We all have different reasons to wanting a home gym but how much do you really need to pay for a high quality gym? I decided to put together a list with equipment I find useful with the restriction of being able to fit it in a small apartment. In other words – no barbells.
Most of the equipment will eventually wear down but the backbone in your home gym will be weights that lasts a lifetime. My local gym has a member fee of $415 and if you plan on living another 50 year, you’ll end up paying $20750. That would me a pretty darn good gym.
If possible, add a full length mirror. There’s no better motivation than watching yourself.
Might be a bit difficult indoors but a jumping rope is great for cardio and you can use it to warm up before your exercise. Make sure you get some weight in your rope to be able to keep a smooth rhythm and the speed your want.
It costs a few more bucks for quality but it’s worth it.
Available at Gymgrossisten for $38
This is the most essential equipment in your home gym and the price varies greatly. You’ll often find cheap dumbbells in mint condition on Ebay and garage sales simply because a lot of people buy them and never keep up with it in the long run.
They will last a lifetime and by buying adjustable dumbbells you’ll be able to add more weights as you grow stronger.
Available at Rusta with 2x extra weights (total 54 kg) for $145
Pull Up Bar
Great for upper body exercise and easy to take down between your workouts. This version is designed with a bar resting on the upper doorframe which means that you never have to worry about falling down and getting injured.
Although it has a safe design, you should never jump up. Make sure it’s well secured before putting your weight on it.
Available at Gymgrossisten for $46
Probably the best exercise for targeting my abs. It’s a simple design though and if you have a wheel laying around, you’ll probably be able to build a similar version yourself. Just value your time – due to its low price it might be wiser to buy it.
Delivered with knee pads but I’m using my yoga mat instead.
Available at Rusta ($15) and Gymgrossisten ($31)
Live everything else, there’s a ton of alternatives when it comes to yoga mats. You’ve got grip, thickness, size, weight and durability. Personally I’m no expert and simply picked one that’s thick enough and seemed to be high quality.
I use it a few times a week – both for yoga and ab exercises.
A must have if you want to protect your floor from the weights or simply care about your neighbors below. There are probably cheaper solutions but the main advantage with floor guards is that you can customize the total size over and over again.
I’d probably go for several smaller instead of a few large.
Some people prefer Excel, others prefer paper. With Jefit you can see all kind of stats about your progress and if you use their app – you can set a timer to automatically go off between sets. The best part? It’s completely free.
The main disadvantage with a service is that it will eventually close. Maybe not this year or next five but it will close and then your history will be lost if there’s no way to export it.
Used mainly between the sets to make sure that you keep the pace up and don’t spend your time doing something else. Especially at home where you’ve got a lot of other things such as your computer. Don’t spend time looking for songs!
Note that Jefit has a built in timer if you use their app.
Use Gymboss 2 for free or iPhones built in timer.
Take it to the next level
The list above will be plenty for most beginners. Eventually you’ll need more weights but it isn’t a big financial problem since you’re saving hundreds of dollar in member fees every year. If I’d spend all the money I’m saving in a single year ($415), on weight plates I’d get a whopping 138 kg! I’m pretty sure that will last a lifetime for most people when it comes to dumbbells.
If you have a bigger budget, I’d recommend you to continue reading about the products below. They are far from essential in a home gym but they’ll make your life easier.
The only cardio “machine” I’d allow in my home gym. Perfect for cardio during the winter, warm up before your workout and for old fashioned calorie burning. Place it in front of your TV with a great video game and I promise you won’t even notice you’re burning calories. I did so after my knee surgery and it’s probably the easiest exercise I’ll ever stumble upon.
Available at Sporttema for $260 and from $77 on Ebay.
You’ll be using two dumbbells in most exercises so make sure that you order at least 4 weight plates and not only two.
Available at Gymkompaniet for $15 per 5 kg weight plate.
Eventually you’ll get fed up with changing weights during every workout. The solution is to simply get more dumbbells. I’d probably get a total of 6 or 8 (with previous ones included) depending on space and how many you need.
Make sure it’s the same size (25mm) as your weights.
Available at Gymkompaniet for $15 per dumbbell.
Might take up a bit more space but it looks a lot better than placing your weights on the ground and now you’ll be able to vacuum the floor without going crazy.
Another advantage is that you, no longer, have to bend over and touch the floor every time you put up a weight.
Build your own or hire someone to make it perfect.
Captains of Crush
Not only extremely fun to see your progress but also a great training tool for your grip strength. Captains of Crush is the legend within this area and they offer a total of 10 different levels. Begin with the easiest and aim for the hardest.
Avoid Casall Power Grip which offer minimal resistance.
Available at Gymgrossisten for $54
Now we’re beginning to cross the line for what’s realistic for most people. If you’re living in an apartment there’s little chance of having a squat and dip rack. Nevertheless – I’ve written down most of the equipment I’d get if I had a dedicated room for my home gym.
I’d probably get the equipment in the following order:
- Barbell with weights
- Squat rack or Power Cage or Multi-Press Rack
- Weight rack
- Standalone pull up bar
- Dip rack
- Weighted vest
Anything missing? What does your home gym look like or what would you like to have in it?