Whether we like it or not, having full access to a commercial gym (at least in the way we knew back in January) is becoming a thing of the past.
As restrictions run their course, more and more gyms are faced with no choice but to shut down ….again, and very possibly in the case of many… for good.
Gyms that remain open are being forced to adopt procedures that make participating a challenge (scheduling, room capacity limits, masks, etc).
So with the world officially coming to an end… what are we to do?
Well…much like any impending national disaster…. this is a time to stock up.
Assuming everyone still has enough toilet paper to get by this round, we’re going to turn our attention to the must haves in training gear.
If you missed out during the first shut down when literally every possible thing that could ever be used in a workout went out of stock, here’s your second opportunity.
In this article I’m going to outline (in order of importance) the tools you’ll need to create a killer place to train at home and withstand any apocalypse.
We'll start with the essentials.
Dumbbells and/or Kettlebells
This is the place to start. Dumbbells and Kettlebells are EXTREMELY versatile. You can work just about everything in a way that's challenging regardless of fitness level. They can be bought in sets or individually.
If you’re lucky enough to find any, they can be bought as one standalone adjustable set. (Check out Powerblock or other similar companies.)
If you’re a beginner I would recommend gathering weights in the 5-50lb weight range. You can always add more as you get stronger.
Again, very versatile and very AFFORDABLE, which is why I'm putting these at number 2. Bands are one of the cheapest tools you can get and are almost always in stock. I’m a huge fan of the ones sold at WestSideBarbell.com (unlike many other bands, these ones seem to last longer and don’t peel).
Barbell + Plates
Barbells will allow you to drastically expand your exercise library, and give you a superior means to apply heavier loads. They're a great tool for those who really want to build higher levels of strength. In fact, barbells become invaluable as strength levels increase, allowing you to train exercises with heavier weights much easier compared to dumbbell and kettlebells..
Full, half, wall mount, folding. The rack is the centerpiece to any facility. Options here are limitless, and pricing can range anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand. Many racks come with storage options, pull-up bars, and other add-ons.
If you’re looking for basic, simple, and cheap just go to your local sporting goods store. If you want something a little more heavy duty with more options check out companies like elitists.com, roguefitness.com, or performbetter.com. (there are countless other great companies out there.)
The next staple once you have yourself a rack is a bench. Especially handy for full range of motion pressing exercises. Up until you have a bench you’ll be forced to perform most pressing exercises from the floor (and will have to scrap many altogether). Again, having a bench will allow you to expand your overall exercise library substantially as well.
Foam Roller / Trigger point ball
The poor man’s massage tools. These are cheap and easy to find. Providing you actually use them, these tools will allow you to enjoy your new home gym for many years ahead. Even when they come out with the next pandemic. Get some!
Once you have the above 6 you’ll be untouchable, with no reason NOT too come out of these shutdowns looking like a superhero.
This list in full obviously would come with a heavy price tag. Chip away at it. If you’re really short on cash, get some bands to start. Follow that up with some dumbbells in 10-15 pound increments and then fill the missing weights in as you’re able.
Outside of finances, inventory will likely be the biggest determinant of what you can and can’t get. The good news is that you can’t go wrong with any of the beforementioned items, BUT in case things really get crazy and EVERYTHING goes out of stock again, I'm going to provide a list of "nice to have's". These training tools don't land themselves in the essentials category, but are still great additions to any home gym.
The Nice-To-Have list
Chin Up Bar (if not included already on your rack)
Sled (clear the driveway!)
The key here is keeping a consistent eye out. If something goes out of stock, continue checking. I scored my folding rack several months ago after checking randomly early one morning and catching it back in stock. By the time the purchase was complete the item was out of stock again.
I’ve had members successfully take the same approach while shopping at local Walmarts or sporting good stores. You just need to be at the right place at the right time.
Get what you can, and expand as you go. We've had some amazing success stories with individuals who only had access to a set of bands and a few dumbbells.
I hope this helps you make it through the dark months ahead, (or sparks some Christmas present ideas).
If you want to learn how we can help you design the BEST program around your goals and EQUIPMENT access (or would like to gift someone the opportunity to work with a coach), we'd love to help.
Tell us a little about yourself here and we'll be in touch: