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Thursday, December 7, 2017

How to Get Stronger: Choosing Your Home Gym Equipment

If you want to gain strength quickly, there’s no better way than a home gym. It’s open 24 hours a day, and if you have a garage gym, there’s no limit to the amount of weight it can hold.

But if you’re just getting started, what should you buy first?

1. Squat rack / power cage

Our preference will always be for a high-quality power cage. If you don’t have the ceiling height, you can buy a squat rack that offers many of the same benefits.

Rogue Fitness and EliteFTS make some of the strongest power cages on the market, but if you’re on a tight budget, consider Valor Fitness, Fitness Reality, or Body Solid. They all produce racks capable of holding up to 1,000 lbs, for a few hundred dollars.

2. Free weights

You can never fulfill your full strength potential with body weight exercises alone. You’ll either need to buy a home gym, a set of free weights, or both.

Some of the best home gyms are incredibly compact, can generate up to 400 lbs of resistance, and support over 50 different exercises, for all major muscle groups.

A good quality dumbbell, barbell, and weight plate set can easily set you back up to $700. If you want to save money, opt for rubber grip plates, and buy a set that comes with plates in a variety of sizes. Ideally from 45 lbs down to at least 2.5 lbs.

3. Pull up tower

Some of the best pull up towers come from brands such as Fitness Reality and Xmark Fitness. They offer a variety of grip positions, and in the case of Fitness Reality, can support up to 400 lbs of weight.

This is perfect for weighted dips and pull ups, with either a dip belt, weighted vest, or chains.

If you don’t have much floor space and are on a budget, you might want to consider a wall-mounted pull up bar. The Titan Fitness version supports up to 500 lbs, while the Gronk Fitness pull up bar supports up to 800 lbs.

4. Weightlifting shoes and belt

If you’re lifting heavy weights on a regular basis, you need to protect your body, especially your back.

Find a powerlifting belt that doesn’t taper at the front if you want to protect your core during deadlifts and squats.

For squats and deadlifts, it’s also important that you’re lifting from a solid foundation. This means the running shoes with the thick padded heel aren’t an option. Look for weightlifting shoes that either have a flat, thin sole, or a well-supported heel, such as the Adidas AdiPower. 

5. Grip Strength Trainer

Having a strong grip is critical to many strength exercises. The number of deadlifts, barbell rows, and even weighted pull ups you can perform depends on how strong your grip is.

For just a few dollars you can pick up a set of hand grippers, with resistance levels ranging from just a few pounds, up to 350 lbs+ (Serious Steel Fitness Grip Strengtheners).