Author Topic: Please tell me about your home gym setups  (Read 3285 times)

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Please tell me about your home gym setups
« on: March 03, 2019, 02:30:00 PM »
I'm getting ready to buy a house and I want to expand my home workout options. Here's my situation.

Me: I am a 38-year-old lady of unusually small stature (4'11") with two school age boys and a husband who has expressed interest in doing some strength training if he didn't have to leave home. Current abilities: When I've been training each exercise, I can deadlift 167, bench almost 90, and squat about 155.

The house situation: We have a small nook in the basement that could be used for this purpose. However, the master bedroom is also downstairs, and it's just one big piece of carpet, and I see no easy way to have different flooring in just the gym nook.

My other choices: I have an annual membership to the city rec centers that costs me $150. My primary complaint is that not all the centers have women's bars, and I can't lift a men's bar nearly as well because of my doll-size hands. Another wrinkle is that they are often closed when I want to work out and the child care is either not very useful to me or nonexistent. We are considering having another baby, which would make it even harder to get to the gym (and even the one that does have childcare only takes kids ages 1 and walking up to 7).

So I am toying with the idea of setting up a full-scale home gym, power rack, bench, the whole thing. I am also considering keeping my cheap membership, bullying them into adding women's bars, and using my home gym as my secondary option. In that scenario, I definitely wouldn't have a squat rack and probably not a bench press station either, but I would do things like suspension exercises/core work, one-legged balance-type things, and upper body dumbbell exercises.

Our house is small, and if we didn't have a giant home gym, then we would have room for a craft/gaming table.

Does anyone have recommendations for me? What are your setups like?

MrSal

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Re: Please tell me about your home gym setups
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2019, 03:12:13 PM »
www.bodylastics.com

Best thing ever... they were the first ones to combine the elastic bands and incremental bands in the same handles.

I have had their 1st version of the product for 12 years now give or take... Really good!

And it gives you a hell of a workout. My max squat ever was I believe 350 lbs and these bands on the squat exercise gave me a hell of a workout.

For house use they work pretty well.

seemsright

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Re: Please tell me about your home gym setups
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2019, 04:18:50 PM »
I am really into lifting in general.

I think you would be very happy in creating your own set up with exactly the equipment you want. Then you get to hang out with your hubby, blast some music and lift together...that sounds to me like the best time ever. Then a hot shower together afterword...hell ya.

Keep your membership. And call it a day.

You could find affordable equipment that you enjoy to use for not much investment at all. I really think this comes down to what you want to do.

I have a simple set up...but I really enjoy lifting at a gym.. But I do have a TRX, some kettle bells, some bands and other random things in a spare bedroom. This has been a life saver for me for those days that the kid is sick and I cannot get to the gym.

I love looking at the garage gym ideas...and dream. I may end up setting up something like that in the future.

Geographer

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Re: Please tell me about your home gym setups
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2019, 05:33:43 PM »
We have a set of Powerblock adjustable dumbbells. They take up almost no room in the house and adjust up to 70 lbs. Aside from that, I do mostly bodyweight exercises using pull-up and dip bars at an outdoor fitness area next to a nearby running trail.

180_FromEvil

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Re: Please tell me about your home gym setups
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2019, 06:13:35 PM »
I grew up on a farm, so lifting things in a gym is foreign to me. I purchased a set of kettlebells at Aldi for $20. 5 lb, 10 lb, 15 lb sizes in the set. I love these things. A great workout only takes 30 min & I can do it whenever I choose at home. Because I workout in the basement on cement I got a set 6 of interlocking foam squares to give me a nice cushioned surface to work out on. I think I purchased them at Biglots, but I have also spotted them at Costco. The key I found is to reinforce the backside of these foam squares with duct tape so they don't separate when you are working out. 3 strips per join on the back & I have had zero problems. Kettlebells are a great workout tool: relatively compact, builds up all your muscles, and its easy to find classes online (check out bodyfit by Amy on Youtube). So all in all, I think I have spent ~$40 on equipment and I love the workouts.

Good luck!

secondchance

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Re: Please tell me about your home gym setups
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2019, 07:15:14 AM »
You have an interesting problem. Have you asked your favorite gym about getting a women's bar? Or failing that, if you could provide one and keep it there?

I used to lift in a friend's home gym and watching them put it together convinced me that it ain't cheap. You need a squat rack, a bench, at least two bars (one for you and one for your husband, plus maybe a curl bar) and 200+ lbs of weights at ~$1/lb. It's an investment.

But it's so luxurious to be able to lift alone. I could come over when no one was home and put the bench in the squat rack so I didn't need a spot ... something I'd never do in the public gym.

The cheap solution is bullying your gym into getting a women's bar, and buying stuff for home that you would still keep if you got a full gym down the line (e.g. dumbbells, kettlebells, and elastic bands).  If that doesn't work, escalate!

FIRE@50

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Re: Please tell me about your home gym setups
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2019, 07:29:00 AM »
This website is a great resource. Read as much as you can and look for bargains if you decide to buy. I would recommend getting a barbell and learning how to do the olympic lifts. They don't require any additional equipment. For the floor, just get some horse stall mats down at the ag supply store. Enjoy!

https://www.garage-gyms.com/

GuitarStv

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Re: Please tell me about your home gym setups
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2019, 07:43:35 AM »
I pretty much followed these plans to build (or cheaply buy) all my weight lifting equipment:


http://homemadestrength.blogspot.com/2011/04/saw-horse-safety-stands_28.html
http://homemadestrength.blogspot.com/2011/05/strongest-bench-youll-never-buy.html
http://homemadestrength.blogspot.com/2011/04/more-than-just-squat-stands.html

I think it ended up costing under 150$ in total (although I used some scrap lumber and fastners lying around from other projects).  I've had over 300 lbs on the squat stands with no problems.  If you're worried about the floor, just get some horse stall mats.  These are very thick (usually around an inch or more) rubber mats that will absorb the energy of a dropped weight very well.

I would never go back to a commercial gym after having my home gym.  It's just so much more convenient and better.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Please tell me about your home gym setups
« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2019, 05:40:58 PM »
Thanks for all the suggestions, guys!

We have a set of Powerblock adjustable dumbbells. They take up almost no room in the house and adjust up to 70 lbs. Aside from that, I do mostly bodyweight exercises using pull-up and dip bars at an outdoor fitness area next to a nearby running trail.

These look so strange. Do they feel like regular dumbbells for lifting?

@GuitarStv and @FIRE@50 -- don't those horse mats smell? The downstairs is fully finished and will contain the master bedroom and guest room.

The idea of using saw horses as safety supports is really interesting! That might make possible some space-saving options for a squat rack as opposed to a full power rack. Hmmm.

You have an interesting problem. Have you asked your favorite gym about getting a women's bar? Or failing that, if you could provide one and keep it there?

I used to lift in a friend's home gym and watching them put it together convinced me that it ain't cheap. You need a squat rack, a bench, at least two bars (one for you and one for your husband, plus maybe a curl bar) and 200+ lbs of weights at ~$1/lb. It's an investment.

But it's so luxurious to be able to lift alone. I could come over when no one was home and put the bench in the squat rack so I didn't need a spot ... something I'd never do in the public gym.

The cheap solution is bullying your gym into getting a women's bar, and buying stuff for home that you would still keep if you got a full gym down the line (e.g. dumbbells, kettlebells, and elastic bands).  If that doesn't work, escalate!

I'm working on it :-). I feel quite strongly that a public gym should be able to serve a wider swathe of the public!

My husband seems like he really wants to put a gaming table in that space. We do have a spare bedroom... but we want it to be comfortable for guests and our budget for this project is by no means unlimited. I'll have to see how the space looks when we start getting into it and go from there.

GuitarStv

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Re: Please tell me about your home gym setups
« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2019, 05:53:50 PM »
@GuitarStv and @FIRE@50 -- don't those horse mats smell? The downstairs is fully finished and will contain the master bedroom and guest room.

