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Your ultimate guide to creating a bodybuilding home gym, no membership required

What do Muscle Beach, Gold’s Gym, Bev Francis Powerhouse, and your home gym have in common? They’re all equally capable of taking anyone from an average Joe to a champion bodybuilder. No, seriously. 

It used to be that fitness equipment was bulky, expensive, and inaccessible to the everyday person, and you needed a fancy gym membership to make some gains. But today, it’s as easy as clicking “Add to Cart” and waiting for a box to show up on your front door. 

RELATED: Home Gym vs Gym Membership

If you need proof, just look at Agata Bridges, one of the members of our Home Gym Community on Facebook, who recently won her IFBB Pro card at the Toronto Pro qualifier. 

With the right equipment and a little know-how, you, too, can build your dream physique without having to travel to a commercial gym. Here’s what home gym equipment we recommend you have if you’re looking to step on stage in the near future. 

Why You Should Trust Us 

I’m a certified nutrition coach who, as of this writing, is working hard on obtaining his personal trainer certification. But more importantly, I’ve spent the past few years writing for some of the bodybuilding industry’s top publications and have worked closely with some of the best bodybuilding coaches, gym owners, presidents of fitness companies, and bodybuilders themselves, so I have a deep understanding of the field. 

And while I’m far from being a bodybuilder (I’ve made peace with the fact that tracking macros just isn’t for me), I’m no stranger to training like one. When I got into fitness a few years ago, I tried just about everything I could think of, from CrossFit to HIIT, and bodybuilding was the type of training that resonated with me the most. And as any of my friends can tell you, when I get into something I get into it. 

The Benefits of Bodybuilding 

People who go into bodybuilding usually do so with one goal in mind: to look like a Greek god. And there’s nothing wrong with wanting chiseled pecs, bulging biceps, striated quads, and abs, but there are many other reasons why one might want to consider bodybuilding training. 

Here are just a few: 

  • Increased muscle mass can help with blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity 
  • Helps build strength and stamina 
  • Decreased risk of heart disease 
  • Improved mental health 
  • Decreased stress and anxiety 
  • Increased bone density 

Another, often underappreciated, benefit of bodybuilding training is that it stresses proper form. Although you do have to lift heavy weights, bodybuilding puts a huge emphasis on how you move weights. This is because you’re looking to manipulate certain parts of your body to grow, so you want to make sure your form is on point, and proper form can help reduce your overall injury risk. 

Risks of Bodybuilding 

Just about everything in life has its pros and cons, and bodybuilding is no different. Now, it must be said that some of the risks of bodybuilding pertain to those in the top echelon who are taking performance enhancing drugs, which present their own dangers. However, there are some that affect natural bodybuilders as well, especially when they’re cutting body fat in preparation for shows, including:

  • Eating disorders and body dysmorphia (poor self-image)
  • Exercise dependence (an urge to exercise even if you’re injured or tired)
  • Decreased energy 
  • Nutritional deficiencies 
  • Decreased testosterone levels 

You should always consult a physician or certified personal trainer before beginning any exercise program. 

The Essentials

It goes without saying, but everyone’s home gym is going to look different depending on their space and budget. I used to live in a 300-square-foot apartment with my girlfriend and her cat, so obviously my training space looked a little different than Coop’s glorious garage gym. I luckily now live in a more spacious townhome where I can fit more home gym equipment (much to my girlfriend’s chagrin). 

No matter where you live, there are a few things that aren’t negotiable when trying to build a bodybuilding home gym. Everything else on our list is nice to have, but here are the things you won’t go very far without. 

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REP PR-4000 Power Rack
REP PR-4000 Power Rack

The PR-4000 is a heavy-duty, 1,000 lb rated commercial-grade power rack featuring 3x3” 11 gauge steel with 1” hole spacing through the bench zone and 5/8” pin holes. If you're looking for a "never need to upgrade" home gym power rack, or a centerpiece for your commercial facility weight room, this is it.The PR-4000 re-defines customizability: You're no longer stuck with a pre-configured power rack and overpaying for options. Choose the components you want from our large selection of stock inventory, and have them delivered to your door in about a week or less! Multiple color, height, and depth options combine with an ever-expanding list of accessories and attachments to create the only power rack system you'll ever need.Every rack comes with our top rear logo cross-member which serves as a convenient anchor point for future attachments you may want to add, and from there the rest of the rack is up to you.Our new painting process specially prepares your rack with the most high-end surface prep and care possible, including sandblasting to ensure superior paint adhesion, and a baked on powder coating that will last for years.47" outside-to-outside width allows plenty of room to rack the bar without plates hitting the sides of the uprights, which is a common problem on competitors' 3x3" racks.This color is achieved by using a specially prepared steel combined with a metal grinder and a clear powder coat to give it a raw brushed steel look, while maintaining the rust-resistance of a powdercoat. In addition, the rack shows less wear over time due to the finish and clearcoat making it difficult to notice any imperfections.Standard 3x3" uprights with 5/8" holes ensures compatibility with REP attachments as well as most others on the market. 1" hole spacing through bench zone, and 2" spacing everywhere else.Front Foot extension for working outside the rack without bolting down. Allows you to add spotter arms off the front of the rack and have dedicated setups for benching and squatting without changing j-cup or safety height.Uniquely shaped base stabilizer removes the need to bolt down a 48" depth rack, and also serves as an anchor point for the pulley system and low row foot plate.

