Apr 24, 2013

In the previous article I discussed some easy-to-make, homemade tools you can put together in an afternoon to make training from home even more beneficial than training at one of those commercial gyms. The purpose was to give those with a tight budget some awesome alternatives to buying brand spanking new equipment.

In this post I'll cover some more home gym essentials for those who have the money to deck out a serious training cave.

Again, these are strictly essentials and in no way reflect the only options out there. My intent is to steer you all away from the BS and get you right into training as quickly and effectively as possible.

Option 2: Cha Ching

For those of you who can spend some actual moolah on some kick ass equipment, there are a few things you should keep in mind before deciding to splurge on every cool-looking thing in a store or online.

The first thing to remember is don't worry if it's brand new - sometimes. What I mean is the majority of the equipment I'm going to mention can easily be found on Craigslist and can be picked up nearby. It probably won't be shiny and without wear but it'll get the job done and will be a lot cheaper than buying fresh out of the factory. However, I do suggest buying a few things brand new and not skimping on quality. But we'll get into that later.

Secondly, if you are going to buy something brand new you HAVE to buy it from a reputable company. Don't go to Joe Shmoe's Fitness Bananza and wonder why your stuff is falling apart on the ride home. You did it to yourself.

Last but not least, don't impulse buy. This stuff isn't complicated. If you know you're going to use it and it'll be an essential part of your program then make sure you have it. Otherwise, save it for when some one asks you what you want for your birthday or a holiday.

Now for the goods ...

Barbell and Plates
First there was man, then there was his barbell. Every serious garage gym starts with a barbell. This is probably the most essential piece of equipment there is. Now, remember when I mentioned before about not worrying if it's brand new? This is not one of those times. Pick up a barbell from EliteFTS or Rogue and have piece of mind knowing that the bar was made by the best in the business and will last for years to come.

I'm pretty sure I don't have to explain what can be done with a barbell so just know it's essential to your awesomeness.

As far as plates are concerned I wouldn't stress out too much on where you get them. Craigslist would be an easy target for these as there are always people trying to get rid of them. Don't worry if you have a bunch of mismatched plates either. Weight is weight and as long as it fits on the bar then you're good to go. And just so we're clear, get iron plates. Unless you plan on Olympic lifting don't even bother with the bumpers. That is all.

Power Rack or Squat Stands
This is the second most important piece to the garage gym puzzle once you've acquired a good quality bar and some round iron plates. I'm not really partial to either power racks or squat stands so the choice is ultimately yours. As long as you have something sturdy you can use for squat variations, overhead presses, and benching it really doesn't matter all that much.

Once again, you can scour Craigslist for some decent quality stuff on the cheap or decide to go all-out and buy brand new. If brand new is where your head is at I seriously suggest checking out Rogue.  They have both stands and racks that have interchangeable accessories which allows you to piece together exactly what you want and gives you the flexibility to order more goodies to throw on at a later date (like when that tax return check comes in). Either one you choose will add to your awesomeness.

Adjustable Flat Bench
Now I can sway one of 2 ways with this one. On the one hand, having an adjustable bench is great because you don't have to think about how high the bench will be as they usually come with a variety of different height settings. This makes your life that much easier when trying to do chest supported rows, high/low incline benching, so on and so forth. However, on the other hand, they can get quite expensive and the cheap ones are usually pretty crappy. So, to remedy this, You could pick up a reliable flat bench like the one from Rogue and just prop it up on a couple plates or rubber mats to turn it into an incline bench for all your needs. Then again this is just my opinion because Craigslist is still a viable option.

Gymnastic Rings
I know I threw these in last but keep in mind that rings are just as essential as a barbell, especially when it comes to upper body exercises. You will be using these for your rows, pushups, pullups, static holds, and other fun gymnastic-oriented stuff. The best pair of rings I've ever used were from here. They've been in my arsenal for the last 3 years, have taken a beating, and are still going strong. I've toyed with Rogue's wooden rings and they feel great but the straps leave something to be desired. Whichever way you decide to go doesn't matter as much as just simply owning a pair. They make all the difference.

Odds and Ends
I know what you're thinking. Where are all the kettlebells, ropes, sledgehammers, and the other cool things I see in all the magazines? They're not here. If I had to choose one tool to purchase out of those I just mentioned it would be kettlebells but even they aren't essential. These are the things you slowly add to your stash as time goes by. If all you have is what I listed in the first part of this series then you're well on your way to achieving badass-dom. When you give people to many options nothing ever gets decided on so nothing gets done. Start off with the bare minimum, essential pieces of equipment and beat the crap out of the basics. Because in all reality, the tools don't matter as much as the intent to use them.

Bring the fire people and don't be scared to get a little dirty.

In Strength,
Franco Crincoli


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Franco Crincoli
I am a personal trainer, strength coach, and all around iron addict, with a philosophy deeply rooted in old school methods. My training has been influenced by strongmen, powerlifters, Olympic lifters, gymnasts, and the Golden Era bodybuilders. I believe in reaping the greatest rewards the simplest (not easiest) way possible and having fun doing it.
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