The idea of using saw horses as safety supports is really interesting! That might make possible some space-saving options for a squat rack as opposed to a full power rack. Hmmm.

The mats that I got smelled faintly of rubber for about a year (I put down about 200 sq ft of them in my basement).  I have heard some people complain about smell with this type of mat though, so probably best to go in person and check 'em out for any funky odors before buying.

(I'd also recommend getting help with moving and loading them up.  The ones I got weighed about 100lbs each and are kinda awkward to hold.  Carrying them down into the basement by myself was challenging.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Please tell me about your home gym setups
« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2019, 06:00:10 PM »
@GuitarStv and @FIRE@50 -- don't those horse mats smell? The downstairs is fully finished and will contain the master bedroom and guest room.

The idea of using saw horses as safety supports is really interesting! That might make possible some space-saving options for a squat rack as opposed to a full power rack. Hmmm.

The mats that I got smelled faintly of rubber for about a year (I put down about 200 sq ft of them in my basement).  I have heard some people complain about smell with this type of mat though, so probably best to go in person and check 'em out for any funky odors before buying.

(I'd also recommend getting help with moving and loading them up.  The ones I got weighed about 100lbs each and are kinda awkward to hold.  Carrying them down into the basement by myself was challenging.

Good tips, thanks.

I'm actually not sure I would need them, at least not at first. I don't think I lift heavy enough to damage the carpet, so unless my husband takes up deadlifting...

use2betrix

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Re: Please tell me about your home gym setups
« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2019, 06:57:45 PM »
Will this be very visible to guests/anyone over/in general?

If so, I would personally be conscious about how much I really “skimp” in the quality department as I wouldn’t want anything overly tacky, despite what a “bargain” it is.

I’ve been lifting no stop for over 15 years at easily 50+ gyms over the country and many over the world. In large, gym equipment would not be something I would personally skimp on quality. There’s a huge difference between a weight bench from some box store, and a commercial weight bench. Same with the rack, weights, etc. If you can find real, quality equipment, used, that will probably be your best bet.

Beach_Bound

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Re: Please tell me about your home gym setups
« Reply #12 on: March 04, 2019, 07:20:25 PM »
I put a gym in my basement about a year ago, and it's been great! I love that I can work out while dinner is cooking. I bought a squat rack, bench, barbell, and 250lb of weights for a little under $500. I'll put links to the rack and weight set below. They're good quality for the cost, but definitely not top of the line. If you or your husband will be lifting >300lb, you'll probably want to upgrade. I'm not even close to that, so they're fine for me for now.

I did monitor craigslist for a while before buying new. It was one of the (few) times craigslist failed me. Full gym set ups of a similar quality to mine were selling used for $500 and up, so no savings there. The fact that Amazon delivered the squat rack for free sealed the deal. Piecemeal barbell weights were a minimum of $0.80 per pound on craigslist, and were often over $1 for crossfit bumper plates. There weren't a lot of mid range (i.e. not rusty and not bumper plates) options. Your market may be different; it's worth checking.

I covered the basement concrete floor with 2'x2'x1/2" foam tiles. They're not nearly as beefy as horse stall mats, but they were much cheaper, and I was covering a large area. My basement flooded a few years ago when the water heater leaked. The walls were mostly fine thanks to the sump pump, but the carpet was ruined. I put the foam tiles everywhere that the carpet used to be, roughly 600 square feet (the gym takes only a fraction of this space). For <$1 per square foot, they were a quick, cheap, waterproof, and comfortable way to re-finish the space. I'll second the suggestion to reinforce seams with duct tape. There was a faint rubbery odor that dissipated in a few weeks.


https://www.amazon.com/Fitness-Reality-810XLT-Super-Power/dp/B01N4I8FOY/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?keywords=squat+rack&qid=1551749441&s=gateway&sr=8-1-spons&psc=1
https://www.dickssportinggoods.com/p/fitness-gear-300-lbolympic-weight-set-16fgeu300lbstwth7brb/16fgeu300lbstwth7brb
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01IDRWPG8/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Please tell me about your home gym setups
« Reply #13 on: March 04, 2019, 07:28:09 PM »
Will this be very visible to guests/anyone over/in general?

If so, I would personally be conscious about how much I really “skimp” in the quality department as I wouldn’t want anything overly tacky, despite what a “bargain” it is.

I’ve been lifting no stop for over 15 years at easily 50+ gyms over the country and many over the world. In large, gym equipment would not be something I would personally skimp on quality. There’s a huge difference between a weight bench from some box store, and a commercial weight bench. Same with the rack, weights, etc. If you can find real, quality equipment, used, that will probably be your best bet.

Good point! Yes, it will either be actually IN the guest room or on the way there.

Apparently wall-mounted folding racks are a thing. That could be an option, either for the basement for even for the garage. (With sawhorses as safety supports :-). )

Research-Geek

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Re: Please tell me about your home gym setups
« Reply #14 on: March 05, 2019, 06:10:04 AM »
a good quality set of adjustable dumbells like powerblocks doesn't take up any space and pair that with a  simple sturdy bench and you can do almost any exercise you need. 
For cramped spaces, you could also throw in some inexpensive power bands.  A pull up bar that mounts to a doorway is also something simple to pull out without taking up space or much money from your wallet.   

 I have these and also an old universal ( because I had the space) all purchased off Craigslist.  My SO at the time thought it was a waste of space but my teenagers and I have all spent time together with strength training and it has been a great bonding time.

FIRE@50

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Re: Please tell me about your home gym setups
« Reply #15 on: March 05, 2019, 07:31:42 AM »
My horse mats did smell like new tires when I first got them. I put them out on the deck and gave them a good washing before I put them in the basement. They still had an odor for a while but eventually went away.

Ftao93

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Re: Please tell me about your home gym setups
« Reply #16 on: March 05, 2019, 07:52:04 AM »
We have some adjustable bowflex dbells and a small bench.

When we move into a proper house, I'd like to get a new bench/squat cage.   I think the setup would run @$1k or so for a cage, bars, weights, and a weight tree + some rubber floormats.  This assumes my wife would also use it, because I'd be hesitant to do so only for myself.

Currently I work out at work (we have a fairly nice gym setup).  But I may change jobs, and they only have dumbbells that go up to a certain size.

My Dwarven frame of 5'7" is stocky, so I need more than 150lbs to bench.  I can squat well over 400, which I can't just pick up off the ground.

You can buy the smaller bars and such pretty well on Amazon, and depending on your area can find them used for cheap!

GuitarStv

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Re: Please tell me about your home gym setups
« Reply #17 on: March 05, 2019, 08:11:08 AM »
We have some adjustable bowflex dbells and a small bench.

When we move into a proper house, I'd like to get a new bench/squat cage.   I think the setup would run @$1k or so for a cage, bars, weights, and a weight tree + some rubber floormats.  This assumes my wife would also use it, because I'd be hesitant to do so only for myself.

Currently I work out at work (we have a fairly nice gym setup).  But I may change jobs, and they only have dumbbells that go up to a certain size.

My Dwarven frame of 5'7" is stocky, so I need more than 150lbs to bench.  I can squat well over 400, which I can't just pick up off the ground.

You can buy the smaller bars and such pretty well on Amazon, and depending on your area can find them used for cheap!

I'd have assumed that you would have fired up your forges and crafted a squat rack from mithril by now my good sir.

Case

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Re: Please tell me about your home gym setups
« Reply #18 on: March 06, 2019, 10:24:03 AM »
I'm getting ready to buy a house and I want to expand my home workout options. Here's my situation.

Me: I am a 38-year-old lady of unusually small stature (4'11") with two school age boys and a husband who has expressed interest in doing some strength training if he didn't have to leave home. Current abilities: When I've been training each exercise, I can deadlift 167, bench almost 90, and squat about 155.

The house situation: We have a small nook in the basement that could be used for this purpose. However, the master bedroom is also downstairs, and it's just one big piece of carpet, and I see no easy way to have different flooring in just the gym nook.