Power Rack

Whether you want to call it a power rack, squat rack, power cage, or whatever else, make sure you have a structure that can support a barbell and a bunch of weight plates where you can bench press, squat, overhead press, and much more. 

If your budget and space allow it, we recommend getting a modular power rack that you can fit a bunch of attachments to, including pull-up bars, cable pulleys, low rows, lat pulldowns, and other pieces of equipment we’ll mention later on. Not only will it end up being cheaper, but you won’t crowd your home gym with multiple machines.

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Fringe Sport Garage Series Squat Cage
Fringe Sport Garage Series Squat Cage

You'll never feel like just rat in a cage with our Garage Series power rack. In fact, you might feel like you've walked into the Thunderdome instead and that your barbell has become an oversized war hammer.This freestanding power rack boasts our trademark durability, ruggedness and sturdiness. Once you step inside this power rack moonlighting as a construction elevator, you'll give yourself a lift, and go right to the top of your game.Comes equipped with 2 welded plate sleeves for added stability. Includes pair of J-cups and pin/pipe safeties Two different diameter pullup bars - one standard 1.25" and one "fat" 2" diameter. The footprint on this cage is roughly 4ft by 4ft - great for smaller spaces.Our solid Garage Series power rack serves functional fitness users, lifters and builders equally well with a small footprint (47 1/2" L x 53" W). With its small footprint, this power rack will work well in compact spaces.

If you can only get a good old-fashioned squat rack with no thrills or frills, then do so. At the very least I’d recommend getting one with a pull-up bar to increase its versatility and ensure you’ve got something to work your lats. You’ll also just need to eventually pick up some extra equipment along the way.

 

Another option? You can build your own by following our DIY squat rack guide.

Barbell

I don’t have to explain why you need one of these, right? OK, good. 

You don’t need to find a barbell with crazy amounts of knurling on it. A little bit is fine, and it’ll come in handy during heavy lift days but it’s not quite as necessary as it is for powerlifters. Also, find one that has a good tensile strength and weight capacity. You’ll also want a barbell that has bushings over bearings, as you’ll need some spin but not a lot. 

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Titan Atlas Bar
Titan Atlas Bar

Introducing The Atlas Bar by Titan Fitness. A customer suggested that Titan Fitness develop "the last barbell you will ever need", and that is exactly what we accomplished with the Atlas Bar.The result is a multipurpose barbell that you can use for all your lifts. The Atlas Bar is a 20 KG, 28.5MM bar with a medium knurl and dual knurl marks. Tested to 220,000 PSI, the Atlas Bar maintains a good whip for multiple reps, but can stand up to the load and abuse of powerlifting. The bearing and bushing sleeve assembly gives the bar a smooth consistent spin.The Atlas Bar might not be the only barbell you own, but it will be the only one you use.Features: - 20KG 28.5MM Olympic Weightlifting bar. - Medium knurl provides a full, not sharp pattern allowing the lifter to decide their ideal grip. - 220,000 PSI tensile strength gives the right amount of whip or flex to the bar for Olympic lifts. - Dual knurl marks allow you to use the Atlas Bar for multiple lifts on and off your Rack.Specifications: - Bar weight: 20KG (44 LB) - Bar Diameter: 28.5MM - Weight Capacity: 2000 LB - Knurl: medium - Center Knurl: No - Knurl Marks: Dual - Loadable sleeve length: - Bushing/Bearing: Combination - Tensile Strength: 220,000 PSI - Warranty: 1 year

Weight Plates

See above. I’ll just add that you should buy enough to support your current strength levels, as well some extra for when you get stronger. Your weight plates should also not be so thick that they crowd your barbell and don’t allow you to put as much weight as you need on it. 

