Wednesday, July 17, 2013

How Do You Do It - My Home Gym

Home Gym

For some time, only my close friends have been privy to the ins and outs of my every day life. And they know that I strictly lift weights at home, meaning I don't have a gym membership (at least I don't pay for one). One of those friends kindly messaged me and wants to know:

If you would consider doing a post on your home gym, I would love to see what equipment you have and why you chose it.

You're darn skippy I'll do it! Before I get into it, here's my reasoning for NOT having a gym membership. 

  1. I have small children and I'm not fond of leaving them in a strangers care, and even if I were comfortable with that, that may or may not cost extra money in addition to the gym membership.
  2. My husband works a graveyard shift and his days off vary, making it very difficult to tie down an exact routine. And I am very much and OCD/Scheduler.
  3. I'm too damn cheap to buy a gym membership , er I mean we're living on a single income and a gym membership is not exactly a luxury we can afford any more. We did have a membership before we were married and quite frankly that's A LOT of money and we didn't even use the gym for the last 3? 6? months we had memberships.
  4. I can visit my "gym" any time I want. I can workout in the wee hours of the morning, yeah right like that happens, or I can work out after the kids pass out.
  5. I don't have to feel intimidated or scared or afraid of being judge by someone else who may appear like they know what they are doing. I don't have to wait on a piece of equipment or wait for Joe Meathead to quit bs-ing with Bigger Arms Than Brains guy. I don't have to be embarrassed or ashamed to do certain moves if my shirt accidentally flies upward exposing my not to tight midsection. I LOVE the seclusion I get in my "gym."

Okay, enough with my reasons because I'm sure I could go on and on. So I will instead break it down for you, piece by piece; how and why. Obviously We didn't go out and purchase all of this equipment at once. It's a slow process, some were planned out in advance, some were spur of the moment/they had a sale going on, and some were "I had it before I knew you" purchases.

Home Gym

Decline Bench

This piece was not of my choice. This was a piece that my husband purchased back in his single days. It works great for exercises that require a decline; legs lifts, Russian twists. Before we were able to purchase a newer bench I used it for everything that required a bench. It was cumbersome at times because of it's short length, but I worked with what I had. It hasn't seen much use as of late but it will be hanging around. It does fold up so that we can store it more easily.

Home Gym

Home Gym Home Gym

Incline Bench

This is our new bench, purchased not that long ago. We found it at Dick's a while back but passed "until we had the money." I forget why we went in to Dick's the day we purchased it (probably a month after we had talked about buying it), but we made a decision that the old but usable decline bench was holding us back. We needed that incline more than we realized. I believe we purchased it for $150.00 and I have to say it was money well spent. Some of my favorites with this bench are Reverse Leg Hypers, Incline Hammer Curls, Shoulder Presses, Bent over Rows, and Tricep Dips. Downside: It does not fold up, but it has wheels so we can easily move it back and forth to its storage location.

Home Gym

Weight Rack/Weight Plates/Dumbells

I saved up some money from my bow business to purchase this awesome hybrid weight rack. It was another purchase from Dick's. When we first purchased it we did not have near the amount of dumbbells you see now. I had purchased my "starter" set of dumbbells which included 5lb, 8lb, 10lb, 15lb, and 20lb weights while Dick's had a 15% off sale going. When not purchased on sale they cost close to $1.00 per pound. That can add up really quickly. Lucky for me I only had to purchase one 15lb dumbbell because for some bizarre reason the hubs already had one. Can you pick it out? LOL.

After storing the weights on cardboard I'd laid out on the garage floor, I tired of having to bend over constantly to pick the weights up and put them down, ironic I know. :P Same goes for the weight plates, I smashed my fingers more than once moving them around to get what I needed when I needed it as they were stacked on one another on the floor as well. The weight plates - 2 1/2 lb, 5lb, and 10lb - belonged to the hubby before we married. The 25lb plate I purchased because I needed it for weighted triceps dips and we plan to add it's mate in the not so distant future. I found it at Wal-Mart for $21 and it is nicer than what I found at Dick's because it has handles for an easier grip (and it's cheaper per pound). Back to the rack... So we bought and assembled this rack which now supports my starter dumbbells and my newer dumbbells in 25lb, 30lb, 35lb and 40lb weights respectively (Adam's Krav Maga buddy now works for Dick's and let us know when they were on sale again). And I'm already contemplating adding a 45lb and 50lb weight to the set. Before we had the hex dumbbells we used Adam's previously purchased hand weight bars (below the rack on the floor) with the weight plates. While it worked in the beginning I can honestly say purchasing the hex dumbbells was one of the best decisions we've made. It's so nice to not have to change the weight plates for every set. And Adam still uses the hand weight bars when he needs to lift heavier than 40lbs.

