At this time of year the gym is full of people setting off with all the right intentions; get fit, lose weight, you know the story. Unfortunately 90% of new joiners will have stopped going to the gym by the second week of February. More than 10% of gym members are paying their membership and not actually going!
How do you counter-act this? Simple build a ‘Home Gym’. I have worked out at home for nearly 20yrs. I also have a gym membership as there are some exercises I simply can’t do at home. Here’s my guide to setting up your own home gym so you can no longer use the excuses… “I don’t have time to go to the gym”… “I can’t be bothered to go to the gym”
Typically cardio machines like Cross Trainers, Treadmills, Rowers and Exercise Bikes take up alot of space so I’m going to focus on resistance equipment; Bench, Barbells and Dumbbells in this article.
A few rules to abide by;
- Don’t set up your gym in your bedroom or living room. These rooms are for relaxing, to mix the two is a recipe for disaster (unless your rooms are HUGE!)
- Try to choose a space where you won’t be disturbed, obviously a hallway or link room would simply not be practical.
- If you have young children in this house ensure the ‘gym’ is locked. Weights are not toys.
- Choose a room with good ventilation; windows, doors, air con or fan really help when you’re working hard.
- A minimum space of 2400 x 2400 (8′ x 8′) or 3600 x 1700 (12′ x 5.5′). This allows room for a permenant bench and floor space for press ups, crunches etc.
- Floor mats. Not only do they protect the floor from any damage, they also make any floor exercises more comfortable.
- Barbell. 5ft is more suitable for home
- Dumbbells. Always buy the cast iron ones and the same brand as the barbell so all the weight plates can be interchanged.
- Bench. Most have the option of incline/ decline and won’t take up anymore space.
- Swiss ball. This can be used like a bench and can be stowed away on the wall or wedged behind the bench when you’re not using it. If you don’t have the space for a bench a Swiss Ball can be used, all be it alot more advanced but that is a blog for another day…
- Pull up bar. Either fixed within the door frame or across the corner of the room at a diagonal (check out my homemade version below using a scaffold pole)
- Weight plate tree. Handy way of keeping extra weight plates accessible and tidy
- Towel. To be used specifically for the gym like a mat so that the towel can be washed as opposed to the floor/ bench. Can be hung on the back of the door
- Clock/ Stopwatch. To ensure your workout isn’t ridiculously long and to time your rest periods.
- Mirrors. In the absence of a personal trainer, your mirrors are your trainer. Use them to monitor your form and ensure you are staying in line/ not swaying from side to side etc.
Bit of a scribble (tipp-ex not essential!!) but you get the jist of it. Basically keep the entrance clear and the dumbbells, spare weights and swiss ball away from the floor space and bench area.
If you are handy with a saw and drill you can make fold down dip bars and squat rack as I have. Use a hinged gallows bracket, fixed to the brick wall. As long as you use decent wood these will support a very large amount of weight. Mine comfortably holds 150kg. See my fold-away squat rack below (pictures only show one arm obviously);