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REP Equalizer Iron Plates
REP Equalizer Iron Plates

Our highest quality iron Olympic plate, with extreme attention to detail. Colors available are black or dark gray hammertone. Save some money and purchase in either a 255 lb or 275 lb set!*Formerly known as the “Rep Hex Plates”Features:Machine drilled center hole (not cast) for tight fit on bar. Sand blasted and machined for smooth surface. All surfaces rounded, no sharp edges. Sandblast before painting to ensure no surface rust is painted over. Powdercoated and baked for 1 hour for superior toughness and resistance to chipping. Symmetrical grip holes for easy lifting off the ground, and for using individual plates in exercises. Weight tolerance guaranteed within 2% “X” centered in between grip holes on 45, 35, and 25, as pictured on main image.255 lb set includes: (1) Pair of 45, 35, 25, 10, 2.5 lb plates. (2) Pairs of 5 lb plates.275 lb set includes: (2) Pair of 45, 5 lb plates.(1) Pair of 25, 10, 2.5 lb plates.Plate Dimensions (width/diameter)2.5lb – 0.5″/6.25″ 5lb – 0.75″/8″ 10lb – 0.75″/9″ 25lb – 1.5″/12.25″ 35lb – 1.5″/14.25″ 45lb – 1.5″/17.7″

 

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REP AB-5100 Adjustable Bench
REP AB-5100 Adjustable Bench

Simple, stable and strong as an ox, the AB-5100 version is perfect for commercial gyms that just need a heavy duty adjustable bench, or someone who wants the best for their garage gym. Commercial grade features include an 11 gauge steel frame, high end metallic and hammertone color paint finishes, rock solid stability, thick vinyl and padding, laser cut numbers, and more. A full FID bench with the optional decline attachment, the solid steel pin locks into place at multiple angles for any bench workout - incline, decline, or flat. With other inferior benches at over twice the price - make the smart choice and go REP.11 gauge steel frame with a 1,000 lb capacity 7 back pad adjustments and 4 seat pad adjustments with laser cut degree markings on a stainless steel wear guard 17.5″ to top of pad in flat position. 12" pack pad width. 3 large steel supports on the back pad and 2 on the seat pad for rock solid stability. Pivoting urethane grip handle and wheels for easy maneuverability Simple 20 minute assembly with a wrench and allen key (provided). 4 bolts attaching the base to frame, and 8 bolts attaching pads to frame. Everything else is pre-assembled

Adjustable
Weight Bench

Besides the obvious reasons, I put an adjustable bench on this list because it eliminates the need for some single-use machines that will just collect dust on most days of the week. An adjustable bench gives you the ability to do preacher/concentration curls, reverse flies, shoulder presses, and more. So if you’re wondering why you won’t see a preacher curl setup on my list, that’s why. 

 

I recommend finding a fully adjustable weight bench, meaning one that’s capable of being flat, incline, decline, and 90 degrees. This will allow you to hit muscle groups at different angles, which can stimulate muscle growth in various ways to support your muscle-building needs.

Dumbbells and/or Kettlebells

Coop dumbbell vs kettlebell

There’s probably a few people cocking their heads and thinking, “Kettlebells? Is he for real?” First of all, if I had a nickel for every time I heard that. But there’s no reason why a bodybuilder can’t use kettlebells in replacement of, or along with, the classic dumbbell. 

Both are great at building strength, correcting muscle imbalances, and targeting your stabilizer muscles. If you’re curious, I wrote a piece explaining the differences between dumbbells vs. kettlebells that might help you decide which free weights might work best for you. 

I personally recommend an adjustable dumbbell or adjustable kettlebell, just because they’re cheaper than buying an entire set and take up less space.

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PowerBlock Elite Series Adjustable Dumbbells
PowerBlock Elite Series Adjustable Dumbbells

PowerBlock was an innovator in this category and has been making adjustable dumbbells since 1991. This means they have had over 25 years of production and refinement to create the ultimately adjustable dumbbells set, and they truly have. The PowerBlock Elite dumbbells are one of the highest-rated and best-selling sets of all time. This is one of the last adjustable dumbbells sets to still be made in the USA, and PowerBlock uses only premium-quality materials. Thanks to their smart and economical design, the PowerBlocks are extremely tough and can withstand all sorts of regular gym abuse.Has a weight range of 5-50 lbs per hand and increments- 2.5 (adder weight), 5, 7.5, 10,15, 17.5, 20 25, 27.5, 30, 35, 37.5, 40, 45, 47.5, 50 pounds per hand Is expandable later to 70 and again to 90 pounds per hand. Made in USA 10 year home use warranty Replaces 16 pairs of dumbbells in the space of 1

REP Fitness Adjustable Kettlebells
REP Fitness Adjustable Kettlebells

The space-saving REP Fitness Adjustable Kettlebells are high quality and a great value. There are three sets available (two in kilograms and one in pounds) and each set can quickly and easily be adjusted to five different weights. The matte powdercoating provides a secure grip that mimics a standard kettlebell and the rubber bottom helps protect the flooring. 

Horizon 7.0 AE Elliptical
Horizon 7.0 AE Elliptical

Bring your fitness classes, music and entertainment to your workouts with advanced Bluetooth speakers. Smart fitness technology pushes data to your favorite tracking apps. Ergonomic Six-Star Frame encourages ideal body position and movement for a more efficient and comfortable workout. Achieve better muscle tone and burn more calories with advanced power incline.Read my full Horizon 7.0 AE Elliptical review.

