The ONLY Equipment You Need for a Great Home Workout
I’ve had a load of great workouts at home.
At one point I had a 7 foot barbell which I used to keep standing up in the corner of the living room, and plenty of plates to go on it.
This allowed me to do:
- T bar rows
- Front squats
- Overhead press
- Barbell biceps curls
- Bent over/pendlay rows
- Deadlifts including Romanian and stiff leg variations
- All sorts of landmine exercises like landmine shoulder press, landmine squats etc.
Now I appreciate having a 7 foot barbell in your living room isn’t great for family life. I have since had to get rid for those exact reasons. It’s also possible to cause a bit of damage to your home.
However, if you have a garage I would DEFINITELY recommend it.
In fact, I would happily never pay another gym fee again if I had a garage.
Here’s What I’d Put in my Garage Gym
- A power rack (squat rack) with pullup handles at the top, and a landmine attachment at the bottom.
- An adjustable bench
- A barbell and plates.
That would allow me to do an endless variety of exercises for my whole body. The squat rack would allow for setting the bar at a lower height from which to do bench press.
If you DON’T have space or money for a squat rack and/or barbell, you can still get a great home workout done with some:
- Dumbells (Personally I’d get the expensive adjustable kind that allow you to create loads of different weights)
- Pullup bar that goes in the doorway.
- Resistance band or suspension trainer.
That’s minimal equipment that’s not likely to take up much space. You can do all sorts of exercises to work your entire body without ever needing to go to a gym.
You also have a plethora of bodyweight exercises to choose from which are also great for building muscle, and can be progressed as you get better at them.
Here’s a few:
- Pushups – Decline Pushups (feet raised) – Plyometric Pushups – Diamond Pushups
- Squats – progress to pistol squats
- A range of core exercises
- Lunges – forward and reverse (progress to plyo-lunges, or weighted with dumbells)
- Glute bridges – progress to single leg
- Bulgarian split squat (using a chair to elevate your rear foot)
Why Working Out At Home Will Give You Better Results
This is assuming you’ve got a good set-up with the right equipment:
- No distractions from other members or new pieces of equipment
- Get your workout done in less time due to having it all to yourself
- You’re more likely to stick with the same program over a longer time and consistently get better at it – instead of being distracted by “shiny object syndrome” in the gym – led by what other people are doing.
- Sticking with the same (well balanced and well programmed routine) will actually yield better results than changing programs or exercises every few weeks or months.
“Muscle confusion” is not a real thing. If you constantly change what you’re doing, you’ll never really progress very far and you’ll quickly lose any adaptations you have gained.
That’s why new exercises always lead to more post-exercise soreness (DOMS) – your muscles aren’t adapted to them yet.
If you do something for a few weeks then stop, then resume months and months later, it’s sore again because the muscles have lost that adaptation.
The important thing when working out at home, as with any workout routine, is that you’re getting better over an extended period of time (months – years). Make sure you’re tracking all of your lifts in an app or logbook. You don’t need to increase the weight from workout to workout, but you do need to be lifting more total volume over time, and going up in weight periodically.
The Importance of Compound Exercises
As you’re working out at home, it’s unlikely you’ll have space or money for all sorts of machines. You’ll have to pick equipment and exercises (like those mentioned above) that give you the most return on your investment.
Working out at home means you NEED compound exercises. You’re not going to have space for an endless variety of isolation machines. You need to work multiple joints and muscle groups at once with barbell and bodyweight exercises.
This give you by far the most bang for your buck, and they’re pretty much all I’m doing in the gym at the moment (and have always been 80-90% of my routine).
Diet is Still Important
None of this will help you lose fat if you’re not in a calorie deficit.
The best way to follow a diet, in my opinion, is flexible dieting (or IIFYM). This way you are not locked in to any rules, and you can eat any food you want, as long as your calories and macros come on (or close enough) target each day and across the weeks.
You should still be sensible and not use this as an excuse to eat nothing but junk. The flexibility can really take the pain out of dieting and make it an effortless experience.