My other choices: I have an annual membership to the city rec centers that costs me $150. My primary complaint is that not all the centers have women's bars, and I can't lift a men's bar nearly as well because of my doll-size hands. Another wrinkle is that they are often closed when I want to work out and the child care is either not very useful to me or nonexistent. We are considering having another baby, which would make it even harder to get to the gym (and even the one that does have childcare only takes kids ages 1 and walking up to 7).

So I am toying with the idea of setting up a full-scale home gym, power rack, bench, the whole thing. I am also considering keeping my cheap membership, bullying them into adding women's bars, and using my home gym as my secondary option. In that scenario, I definitely wouldn't have a squat rack and probably not a bench press station either, but I would do things like suspension exercises/core work, one-legged balance-type things, and upper body dumbbell exercises.

Our house is small, and if we didn't have a giant home gym, then we would have room for a craft/gaming table.

Does anyone have recommendations for me? What are your setups like?

I recently went through the process of building a home gym, and will try to summarize all of they key lessons I learned.

I built a basement gym; it has a power rack and a treadmill.  I plan to eventually added adjustable dumbbells.  I prefer to get Ironmasters, but they are expensive.  The Powerblocks and Bowflex each have drawbacks which I'd like to avoid (powerblocks have a weird shapes which interfere with some exercises.  Bowflex are too wide and break eventually... though they are inexpensive at least).

I bought a power rack from Titan fitness ($350), and built a lifting platform onto which I bolted the rack (total money spent, maybe ~$200).  I bought a Rogue olympic bar ($200), and off-brand bench (~$200), but new olympic plates (~$150).  This generally followed frugal principles, and I have been happy.

I could have built everything as GuitarStv did... though I decided to just but stuff since I had a partial reimbursement from my workplace.  I was also concerned about safety aspects related to whether homebuilt wooden stuff would hold up during a fail with heavy weight... or the sawhorses falling over.  Fast-forward, and I injured my lower back in an unknown way during squats, and so I'm not squatting heavy anyways, so YMMV as to what is actually worth what.  Since then, I have started some simple 2x4 furniture construction, and realize that I could relatively easily have built myself a a rack out of wood.  It would have been more work, and I wouldn't have saved that much money, and there would always been the concerns about rep failure on a heavy set.

If you research Titan Fitness, you will find a lot of criticisms.  They are cheap and Chinese-made steel, generally of lower quality than Rogue.  But, value-wise they are way higher than Rogue, since Rogue is insanely expensive.  Most people posting on youtube are not at all frugal and are ok with dumping thousands of dollars into a home gym when there is only marginal benefit on the cost/quality curve.  there are other cheap Chinese steel racks of varying quality (rep fitness, for example), and you can research around.  In the end, the construction quality of my Titan rack was more than sufficient, and unless you are doing very very heavy weight, there is no reason to worry about... and actually there are videos out there of stress tests on the Titan equipment, and it does fine.  The only real issue with Titan is that their customer service sucks, and they routinely mess up shipping and deliveries, so you may have to deal with late shipments and go through their phone service a lot to track down your order ... but eventually you will get your rack.

I bought a Rogue bar because from what I could tell, the consensus was that it was worth it to invest in a high quality bar, while the rack itself did not matter.

I bought a Rep fitness bench because the titan one's are poorly reviewed.

Generally it is recommended to buy cheap used weights off of craigslist.  I searched for a while, but never found the right deal in my local area.  I didn't want to spend oogles of time finding used weights, so eventually I just bought off-brand new olympic plates at ~1$/lb.  They work fine.

Do not get the cheap Fitness Gear plates which someone else here recommended, if you plan to deadlift.  Their size is not olympic, and you don't want to mess with non-standard sizes for deadlifts.  Also, these weights have reputations for occasionally snapping.  For exercises that don't involve the weights touching anything other than the bar (e.g. the floor), the cheapest weight you can find is the best.

I build my own lifting platform using several 4'x8' plywood sheets from home depot, and the horse stall mats from Tractor Supply Co.  I had to rent a truck from Home Depot.  There are plans on how to do this all over the internet.  It's easy, but does take a little work.  It is definitely a good idea to bolt down a power rack.  The rubber smell of the mats goes away eventually.  For deadlifting, you do want a platform; otherwise you will damage your floor.

My home gym was not to hard to assemble, and the power rack looks relatively impressive... it usually impresses people when they see it.  Of course, a gym snob what turn their nose up at cheap Chinese steel, but fuck them, mine is just as functional, and looks decent even if not perfect.  If you are really into support American-made stuff, then it might make sense to buy Rogue, but be prepared for sticker shock with no-if-any tangible benefits. 

If you do decide to buy a power rack, make sure to measure your ceiling height and choose one that will fit.  I had a weird height ceiling and had to find the right rack.  This might also impact gym vs basement, and make you think about what you want.  Short power racks don't allow for pull ups with your legs fully extended, or at all if your head is going to hit the ceiling.

A final thought; if you can get a decent power rack used, that's another way to save money, but transporting a power rack can be non-trivial, even if you dissemble it.

My wife handled the purchase of the treadmill; I let her handle the research etc on this since she is the more serious runner, but I have been giving that thing a run for its money with some fast miles.  Hopefully it lasts!
« Last Edit: March 06, 2019, 10:43:14 AM by Case »

mm1970

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Re: Please tell me about your home gym setups
« Reply #19 on: March 06, 2019, 10:36:00 AM »
a good quality set of adjustable dumbells like powerblocks doesn't take up any space and pair that with a  simple sturdy bench and you can do almost any exercise you need. 
For cramped spaces, you could also throw in some inexpensive power bands.  A pull up bar that mounts to a doorway is also something simple to pull out without taking up space or much money from your wallet.   

 I have these and also an old universal ( because I had the space) all purchased off Craigslist.  My SO at the time thought it was a waste of space but my teenagers and I have all spent time together with strength training and it has been a great bonding time.
I was going to say this.

I'm not a super-big lifter, so I can make do with this type of setup (I don't need to bench a ton or squat, etc.)

I did, however, just join another gym so that I can lift more, and bigger, sooo....

My home setup is mostly dumbbells and adjustable ones, because I only really use it 1-2x a week (when I want to sleep in, or husband is traveling, or it's raining...)

I'm more of a social exerciser anyway, so a full scale home gym wouldn't be my thing. 

Case

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Re: Please tell me about your home gym setups
« Reply #20 on: March 06, 2019, 10:47:23 AM »
a good quality set of adjustable dumbells like powerblocks doesn't take up any space and pair that with a  simple sturdy bench and you can do almost any exercise you need. 
For cramped spaces, you could also throw in some inexpensive power bands.  A pull up bar that mounts to a doorway is also something simple to pull out without taking up space or much money from your wallet.   

 I have these and also an old universal ( because I had the space) all purchased off Craigslist.  My SO at the time thought it was a waste of space but my teenagers and I have all spent time together with strength training and it has been a great bonding time.
I was going to say this.

I'm not a super-big lifter, so I can make do with this type of setup (I don't need to bench a ton or squat, etc.)

I did, however, just join another gym so that I can lift more, and bigger, sooo....

My home setup is mostly dumbbells and adjustable ones, because I only really use it 1-2x a week (when I want to sleep in, or husband is traveling, or it's raining...)

I'm more of a social exerciser anyway, so a full scale home gym wouldn't be my thing.

This is a good point; don't forget the importance of lifting alone at home vs with people at a gym.

I personally wish I had a regular lifting buddy.  I had that back in college and it helped immensely.

But, since my original lifting buddy, I have never been able reproduce the situation.  I have had various lifting buddies, and all have been disappointing; some showed up late, some wanted to do their own thing (e.g. wouldnt agree to a consistent regimen), some weren't hardcore enough, etc...  I probably should have looked more into finding a good partner or group to exercise with, but now I am stuck with a home gym and am mostly forced to lift alone!  Good news is that I didn't spend much on the gym.  Long story short, is definitely don't invest a large amount of money in your home gym.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2019, 11:07:57 AM by Case »

Candace

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Re: Please tell me about your home gym setups
« Reply #21 on: March 06, 2019, 11:03:45 AM »
Re flooring, would a large carpet remnant in a reasonable color work? It might look better than gym flooring if the area is going to be visible to people who come to your house. And if it's a remnant, you won't care if the weights come down on it kind of hard. It will smell better than the rubber stuff, too.

