Anyone that wants to stand out from the crowd in a positive way NEEDS to build a big strong physical presence.
The best way to do that is to own a home gym that allows you to have amazing workouts whenever you are in the mood to pump some iron!
Forget About Fancy Health Clubs and Shiny Cardio Equipment (gag)
Those fancy cardio machines don’t come close to the effectiveness of compound barbell exercises.
Exercises like the squat, bench press, and deadlift are all you need to master in order to change your body forever. And you only need basic low maintenance equipment to perform them on a regular basis.
Invest in Your Health Today
The investment I made in my home gym (which was about $800) has paid for itself many times over during the last 8 years.
Between the cost of a gym membership ($30 to $40 a month for a decent facility) and the cost of gas, you would be saving as much as $65 dollars a month. 65 x 12 = $780 a year! That $780 will cover most of the cost of the equipment you need to buy!
Not only will you be saving money, but you will also be saving the most precious resource on Earth…time.
Belonging to a corporate gym means that you will have to spend time driving there every day! That might not seem like such a big deal now, but it will once you realize that when you arrive at the gym, your wait is still far from over.
You see, if you are training properly and focusing on the core compound lifts, you will need access to a barbell and a rack.
The problem with that is most corporate big box gyms only have ONE or NO barbell racks whatsoever. So, your options will be to train inefficiently with machines or continue waiting until the necessary equipment becomes available…Which could take a very long time.
Considering all of the above factors, I can easily say that the investment in my home gym was one of the smartest decisions I ever made. More than that…
It Changed My Life
I went from a skinny fat 160-pound weakling to a strong imposing 230-pound man!
Completing your workouts in the comfort of your own home also has huge advantages when you are just starting out. You see, you may feel intimidated when trying a new exercise like the barbell squat for the first time and you won’t want to feel like anyone is judging you.
That is okay!
I felt the same way when I was teaching myself how to do the basic barbell exercises.
My form was horrible because my body had become weak and inflexible from years of doing nothing. In fact, It took me months to finally be able to squat correctly which was very frustrating! However, I didn’t give up because I didn’t have any gym rats laughing at me behind my back.
Not only would that have been annoying, but it could also cause you to second guess yourself which can lead to over analysis and lost confidence.
If I didn’t own my own equipment and learn the exercises at my own pace, chances are I would have quit lifting weights altogether.
Consistency is King
Another benefit of having your own home gym is you will almost never miss a workout because you won’t have to worry about driving through traffic after a long day at work… just to get to the gym.
The last thing most of us want to do after a soul-stealing day at the office is sit in traffic for an hour without even getting to go home!
Even if you do make it to the gym, you have to deal with annoying people texting on their phones for 10 minutes between sets while they take up the equipment you need.
Instead of putting up with that nonsense…
You should own your own equipment. This will allow you to go home and relax for an hour or two before doing your workout. Or better yet, you can just go home and get your training done right away!
You see…when you have the ability to lift at home, your workouts will become both physical and mental releases that allow you to think in total clarity while you grow stronger and relieve stress.
Still Not Feeling Convinced?
Let’s take a look at some of the men who built the best bodies in bodybuilding history using only barbell exercises and other basic equipment that can all be kept at your home.
was one of the most dominant and well-known bodybuilders of his era. Not only was he crowned Mr. Universe multiple times, but he was also one of the first bodybuilders to turn his physique into cash by starring in some of the first Hercules movies.
Oh yeah, I should probably mention that he was also the childhood idol of a young Arnold Schwarzenegger. In fact, without Park’s influence, young Arnold may not have ended up achieving movie stardom and the greatest physique of all time.
Below is a sample of Reg Park’s workout routine. You’ll Notice lots of basic exercises done with basic barbell equipment.
Reg Park’s Classic Workout Routine
- Barbell Back Squat – 5 sets of 5 reps
- Barbell Front Squat – 5 sets of 5 reps
- Bench Press – 5 sets of 5 reps
- Standing Barbell Shoulder Press – 5 sets of 5 reps
- Deadlift – 5 sets of 5 reps
*Reg used 2 of the 5 sets as warm-ups and made the last 3 sets his heavy work sets. He trained 3 times a week on non-consecutive days.
was an American icon. He was one of the first American bodybuilders to achieve mainstream success in Hollywood due to his successful bodybuilding career.
