5 Must-Have Essentials for a Perfect Home Gym 

After a long day at work, there is nothing better than stepping into a gym and throwing some heavy weight around. That is, if there are any benches or squat racks left open. Let’s face it, gyms are slowly getting more and more crowded, and the prices of memberships are rising. And they are often poorly equipped, not well-maintained, and somebody is always complaining if you slam your weights after a heavy PR. I know I lost my strength while the gyms were closed. The pandemic lockdown hasn’t made it easier either. I think the time has come for you to put that cluttered garage or shed you have to good use – make a home gym out of it.

Squat rack

Imagine walking into a gym, and you have the place all to yourself. That thought can only become a reality if you work out at 2 am or have a personal home gym. Even though sometimes late-night workouts can be the best, I think the latter option is much better. And besides, you can visit your home gym whenever you like it: no working hours, no memberships, and no other people. Except maybe your closest gym buddies to spot you.

And most importantly – an adjustable squat rack all to yourself. Logically, that would be your first and most significant investment, but it will cover more than half of your needs. Most free weights exercises can be done in a squat rack, even a bench press. I advise investing in a good-quality adjustable squat rack since it will last you a very long time. And make sure that it comes with safety pins you can adjust to your needs; that way, you’ll be able to squat, bench press, incline bench press, do rack pulls, and perform a bunch of other exercises with just one squat rack.


The next thing you need is a bench, which should cover, if not the other half, but at least another third of all the exercises you would perform in a regular gym. It doesn’t have to be a full-on power rack; it can be a simple flat-to-incline bench you can place in the squat rack. Make sure that your squat rack comes with adjustable safety pins, and you’ll have no problem getting pinned under the weight or ripping your favorite pair of tights with the knurling on the bar.

Barbell and free weights

Another significant investment is weights. Luckily, you don’t have to cash out all at once – as your strength progresses, you can gradually start buying more weights. Depending on your power and performance, you will have to assess how many consequences you need and their size. If you are beginning, you will need more 10 and 15kg plates; if you are an advanced lifter, you will need more 20s and 25s. Usually, four 5kg, two 10kg, and two 20s are enough for a beginner. Don’t forget that 2.5 kg and 1.5kg weights. They are essential for isolation work and PRs. As for barbells, a single standard 20kg barbell will be enough for a start. Later, you can add more to your itinerary, including a trap bar, EZ bar, safety bar, etc.

Dumbbells and kettlebells

Lastly, we mustn’t forget the accessory work. Bars are great for lifting, but dumbbells and kettlebells are essential for unilateral work and addressing imbalances when lifting. And this way, instead of grabbing a sweaty pair of dumbbells that someone left out of place, you get the whole section just for yourself, even if it is just a single pair of dumbbells in the beginning. And why not get your best friends to chip in? Then you can buy more weights and have fantastic company to keep the motivation going. Even so, in the beginning, you probably won’t need the whole array of weights you might find at a regular gym. Just like with plates, you can add to your itinerary of dumbbells and kettlebells as you move along. Before shopping, note down which ones you use the most during your workouts, and those will be the first ones you should buy.

Additional gear

You want your home gym to eventually fully replace a regular gym and be able to meet your needs completely. This also means that you will need all the additional equipment for stretching, rolling, stabilization, etc. Some resistance bands are great for mobilization and adding resistance when performing lifts that could use extra stability work. A foam roller is excellent for warmups to activate your muscles and get the blood flowing. You will need a yoga mat or two if you can’t invest in rubber floor mats immediately.

These are just some of the things to think about when looking into making a home gym. Things will eventually fall into place as you go along, but it’s good to have a few essentials from the very beginning, especially a squat rack, a bench, a barbell, and weights. You can ask your friends to help financially, and in return, they get to use your home gym. Even though you want privacy, sometimes it is good to have company.

Just some advice to get you started.

Image source: unsplash.com