My husband and I work out together on the weekday mornings right in our bedroom. We use kettlebells for several exercises and also just do bodyweight exercise like push-ups and yoga. The kettlebells just slide under the bed when not in use. It works for us, which is convenient because a squat bar setup would definitely take up some room. However, it's great exercise so if you're already into it, that's fantastic for you and totally worth figuring out how to make it work. Perhaps a big piece of fabric could be draped over it during the day if it's too unsightly.

GuitarStv

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Re: Please tell me about your home gym setups
« Reply #22 on: March 06, 2019, 11:19:05 AM »
Carpet absorbs sweat and then is very difficult to clean properly.  I like my rubber mats because you can just mop them.  It might be fine if you don't work out hard enough to sweat . . . but why have a home gym at all then?  :P

Also, I wouldn't count on much protection from carpet if you actually drop a weight.

Research-Geek

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Re: Please tell me about your home gym setups
« Reply #23 on: March 06, 2019, 11:48:21 AM »
Re flooring, would a large carpet remnant in a reasonable color work? It might look better than gym flooring if the area is going to be visible to people who come to your house. And if it's a remnant, you won't care if the weights come down on it kind of hard. It will smell better than the rubber stuff, too.

My husband and I work out together on the weekday mornings right in our bedroom. We use kettlebells for several exercises and also just do bodyweight exercise like push-ups and yoga. The kettlebells just slide under the bed when not in use. It works for us, which is convenient because a squat bar setup would definitely take up some room. However, it's great exercise so if you're already into it, that's fantastic for you and totally worth figuring out how to make it work. Perhaps a big piece of fabric could be draped over it during the day if it's too unsightly.

This is kinda what we have. A simple carpet over top of a rubber truck bed liner. Works great!


« Last Edit: March 06, 2019, 11:51:59 AM by Research-Geek »

Johnez

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Re: Please tell me about your home gym setups
« Reply #24 on: March 06, 2019, 08:15:34 PM »
I pretty much followed these plans to build (or cheaply buy) all my weight lifting equipment:


http://homemadestrength.blogspot.com/2011/04/saw-horse-safety-stands_28.html
http://homemadestrength.blogspot.com/2011/05/strongest-bench-youll-never-buy.html
http://homemadestrength.blogspot.com/2011/04/more-than-just-squat-stands.html

I think it ended up costing under 150$ in total (although I used some scrap lumber and fastners lying around from other projects).  I've had over 300 lbs on the squat stands with no problems.  If you're worried about the floor, just get some horse stall mats.  These are very thick (usually around an inch or more) rubber mats that will absorb the energy of a dropped weight very well.

I would never go back to a commercial gym after having my home gym.  It's just so much more convenient and better.

This is badass, thanks for sharing. I'm thinking a pull-up bar on top of that squat rack would hit the spot perfectly for me.

dcozad999

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Re: Please tell me about your home gym setups
« Reply #25 on: March 07, 2019, 12:45:25 PM »
I'm getting ready to buy a house and I want to expand my home workout options. Here's my situation.

Me: I am a 38-year-old lady of unusually small stature (4'11") with two school age boys and a husband who has expressed interest in doing some strength training if he didn't have to leave home. Current abilities: When I've been training each exercise, I can deadlift 167, bench almost 90, and squat about 155.

The house situation: We have a small nook in the basement that could be used for this purpose. However, the master bedroom is also downstairs, and it's just one big piece of carpet, and I see no easy way to have different flooring in just the gym nook.

My other choices: I have an annual membership to the city rec centers that costs me $150. My primary complaint is that not all the centers have women's bars, and I can't lift a men's bar nearly as well because of my doll-size hands. Another wrinkle is that they are often closed when I want to work out and the child care is either not very useful to me or nonexistent. We are considering having another baby, which would make it even harder to get to the gym (and even the one that does have childcare only takes kids ages 1 and walking up to 7).

So I am toying with the idea of setting up a full-scale home gym, power rack, bench, the whole thing. I am also considering keeping my cheap membership, bullying them into adding women's bars, and using my home gym as my secondary option. In that scenario, I definitely wouldn't have a squat rack and probably not a bench press station either, but I would do things like suspension exercises/core work, one-legged balance-type things, and upper body dumbbell exercises.

Our house is small, and if we didn't have a giant home gym, then we would have room for a craft/gaming table.

Does anyone have recommendations for me? What are your setups like?

I recently went through the process of building a home gym, and will try to summarize all of they key lessons I learned.

I built a basement gym; it has a power rack and a treadmill.  I plan to eventually added adjustable dumbbells.  I prefer to get Ironmasters, but they are expensive.  The Powerblocks and Bowflex each have drawbacks which I'd like to avoid (powerblocks have a weird shapes which interfere with some exercises.  Bowflex are too wide and break eventually... though they are inexpensive at least).

I bought a power rack from Titan fitness ($350), and built a lifting platform onto which I bolted the rack (total money spent, maybe ~$200).  I bought a Rogue olympic bar ($200), and off-brand bench (~$200), but new olympic plates (~$150).  This generally followed frugal principles, and I have been happy.

I could have built everything as GuitarStv did... though I decided to just but stuff since I had a partial reimbursement from my workplace.  I was also concerned about safety aspects related to whether homebuilt wooden stuff would hold up during a fail with heavy weight... or the sawhorses falling over.  Fast-forward, and I injured my lower back in an unknown way during squats, and so I'm not squatting heavy anyways, so YMMV as to what is actually worth what.  Since then, I have started some simple 2x4 furniture construction, and realize that I could relatively easily have built myself a a rack out of wood.  It would have been more work, and I wouldn't have saved that much money, and there would always been the concerns about rep failure on a heavy set.

If you research Titan Fitness, you will find a lot of criticisms.  They are cheap and Chinese-made steel, generally of lower quality than Rogue.  But, value-wise they are way higher than Rogue, since Rogue is insanely expensive.  Most people posting on youtube are not at all frugal and are ok with dumping thousands of dollars into a home gym when there is only marginal benefit on the cost/quality curve.  there are other cheap Chinese steel racks of varying quality (rep fitness, for example), and you can research around.  In the end, the construction quality of my Titan rack was more than sufficient, and unless you are doing very very heavy weight, there is no reason to worry about... and actually there are videos out there of stress tests on the Titan equipment, and it does fine.  The only real issue with Titan is that their customer service sucks, and they routinely mess up shipping and deliveries, so you may have to deal with late shipments and go through their phone service a lot to track down your order ... but eventually you will get your rack.

I bought a Rogue bar because from what I could tell, the consensus was that it was worth it to invest in a high quality bar, while the rack itself did not matter.

I bought a Rep fitness bench because the titan one's are poorly reviewed.

Generally it is recommended to buy cheap used weights off of craigslist.  I searched for a while, but never found the right deal in my local area.  I didn't want to spend oogles of time finding used weights, so eventually I just bought off-brand new olympic plates at ~1$/lb.  They work fine.

Do not get the cheap Fitness Gear plates which someone else here recommended, if you plan to deadlift.  Their size is not olympic, and you don't want to mess with non-standard sizes for deadlifts.  Also, these weights have reputations for occasionally snapping.  For exercises that don't involve the weights touching anything other than the bar (e.g. the floor), the cheapest weight you can find is the best.

I build my own lifting platform using several 4'x8' plywood sheets from home depot, and the horse stall mats from Tractor Supply Co.  I had to rent a truck from Home Depot.  There are plans on how to do this all over the internet.  It's easy, but does take a little work.  It is definitely a good idea to bolt down a power rack.  The rubber smell of the mats goes away eventually.  For deadlifting, you do want a platform; otherwise you will damage your floor.

