I receive emails everyday from aspiring lifters all over the world, and one of the most common questions I'm asked is…
"Do I have to join a gym in order to build a strong, muscular body?"
The answer, my friend, is no. With the right equipment and planning you can follow an equally effective bodybuilding program from the comfort of your home without ever having to set foot in a gym.
In fact, my first 2 years of bodybuilding were spent working out with basic equipment in my basement, and I saw incredible results doing this.
Maybe you can't afford a gym membership due to your financial situation.
Maybe you lead a busy lifestyle and would prefer to save time by training at home.
Maybe you're simply too embarrassed or uncomfortable to train in a regular gym setting at the moment.
Whatever your reason, don't worry!
I currently workout at a gym with my training partner but have to say that my years spent lifting at home were fantastic.
I didn't have to worry about the travel time to and from the gym. I could simply slip downstairs whenever I felt like it and all of my equipment was there waiting for me.
I could listen to whatever music I wanted to, as loud as I wanted to without having to worry about those around me.
I could grunt, yelp and scream through my sets if I was in the mood without disturbing anyone (hey, squatting to failure isn't easy okay?) or train shirtless if I felt like it.
When the workout was over, I could sprawl out on the floor in exhaustion and know that my post workout shakes were just a few steps away, and that I wouldn't have to hobble to my car and spend anymore time driving home.
It was great.
The only real disadvantage is that your exercise selection will decrease because you won't have access to certain pieces of machinery such as a leg press or calf machine. You can purchase certain machines if you have the money to spend and plan on training at home over the long term, but for the majority of people this simply won't be possible.
The good news is that planning out a proper bodybuilding routine does not require the use of any fancy equipment, and all of the machine exercises that you would regularly perform can be swapped for freeweight substitutions.
Here is the basic equipment that your home gym should contain:
1) An adjustable barbell with freeweight plates – A cast iron set is probably a good idea, and you must also make sure that you purchase enough weight so that you can continually progress from week to week.
2) Adjustable dumbbells – This is much more efficient and cost-effective than purchasing an entire set of dumbbells. You should be able to buy the barbell and dumbbells together in a single set.
3) A bench with incline adjustments – A good sturdy bench is a must-have for performing bench presses and other seated movements. If possible you should purchase a bench that can be set on an incline and that also contains safety catches if you plan on training alone.
4) A chin-up bar – These can usually be purchased for 15-20 dollars and can be placed inside of a door frame.
5) A squat rack – This is usually the trickiest piece of equipment to purchase, as a full squat rack can be pricey. Squats are an irreplaceable movement and should always be a part of your workout routine, especially if you don't have a leg press machine handy.
If you can't afford a squat rack then you'll have to be creative. The bottom line is that you must have some sort of apparatus that will allow you to safely unrack a loaded bar and drop the bar onto a safety catch (or the floor) if your strength gives out during the lift.
Don't ever squat without a safe place to drop the bar! Most full squat racks will also provide a chin-up bar on top, so you can kill 2 birds with one stone if you decide to purchase one.
So there you have it; the 5 pieces of basic equipment that are needed to set up a home gym. As long as you have these basic tools in your arsenal you can perform an equally effective workout without ever having to join a traditional gym.
If you're all set to go and need a highly effective, step-by-step workout routine to follow, . I can teach you exactly which exercises to perform and the ideal number of workout days, sets and reps you should use to get maximum results from your efforts. I can even customize a specific workout plan for you based on the equipment that is available in your home gym.
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