Home Gym


We bought this pretty fella on Amazon. It's a 5ft, 14lb straight barbell. It's very versatile and easily stored, upright, in a corner. We did recently purchase spring clamps for it as the star collars were a bit cumbersome with two of us working out at the same time. The clamps were worth the $5 purchase.

Some of my favorites with the barbell are deadlifts, seated calf raises, bicep curls, shoulder presses, behind the neck tricep extensions.

Home Gym

Sound System

Okay okay so it's not so much a sound system as my old iPod speakers from back in the day sitting on a hand-me-down stool. It's also where I stash my go-go juice while I'm lifting. I'm too cheap to upgrade to an iHome or whatever they're called when these speakers do the trick. It also allows me to hear my rest timers when they alarm from my JEFit app.

Home Gym

Fitness Ball

I have come to love my fitness ball. This was another Wal-Mart purchase ages ago. It has lots of uses, besides entertaining the littles. We use it for tricep dips, leg bridges with hamstring pull in, and my new favorite ab pikes. There are a lot of great stability exercises out there to use this ball with. Con: It's large and hard to store out of reach of little hands.

Home Gym

Yoga Mat

This yoga mat has come in handy. I never understood why my husband bought it as it was never put to use... until my trainer came along and made me do exercises that needed a mat on a concrete floor. Of course it's useful with the obvious ab exercises, but I use it for pushups and other moves that require me to lie on the floor. If you're working out on a cushioned floor it may not be needed but my knees are so bony I cannot fathom working out without it.

Home Gym

Home Gym

Erg (Rower)

This purchase was not one we took lightly. It cost a pretty penny, so it was clearly something we planned in advance. It was purchased a few years back and I think until last year I had only been on it a handful of times. Adam really pushed to get this piece. I was all "what's the big deal, it looks stupid" and he's all "it's such a great workout." I will say it was a wise decision. It breaks down into two pieces for easy storage and provides one of the best cardio workouts you'll find. It uses your entire body from the legs to your back, shoulders, abs, arms, you name it... it get's worked. I love it for days when I'm unable to get out for a run or a ride due to weather or children. I've really come to love rowing on hot humid days with the garage door open and letting the sweat pour off of me. While I think a treadmill would be nice, this is much more portable and sensible with our lack of storage space.

Home Gym Home Gym
Home Gym Home Gym
Home Gym
Odds & Ends

Medicine Balls - These we purchased when Dick's had a Buy One Get One Half Off sale. I needed them for Russian Twists, but there are a lot of other great exercises out there for them as well. 

Ab Roller - This was one of those "my husband bought it before we were married, what the hell is it" purchases. Basically my trainer assigned me ab roll outs using the barbell. Unfortunately with the barbell we have, it has gaskets that keep the weights from rattling, therefore it didn't want to roll for me. That's when the hubs said "wait a minute" and he ran to the master bedroom and returned with this goofy device. I'm forever grateful he had it hiding in the closet. LOL.

Kettlebell - I purchased this to test drive a Kettle Bell Class at the local dojo. While I cannot afford to take the kettlebell class I did learn a lot and this tiny little critter can give you one heck of a workout. It's also great for the beginner when learning to do one legged kettle bell deadlifts.

Forearm Roller - This was a purchase the hubby made to work his forearms and while I don't use it near enough, it will kick your forearms butt!

Home Gym

So that's a little tour of how I do what I do. I also suggest, for you ladies, a great pair of lifting/fitness gloves. You should still grow callouses but the gloves will help during that process, as well as give you a better grip on those heavier weights. If you have any questions, let me have them!


Anonymous said...

Thank you so much!! Now I know what purchases are in my future.

Heather said...

Ah, I'm so jealous of your own workout space! I would kill to have my own equipment so I didn't have to go to the Y!

Maybe we can slowly start getting stuff, but I would LOVE to have some bigger stuff too (treadmill/bike).

Thanks for the list!

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