My home gym was not to hard to assemble, and the power rack looks relatively impressive... it usually impresses people when they see it.  Of course, a gym snob what turn their nose up at cheap Chinese steel, but fuck them, mine is just as functional, and looks decent even if not perfect.  If you are really into support American-made stuff, then it might make sense to buy Rogue, but be prepared for sticker shock with no-if-any tangible benefits. 

If you do decide to buy a power rack, make sure to measure your ceiling height and choose one that will fit.  I had a weird height ceiling and had to find the right rack.  This might also impact gym vs basement, and make you think about what you want.  Short power racks don't allow for pull ups with your legs fully extended, or at all if your head is going to hit the ceiling.

A final thought; if you can get a decent power rack used, that's another way to save money, but transporting a power rack can be non-trivial, even if you dissemble it.

My wife handled the purchase of the treadmill; I let her handle the research etc on this since she is the more serious runner, but I have been giving that thing a run for its money with some fast miles.  Hopefully it lasts!



Perhaps it's a dumb question, but wouldn't one pair of standard 45 lb plates in addition to the fitness gear set be sufficient?  If you don't drop it of course.  I haven't done a lot of deadlifting but I plan to start as soon as I get over this quad injury.

Last fall I upgraded from a flat bench with 70 lb powerblocks to the power rack below and the 300 lb fitness gear set. It was $150 and I just couldn't pass it up. I looked hard at the Titan Fitness racks, but went with the one below so I wouldn't have to walk the bar through the side of the rack every day. Especially with the limited space on the sides in my workout area.  I do have a Titan pullup bar attached to the wall and it is rock solid.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00VKGLWUU/ref=oh_aui_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Please tell me about your home gym setups
« Reply #26 on: March 07, 2019, 01:40:07 PM »
Carpet absorbs sweat and then is very difficult to clean properly.  I like my rubber mats because you can just mop them.  It might be fine if you don't work out hard enough to sweat . . . but why have a home gym at all then?  :P

Also, I wouldn't count on much protection from carpet if you actually drop a weight.

I am a Lady. I do not sweat, I glow. Seriously, I've never been one to sweat heavily, it just isn't my physiology. But since my home gym might be appealing to my husband, or to the teenage boys who will be living in my house before I know it, it is wise to have this concern in mind.

@Case--interesting about the Fitness Gear plates. I've always deadlifted with 35 lb plates. My reasoning is that I am 4'11" tall. If I'm using the same diameter plates as a normal-sized human, wouldn't I be shortening my range of motion? My gym doesn't have bumper plates, too, so using 35 lbs was the only way I could get a reasonable warm-up weight happening.

@Research-Geek,  that's an interesting idea! If I add any kind of floor covering, it needs to be something that permits other uses of the space, which horse mats don't. Seems like something like your solution would be less cumbersome.

We are moving in next weekend and I'll know more about how our stuff fits in the space as we get it set up.

economista

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Re: Please tell me about your home gym setups
« Reply #27 on: March 07, 2019, 01:42:58 PM »
Ugh - attempt #3 - the internets are eating this post over and over again today :(

@La Bibliotecaria Feroz - We just finished setting up our home gym in half of our garage. We bought a lot more equipment than you will likely need because we wanted to continue doing the routines we did at the Olympic Training Center. We got a power rack, a bench, over 400# of bumper plates, two barbells, a TRX system, a large plyo box, a double kettlebell set from 12# to 48#, medicine balls, slam balls, a rowing machine, stall mats, and the stands for the weights. All in it was $3800.

We did a lot of research and we ended up buying everything from REP fitness in North Denver. Most places that offer free shipping build the shipping cost into the price you pay, but REP doesn't so if you are local and can pick it up yourself it is WAY cheaper. They also have a clearance room where you can grab a lot of stuff. If I remember correctly they even had a smaller power rack that is made for basement height ceilings that was in the $200-$300 range. When I put together a bare-bones list of exactly what I would need to do basic workouts it only came to around $500 total from REP. Then we had to add to it since Mr E deadlifts 300# as a warm-up set.  REP has a showroom near the Grizzly Rose where you can go and try out everything - I highly recommend at least checking it out. 

economista

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Re: Please tell me about your home gym setups
« Reply #28 on: March 07, 2019, 01:50:18 PM »
I have pictures that won't load as attachments :( It says they are too big but I checked the properties and they are no where near being too big. Oh well.

Edited to maybe add the pictures as links. We'll see if this works.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1PQAaWBimxcmX5u9EqH6EJSRv0e67EWkv/view?usp=sharing

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1JW6GnHa-JPTSQzug3ZDudQ8VzRiRts0j/view?usp=sharing
« Last Edit: March 07, 2019, 02:03:34 PM by economista »

GuitarStv

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Re: Please tell me about your home gym setups
« Reply #29 on: March 07, 2019, 02:17:29 PM »
Carpet absorbs sweat and then is very difficult to clean properly.  I like my rubber mats because you can just mop them.  It might be fine if you don't work out hard enough to sweat . . . but why have a home gym at all then?  :P

Also, I wouldn't count on much protection from carpet if you actually drop a weight.

I am a Lady. I do not sweat, I glow. Seriously, I've never been one to sweat heavily, it just isn't my physiology. But since my home gym might be appealing to my husband, or to the teenage boys who will be living in my house before I know it, it is wise to have this concern in mind.

As with everything, YMMV.

I used to box regularly, and we would warm up by skipping on the spot for 15 - 20 minutes.  At the end of the warm up each bounce from the floor was accompanied by a splash of sweat from the puddle that had accumulated beneath me.

:P



I pretty much followed these plans to build (or cheaply buy) all my weight lifting equipment:


http://homemadestrength.blogspot.com/2011/04/saw-horse-safety-stands_28.html
http://homemadestrength.blogspot.com/2011/05/strongest-bench-youll-never-buy.html
http://homemadestrength.blogspot.com/2011/04/more-than-just-squat-stands.html

I think it ended up costing under 150$ in total (although I used some scrap lumber and fastners lying around from other projects).  I've had over 300 lbs on the squat stands with no problems.  If you're worried about the floor, just get some horse stall mats.  These are very thick (usually around an inch or more) rubber mats that will absorb the energy of a dropped weight very well.

I would never go back to a commercial gym after having my home gym.  It's just so much more convenient and better.

This is badass, thanks for sharing. I'm thinking a pull-up bar on top of that squat rack would hit the spot perfectly for me.

Building the bench with scrap lumber and piece of an old door I found on the side of the road (much easier to do than I thought it would be):




Completed gym setup (horse-stall mats, bench, safeties, uprights, whiteboard to record performance, mirror - because how else will you see how awesome you are?):



I built a pull-up bar with a three foot length of steel pipe and some scrap wood.  Drill holes in the wood, insert the pipe, screw the wood into the ceiling.  It works pretty well.  Every three or four years the screws work loose and need to be tightened though.

(I initially tried rigging up the pull-up bar with rope, but found that swinging from side to side trying to balance made my pull-ups suck).

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Please tell me about your home gym setups
« Reply #30 on: March 07, 2019, 02:30:22 PM »
@economista, wow, your setup is so shiny! It's nice to have that figure for what a really Cadillac setup would cost :-).  I will definitely check out Rep Fitness once we're settled and I have a better idea of how much stuff I'll have room for!

@GuitarStv, thanks for sharing your other-end-of-the-spectrum pics :-). I'm actually really interested in the homemade stands because they aren't as space-consuming as a power rack. But it seems like they would only work for me... I might, y'know, make a friend or want to work out with my husband or something.

My husband has relatively small hands for a dude so he could probably share my barbell, at least until he could tell if he was really interested or not.

GuitarStv

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Re: Please tell me about your home gym setups
« Reply #31 on: March 07, 2019, 02:36:02 PM »
They are pretty awesome because everything can be moved out of the way.  The sawhorses collapse pretty small, and you can roll the uprights in their buckets out of the way to move them around (although they're heavy, so this is still a lot of work).

