The Home Gym

I love working out at home.

Home gym

I love working out at home. On a few occasions over the years I've been drawn into the world of commercial gyms with shiny machines - only to lose interest a few weeks or months later. Weight training in a home gym, using mostly free weights, has never felt like a short term thing. Unlike going to a commercial gym, training never feels like a chore; in fact I look forward to it.

One of the reasons for this feeling is undoubtedly the fact that my home gym has been designed with one person in mind - me. Everything that's there (and it's a pretty simple setup) is there only to enable me to increase my own strength; there are no mirrors, banks of televisions or anything else to act as a distraction. The music is always loud, fast and exactly my taste. Perfect.

A second factor in my love of training at home is the presence of a training partner who shares the enthusiasm for the rugged simplicity of the setup, and doesn't bat an eyelid when I introduce somewhat unusual exercises into my training. It's all part of the fun.

So what do I have in this simple setup? The gym revolves around the presence of a power rack, bench, bars and weights. The other items are somewhat periferal - a few toys for grip training, a bike to warm up on and a good assortment of resistance bands. These items afford a vast array of exercises, and I add new ones every few weeks. After a year of regular training in many things I'd feel reasonably well-versed; powerlifting is constantly giving me new opportunities to learn. A wonderful feeling.

If starting again I'd make only minor modifications to the setup, such as purchasing a larger number of weight plates at the outset (fears of the training becoming a phase); and equipping myself with a simpler bench - I began without a power rack, and getting a bench with side stands seemed like a good idea at the time. Now they are unused.

For anyone currently considering the setup of their own home gym, I'd suggest the following:

Everthing else depends on available space, finances and intended use. If you're interested in Olympic Weightlifting, a few bumper plates and a lifting platform will be handy (you're probably best advised to build your own platform - much, much cheaper).

Other items you might like to consider include some of the variety of grip tools (Ironmind's Rolling Thunder ranks highly on my own wishlist), a sandbag (once again, these are often best when home-made), medicine balls, or your favourite piece of cardio equipment.

Oh, two things that will prove indispensable - a CD player and plenty of hard-hitting tunes. Now you're set to go.

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Scott Andrew Bird

Scott Andrew Bird is a writer, photographer and a guy who just loves this stuff. He's been at home in front of a computer for more years than he cares to remember (OK, 37) and is now making amends for years of many mistakes noted in the De-constructing Computer Guy articles (part 2) on T-Nation.

Find out what he's up to via Twitter, Facebook, the Daily 'Paper'; and of course his online home. Enjoy.

Like this? Check out :

The Home Gym 2007.

Wonderful place to train.

Westside Dead Lift Secrets.

The importance of the fundamentals.

70 of the Best : 7 Years of Straight to the Bar.

This site - Straight to the Bar - has been around for an incredible 7 years (the first post was on Jan 17th, 2004), and to say I'm grateful is a gross understatement.

Thank you.

Welcome to the Gymchats IV : 137 - 156.

Over the past few months we've had some superb discussions on Google+ : thank you all. It really is fantastic to hear your ideas and techniques on such a wide variety of training topics.

Of course, if you enjoyed these, I'd highly recommend grabbing the Strength & Fitness Newsletter. Delivered weekly, and absolutely free.

(there's also a Daily Update, if you're looking for an even larger dose of training-related goodness.)

NB : If you'd like to write a guest post for Straight to the Bar, or if you'd like to join the team of Moderators here (I love hearing about everyone's training approaches) - get in touch. And if you've got a fitness competition or seminar coming up, add it to the calendar.

Look forward to hearing from you.

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