Built a Home Gym. Now What?

Hello Everyone!

I’ve been a lurker on this forum for some time and decided it’s time to get actually serious for once in my life about lifting weights.

I’m a 32 year old married working professional that has always been active (hikes, biking, etc), but never really hit the weight room. I know how crazy commercial gyms can be, so I decided to buy a few bits of equipment to help me on this road.

Over the last month and half I was able to get the following items used. The only way the wife was going to allow me to have the home gym was if I spend under $800 total for everything. What she doesn’t know is I only spent $523!!!

  • Pendlay 45lb barbell
  • 360lbs worth of weights (mixed brands - metal & rubber)
  • MDUSA squat stand
  • Rogue speed rope
  • Dip & Pull Up tower (Got this used from a yard sale for $15)
  • 85lb, 100lb dumbbell (Got these used from the same yard sale for $25 total)

Based on the equipment and time available to me I’ll have to make the most out of this equipment. My friends have told me that benching is not truly necessary, so I’ll wait until I hit a few lifting goals of mine before buying one to add into the mix.

So my question for you is based on the equipment what program or how do I structure my program to workout? I’d prefer to workout 3 days a week because I think that’s the number of days I can truly stick to especially with the weekly hikes the wife and I do.

In terms of stats I’m 5’6, 165lbs. I’m not ripped like crazy, but I do have my abs showing all the time. I would say I’m lean but could definitely be much more muscular. I eat pretty well, but I’m sure I will have to eat much bigger portions to put on some weight.

My main goal is to get a lot stronger. I think it would be awesome to load up all the plates and be able to squat it.

Please help me with any advice you might have!

Do you plan on doing some type of over head pressing?

Yes, I plan on that being my “big” pressing exercise. I’ve always wanted big shoulders and I know in day to day life I would be putting things overhead so makes sense to me.

My friend gave me the list of exercises I could do with the equipment I have. I just don’t know how to combine or if I even need to find a way to program everything.

  • Press - strict press, behind the neck press, landmine press, push press, dips, push ups, floor press

  • Pull - bb row, db row, pull ups (and variations), rear delt flys, bb curls, landmine row, tbar row

  • Hinge - deadlift, romanian deadlift, power clean, good morning

  • Squat - back squat, front squat, zercher squat, landmine squat, db squat

  • Random - lunges, all sorts of ab work

  • Carry - overhead carry, front squat carry, back squat carry

  • Cardio - run outside, dan john barbell complex, jump rope

In terms of goals I just want to get strong all over.

But if you ask me to be more specific I would love to have a big squat. I just think it looks so cool when a person can put a big weight on his/her back, drop down, and come right back up.

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Google a copy of Dan John’s “From the Ground UP” its free and full of gold for garage style workouts

Also read a bunch of articles by him and guys like Wendler and Waterbury


Definitely a solid list of exercises there you can do.

As far as a program goes, this wouldn’t be a bad one in my opinion:

The only thing you might not be able to do without some creativity is the neck harness work, but depending on your goals, that might not be a big loss anyways…

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I would suggest a simple program that is very effective.
Jim Wendler 531.
I have a home gym and over time have accumulated more equipment than I can use.
Depending on your finances in time you might want to consider the following set up
Barbell and weights
Power rack or 1/2 rack
Adjustable bench also known as a FID bench, flat,incline,decline.
8x8 platform as the space for the set up.
Depending on your strength level, you might not have much use for the 85 and 100. Those are probably worth somewhere about 0.50$/lb
Start with what you have and build from there, a good program like 531 is easy to follow, builds good beginning strength and is not very time consuming. Most workouts will take under 1 hour.
Good luck and enjoy a great investment in yourself

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After looking at a lot of programs and training logs over the last few days I found what I am going to do. This will be based off the 531 program. I won’t use any sets or reps right now just to get use to getting under the bar. But after a month of working out and I fully understand 5/3/1 I might commit to that. But for now I think I’ll just do the classic 5x5 or do 3x10 or something just to get into the habit of working out at the house and getting use to the movements.

I know I can’t do everything at once, so I think 5 exercises each training day will suffice for now.

DB Row
Ab Roller

Chin Ups
Roman Leg Raises (using the dip tower)

BB Rows

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Looks solid.

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Have a look at Jim Wendler’s “Help a Friend Get Stronger”, you just need to Google it.


That looks really interesting actually…
*I think I’m gonna try the basic oly program.

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Yeah its stacked full of great tips. His ‘Big 21’ oly program in there is great for a short blast also