FWIW, My wife and I both use the same stands to work out.  When in doubt, cut them so that they're at the perfect level for the shorter person.  The taller person will have no problem bending an extra couple inches while racking/un-racking the weight.

LifeHappens

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Re: Please tell me about your home gym setups
« Reply #32 on: March 08, 2019, 09:42:56 AM »
Feroz, as a fellow petite person, be sure to try out squatting with sawhorses before you buy. Maybe grab a broom or something :) I found I could not squat full range of motion with the set my DH already had, but they do come in different sizes so you might find one that works for you.

GuitarStv

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Re: Please tell me about your home gym setups
« Reply #33 on: March 08, 2019, 11:09:21 AM »
The saw horses I use and would recommend are adjustable, which gets over much of the problem of not being the right size.

brute

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Re: Please tell me about your home gym setups
« Reply #34 on: March 08, 2019, 11:21:11 AM »
My home gym is overkill for most people. However, since I tend to lift things easily heavy enough to kill me if I miss a lift, it's worth the extra cost. I'm in this gym at least 5 days a week. I'd have to drive 60+ miles to find a place that I can train in properly, so it works out.

In addition to the rack and bench in the photo (along with the power bar and yoke bar) I have a horse stall mat platform, an axle, farmers walk handles, sandbags (200, 250, 300 pounds) a deadlift bar, and bumper plates. I'll be adding a log and a sled at some point.

I love this gym. I couldn't keep the same level of strength without it, and competing in strongman is a great joy in my life. However, for those who don't do that, the Titan fitness gear seems great. Inexpensive, sturdy, and safe. DIY power racks worry me a little, I just can't quite trust them enough to catch a heavy squat or bench if I miss. But if you aren't going into the 400+ pound range for lifts, probably not an issue.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Please tell me about your home gym setups
« Reply #35 on: March 08, 2019, 01:25:04 PM »
Feroz, as a fellow petite person, be sure to try out squatting with sawhorses before you buy. Maybe grab a broom or something :) I found I could not squat full range of motion with the set my DH already had, but they do come in different sizes so you might find one that works for you.

This is a good suggestion--perhaps I will bring a tape measure to the gym I visit and measure the supports!

They are pretty awesome because everything can be moved out of the way.  The sawhorses collapse pretty small, and you can roll the uprights in their buckets out of the way to move them around (although they're heavy, so this is still a lot of work).

FWIW, My wife and I both use the same stands to work out.  When in doubt, cut them so that they're at the perfect level for the shorter person.  The taller person will have no problem bending an extra couple inches while racking/un-racking the weight.

I'm not convinced that ducking an extra entire foot is super-practical, but we could wait until that problem actually develops before trying to solve it. I also use lower support when I bench press. On a standard three-notch station, I move the bar down into the middle notch before I start because I have tyrannosaurus arms. (I always have to explain this to random people at the gym whom I ask to spot me. If I don't see someone I know, I ask women first, followed by older men, then very young men, with men close to my own age being the last choice, to avoid giving the impression that I am hitting on anyone, although this is probably just paranoia). Which might not be comfortable for a normal person.

@brute, that is a very impressive setup! It sounds like your dollar per minute of enjoyment ratio is pretty favorable in your personal situation. I'm more of a "pretty strong for a librarian" kind of gal :-).

Case

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Re: Please tell me about your home gym setups
« Reply #36 on: March 10, 2019, 06:08:09 AM »
Carpet absorbs sweat and then is very difficult to clean properly.  I like my rubber mats because you can just mop them.  It might be fine if you don't work out hard enough to sweat . . . but why have a home gym at all then?  :P

Also, I wouldn't count on much protection from carpet if you actually drop a weight.

I am a Lady. I do not sweat, I glow. Seriously, I've never been one to sweat heavily, it just isn't my physiology. But since my home gym might be appealing to my husband, or to the teenage boys who will be living in my house before I know it, it is wise to have this concern in mind.

@Case--interesting about the Fitness Gear plates. I've always deadlifted with 35 lb plates. My reasoning is that I am 4'11" tall. If I'm using the same diameter plates as a normal-sized human, wouldn't I be shortening my range of motion? My gym doesn't have bumper plates, too, so using 35 lbs was the only way I could get a reasonable warm-up weight happening.

@Research-Geek,  that's an interesting idea! If I add any kind of floor covering, it needs to be something that permits other uses of the space, which horse mats don't. Seems like something like your solution would be less cumbersome.

We are moving in next weekend and I'll know more about how our stuff fits in the space as we get it set up.

Thta is a good point.  Shorter than average height might make them fit you better.

The other downfall of fitness gear is that i believe they have holes in them, which structurally weakens them.  Will this actually matter? Not sure. 

If you do go with fitness gear, wait till a sale, and then pick them up at the store to save on shipping.

ny ny

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Re: Please tell me about your home gym setups
« Reply #37 on: March 11, 2019, 08:29:57 AM »
I just have floor mats, a yoga mat, powerblocks I bought on sale for $50 (for the whole pair!), a pull up bar in a doorway, and a simple folding chair I bought for $10.  If you know what you're doing, it's really all you need.

I rotate between doing P90X, P90X3, and Insanity workouts.  As long as you're not trying to be super huge, you don't need to spend a whole lot or even have a bench to get fit.  It's all about the routine you do.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Please tell me about your home gym setups
« Reply #38 on: March 12, 2019, 05:28:32 PM »
I just have floor mats, a yoga mat, powerblocks I bought on sale for $50 (for the whole pair!), a pull up bar in a doorway, and a simple folding chair I bought for $10.  If you know what you're doing, it's really all you need.

I rotate between doing P90X, P90X3, and Insanity workouts.  As long as you're not trying to be super huge, you don't need to spend a whole lot or even have a bench to get fit.  It's all about the routine you do.

Eh, I'm sure it CAN be enough. The thing is that I ENJOY barbell lifting and I'm not sure I would personally get enough intellectual stimulation and lifting satisfaction without it!

I'm excited about being able to expand my equipment one way or another, though, because tomorrow is the second time this week I've missed my workout (the schools are going to be closed, boo) and I'm fixing to lose my ever loving mind. I can't even use my suspension trainer because it's packed. My entire available workout resources are 15 lb dumbbells and a chin up bar.

KBecks

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Re: Please tell me about your home gym setups
« Reply #39 on: March 12, 2019, 06:20:57 PM »
@economista, wow, your setup is so shiny! It's nice to have that figure for what a really Cadillac setup would cost :-).  I will definitely check out Rep Fitness once we're settled and I have a better idea of how much stuff I'll have room for!


How about you just make economista your new workout buddy? 

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Please tell me about your home gym setups
« Reply #40 on: March 12, 2019, 06:33:59 PM »
@economista, wow, your setup is so shiny! It's nice to have that figure for what a really Cadillac setup would cost :-).  I will definitely check out Rep Fitness once we're settled and I have a better idea of how much stuff I'll have room for!


How about you just make economista your new workout buddy?

LOL, I think she has her husband for that!