Horizon Fitness T202
Horizon Fitness T202

With a clean, simple and sleek design, the Horizon Fitness T202 Treadmill is one of the best folding treadmills on the market for its price point. With attributes like integrated Bluetooth speakers, one-touch keys, console fans and an extended 60-inch running deck, Horizon really stands out among competitors. The T202 utilizes a one step hydraulic folding system to easily store your treadmill. Weighing 187 pounds, transporting it for storage is reported to be fairly easy.The T202 provides five on-board workouts programs and provides basic data on its backlit LCD display: calories, distance, heart rate, incline, speed, and time. It also includes a free app to control your workout and sync fitness data with your favorite fitness apps. Plus, the Bluetooth speakers make it possible to listen to your favorite playlist while working out. The 12 incline and 12 miles per hour max speed also give the T202 an edge, providing users with a wider range of workouts than many other budget treadmills. That said, the 2.75 horsepower motor will not support heavy running. Where the Horizon T202 falls short is the one-ply, 1.4-millimeter belt, which is not as durable as those seen on other models. However, a three-zone cushion technology makes for a comfortable running surface.

Cardio Machine

Cardio is a sensitive topic for some bodybuilders, even though it’s been proven a few minutes of walking or running won’t deplete your hard-earned gains. Plus, it’s an easy and low-impact way to burn some calories and body fat. 

You can go for a treadmill or an elliptical, and honestly either one would serve you just fine. One thing I’ll say is that you get more of a full-body workout on an elliptical than on a treadmill, and the best ellipticals can work the lower body’s muscle groups (especially the glutes, quads, calves, and hamstrings) to give them some more definition. 


RELATED: Horizon 7.0 AE Elliptical review

A treadmill on an incline can do the same, but you might just have to be on it for a little longer to feel the full effects. 

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Rogue Monster Bands
Rogue Monster Bands

Rogue Monster Bands are an easy on-the-go or at-home addition to any style of workout, indoor or outdoor. With the wide variety of resistance and tension options they are great for any workout from resistance training, speed training, and conditioning to rehabilitation, general exercise and stretching.The Rogue Monster Bands come in a variety of colors to make them easily identifiable. The bands come in Pull-up Package sets that include three set bands of varying resistance, or they can be purchased individually to suit your workout needs.The high-quality latex material is durable and proven to last through high-intensity workouts. Thinner bands can be used in place of weights or help add another level of intensity to weightlifting movements. Thicker bands are great when used in conjunction with weights for deadlifts, squats, leg press etc. for added resistance and challenge.Resistance categories explained:The lowest resistance bands are 15-50 pounds. These bands are best for incorporating into your daily workout for added tension, rehabilitation, assisting pull-ups, working upper and lower body areas .– Micro #0: 15-lb resistance - orange– Mini #1 – 30-lb resistance - red – Mini #2 – 50-lb resistance - blueThe mid-level bands are best for someone with slightly more experience in weight training. This level is great for added resistance to bench press, squats, and other lower body exercises. These might be too much if you are aiming for more of a stretch or rehabilitation. – #3 – 65-lb resistance - green– #4 – 100-lb resistance - black The last three bands are the highest resistance. These bands will add more of a challenge to your workout. They are recommended for more experienced lifters and athletes.  – Strong #5 – 140-lb resistance - purple– Strong #6 – 170-lb resistance - red– Super #7 – 200-lb resistance - silver

Resistance Bands

These are great for recovery, warming up, adding some additional resistance to your lifts, and can help you get in a quick workout if you’re on the road.

 

Plus, some bodybuilders use resistance bands to get a quick pump before stepping on stage to make their muscles look fuller. They won’t get your pecs quite as big as a barbell, but trust me these deserve a place in your home gym. 

Full Body Training

With the essentials out of the way, we can talk about some of the things that can be beneficial to bodybuilding training. And since we’re talking about bodybuilding we’re going to split (heh, see what I did there?) it into three sections: full-body, upper body, and lower body. We’ll start with full-body. 

Former Mr. Universe and Hercules actor Steve Reeves exclusively trained in a full-body split, meaning he worked every muscle group three days a week. And while he wasn’t the biggest bodybuilder ever, it’s hard to argue that he wasn’t one of the most aesthetic of all time. Seriously, take a second and look at him during his peak and you’ll quickly realize that full-body training works. 

Want to give full-body training a shot? Here’s a few pieces of equipment we recommend. 

