Hey, my name is Bozhidar, and today in this article I’m going to share with you my 7 essential items that every single home gym has to have.
Or in other words, I’m going to give you my top 7 best home gym equipment I use and what’s the reason behind it.
It doesn’t matter if you want to be a powerlifter, bodybuilder, CrossFit athlete, or anything in between.
Whether you’re trying to build your strengths or work on your physique and your muscle, it does not matter.
These 7 items I’m going to share with you next are essentials for every single home gym.
For each and every item which we’ll cover in order of priority, what I would buy first, what I would buy second, and so on I will give you a best pick and a budget pick.
It’s important to keep in mind, you’re going to want to buy the best thing you can afford so you’re not paying for it twice.
Whether that’s because it’s got a physical toll on your body because something breaks or because you’re actually buying it twice, which I see time and time again.
I have a friend who’s bought three barbells.
He doesn’t use the first two so he spent $700 getting something he could have gotten for half the price.
Top 7 Best Equipment for a Home Gym You Need To Have
These are the items you’re going to need to cover all of the major compound lifts, but also give us enough diversity in what we do so that we’re being efficient in our time in the gym, and we’re not getting bored.
We’re also going to cover where you can get these things so for every item, I will give you a link.
Home Gym Еssential #1: Olympic Weight Plates
Now let’s start with my first item, which is Olympic weight plates.
You might be thinking:
Shouldn’t I get a barbell or something else first?
Why Olympic weights are essential for a home gym?
Well, to me, when I was building my home gym and I was moving places the only thing I could get to without setting everything up was my weight plates.
So if you don’t have a full gym, I think the weight plates are the most important because I could do things like squat, bench press, floor press, curls, overhead press, just by holding some 45s or 25s and working through those different ranges of motion.
You can do a ton of stuff just by having Olympic weight plates.
So if I had to have only one item, that’s where I would start.
Best Olympic Weight Plates for Home Gym
When it comes to Olympic weight plates is an insane amount of options.
For this article, we’ll do our best and our budget picks for iron plates and for bumper plates because that’s going to cover the vast majority of people.
Best Budget Olympic Iron Plates for Home Gym – Cap Barbell Olympic Grip Plates
When it comes to budget Olympic iron plates, I’d probably pick the Cap Barbell ones.
They are affordable, sturdy, have nice handles, and work well with everything.
Now let’s see the more expensive ones I also recommend if you have the budget.
Best Premium Cast Iron Plates for Home Gym – HulkFit Cast Iron Plates
My top-of-the-line pick would be something like the HulkFit cast iron plates.
They’re very similar to the Cap ones, but are a little more robust and have a better finish so you could go with either of those.
But what about the more professional type of weights.
What about rubber plates?
In case you want to drop your plates without any issue then you would want to check these:
Best Rubber Coated Olympic Plates for Home Gym – XMark Olympic Plates
Even if they are a little more expensive than the cast iron ones, the XMark Olympic plates
still do the same job.
The biggest differences between the 2 types of plates is the sound and the floor and plates protection.
Having that rubber coating does help a lot if you are looking for doing explosive movements without.
Now let’s talk about my number two option, which would be an Olympic barbell.
Home Gym Еssential #2: Olympic Barbell
To me, an Olympic barbell makes a great second choice because it allows us to have a much wider range of motion for our exercises.
Why do you need to have an Olympic barbell in your home gym?
Because with its help, we can start deadlifting, we can start rowing, we can start curling and the list goes on and on.
It allows us to have progressive overload where you’re adding five pounds a week or whatever your current training program is telling you to do.
Best Budget Olympic Barbell under $200 for Home Gym – Cap Beast Barbell
For my budget pick, I would pick something like the beast from Cap at around under $200.
It’s about as inexpensive as I would go for an Olympic barbell.
Keeping in mind, this thing is really the focal point of everything you do.
You’re going to be putting this weight above your body, on your back, above your head so you don’t want something that could break and injure you.
Best Premium Olympic Barbell for Home Gym – Synergee Rhino Barbell
For an upgrade from there, I would pick something like a Synergee Rhino, which is actually one of my top picks for barbells.
If you want a power bar to me, this is my number one most used bar.
Now after a barbell, where I would go is the center point of your entire gym, which is your power rack.
Home Gym Еssential #3: The Power Rack or Squat Rack
The power rack or squat rack if you decide to go that route is going to be the centerpiece of your gym.
Because of its size and what it does, it’s probably going to be the most expensive thing on this entire list.
Do you need a power rack or a squat rack in your home gym?
