Home Gym Equipment

Home Gym Equipment

You don’t need a massive, expensive machine or a dedicated room for a home gym. A home gym is just as effective as a real gym for gaining muscle and can be small enough to fit into a closet.  A home gym can save you a lot of time, a lot of money, and lead to more consistent and efficient workouts as well.  When most people think of a home gym, they start thinking that they need a dedicated exercise room (very expensive), lots of heavy weights (expensive), and big, massive machines (expensive).   STOP!  You do NOT need this stuff and it will NOT give you a better workout than the below DIY gyms costing $35, $70, $130, and $180!

Home Gyms They Want To Sell You

Don’t get me wrong, all of the below gyms are awesome and if someone gave them to me I would use them … IF we had a spare room, which we don’t!  Note that all these are nearly the size of the pyramids at Giza, and almost as heavy.  You cant shove them in a corner either as you need access on all sides so they need to be put smack in the middle of the room like a monument.

Marcy-Diamond-Home-Gym bowflex-home-gym Body-Solid-Home-Gymuseless-crap-machine

Great Cheap Home Gym Options!

Here are three awesome home gym setups which cost a fraction of what you expect.  Don’t believe the infomercials that try and convince you that you need huge, expensive contraptions or high tech devices.  For $35 you can make an AWESOME home gym that you can stuff under your bed in 15 seconds.

The $35 home gym

  1. Doorway mount pullup bar $25
  2. DIY TRX suspension trainer $8

6 dollar DIY TRX suspension trai doorway-mount-pullup-bar


sample workout for the $35 home gym!

The $50 travel gym

6 dollar DIY TRX suspension trai  resistance-bands-chest

  1. DIY TRX suspension trainer $8
  2. Resistance bands $40

sample travel workout for the $50 traveling gym


The $75 home gym

  1. Doorway mount pullup bar $25
  2. DIY TRX suspension trainer $8
  3. Resistance bands $40

6 dollar DIY TRX suspension trai doorway-mount-pullup-bar resistance-bands-chest

sample workout for the $75 home gym


The $130 home gym

  1. Doorway mount pullup bar $25
  2. DIY TRX suspension trainer $8
  3. Resistance bands $40
  4. 160 pound set of used spinlock dumbbells from craigslist.org $40
  5. Jump rope, $15

6 dollar DIY TRX suspension trai doorway-mount-pullup-bar resistance-bands-chest

used-weight-setjump rope

Some important notes about getting a weight set – buy used as new weights are not better, in fact, old ones are typically higher quality.  Dont pay more than 20 cents per pound when you get them on craigslist and try to get them for 10 cents per pound. Who cares if they match, as long as they all have 1″ holes to fit on standard spinlock bars and handles.

Here is a sample workout for the $120 home gym.

The $180 home gym

    1. Doorway mount pullup bar $25
    2. DIY TRX suspension trainer $8
    3. Resistance bands $40
    4. 160 pound set of spinlock dumbbells from craigslist.org $40
    5. Jump rope, $15
    6. used independent weight stands from craigslist.org $50

6 dollar DIY TRX suspension trai doorway-mount-pullup-bar resistance-bands-chest
jump ropeindependent weight stand
There are a lot of all-in-one gyms out there and 99% of them are useless garbage. They are flimsy and not adjustable enough to be useful for anything other than a clothesline to dry your laundry. Most of the “bench press” setups have the posts so close together that a full sized man simply cannot use them because the distance between their elbows is too large and the stands do not extend high enough for the proper starting position. If they have leg extension attachments, they are too small to be used by anyone other than a child.  Here is an example of the kind of universal setup you want to avoid if you are an adult:



A simple pair of independent stands like these are 10x better and cost about $50 used on craigslist.org.   The Valor BD-2 is the one that I have.  If you plan on squatting, the Valor BD-9 is better.  Note that there are several manufacturers that make similar stands so when you search on craigslist, search for “bench press stands” or “squat stands”.
independent weight standnested-valor-bd-2-weight-stands

These stands have lots of advantages over the above all-in-one garbage:

  1. Easy to store!  The nest into each other and easily fit into a closet
  2. Fully adjustable to any height and any width.  Works for teens and 7′ tall men.
  3. STRONG.  Far stronger than any all in one machine.  Appropriate for serious lifting
  4. Most of all, these are versatile!  You can use them for the following exercises:
    1. bench press
    2. incline press
    3. overhead press
    4. squats
    5. use as a rack to hold olympic bar for
      1. rack pulls
      2. stiff legged deadlifts
      3. bent over olympic bar row
      4. curls
    6. leg extensions
    7. preacher bench

In a gym, the above equipment would take up the space of an entire living room but it easily will fit in your closet.   Note that the leg extension machine and preacher bench require the DIY wooden accessories.  With the six items in this $180 gym there is no muscle that you cant pulverize!