SteveReevesBodybuilder

Fray Functional Trainer Commercial Line
Fray Functional Trainer Commercial Line

The functional trainer is by far the most versatile and widely used piece of equipment in the industry. It is used in home gyms across the globe as well as commercial gyms and everything in between. The Fray Fitness model is a commercial-grade unit consisting of 198-pound dual weight stacks. This functional trainer is solidly constructed with industrial-grade strength 11 gauge steel throughout. The pulley system provides an extremely smooth glide up and down. It is a quick-adjust pulley system with 19 different adjustment slots. You are also able to perform pull-ups and chin-ups with the pull-up bar. Also comes with a pair of D-grip handles. Does not come with any other attachments pictured.Every inch of this is fully commercial. There were no shortcuts taken:--Pulleys are strong and thick and we stand by that statement by offering a full 5-year warranty on them. That is by far an industry-leading warranty on pulleys--Cables are extra strong and the thickest on the market--Guide rods are full metal all the way through and not hollow in the middle like others2:1 ratio.Ships partially assembled. Easy assembly. Approximately 90 minutes. We have techs available daily to help with assembly questions when needed as well.Assembled weight: 910 poundsHeight: 90:Width: 66:Depth: 36"WARRANTY:Frame: Lifetime5 FULL YEARS ON OUR PULLEY'S18 Months on cables, pins and hardware for commercial use and 36 months for home use.

TUT Trainer Tower
TUT Trainer Tower

The TUT Trainer Tower is a unique functional trainer that you can mount to studs in your wall or to a door frame (or to an outdoor patio post like our product tester did). This tall, slim piece of equipment is like a minimal all-in-one home gym. It’s similar to a cable machine, but much smaller and more portable, especially if you don’t use the wall-mount option. With the TUT Trainer Tower, you can do just about any exercises you might do with a cable machine, including triceps push-downs, lat pull-downs, low rows, hip abduction and adduction, chest press, biceps curls, and more. For certain exercises, such as the low row, you’ll need additional equipment, like a stability ball or bench. The TUT Trainer Tower package comes with the tower itself, a stud mounting package, 150 pounds of TUT Plates (custom resistance bands that work with the Tower), ankle straps, an aluminum straight bar, two single handles, a carabiner, and a rope clip/cable lock. The Garage Gym Reviews team loves that the TUT Trainer Tower is so functional yet comes in such a small package: It only extends 6 inches from your wall or door frame and it weighs less than 12 pounds.

Functional
Trainer

A functional trainer may take up a lot of space, but there aren’t many machines out there that can help you workout in multiple planes and hit every part of your body. They’re an investment, but one that’s undoubtedly worth it if you’re looking to fine tune your physique. 

 

A great functional trainer, sometimes called a home gym, can be adjusted to work the upper body one minute and the lower body the next, so you can use it to get a full-body workout in at any time. They’re also great for isolation movements, or exercises that target a specific muscle, and are great for people of older ages who still want to workout. 

 

Is there a need to get a commercial-grade functional trainer? Probably not, since you and your loved one will be the only ones using it. Just make sure you take care of it and it should last you many years.

Landmine Attachment

Shoulder presses, rows, lunges, Russian twists, Romanian deadlifts…is there anything a good landmine attachment can’t do? Seriously, there are some workout circuits I’ve seen that only use a landmine attachment because of its versatility. 

Landmines can also be used to mimic a hack squat machine, which has been shown to be more joint-friendly and place less stress on your lower back than back squats. Because of that, it puts more of an emphasis on your quads and glutes, which is great for your lower body development.   

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REP Landmine Attachment
REP Landmine Attachment

Attached to your power rack's upright, the landmine allows you to use your barbell for various exercises that build core and shoulder strength, both of which are important for any athletic performance. Perform a broad range of exercises including landmine rows, landmine presses, Russian twists, and bent over rows (among many others).Specs:Weight: 8 lbs Total Length: 16" Tube Length: 11.5"

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Titan Olympic 2" Hex Bar
Titan Olympic 2" Hex Bar

Features: - Unique dual handle design for targeting and isolating desired muscle groups - Fits standard 2" Olympic plates - Knurled handles for improved grip - Easy "Flip" design— simply turn the bar over to switch grips - Crafted with all-steel construction - Total Sleeve Length: 9.75"Specs: - Weight: 44 lb - Overall length: 56" - Handle-Handle: 24.5" - Weight capacity: 500 lb

Trap Bar

The trap bar is one of the best specialty barbells out there. It’s true that an old-fashioned barbell activates more muscles than a trap bar, but a trap bar is great for things like Farmer’s walks and squat jumps, both of which are full-body movements. 

 

Trap bars have also been shown to recruit more hamstring muscle activation, and can help you build explosive strength. That, in turn, can make you stronger the next time you pick up a barbell. It’s also a great choice for people who may have difficulties lifting an Olympic barbell due to an injury. 

Upper Body 

This section will encompass anything that can be used to develop your shoulders, chest, and back muscles. 

Lat Pulldown/
Low Row

If you don’t have a power rack with one of these, then I’d say this should be the next thing on your “essentials” list. The lat spread is one of the most iconic and important poses in all of bodybuilding, and having this machine will help you stand apart from the competition when the judges call for it. 


There are some people who might argue you can get away with just doing pull-ups, but few have the ability to squeeze out multiple reps of this with proper form–keyword there is proper form. I might sound like a broken record at this point but proper form is an absolute must in bodybuilding training, and you’re more likely to keep your form doing lat pulldowns or low rows than you are pull-ups.

