Thursday, April 16, 2020

Home Gym - Starting from Scratch

Most folks who are starting from scratch have typically trained in globo gyms or boutique gyms and have a spattering of personal equipment such as shoes, jump rope, weight belt, yoga mat and maybe a roll of tape.

With gyms shut down due to Covid-19, fitness retailers back ordered for months and the second hand market losing its ever loving mind, the question becomes, how do I keep training?

Just do body weight calisthenics.  Do a youtube search for prisoner workouts.  Finally, go old school and get creative with finding weight solutions (army surplus water cans, ammo cans, sand bags).  I have seen videos of people training with a mace that is fabricated from an iron pipe and concrete.

If you want a long term solution and the familiarity of your Crossfit Box or Globo Gym, you will have to shell out some money and be patient.


You will need some flooring and weight at a minimum.

  • ROMWOD Swole & Flexy Mats are available for $90
  • Dynamax has 20# Med Ball through Amazon for $125 (it is worth paying for a Dynamax, they rock)

If you are a DIY person, start building some stuff

  • Slosh Pipe - 3 or 4" PVC, end caps, glue
  • Pull-up Bar - Black iron pipe, flanges, lag screws, 2x6 piece of lumber
  • Jump Box - Nice piece of plywood, glue, wood screws
  • Inspiration - Throw a coat of paint in your fitness space and put up some artwork

Strongman stuff is easier to come by anytime.  If one is so inclined I suggest
  • Heavy Tire for flips
  • Car Tire to use as a DIY sled
  • Natural Stones (or Atlas Stones if you can find somebody with molds)
  • Axel Bar - DIY
  • 5 Gallon buckets filled  with water, sand, steel shot (depending on how strong you are)


The next items I would recommend are a barbell and some bumper plates.  However, these are crazy hard to find right now.  Retail a good bar will cost between $200 and $400 and bumper plates are between $1.50/lb (Hi-Temp, etc) and $4.00/lb (Competition).  If you are a power lifter, iron plates are in a similar price range depending on accuracy.  

Whether you are a Crossfitter or a Powerlifter, you still want to train squats and bench press.  A Crossfitter can get away with homemade squats stands with 5 gallon buckets, concrete and 2x4's.  A Powerlifter will want to get a power rack for safety and stability.  A powerlifter should construct a DIY deadlift platform.  An Olympic lifter should construct a DIY Olympic platform.  You will of course need a bench as well.  I would recommend stall mats for flooring.

If you live in a cold climate get some cardio equipment such as a bike erg, treadmill, ski erg or rower.  Purchase better brands they are easier to resell (Concept 2, Assault, Rogue).  Pick your poison.  Otherwise go hard and fast outdoors.

Everything else is just gravy and should be pieced together based on space and wants (you do not need anything else for a good workout).
  • Resistance Bands
  • Kettlebells
  • Gymnastics Rings
  • Abmats
  • Sandbag
  • Dumbbells
  • Parallettes
  • Gym timer/clock
If you have the money and the space, there are a few larger pieces that compliment the above nicely.
  • Glute Ham Developer
  • Lat Pull Down/Low Row - Plate Loaded or Weight Stack
  • Dip Station

Cost in order of acquisition:

Mat and Med Ball - $200
DIY slosh pipe, pull-up bar, jump box, paint - $100
Strongman stuff - $100
Bar and Plates - $1000
Power rack - $1000 ($100 for DIY squat stands)
Platform - $100
Bench - $100
Flooring - $300
Cardio Equipment - $1,000
Misc Crossfit - $600 (you can go crazy with dumbbells and a full set to 5# to 100# will cost $2,520)
GHD - $700
Lat Pull Down/Low Row - $3000 (Rogue/Sorinex) or $1500 (Titan Fitness)
Dip Station - $150
Total $8,350 (about 3 years of a Crossfit Membership or 30 years of a globo gym membership).  
Total $3,600 (w/o larger pieces; about 1.5 years of a Crossfit Memberhip or 15 years of a globo gym membership)


Start small and figure out if you really will train from home (Mat and Med Ball = $200).  

If you can't wait to get back to the gym, get some basics that will compliment your gym training (Cardio or Bar/Plates = $1,000).  These do not take up much room and are easy to sell if you stick to high end brands like Concept 2 or Rogue.  Cheap stuff is hard to resell.

If you are done with people, have the space and want to go all in start buying stuff as your programming dictates.  A good home set up will not cost more than $10,000 unless you happen to have a 3000 sq ft training space that you want to outfit.  If that is the case, I am sure you can find better advice than this blog entry.

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