His workout routines involved higher reps with lighter weights when compared to other bodybuilders of his time, but he still built a fantastic physique. Once again, you will notice that he used basic equipment and exercises that can all be performed at home with basic barbell equipment.
Steve Reeves Workout Routine
- Dumbbell Swings (Warm Up) – 3 sets of 15-20 reps
- Upright Rows – 3 sets of 8-12 reps
- Bench Press – 3 sets of 8-12 reps
- One Arm Row – 3 sets of 8-12 reps
- Dumbbell Lateral Raise – 3 sets of 8-12 reps
- Incline Bench Press – 3 sets of 8-12 reps
- Triceps Press down – 3 sets of 8-12 reps
- Barbell Curls – 3 sets of 8-12 reps
- Seated Dumbbells Curls – 3 sets of 8-12 reps
- Squats – 3 sets of 8-12 reps
- Pull Overs – 3 sets of 8-12 reps
- Deadlifts – 2 sets of 8-12 reps
- Good Mornings – 2 sets of 8-12 reps
Talk about volume training! He did the workout above 3 times a week on non-consecutive days and took the rest of the days off to recover.
is a true OG. He competed on the Olympic weightlifting team at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany and also competed in many bodybuilding competitions that featured legends such as the 2 men I have listed above him (Park and Reeves). He retired from competitive bodybuilding in 1949 winning his final competition and remaining undefeated.
He was strong and fit well into his late 60s where he was still able to perform squats of over 400 pounds for multiple reps!
Let’s take a look at his workout routine so we can get a glimpse of how he stayed strong for so long.
John Grimek Workout Routine
- Bench Press – 3 sets of 10 reps
- Incline Dumbbell Bench Press – 3 sets of 10 reps
- Barbell Curls – 3 sets of 10 reps
- Squats – 3 sets of 10 reps
- Stiff Legged Deadlifts – 3 sets of 10 reps
- Barbell Row – 3 sets of 10 reps
- Shrugs – 3 sets of 10 reps
- Abs – 1 set of 50 reps
Grimek was one of the first bodybuilders to use the classic 3 sets of 10 reps that eventually became the most popular set and rep scheme of all time. He also had days and training cycles where he would train very heavy for lower reps when he wanted to add more muscle mass.
His workouts were performed 3 days a week on non-consecutive days with nothing more than basic barbells and dumbbells.
By now, you should definitely be seeing a trend in the way that all these classic physique legends handled their workouts. However, this list wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t pay tribute to the man, the myth, the legend…
is widely regarded as the best bodybuilder of all time. And even the best ever start out doing only basic exercises while working out at home with basic equipment.
If you have read his first biography The Education of a Bodybuilder, you would know that during the cold winters of Austria, he would work out at a home gym that he had built for himself.
Check out this excerpt from the book.
The house we lived in was three hundred years old. It was built like a castle. The floors were solid and the walls were about five feet thick. It was a good place to have a gymnasium. I had the basic equipment such as a bench and simple machines, designed and welded for me.
Those home workout sessions with basic exercise equipment laid the foundations for what would become a famous movie star physique… and one of the most influential men in the history of mankind!
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Here’s What You’ll Need to Get Started
Now that you have been thoroughly educated on why you need to build your own home gym, let’s go over exactly what you will need to make your home gym dream become a reality.
Olympic Barbell Set
The first thing you need to purchase is a 300-pound Olympic barbell set. This will give you enough weight to progress with for a while and it is essential if you want to start doing the most important basic exercises.
The best way to get a barbell set is to order one online and get it delivered to your door. When I got my barbell set on Amazon, it only cost me $300 with free shipping. Without free shipping on heavyweight plates, your costs would be astronomical.
Now that you have your own three hundred pound barbell set, you need somewhere to store your precious plates. I’m not gonna lie, during the first 2 years of owning my own equipment, this is something that I regrettably did not invest in.
My cheap ass would just stack plates on top of each other on the floor which ended up being a giant pain in the butt after a while. You could do the same thing if you really need to save as much money as possible, but I recommend just biting the bullet and buying a plate tree.