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Titan Lat Tower
Titan Lat Tower

Achieve a greater workout with the Lat Tower from Titan Fitness™. This high quality stand alone unit features both a lat pull down and a low row position. Easily select your weight in ten pounds increments from 10 - 300 LB using the selector style pop pin. Each machine includes a lat bar and low pull handle. With 6 thigh pad positions and 8 footplate settings, this machine is designed to be used by any size athlete.Features: - Selector style weights from 10 - 300 LB. - 6 Thigh pad and 8 footplate positions. - Band pegs for adding resistance bands. - High quality steel construction and powder coated for a smooth durable finish. - Lat bar and low pull handle included.Specifications: - Floor Dimensions: 41" Wide x 57" Deep - Overall Height: 87" - Footplate Dimensions: 17" x 9" - Lat Bar Width: 42" - Lat Bar Diameter: 1" - Low Pull Handle Width: 14" - Low Pull Handle Diameter: 1" - Weight: 530 LB* Note: Low Row Handle not included! *

XMark Freestanding Dip Station
XMark Freestanding Dip Station

If you need to do triceps dips but don’t have the space for a power tower or full power cage, the Xmark Freestanding Dip Station is the place to go. This sturdy dip station is rated for 500 pounds, which means most people can do substantially weighted dips on it. Constructed of 2-inch-by-3-inch square steel tubing, the XMARK Dip Station is as stable as they come. It features thick grips that are 2 inches in diameter compared to other freestanding dip stations that have 1-inch diameter grips. The handles on the Xmark dip station angle in slightly, resulting in grip options from 21 inches apart to 23 inches apart.

Dip Station

 

This is another piece of equipment that can easily be attached to a power rack, but if you have the space you can also get a freestanding station. Dips are great because they help increase your lockout power, which makes you stronger in moves like the bench press and overhead press, and you can add weight to them if desired for progressive overload. 

 

You’ll be working the chest, shoulders, triceps, upper back, and lower-back with this move, adding some serious muscle to your upper body. 

EZ CURL BARBELL

The EZ Curl bar is another great specialty barbell for bodybuilders because the various angled grips allow you to target specific areas of your triceps or biceps, specifically the brachialis, or the head of the bicep. 

 

An EZ Curl bar also places less stress on the elbows and wrists than a standard barbell, making it a joint-friendly option.

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Rep EZ Curl Barbell
Rep EZ Curl Barbell

Introducing the long-awaited Rep EZ Curl Bar! One of our most requested items, REP now offers a curl bar so you can target your biceps directly and get the most out of your curls!Key Features:Spin:"¯ With 1 needle bearing and 1 bushing per sleeve, these bars are the perfect combination of spin and stability. This unique combination reduces wrist strain while helping isolate different muscle groups. Length: You can get this bar in a rackable or nonrackable length to fit your training style best! Knurl:"¯This curl bar incorporates the same knurling from our best-selling mixed-use bars to bring you a grip that lasts through high rep sets without ripping your hands. Camber: The cambers on these bars allow a semi-supinated grip so you can to develop your biceps and triceps in a joint-friendly way. Coating: Available in Stainless Steel or Hard Chrome. The Hard Chrome coating is a more durable finish than regular chrome and has a matte appearance. Hard Chrome is also rust-resistant and requires low maintenance!\Standard Specs:Diameter:"¯30mm Weight: 30lbs Finish:"¯Stainless Steel or Hard Chrome Coating Knurl: 4x70mm sections of medium depth knurl Length:"¯4'7" Loadable Length: 10" Distance between sleeves: 2' x 9.5"

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Titan Multi-Grip Pull Up Bar
Titan Multi-Grip Pull Up Bar

The multi-grip pull up bar from Titan Fitness gives you unlimited grip choices to do pull-ups and chin-ups, allowing you to work more muscle groups than with a standard pull up bar. The bars have slip-resistant powder coated finish, so you won't need to wear gloves to maintain your grip. Perfect for attaching gym rings, resistance straps, and suspension mounted strength trainers. We recommend mounting it to the studs inside the wall or over wood stringers to provide maximum support for your best workout.Features:- 8 different bars for many positions - Non-slip paint grips for added safety - High quality steel construction - Includes instructions Versatility: Unlimited grip choices for wide and narrow pull-ups, chin ups, or neutral grip exercises. Angled ends for extra wide grip pull-ups. The center bars can be used to anchor straps, ropes, rings and suspensions mounts.Durability: Gym quality construction. Welded 12 ga steel. 600 lb capacity. Slip resistant powder coated finish that lats for years.Design: Heavy duty construction is perfect for garage and pro gyms. Installation: Mount onto studs behind your wall or onto wood stringers for the most security. Concrete wall installation recommended for Pro gyms.Dimensions:Width: 48", Inside Grip: 7", Depth: 30"

