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Recommendations Needed: Purchasing Home Gym Equipment

jdhcm2006jdhcm2006 Member, Premium Posts: 2,293 Member Member, Premium Posts: 2,293 Member
Hello Everyone,

I am moving in a few weeks into a much bigger place, which means that I am able to build a home gym for myself in the carpeted basement. I'd like to either get a squat or half rack, bench, barbell and plates to start with. I am on the hunt for good quality and relatively affordable items. I've been looking at Grind Fitness, Proform, Fray Fitness, Powertech, and Fringe Sport. I'm a beginner so I don't need anything super duper fancy, but something I can do the fundamentals, bench press, squats, hip thrust, deadlifts, etc., with. Does anyone have any suggestions? Any help would be much appreciated. My budget is about $1200 - $1600, I know that isn't a lot to work with but it's what I can comfortably manage.

Someone in a FB group recommended this: https://amazon.com/dp/B081S9FC5X/ref=cm_sw_r_as_gl_api_glt_fabc_NGQHXQHV1SA2PKRRSVZ5?linkCode=ml1&tag=sabrinaseymor-20&fbclid=IwAR3SAS1eqR8VwQkxC89hefyErzuaAUys8LHACZhbF9XiKJCHvfCLcTHZAb8 via Amazon, which is nice and cheap. I've heard good things about Sunny's spin bike, but this is the first I'm hearing about a rack from them.

My main concern is obviously safety, but price is also a concern as well.

(I know I could just join a gym again, but I already work two jobs and will be starting my Masters program in the Fall so having everything at home is 100% ideal for me).

Replies

  • MaltedTeaMaltedTea Member, Premium Posts: 5,257 Member Member, Premium Posts: 5,257 Member
    Kudos on the new place!

    How about that power rack (perhaps used if you can snag it), a TRX set-up (if you can drill into your walls) and a pull up station?

    If you do happen to get a used rack, then you can get yourself a bar or two with some basic plates. Then you just buy more plates as you progress.

  • damianromero2014damianromero2014 Member, Premium Posts: 4 Member Member, Premium Posts: 4 Member
    Hiya!

    That squat rack will work but don't waste your money on buying new. Facebook marketplace is FULL of plates, dumbbells, racks and anything else you might need for lifting. With a 1500.- budget, you should be able to find top of the line gear. Used gym equipment doesn't lose value so when you resell it, it won't have cost you anything.
  • MikePfirrmanMikePfirrman Member Posts: 2,484 Member Member Posts: 2,484 Member
    I would guess after most of the population gets vaccinated, a lot of the people that bought free weights will end up selling them. Not everyone, but there will be a nice portion of people that realize they just won't work out from home and will go back to the gym.
  • steveko89steveko89 Member Posts: 1,947 Member Member Posts: 1,947 Member
    We have a Sunny spin bike and it's fine but I don't think I'd trust a rack from them.

    A pretty well-regarded Amazon option for racks are Fitness Reality. They have a similar half rack to what you linked and a full four-post rack for $50 more. (linked below).

    https://www.amazon.com/Fitness-Reality-Pull-down-Attachment-Adjustable/dp/B01N4I8FOY/ref=sr_1_4?dchild=1&keywords=fitness+reality&qid=1617196181&s=sporting-goods&sr=1-4

    GarageGymReviews recently did some reviews and testing on this rack and it held up pretty impressively for the price point. Both GarageGymReviews and GarageGymLab are excellent resources for reviews but do skew a little more high-end in terms of their target demographic.

    To others' points, depending on where you are FB marketplace and Craiglist can be really good resources but there's certainly an element of luck and some of the prices are still elevated if the seller is knowledgeable about what they have. I do agree there will likely be some opportunity for supply to increase and prices to drop as people can start going back to gyms but I wouldn't necessarily depend on that. Dumbbells still seem to be very hard to find but the stock on plates seems to be stabilizing.

    Fortunately, I've been a home gym user exclusively for years and it was nice to be able to not miss a beat with COVID. Predominately, my gear is Titan Fitness or Rogue; some used, some new. started with a set of Bowflex 552 adjustable dumbbells in early 2012 which still get used daily. If you can find a pair of those or Powerblocks in a similar weight range that may be your best bet right now vs. trying to assemble a set of individual dumbbells.