Slow2FIRE

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My home gym
« Reply #41 on: March 12, 2019, 09:03:34 PM »
My Gym Setup:

Squat rack with pullup bars (standard and "fat")
Squat rack includes safety arms
Decent barbell - I'm not doing olympic lifts so I didn't go crazy spending on a fancy barbell
Bumper plates (protect the house)
2 inch thick "Thug Mats" for deadlifting and rows (protect the house)
Used horsestall mats (1/2" rubber to protect the house)
Walmart $35 wire rack that claims to have 300lb capacity per shelf (I don't believe it, but it has held up so far with my being careful). I store dumbbells and random odds and ends on it.
Used Powerblocks from Craigslist with "open box" expansions from Amazon up to 90lbs
Used powerblock kettlebell (to 40lbs)
Hex dumbbells (5lb, 8lb, 10lb, 12lb, 15lb, 20lb - wife's)
Two 2.5lb wrist weights to complete the powerblocks (powerblocks give you 15lbs, 17.5lbs, 20lbs, 25lbs, 27.5lbs, 30lbs, etc skipping a 2.5lb jump at 22.5, 32.5, 42.5, etc)
Gymnast rings and straps for isometrics and also so my wife can do TRX type workouts
Used Incline bench was basically free with the powerblocks.  (50lb Powerblocks plus incline bench cost $200 total on craigslist)
Flat bench
Used High pulley / Low pulley system (plate loaded).  I bolted it to a sheet of plywood for stability.
Assorted handles for pulley system
Homemade cable crossover (pulleys, cables and hardware pipe fittings).
Homemade agility ladder
Homemade 0.5lb fractional weight magnet packs x4
Whiteboard with markers so I can track what I'm doing each day (write down what I plan to do and track what I actually did)
Exercise ball (from family member)
Bosu ball (from family member)
Chalk
Assorted yoga gear
Old dog leash for weighted dips, pullups/chinups
Resistance bands
Jump rope
Foam roller
Speakers

I love having a gym in my home and I love that my wife allows me to have it as a kind of centerpiece in the living room.  My squat rack was a little too tall for where she really wanted me to keep the gym and we use the garage for her car and my workshop (no basement either).

All my bench pressing is done in the squat rack relying upon the squat safeties as my spotter.  The rack has semi-close spacing (I think it is 2" center to center spacing for the holes) so I have enough adjustability to feel confident that I won't get injured and I always try never lift to failure (leave 1 in the tank).

« Last Edit: March 12, 2019, 09:06:14 PM by Slow2FIRE »

economista

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Re: Please tell me about your home gym setups
« Reply #42 on: March 13, 2019, 12:00:25 PM »
@economista, wow, your setup is so shiny! It's nice to have that figure for what a really Cadillac setup would cost :-).  I will definitely check out Rep Fitness once we're settled and I have a better idea of how much stuff I'll have room for!


How about you just make economista your new workout buddy?

Haha, I wouldn't be against having a workout buddy, but it would defeat the purpose of LBF being able to workout at home on her own time schedule.

dcozad999

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Re: Please tell me about your home gym setups
« Reply #43 on: March 13, 2019, 12:35:25 PM »
I'm getting ready to buy a house and I want to expand my home workout options. Here's my situation.

Me: I am a 38-year-old lady of unusually small stature (4'11") with two school age boys and a husband who has expressed interest in doing some strength training if he didn't have to leave home. Current abilities: When I've been training each exercise, I can deadlift 167, bench almost 90, and squat about 155.

The house situation: We have a small nook in the basement that could be used for this purpose. However, the master bedroom is also downstairs, and it's just one big piece of carpet, and I see no easy way to have different flooring in just the gym nook.

My other choices: I have an annual membership to the city rec centers that costs me $150. My primary complaint is that not all the centers have women's bars, and I can't lift a men's bar nearly as well because of my doll-size hands. Another wrinkle is that they are often closed when I want to work out and the child care is either not very useful to me or nonexistent. We are considering having another baby, which would make it even harder to get to the gym (and even the one that does have childcare only takes kids ages 1 and walking up to 7).

So I am toying with the idea of setting up a full-scale home gym, power rack, bench, the whole thing. I am also considering keeping my cheap membership, bullying them into adding women's bars, and using my home gym as my secondary option. In that scenario, I definitely wouldn't have a squat rack and probably not a bench press station either, but I would do things like suspension exercises/core work, one-legged balance-type things, and upper body dumbbell exercises.

Our house is small, and if we didn't have a giant home gym, then we would have room for a craft/gaming table.

Does anyone have recommendations for me? What are your setups like?

I recently went through the process of building a home gym, and will try to summarize all of they key lessons I learned.

I built a basement gym; it has a power rack and a treadmill.  I plan to eventually added adjustable dumbbells.  I prefer to get Ironmasters, but they are expensive.  The Powerblocks and Bowflex each have drawbacks which I'd like to avoid (powerblocks have a weird shapes which interfere with some exercises.  Bowflex are too wide and break eventually... though they are inexpensive at least).

I bought a power rack from Titan fitness ($350), and built a lifting platform onto which I bolted the rack (total money spent, maybe ~$200).  I bought a Rogue olympic bar ($200), and off-brand bench (~$200), but new olympic plates (~$150).  This generally followed frugal principles, and I have been happy.

I could have built everything as GuitarStv did... though I decided to just but stuff since I had a partial reimbursement from my workplace.  I was also concerned about safety aspects related to whether homebuilt wooden stuff would hold up during a fail with heavy weight... or the sawhorses falling over.  Fast-forward, and I injured my lower back in an unknown way during squats, and so I'm not squatting heavy anyways, so YMMV as to what is actually worth what.  Since then, I have started some simple 2x4 furniture construction, and realize that I could relatively easily have built myself a a rack out of wood.  It would have been more work, and I wouldn't have saved that much money, and there would always been the concerns about rep failure on a heavy set.

If you research Titan Fitness, you will find a lot of criticisms.  They are cheap and Chinese-made steel, generally of lower quality than Rogue.  But, value-wise they are way higher than Rogue, since Rogue is insanely expensive.  Most people posting on youtube are not at all frugal and are ok with dumping thousands of dollars into a home gym when there is only marginal benefit on the cost/quality curve.  there are other cheap Chinese steel racks of varying quality (rep fitness, for example), and you can research around.  In the end, the construction quality of my Titan rack was more than sufficient, and unless you are doing very very heavy weight, there is no reason to worry about... and actually there are videos out there of stress tests on the Titan equipment, and it does fine.  The only real issue with Titan is that their customer service sucks, and they routinely mess up shipping and deliveries, so you may have to deal with late shipments and go through their phone service a lot to track down your order ... but eventually you will get your rack.

I bought a Rogue bar because from what I could tell, the consensus was that it was worth it to invest in a high quality bar, while the rack itself did not matter.

I bought a Rep fitness bench because the titan one's are poorly reviewed.

Generally it is recommended to buy cheap used weights off of craigslist.  I searched for a while, but never found the right deal in my local area.  I didn't want to spend oogles of time finding used weights, so eventually I just bought off-brand new olympic plates at ~1$/lb.  They work fine.

Do not get the cheap Fitness Gear plates which someone else here recommended, if you plan to deadlift.  Their size is not olympic, and you don't want to mess with non-standard sizes for deadlifts.  Also, these weights have reputations for occasionally snapping.  For exercises that don't involve the weights touching anything other than the bar (e.g. the floor), the cheapest weight you can find is the best.

I build my own lifting platform using several 4'x8' plywood sheets from home depot, and the horse stall mats from Tractor Supply Co.  I had to rent a truck from Home Depot.  There are plans on how to do this all over the internet.  It's easy, but does take a little work.  It is definitely a good idea to bolt down a power rack.  The rubber smell of the mats goes away eventually.  For deadlifting, you do want a platform; otherwise you will damage your floor.

My home gym was not to hard to assemble, and the power rack looks relatively impressive... it usually impresses people when they see it.  Of course, a gym snob what turn their nose up at cheap Chinese steel, but fuck them, mine is just as functional, and looks decent even if not perfect.  If you are really into support American-made stuff, then it might make sense to buy Rogue, but be prepared for sticker shock with no-if-any tangible benefits. 

If you do decide to buy a power rack, make sure to measure your ceiling height and choose one that will fit.  I had a weird height ceiling and had to find the right rack.  This might also impact gym vs basement, and make you think about what you want.  Short power racks don't allow for pull ups with your legs fully extended, or at all if your head is going to hit the ceiling.

A final thought; if you can get a decent power rack used, that's another way to save money, but transporting a power rack can be non-trivial, even if you dissemble it.

My wife handled the purchase of the treadmill; I let her handle the research etc on this since she is the more serious runner, but I have been giving that thing a run for its money with some fast miles.  Hopefully it lasts!



Perhaps it's a dumb question, but wouldn't one pair of standard 45 lb plates in addition to the fitness gear set be sufficient?  If you don't drop it of course.  I haven't done a lot of deadlifting but I plan to start as soon as I get over this quad injury.