Fringe Sport Pull-Up System for Ceiling/Wall
Fringe Sport Pull-Up System for Ceiling/Wall

If you’re looking for a versatile pull-up system with adjustable depths and multiple mounting options, the Fringe Sport Pull-Up System for Ceiling/Wall has you covered. As you can probably guess from the name, you can mount this pull-up bar to wall or ceiling studs—whichever works better for your home gym. Made of welded 14-gauge steel, this pull-up system is strong enough to support up to 600 pounds, which means you can do all of the weighted pull-ups your heart desires. It also has two depth options: 14 inches and 22 inches. The 22-inch depth is better for kipping movements. For its weight of just 23 pounds, this Fringe Sport pull-up bar is super strong. It comes with a one-year warranty, so long as you install it properly. You’ll need a drill among other tools to install it, and it’s recommended that you have a buddy help out.

Pull-Up Bar 

“Wait, didn’t he just say the lat pulldown was better than pull-ups?” Yes, I did, but you should really have both. A study out of James Cook University found the pulldown and pull-up produced similar muscle activation in the lats, but the latter was better for the biceps and the spine. It’s also great for increasing your grip strength. 

If possible, go for a multi-grip pull-up bar so you can change your grip depending on what part of your back you want to hit. This will allow you to develop the muscles you and your coach think need work at any given time. (This is, yet again, another item that could be added onto a power rack).

A Word On Abs

Personally, I subscribe to the school of thought that ab machines are, for the most part, worthless. For one, abs are made in the kitchen and not the gym (cliche, I know), but there’s also the fact that bodyweight moves are a much better way to work on core strength than a crunch machine. Also, your abs get plenty of work during full-body moves like the deadlift and squat, so long as you remember to keep your core engaged. 

If anything, I’d recommend getting an ab wheel (rollouts also help to strengthen your lumbar region), or stability ball. 

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Bosu Balls
Bosu Balls

One of the most underrated, all-around tools for functional fitnessThe Bosu ball is the top of the line for auxiliary work. It is one of the best investments to train midline strength and stability, as well as balance and coordination. These are the keys to any skill or effort in athletics and the Bosu Ball has contributed greatly in their development. An improvement in these under-developed skill sets can pay huge dividends. Make stability and strength your foundation.The BOSU Professional includes a pump, plug, and an Owner’s Manual. The BOSU Pro Balance Trainer weighs approximately 17LB, constructed with a dually overmolded platform which is heavier, smooth and non-skid, non-marking and a 8.25LB bladder. It comes with a 1 year Limited Warranty. Designed specifically for Club use, User weight limit 300LB, Made in the USA.BOSU® Ballast® Ball stays put, so that balls don’t wander around the gym floor. Constructed of high-quality, burst-resistant material, it has a six-sided design for proper alignment and positioning. With the BOSU® Ballast® Ball, individuals can perform exercise progressions and dynamic drills that aren’t possible on a regular stability ball. The product is translucent light blue with white multi-dimensional material, and includes a foot pump. Product can be inflated between 55CM and 65CM, 6.5LB. Maximum user weight is 300LB. Made in the USA.*Pump is included with all BOSU Balls.

 

Lower Body

Bodybuilders cannot live on squats alone, at least when it comes to leg day. Here’s what equipment we recommend you have on deck for leg day (no skipping!).

Titan Leg Extension _ Leg Curl Review

Leg Press

While the squat is the king of all lifts, one advantage of the leg press is it takes your upper body out of the equation completely. So if your legs are falling a little behind the rest of your physique, this is a great move to hit especially since you’re able to use much more weight on it than on a squat.

Now, even if you have all the space in the world I’d really recommend finding one that can attach to a power rack. Leg presses are just so big, and you’re really only going to use them once, or maybe twice a week.  

Titan Fitness Stealth Leg Press
Titan Fitness Stealth Leg Press

The Titan Fitness Stealth Leg Press is several machines in one. You can attach it to a rig or rack to use as a leg press, kickback, dip or arm press station. If you take it off the rack, you can use it as a sled to push, pull or drag. This is a unique machine for a lower body rack attachment because of its many uses.With a 500-pound weight capacity, you can do quite a bit of work with this machine. It is made from 11-gauge steel and weighs 123 pounds.

Titan Seated Leg Curl/Extension Machine
Titan Seated Leg Curl/Extension Machine

Strengthen your quadriceps and hamstrings with the Seated Leg Curl / Extension Machine from Titan Fitness. This high-quality unit lets you perform leg curls and leg extensions from the same, seated position. This unit was designed with a rotary leg clamp mechanism which easily allows you to enter the machine, lock your thighs in place, adjust the foot roller starting position, and perform full reps every time no matter the size of the athlete. It is not hard to switch from a leg curl to a leg extension workout simply flip the weight post to the opposite starting position. With this, you can strengthen your muscles in a simple and effective manner!

