Do you hate commercial gyms? Is that disdain shared by your significant other? All the people. The horrible music. The weird soap operas playing on the infinite flat screens spread across walls and equipment indiscriminately. Maybe you have a shift of work as well and your schedule sucks. Perhaps you hate the crappy equipment and barbells with no knurling. Furthermore, maybe it is the sterile environment that forbids people from even talking too loud. For only “lunks” are loud. Eventually after the 23rd time of being asked, “Are you finished on the bench press?” you decide to open your own little heaven: a garage gym. Perhaps these are complaints your significant other has made, but you aren’t sure how to go about making their dream a reality. The 12 items listed below will be a great start to build a garage gym.

1. elitefts 3x3 Power Rack

 A full power rack will be one of the most important pieces of equipment in the gym. The elitefts 3x3 Power Rack with Dip Attachments is a great start. Squats, bench presses, floor presses, deadlifts, rack pulls, chin-ups, and many more can all be accomplished here.

2. elitefts Power Bar

A multipurpose tool that can be used to build strength in any and all exercises.

3. Rackable Cambered Squat Bar

I know, there is a long list of specialty bars. The cambered bar stands above them all due to how many exercises you can alter with its use.

4. Plates

You will need weight to lift. I will always prefer steel plates over rubberized ones. In the end, it doesn’t matter as long as you have a pile of 45s, two 25-pound, two 10-pound, two 5-pound, and two 2.5-pound plates.

5. Rubber Mats

You need a floor on top of the garage. Reduce damage to the foundation, reduce noise, improve footing, and protect your equipment from wear and tear.

6.  0-90 Dumbbell Bench

A multipurpose bench for a wide array of exercises. Place it in your power rack to bench press, military press, incline press, or use for chest-supported rows. Once again, it is a tool that has unlimited potential.

7. Lock Jaw Pro 2

One of the better collars for holding plates on a bar.

8. Farmer’s Walk Handles

Conditioning is essential. General physical preparedness is a must. Loaded carries are proven to build strength, stamina, and a strong back.

9. Prowler

If you love the sense of death knocking at your door, this is a must. Throwing up is optional. One of the most efficient ways at improving conditioning.

10. Bands

They use less space than chains but are just as effective for a lower cost. Another tool in the box that can be used for exercises in and of themselves (like band push downs or pull aparts) or dynamic effort work.

11. Dumbbells

Every gym should have an array of dumbbells. Start collecting them, and over time you will have enough. If space is a big concern, buy the plate-loaded dumbbell handles.

12. Selectorized Pulldown with Low Pulley

A strong back is foundational to a strong person. A strong upper back is foundational to a great bench press. Pulldowns and cable rows can be utilized for a ton of different exercises. This list is not all-inclusive. The idea behind it is to choose pieces of equipment that provide the biggest bang for your buck. If you are unsure of where to start in building a garage gym, start here.

Escape from the beige-colored, potpourri-scented, TV-laden library of silence and head to a facility created by you to your taste, where bench pressing can go as long as you need, deadlifts can be dropped without alarms ringing, and music can be played to your liking.

Corey O’Gorman is a kinesiologist running the Chronic Disease Management and Cardiac Rehabilitation program at FSJ Hospital. 

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