A good power rack is going to allow you to do a lot more things and allow you to do them safely.
So obviously you can squat safely.
Depending on your system, you might have pull-up bars or variations of pull-up bars, so you can do pull-ups.
A good power rack will have holes in the bottom for band pegs so you can do resistance work.
Maybe you have a landmine you can attach.
It’s going to have safety and J-cups and it could even have storage.
So again, that’s where some of that price can come in, but a lot of those things are optional.
But in a good rack, you want to make sure it’s modular meaning you can add on things like a dip bar and stuff later on.
Best Budget Power Rack Under $600 For a Home Gym – Vanswe 1000 lbs Power Rack
For my budget pick, I wouldn’t go any lower than something like a Vanswe 1000 lbs Power Rack.
Now that’s a two by two design, which is going to make it a little less stable and not able to hold as much weight.
Best Power Rack Under $1000 For a Home Gym – MaxKare Power Cage
Now for an upgrade from there, I go to something like the MaxKare Power Cage.
It’s a little more expensive but that’s a really nice power rack with a ton of options for pull-up variations, gymnastic rings, safety pins, cable machine exercises, and so on.
In my opinion, this power rack has absolutely everything you need in a home gym and even more so if you can afford it this is the one you should buy.
And from there, we’re going to go to item number four on the list, which is your bench.
Home Gym Еssential #4: The Adjustable or Flat Bench
When it comes to benches, you’re basically down to two options:
- A flat bench
- An adjustable bench
Do you want a flat bench or an adjustable bench?
Now, a flat bench isn’t going to be quite as versatile as an adjustable bench, but it’s going to cost you a lot less money and you can still do a lot on it.
You can even get creative on it.
So before I got my adjustable bench, I would incline my flat bench by putting a box underneath it and even without that, I was able to do variations of bench press.
I was able to do flies, Bulgarian split squat, use it as a box for box squats, and the list goes on.
Best Budget Flat Bench Under $150 for Home Gym – Steelbody STB-10101
My budget pick for a flat bench is the Steelbody STB-10101 you can get under $150 on Amazon.
It’s a heck of a bargain and it’s pretty good quality.
You can also use it for all the basic movements and easily move it around.
Now when it comes to an adjustable bench, and if I had to pick one out of the two, I would get an adjustable bench, even though it costs a lot more money it’s going to give you a lot more options.
Obviously inclined curls, incline press, and the list go on.
Best Adjustable Bench Under $300 for Home Gym – DERACY Adjustable Weight Bench
Now my personal pick for the best adjustable bench would be the DERACY adjustable bench.
Now at $300, it’s quite a jump from that flat bench, but you’re going to get a much better product.
And this is really my top pick because when I was picking my adjustable bench, I had saved up for a long time because they only wanted to buy once.
I went over a lot of different options and I picked the DERACY adjustable bench, which is the one I’m currently using.
This thing is a tank and it should last me forever.
My kids are going to get this thing.
It is quite expensive which brings us to our fifth thing on the list, which would be dumbbells.
Home Gym Еssential #5: Adjustable or Fixed Dumbbells
So the next thing on the list is going to be dumbbells.
Now, dumbbells are really important, which is why they’re so high on the list.
Why do you need to have dumbbells in your home gym?
You need to have dumbbells in your home gym Because they’re gonna give you a huge range of exercises you can do.
Whether that’s fixed dumbbells or something like an adjustable dumbbell, which are basically your two options and they both have their own pros and cons.
Fixed (Normal) Dumbbells or Adjustable Dumbbells – Which ones should you pick?
When it comes to fixed dumbbells the first thing you’re going to notice is they take up a ton of space.
They’re also really expensive, and some of those might cost more than your barbell.
So you really have to weigh whether that’s worth it or not for you, but the trade-off would be, is there the quickest and most efficient when it comes to working out.
I’m not swapping things out, I can just go do a drop set or superset and they’re right there.
Now, when it comes to my budget pick, I would pick something like the Amazon basic dumbbell.
Best Budget Flat Fixed Dumbbells for Home Gym – The Amazon Basic Dumbbells
They’re priced very competitively and they have very good reviews.
They are also quite sturdy, easy to grip, and do the job perfectly.
The only downside is that you would have to buy a lot to have all the needed weights.
When it comes to an adjustable dumbbell, you’re going to get something that’s much smaller in size.
So it’s obviously not going to have this huge footprint. It’s also going to cost you a lot less money.
Those are the trade-offs going to be you’re not going to be able to go as high in a weight range.
Most of them stop at 50 to 80 pounds.