LOL! Why don’t you just go to a ‘real gym’?

Many people will make fun of me and my home equipment at this point asking why we dont just go to a “real gym”.  Answer: Time, Goals, and Money.   Let me ask YOU this – how are you progressing toward your goals for this year?  How much money have you saved this year?  This is not changing the subject, its very relevant.  There has been incredible interest in my time management series, my “your perfect life” series, and how to be more productive.  People simply cannot get all the things they want done and often get frustrated that they never seem to have enough time to do what is really important to them.  An upcoming video I will be doing is about useless rituals and how they suck time from your valuable life and unfortunately, going to the gym is such a ritual for many people.  Working out at home can typically save you at least an hour a day, often more.  Lets look at a pretty average gym goer:

  • get off work at 5pm
  • drive to gym and park (15 min)
  • say “Hi” to friends and get suited up in locker room (15 min)
  • do weight workout (60 min)
  • do cardio workout (30 min)
  • cooldown, chat, abs, and shower (15 min)
  • drive home (15min)
  • home at 7:30pm

Yes, this gym ritual is really fun.  Yes, I know that the gym for many people is their best social occasion of the day.  Yes, I know that gyms are the new bars and a great place to get dates.  Still, thats 2.5 hours a day that you could be using much more wisely to accomplish very important goals you have set for yourself. In contrast, look at the home gym alternative:

  • get off work at 5pm
  • bike home (30 min)
  • home supersetting workout (45 min)
  • shower (5 min)
  • 6:20pm ready for working on life goals

Most people will save over an hour by working out at home.  An hour might not seem like much but it is, its a LOT.  That is an hour you can spend every night practicing guitar and become the next Jon Bon Jovi.  For parents, home workouts are often the only option for working out.  Not only are home workouts more time efficient but they allow you to do time saving things like supersetting which is simply not possible in a busy gym.  Home gyms also give you full control over music and air temperature for an optimal workout.

Then there is the money issue.  A lot of you will laugh and say that a gym is “just $20 per month”.  Guess what?  Your cellphone is “just $50/mo” and your cable TV is “just $60/mo”  and your car payment is “just $320/mo”.  How much money did you save last month?  I rest my case.  That $20/mo you save from not going to the gym might be the only money you save all month.

I need a real gym to get motivated!

Working out at a gym motivates you better? This is a LIFE strategy I am talking about, not just a workout strategy. Its about having time to pursue your passion and eventually turn that in to your “job”. How are you progressing toward having a full years wages in the bank so you can quit your job and follow your true passion? How many hours a week do you have to follow your passion so you can become an expert?  That $20-$80/mo you save by working out at home may not seem like a lot but it adds up over the years and decades.  That 30-60 minutes each day you save by working out at home rather than going to a gym may not seem like a lot but if you spend it following your passion then in a decade or so you will become a true expert in your field of interest and be able to turn it into a “job”.

If you cant get motivated without going to a gym then perhaps you need to figure out why that is – start by looking at your goals.   If you set your goals properly, you do not need ‘motivation’ to workout, you will crave and look forward to your workouts!  ‘Motivation’ does not come from watching those silly ‘motivational’ videos on YouTube that show fake-natty bodybuilders with physiques that natural people cant come close to obtaining.   Motivation comes from realizing how much better you feel and how much more energy you have when working out is part of your daily life.

Why dont you just build a real gym at home?

A lot of people will watch this and laugh at all the trouble I am going to in order to create this equipment.  Why not just buy a squat rack, a bench press, a leg extension machine, and a preacher bench.  Great question.  All that dedicated equipment takes up an entire bedroom even if you get an all-in-one station like this:

Again, the answer is MONEY!  How much money do you have saved?  Do you have 6-12 months salary saved?  If not, then what the heck are you doing with a house/flat/apartment so big that you have room to waste on a home gym?  Why aren’t you renting it out for income?  Why don’t  you move somewhere smaller and cheaper?  How are you ever going to follow your passions if you dont build up a nest egg so you can quit the job you hate?  Americans have these weird ideas of things they “have to” have.  We “have to” have a new Ford Mustang.  We “have to” have a nice big apartment.  These two things alone are a huge part of why Germans have a positive savings rate and Americans have a negative savings rate.  Downsize people!  You gym needs to fit into a closet.  We are rich and even we do not have the space to set up a dedicated gym.

DIY attachments for your independent weight stands

I will not go into full details about how to make this because its unlikely that you will find the same stands on craigslist.  I just want you to see the photos so you can get the general idea of how to turn your stands into virtually any machine.  All accessories are simple OSB (oriented strand board), framing studs, nails and glue.  Note that glue is that provides the strength, the nails just hold things together till the glue dries.  A simple circular saw or jigsaw is all that is required, that and a hammer.

preacher curl bench accessory


leg extension machine accessory