T Nation

A Nice Rack (Home Gym)


I'm considering starting a home gym and was looking for some advice.

First, with limited space what are the essentials?

I'm thinking power rack, olympic bar, olympic weight set, maybe adjustable dumbbells, rubber pads for floor.

As far as racks go, what are some good brands. Ideally it would have a pull-up bar and a dip station.

Also how do I get this stuff cheap. I'd like the entire gym to come in under 1000. 1200 being my upper limit.

Is there a good way to get this stuff discounted?


Both Texas Strength Systems, EliteFTS and Westside-barbell have powerracks with holes 1" on center. A solid barbell "texas power bar" or equivellent. Also to save money pick up a pair of olympic plate size dumbell handles +/- 80.00 pair.

The power rack will NOT be cheap but do it NICE not twice. Most of the weights can be picked up off of Craigs list for about 60 cents per pound give or take. 600# of weight will cost between $300-400.00

You could go less expensive on the squat/powertower with one that has holes 2" on center. Any remaining money after the major purchases I would say would be best spent on EliteFts or Lifting Large BANDS. A really good set will compliment the plates and cost about $150.00. It was THE best purchase I made, even more than my Safety Squat Bar, also Orlando Barbell does a floor model GHR for about $450.00 that is Very portable.

Happy hunting and lift STRONG(ER) !


So what makes the difference in this equipment, compared to say a cheaper model. Mostly quality of construction?

What is the purpose of having holes all around each support, greater versatility?

Also when buying an olympic bar, what is the difference between the ones that cost $100 and the ones that cost $600? They all say 7ft steel olympic bars?

Thanks for your reply


Made in china bars for 100 bucks tend to be cheaply made on the inside. The 600 dollar ones will have better bearings, etc... Wether or not the price is worth while basically depends on how much weight your handling. A 600 dollar bar will handle more weight, and will feel different when loaded. If you're on a budget, and aren't elite-total strong, buy the cheap bar. Oly dumbelle handels are nice, but they can get pretty long. If you're just starting your home gym, and are on a budget, I'd consider buying a bit of 1 inch cold rolled round bar, cutting it to length, and popping a couple of plastic "olympic adapter" sleaves on it. Or just buy 2 inch round bar, and you'll have fat bar dumbelles. Than save your pennys to buy a "proper" set of dumbelles down the road for your finer accessory work where 20 inch long dumbelles aren't so handy.

You usually get what you pay for, but don't let that stop you from deal hunting. Some of the equipment on the internet is marked up alot more than it should be. The thickness of the steal, quality of the welds, over all design, etc... of a rack is more important than the decals, so have a look at whatever you can in person before you buy. If you want things on the cheap, be realistic about your strength levels, and your goals. A good rack will last forever, no matter how strong you get, but it takes a long time to get strong enough to break even a cheap rack. Craigslist, and kijiji are your friends though. Check that first.


Will dhagree with Bronco on the dumbell handles. Good call buddy. Forgot about the two inch pipe possibilities !
That SHOULD have been my first question "how much do you Squat-bench-deadlift as this WILL effect how much you are going to spend on a bar. Sure, a 100.00 bar with a max of 700# will work but at 300.00 the bearings in the ends are usually tighter, nicer and longer lasting than the china shit.

As far as the Hole's on the texas rack. It does give you more options when you start to use bands and work within a certain power curve. Also helpfull in setting the pins at a correct height for proper bench lift off.
Also when used for Squat and Romainian deadlift partials.

Hope this helps to clear the air a bit more. Remember to Buy Nice, not Twice !


My training will probably be more bodybuildingesque in nature for the foreseeable future. Right now I doubt if my 1RM for squats is more than a 100 lbs. But I do have a good deal of experience lifting. For the past 3 years I've been out of commission as far as physical activity for medical reasons. But I think I will be able to lift again soon.

I'm 5'9" and at the height of my lifting I weighed 210lbs, could prolly 1RM bench for around 300, squat for around 350-375, and deadlift around 450 - 500, and even then I didn't actually max, I always worked in a 3-10rep range. So nothing huge but I was pretty happy with where I was. Now I weigh 140lbs and yesterday I did a single pullup and a single dip and felt spent. So I'm definitely starting from scratch. Due to my medical history now and my small joints I doubt I will ever be able to put up tremendous weight. But I'd like to hit a 350 decline bench, 450 squat, and 500-550 dl, and I'd like to buy one cage to last me the rest of my life.


Go used. I got my rack at Play it again sports. It's an adjustable rack with catches, pull-up bar. I got an adjustable bench, a couple of bar bells, and a pair of blast straps and I am still north of $600.
It's not the greatest shit in the world but it is very adequate. If money were no object, I would go with Elite FTS...What I have gotten from them is high quality.


Go to craigs list. You can get a rack, and blow job on the cheap.


Pat if you had read my FIRST post then you would know that I had posited that Craigs list would be the first stop...as far as the rack and blow job, you get what you pay for...hope your herpes does not compromise your future dating prospects ; )


If you are in the USA you can get good deals, it's pretty much the only place with a good weightlifing culture. Any other place it's very hard to get functionnal equipment for a good price (if you can find any).

EliteFts rack are overpriced.