My best pick for an adjustable dumbbell would be the Bowflex 552.
Best Adjustable Dumbbells for Home Gym – The Bowflex 552
They go up to 50 pounds, which is going to work for most people.
If you want a bit of an upgrade from there, you can go to the Power Block Elite, and it’s an upgrade in the fact that it can go up to 80 pounds depending on which options you get.
They are also one of the most highly rated adjustable dumbbells.
Now that brings us to number six, which are upgrades I’d put on my power rack.
Home Gym Еssential #6: Power Rack Upgrades and Improvements
If you were good and you followed my list, you probably already got yourself a power rack with a pull-up bar on it.
And hopefully, you got one, as I said before, that’s modular so you can put things like a landmine or a dip attachment on it.
It wouldn’t be a true number six if I didn’t give you an item.
And my choice for number six would be gymnast rings.
And my choice for gymnast rings would be Pacearth wooden gymnast rings.
Best Gymnastic Rings for Home Gym – Pacearth Wooden Gymnastic Rings
For about $50 shipped or less, depending on your options, you’re able to get a piece of equipment that you can do a ton of stuff with.
If you don’t believe in the value of rings, just take a look at the physique of a world-class gymnast.
which brings us to our final item.
Your flooring or your platform.
Home Gym Еssential #7: Your Home Gym Flooring or Platform
Your first option is to Buy horse stall mats like this, which are three-quarters of an inch by four foot by six foot. And if you need different sizes, you can cut them.
Now, if you want to get a platform, well nobody should ever buy a platform because you can build these yourself.
Anybody can do it. It’s really simple.
It’s just sheets of plywood with horse stall mats and some polyurethane.
What’s the biggest problem with home gyms and what equipment to buy first?
Now let’s address the elephant in the room and that’s cardio.
Everybody knows real men don’t do cardio.
We just work out faster so we can look cool.
One of the first 7 things I would buy for my home gym would not be a piece of cardio equipment.
And that’s nothing against cardio.
I just don’t think that it’s something that you need that high on the list.
Now, when I was in college, I was a division one track athlete, and that’s not to say, look at this guy.
It’s more to prove a point when we were running and we were in the weight room lifting we didn’t have any cardio equipment to help us out.
And that’s because you can do a ton of cardio things without any equipment, whether it’s burpees or the world’s worst thing, actually running or bodyweight exercises.
There’s a lot you can do, even if you just had something as simple as a jump rope.
Where is the best place to buy your home gym equipment?
Now, when it comes to where to buy stuff, there are still a lot of options.
Most people’s number one priority is going to be looking online.
It’s convenient. It’s fast. You don’t have to do a ton of work for it.
And the companies that make them have expanded.
So they’re making a lot of stuff so don’t just settle and get anything you can get, try to get what you want to get if you can wait.
Your first easiest option is to click on the links and go to Amazon.
It’s got a really nice and fast shipping and a great return policy.
Plus everything is brand new and has a warranty.
After all who doesn’t shop on Amazon these days?
The next thing I would check would be Craigslist.
And even though Craigslist has died down quite a bit, there are still some people on there to get pretty good deals.
Again, it’s a little risky though.
From there, I’d go to the Facebook marketplace, which has exploded in popularity and it’s a little harder to find deals because everybody’s on there, but it is one of the places I would look.
From there I would get really creative. I’ve got friends who got gym equipment, like dumbbells, racks, or cable machines directly from a gym that was closing.
I also got very creative and I would call and talk to people I knew that used to lift or were into these kinds of things and I was able to get some pretty good deals that way.
So just don’t give up and keep searching for those ideal items.
I got weight plates and a lot of other things by really, really cranking out and researching and grinding to find the stuff I wanted and I was able to get pretty much everything I wanted and I built my entire gym for a very low price
I hope you enjoyed this article.
Now you know what is my list of best home gym equipment and why I own and use.
That’s why I highly recommend you to do like me and these 7 crucial items as soon as possible.
Start with number 1 and continue buying until you have created a small but really efficient home gym like mine.
If you have liked this article and are looking for more awesome information about home gym equipment I highly recommend you see these awesome articles as well:
- Top 3 Best Closed-Door Pull-Up Bars You Can Leave Attached
- 5 Best Sit Up Benches for Home Gym in 2021 You CAN Afford
- 5 Best Cheap Rowing Machines Under $200 for Home in 202
- 5 Best Cable Machines for Home Gym 2021 You CAN Afford
- Top 5 Best Wall Mounted Pull Up Bars in 2021 You MUST SEE
Thank you for reading my post.
I’ll see you in the next one.