Last fall I upgraded from a flat bench with 70 lb powerblocks to the power rack below and the 300 lb fitness gear set. It was $150 and I just couldn't pass it up. I looked hard at the Titan Fitness racks, but went with the one below so I wouldn't have to walk the bar through the side of the rack every day. Especially with the limited space on the sides in my workout area.  I do have a Titan pullup bar attached to the wall and it is rock solid.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00VKGLWUU/ref=oh_aui_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1




Was hoping someone more knowledgeable than I will answer this:

"Perhaps it's a dumb question, but wouldn't one pair of standard 45 lb plates in addition to the fitness gear set be sufficient?  If you don't drop it of course. "

Slow2FIRE

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Re: Please tell me about your home gym setups
« Reply #44 on: March 13, 2019, 02:23:15 PM »
I've had that TDS rack before.  Not too bad (bought it used on craigslist and sold it back on craigslist for exactly what I paid).

I'm not clear on your question of a pair of 45s.  Are you saying one pair of 45s for deadlifting and the cheapo plates for everything else?  Deadlift will (likely) be your strongest lift where you need the most plates.  I wouldn't want to have a pair of solid 45s and a bunch of cheapo 25s putting 200, 300, 400, 500, etc, pounds of pressure on the width of one pair of 45s.

I like to use bumper plates because I'm inside my house deadlifting.  I try to absorb the impact through the use of thug mats and the horsestall mats in combination with bumper plates.  Luckily, I'm pretty weak (along with working out across several joists in a perpendicular fashion instead of being parallel to them).  I do have a pair of iron 45s, but those are nestled in with bumper plates.

GuitarStv

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Re: Please tell me about your home gym setups
« Reply #45 on: March 13, 2019, 02:44:30 PM »
If you're really concerned about bar height, just chop up some 2x4s.  A 2x4 is 1.5 inches thick, so if you nail 5-6 short pieces together and then put your bar on top you'll be close to the height of a bar with standard 45lb plates.  This is what I did for my wife when she was learning to lift, as she couldn't move two 45lb plates.

There are very few weight lifting related problems that can't be solved with lumber.


I feel like the concern about the height of your bar when deadlifting is overrated though.  Personally, I have deadlifted 385 lbs using seven 25 lb plates on either side (with some additional 10s, 5s, and 2.5s).  I can move maybe 5% more weight from the height that 45 lb plates gives me, but it's not like my workout is robbed by doing a slight deficit deadlift rather than a regular one.

Slow2FIRE

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Re: Please tell me about your home gym setups
« Reply #46 on: March 13, 2019, 03:33:00 PM »
If you're really concerned about bar height, just chop up some 2x4s.  A 2x4 is 1.5 inches thick, so if you nail 5-6 short pieces together and then put your bar on top you'll be close to the height of a bar with standard 45lb plates.  This is what I did for my wife when she was learning to lift, as she couldn't move two 45lb plates.

There are very few weight lifting related problems that can't be solved with lumber.


I feel like the concern about the height of your bar when deadlifting is overrated though.  Personally, I have deadlifted 385 lbs using seven 25 lb plates on either side (with some additional 10s, 5s, and 2.5s).  I can move maybe 5% more weight from the height that 45 lb plates gives me, but it's not like my workout is robbed by doing a slight deficit deadlift rather than a regular one.

I was trying to figure out what the previous poster was asking about.  I postulated that the previous poster was concerned with using cheap weights that may fall apart and would therefore only deadlift with a single pair of 45s and then a bunch of other plates that wouldn't touch the ground so that they wouldn't break upon hitting the ground.  Thus, one would be putting several hundred pounds of force on the width of a standard pair of 45s.

Deadlifting from a specific height is relevant if you compete...otherwise doing deadlifts with a shorter height is a training technique known as "deficit deadlifts".  I see nothing wrong with using 25s to deadlift.  I see something wrong with having a single pair of 45s and then a bunch of 25s (or other plates) that don't touch the ground such that you are putting all the pressure on a more narrow area risking greater damage to the "good" plates and whatever flooring surface you are using.

fattest_foot

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Re: Please tell me about your home gym setups
« Reply #47 on: March 13, 2019, 04:28:02 PM »
We also went a little bit more towards the "non-mustachian" setup.

For the floor, I was concerned about damaging the foundation, so it's plywood with horse stall mats on top (except for the lifting platform which is a piece of 3/4" maple plywood). The mats smelled for the first 4-6 months but they don't anymore.

The rest was mostly bought from Rogue, but that's because we're in a relatively small town and finding things used is incredibly difficult. We have a power rack, men's and women's bar, curl bar, bumper plates (290 pounds I think?), dip attachment, and landmine attachment.

Separately, we bought a heavy duty pullup bar that's mounted on studs, full length mirror, and some boxes for the weights that I made. We did also find dumbbells (5-80 lbs) for super cheap used.

All in all we're in it for probably $3500-4000 at this point. But we can do just about everything.

KBecks

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Re: Please tell me about your home gym setups
« Reply #48 on: March 13, 2019, 08:44:22 PM »
@economista, wow, your setup is so shiny! It's nice to have that figure for what a really Cadillac setup would cost :-).  I will definitely check out Rep Fitness once we're settled and I have a better idea of how much stuff I'll have room for!


How about you just make economista your new workout buddy?

Haha, I wouldn't be against having a workout buddy, but it would defeat the purpose of LBF being able to workout at home on her own time schedule.

One more idea: trade for scones. (I know it's counterproductive, but I'm sure MMM would approve!)

dcozad999

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Re: Please tell me about your home gym setups
« Reply #49 on: March 14, 2019, 07:23:30 AM »
If you're really concerned about bar height, just chop up some 2x4s.  A 2x4 is 1.5 inches thick, so if you nail 5-6 short pieces together and then put your bar on top you'll be close to the height of a bar with standard 45lb plates.  This is what I did for my wife when she was learning to lift, as she couldn't move two 45lb plates.

There are very few weight lifting related problems that can't be solved with lumber.


I feel like the concern about the height of your bar when deadlifting is overrated though.  Personally, I have deadlifted 385 lbs using seven 25 lb plates on either side (with some additional 10s, 5s, and 2.5s).  I can move maybe 5% more weight from the height that 45 lb plates gives me, but it's not like my workout is robbed by doing a slight deficit deadlift rather than a regular one.

I was trying to figure out what the previous poster was asking about.  I postulated that the previous poster was concerned with using cheap weights that may fall apart and would therefore only deadlift with a single pair of 45s and then a bunch of other plates that wouldn't touch the ground so that they wouldn't break upon hitting the ground.  Thus, one would be putting several hundred pounds of force on the width of a standard pair of 45s.

Deadlifting from a specific height is relevant if you compete...otherwise doing deadlifts with a shorter height is a training technique known as "deficit deadlifts".  I see nothing wrong with using 25s to deadlift.  I see something wrong with having a single pair of 45s and then a bunch of 25s (or other plates) that don't touch the ground such that you are putting all the pressure on a more narrow area risking greater damage to the "good" plates and whatever flooring surface you are using.


Not really concerned with the cheap weights falling apart because I don't plan on dropping them.  I was more concerned about the height and force on that standard pair of 45's. 

Like I said, I haven't deadlifted a lot. I've just heard the height concerns for people on this board and others about the Fitness Gear set. Personally, as @GuitarStv said, I haven't had an issue with the height so far. But I haven't tried to go super heavy either.

I'm also just getting back into using a barbell for the first time in about a decade. Besides cheap bars bending, what are the characteristics of a good vs a low quality bar and their affect on your workouts?  I realize the Fitness Gear bar is cheap, but besides the fact that it will bend with a lower amount of weight than others, what else makes it low quality?  I've seen people mention the knurling, but previously, I lifted in various gyms for 10-15 years and never had a problem with the knurling on any of the various bars they had, except for one where the knurling was like sandpaper. I'm sure eventually I will need another bar, but what should I be looking for when that time comes?