’t have the room for a dedicated rack, you can use weights such as double kettlebells or double dumbbells in order to mimic the evenly distributed weight of a bar. 

As the weights are forward-facing as opposed to sitting at the top of your back, you’ll also get much more of a quad-focused workout with lighter weights, so it’s not the end of the world if you don’t have the room for a squat rack! 


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