A power rack is a closed rack that has adjustable steel safety pins. The purpose of the pins is to keep a barbell from crushing you in the event of a failed bench press or squat attempt.
I highly recommend spending some extra money on your power rack to make sure you get something that is sturdy and will last you for a very long time.
You can easily tell how good a rack is by looking at the technical specs. It should be rated to hold at least 1000 pounds! Anything less than that is most likely an unstable piece of shit.
Believe me when I tell you that cheap power racks absolutely suck. They are wobbly and give you no peace of mind at all which defeats the purpose of owning a power rack in the first place.
No matter where you decide to build your home gym, you need to invest in some type of floor protection. Your floor must be protected and cushioned when you perform exercises such as deadlifts and barbell rows. The reason being that both of those exercises start and end on the floor when done correctly.
I own some simple puzzle piece floor mats that can easily be moved to wherever I am performing my rows and deadlifts. I also put some mats under my power rack training area so the legs on the rack don’t scuff up the floor.
The standard dimensions of a proper weight bench are 12 inches wide, 48 inches long, and 17 inches high. Having a flat weight bench is essential if you want to perform everyone’s favorite exercise…the bench press. Just like the power rack, I would recommend getting a weight bench that has a weight capacity of at least 1000 pounds.
Dumbbells are a fantastic tool that let you work each side of your body equally. They are not completely necessary if you are a raw beginner, but if money is not an issue, pull the trigger and get yourself a nice pair of adjustable dumbbells.
Most people will greatly benefit from any type of unilateral exercise (any movement where you use a joint independently like one arm dumbbell press) which will stress your muscles out in a completely different way than a barbell would.
When I got stuck in my bench press progression, I switched to dumbbell training for a while so my weaker left side could catch up. They worked wonders! Once I returned to the barbell I was able to easily break my old bench press record.
I have owned a pair of PowerBlock dumbbells for the past 8 years and they have worked really well. They are incredibly durable and they go from 5 pounds up to 90 pounds in 5-pound increments.
The wrist roller will allow you to effectively isolate your forearm muscles. Unlike barbell or dumbbell wrist curls, which can feel extremely awkward, the wrist roller is an easy movement that you can repeat over and over while increasing the weight over time.
Having big strong forearms not only looks impressive…it builds an iron-clad grip. Having a strong grip carries over to just about every other exercise you do. When you squeeze the barbell hard you are engaging more muscle which will lead to more weight lifted.
I have listed this item in the optional equipment section, however, the reality is that you will eventually need some when you get to a certain strength level. This is especially true when it comes to doing deadlifts. Dry chalked hands mean less bar movement during an exercise which is essential if you want to lift as much weight as possible.
Today, the obsession with bodybuilders and internet fitness influencers is to use lifting straps on all exercises in order to lift more weight. My philosophy on weightlifting has always been;
If I can’t lift the weight without wearing any special equipment, I have no business lifting it.
This way of thinking has kept me relatively injury free and has made me more naturally strong.
You can purchase lifting chalk at most sporting goods stores or online. Make sure the chalk you buy is dust free so you don’t make a huge mess every time you lift.
Most people listen to music during their workouts because it gets you excited and in the zone. This is usually done with headphones or earbuds but, if you have the room in your budget, you should definitely invest in a Bluetooth speaker.
Don’t get me wrong, headphones are okay, but there is no substitute for having a speaker that pumps loud awesome sound through your body.
I currently own a speaker like this one. It produces great sound and clear bass at an affordable price.
If the price range above is too much for you then you can also go with the UE BOOM. It is less than half the price and fills a medium sized room with great sound and decent bass. It is also smaller so you can take it with you when you travel.
Time to Get to Work
Now that you know what to buy and why you should invest in a home gym, its time to get building.
As I said earlier, it will pay for itself over time and give you the ability to enjoy great workouts at your own convenience.
More than that…
Building a strong healthy physique will also carry over positively into all parts of your life and help you build an amazing amount of confidence.
Stay strong, keep lifting and strive for a life filled with Success & Strength.
From The Man Himself –