    For what you stated you want to be able to do I would suggest the following:
    - Rack of some variety - see link above or see what you can find used locally.
    - Bench - A flat bench is probably fine and will likely be cheaper. I also suggest getting one with a single post on the front so the legs aren't in the way of your feet. It's the only thing I'd change about my bench.
    - Two barbells - standard 20kg/45 lb Olympic bars might be easier to find but you may prefer a 15kg women's bar that has a smaller diameter and lower started weight, depending on your strength level. Rogue's is branded the "Bella" bar. For me the biggest thing I'm always wishing I had more of is time so having multiple bars enabling supersets (or giant sets) really helps with efficiency. Titan has "economy" bars which are a really good value at ~$90 each. I have two and they've held up really really well for what they are. Safety-wise I wouldn't go much cheaper than that.
    - Plates - If you're doing deadlifts you'll want at least a few bumper plates. A lot of personal preference to plates but at the end of the day weight is weight.
    - Adjustable Dumbbells - they can be a little unwieldy for some movements given their length but it's hard for me to argue against them in a bang-for-buck and space efficiency regard.
    - Foam Plyo Box - This is the most cost-effective solution I've found for hip thrusts. Even at 18" I felt a competition-height flat bench was too high and doing them on the side of the pad was messing with the cover, which I didn't like. Bret Contreras sells some overpriced contraptions but also foam "benches" for hip thrusts at heights of 14" or 12". Titan has foam plyo boxes that have a 12", 14" and 16" side and at a lower price. You can also use it for other stuff or even as a substitute for a bench in a pinch. Again, hard to beat the utility for the price ($70). Here's a link to the one I have. Unfortunately, it's currently out of stock but I've seen them in stock recently and there are others very similar on amazon that are likely made in the same place. https://www.titan.fitness/endurance/plyo-boxes/foam/3-in-1-heavy-foam-plyometric-box-–-12-in-x-14-in-x-16-in/412232.html. You'll probably also want a foam squat pad to put on the bar for hip thrusts too; nice to have some cushion there and those are also cheap on amazon.

    I'd estimate what I suggested there, except plates, would run about $1000 total and then see what you can get your hands on for plates. I wouldn't spend much more than $1/lb on cast steel plates. Dick's carries "Fitness Gear" or "Weider" 300 lb olympic plate sets (265 lbs of plates + a cheap bar) with an MSRP of $300 but I've seen them on sale (pre-covid) for <$200 but stock has been really spotty.
  • jdhcm2006jdhcm2006 Member, Premium Posts: 2,293 Member Member, Premium Posts: 2,293 Member
    Thank you everyone! I will look into everyone’s suggestions. I truly appreciate the help.
  • sgt1372sgt1372 Member Posts: 3,875 Member Member Posts: 3,875 Member
    OP: If you have access to it, you can also use Craigslist to shop for used gym equipment, which is where I bought almost all of my gear, including everything you mentioned in your initial post plus much more, at a fraction of MSRP.
  • Theoldguy1Theoldguy1 Member Posts: 1,794 Member Member Posts: 1,794 Member
    MaltedTea wrote: »
    Kudos on the new place!

    How about that power rack (perhaps used if you can snag it), a TRX set-up (if you can drill into your walls) and a pull up station?

    If you do happen to get a used rack, then you can get yourself a bar or two with some basic plates. Then you just buy more plates as you progress.

    To be honest, most power racks have a horizontal bar that can be used for pull-up and to attach a TRX to.
    edited April 7
  • MaltedTeaMaltedTea Member, Premium Posts: 5,257 Member Member, Premium Posts: 5,257 Member
    Theoldguy1 wrote: »
    MaltedTea wrote: »
    Kudos on the new place!

    How about that power rack (perhaps used if you can snag it), a TRX set-up (if you can drill into your walls) and a pull up station?

    If you do happen to get a used rack, then you can get yourself a bar or two with some basic plates. Then you just buy more plates as you progress.

    To be honest, most power racks have a horizontal bar that can be used for pull-up and to attach a TRX to.

    Then all the more perfect 😉 Hopefully @jdhcm2006 will update on their final purchase decision(s)
  • rheddmobilerheddmobile Member Posts: 6,209 Member Member Posts: 6,209 Member
    If it was me I would spend the money for a full four post rack. I am used to that at my gym but have a two post at home. Lost balance going forward on a squat the other day, first time I had ever failed a squat in eleven months of lifting at home! And totally stapled myself, I failed to hit both safety bars going down, only caught the bar on one so I was pinned there until my husband came and rescued me. I wasn’t injured but it was scary and painful and wouldn’t have happened in a proper cage rack. The rack @steveko89 linked looks like a good option.
  • Theoldguy1Theoldguy1 Member Posts: 1,794 Member Member Posts: 1,794 Member
    If it was me I would spend the money for a full four post rack. I am used to that at my gym but have a two post at home. Lost balance going forward on a squat the other day, first time I had ever failed a squat in eleven months of lifting at home! And totally stapled myself, I failed to hit both safety bars going down, only caught the bar on one so I was pinned there until my husband came and rescued me. I wasn’t injured but it was scary and painful and wouldn’t have happened in a proper cage rack. The rack @steveko89 linked looks like a good option.

    Plus the posts work real nice when benching without a spotter.
  • jdhcm2006jdhcm2006 Member, Premium Posts: 2,293 Member Member, Premium Posts: 2,293 Member
    I decided I am going to get this rack, https://www.titan.fitness/racks/power-racks/t-2-series/t-2-series-power-rack/401079.html, bc it will fit in my basement. The 84-inches would fit but it would be incredibly tight. At 5’1, I don’t need that extra height.
    edited April 14
  • billkansasbillkansas Member Posts: 259 Member Member Posts: 259 Member
    I think that's a great choice. My rack was inexpensive like this one and I love it and it's all I ever needed. I don't have a basement but sure love having my rack in the garage so I can let in the fresh air and have my kids playing outside while I lift. Plus, I always have some work in the garage I can slowly advance between sets. The hot summers and cold winters haven't stopped me from lifting yet. I just turn on a fan or put on the long underwear. Best wishes with your new rack.
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