Leg Extension/
Curl Machine

Leg extensions and leg curls are perhaps two of the best isolation exercises for lower-body development, especially when it comes to the hamstrings and quadriceps. Because it’s a machine, you also get a great range of motion and work one leg at a time to correct any muscle imbalances.

Reverse Hyper

The reverse hyper is a great tool to add to your arsenal not only because it can help decompress your spine, which decreases your injury risk, but it also strengthens your posterior chain and that can help you when it comes time to squat or deadlift.

You can also follow our DIY reverse hyper machine guide

Rogue Westside Scout Hyper
Rogue Westside Scout Hyper

The Scout Hyper is a patented, foldable reverse-hyper machine developed by powerlifting legend Louie Simmons and Westside Barbell. This uniquely lightweight and mobile design features hinging legs that lock into place with pop pins and easily fold back for efficient storage after use (the total depth of the unit, when folded, is just 13”).Louie Simmons created this model with home, work, and light clinical use in mind—with particular benefits for younger athletes or those new to reverse hyper training. The unit comes standard with a durable, round-edge pad (27.5” wide x 21.5” deep x 2” thick) to limit friction against the hips, as well as a nylon webbing hyper strap, two weight posts (5.25” loadable length), a set of spring collars, and 6” long handles. A bolt-on handle extension kit is also available a la carte for users who need to accommodate a shorter distance from the end of the pad to the handles.The Scout Hyper comes with rubber feet (to provide grip to the floor and help keep the unit level) and a rubber-covered step for safe mounting and dismounting. When a workout is complete, the user simply has to (1) pull out and spin the pop pins to unlock the unit, (2) tip the machine up while pushing on the horizontal rear leg crossmember, and (3) press down on the handles to complete the folding process. Please Note: The unit stands up by itself when folded, but we do recommend either storing it flat on the ground or, if storing it upright, to do so against a wall and out of the reach of children.Whether you train in a small garage gym or a large-scale facility, space efficiency always counts. The Westside Scout Hyper offers storage convenience with its patented groove folding mechanism, collapsing down to a depth of just 13” when stowed. It’s also considerably lighter and more portable than most traditional Reverse Hyper machines, making it easy to move, unfold, and lock-in before each use.Regular use of the Scout Hyper can provide safe traction, pressure/tension relief in the lower back, and strengthening of the posterior chain. “We spend hours sitting or standing at home, work or at school,” Louie Simmons says. “These simple yet everyday occurrences place significant pressure and torsion on our lumbar spine leading to mild or even severe daily discomfort. That's where the Scout steps in. A daily prescription of three to five sets of 15 reps on this machine could be the difference from painful to pain-free lumbar health.”User assembly is required with this unit, but should take less than 30 mins. All required hardware is included. Rubber feet are provided for improved stability, and a rubber covering on the step makes it easier to get on and off of the machine. Please BE CAUTIOUS when folding and unfolding the Scout, and be aware of pinch points. If the red marking on the pop pin shaft is visible then the pin is NOT fully seated. Periodically check that the pop pin and swing-arm bolts are tight on both sides of the machine, as well as the bolt that secures the hyper strap.

How One Bodybuilder Won Big Training in Her Home Gym

Agata Bridges was preparing for the Atlantic Championships bodybuilding show in early 2020, but that show was canceled and her gym shut down due to the Covid-19 pandemic. “We wanted to continue to work out but all we had was a squat rack, a treadmill, and some standard spin lock plates,” her husband, Michael, told Garage Gym Reviews. 

 So the two started to buy home gym equipment off Facebook Marketplace, starting with a new rack and a bench that had a leg curl and extension attachment. It wasn’t too soon after that he was hooked, and started living on Marketplace to find deals to make their home gym the best it could be. 

 “My wife then decided to get ready for a show again once things started to go back to somewhat normal,” he says. Because her main focus was back and legs, he started looking for row machines, a leg press, and more. Within a year and a half, he was able to build their ultimate home gym. 

 

BRIDGESHOMEGYM

Agata spent months training in her home gym, and on Dec. 5 she competed in the Toronto Pro qualifier and won her IFBB Pro card, which allows her to compete in pro shows for prize money, and a spot in next year’s Toronto Pro. Her victory is just a reminder that anything that can be done in a commercial gym can also be done in a well-constructed home gym. 

 

“We don’t own a gym membership,” Michael says.

Further reading

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The Pepin Adjustable Dumbbellsare a good value adjustable dumbbell set that hits the mark in a lot of areas. The knurling is great, the machining is precise and consistent, the chrome plating is quality, and the plates are fantastic. We initially didn't recommend them due to a potential safety issue. However, despite the Pepin's not being recommended to be dropped, they've improved the design and we feel confident enough in the updated design to now recommend them. Read more

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Our exclusive Tru Grit coupon gets you 10% off your purchase of home gym equipment. Read more