T Nation

Buying Equipment for Home Gym

What are the best places to find deals on equipment for lifting? I want to lift at my house when I’m home for the summer instead of going to a gym. I’m looking for a barbell, bumper plates, a bare-bones power rack, and a competition bench.

You can get a barbell, bench, and squat rack for fairly cheap from craigslist. The easiest to find are barbells and benches, but squat racks pop up every now and again. Bumper plates are nearly always expensive. The good thing about buying used is that you can sell the equipment again when you are done with it, usually for the same price.

[quote]RonSwanson wrote:
What are the best places to find deals on equipment for lifting? I want to lift at my house when I’m home for the summer instead of going to a gym. I’m looking for a barbell, bumper plates, a bare-bones power rack, and a competition bench. [/quote]

The name is quite fitting. If he lifted, I can’t imagine Ron ever tolerating a commercial gym or anything beyond the essentials needed to get strong as hell.

Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful. But agreed that craigslist is a great place if you’re looking to save some money. Just will take a little searching and a few trips to random yahoos to make sure you’re getting some sturdy equipment.

If you’re going to spend alot of money on ONE of those things, make it a barbell. Always put money in a decent bar that will last forever.

As stated craigslist but also check your local area auctions because gyms are going under all over the place. The bank repo’s and sells the stuff cheap, like real cheap!

Craigslist for sure. Whaereabouts are you in NC? I know some good places to get equipment in both Va and Tn if you aren’t too far.

My go to sites for cheap gym equipment are newyorkbarbells/TDS, Black Widow Training Gear, and ebay/amazon.

X2 Black widow training gear. He will customize anything for you and does quality work that’s reasonably priced.

x2 to just about everything above, except NewYorkBarbells. They suck. Black Widow is incredible, though. My home gym has a rack and 2 bars from him and my powerlifting gym has more stuff from him - very high quality and alot cheaper than EFS or Rogue or Sorinex etc.

OP, I’ve pieced together quite a gym in my basement. Black Widow 6-post rack with top and bottom band pegs, commercial FI bench, nice bars, etc. Ivanko revolvers, swiss bar, safety squat bar, bands, chains, dumbbells 5-120. I have 3/4" rubber flooring everywhere. I spent give or take $2k on my set up, and it would’ve been closer to $6k if I had bought brand new.

The real key is to get the basics (some sort of rack, bench, bar and plates) just to keep you lifting, while you save and wait for the right deal for the real cool toys to pop up. Try to find something cheap-ish to get you through while you decide what you really want… because if you’re serious about the home gym, I can assure you you’ll find yourself upgrading equipment rather soon.

Thanks guys. Checked out all of the options and New York Barbell seems like the best fit for the equipment I’m looking for. I can get a barbell, 260 lb of bumper plates, and a squat rack for under $!000. I figure I can pick up another 150lb or so of regular plates at Dicks for pretty cheap.

I would avoid buying iron plates new - the going rate for used iron plates is $.50/lb. More for higher-end brands like Ivanko or Troys but the “regular” iron plates are worth $.50/lb used, usually $1.00/lb-$1.25/lb new.
Really, you should be buying 90% of your gear used if you’re on a tight budget. Craigslist is your friend! Also, there are a ton of companies out there who buy out whole gyms full of equipment and then sell off pieces one at a time.

I will say, however, that it’s fairly rare to see bumper plates come up for sale used, at least in my area. The Crossfit people LOVE them and snap them up the second they’re posted. Those, you might have to buy new, but there’s no reason to buy really anything else new. Used stuff is always alot cheaper and most gym equipment doesn’t “wear out.”

And like I said - I’d avoid NYBB if only because their stuff is, well, cheap and crappy. My advice to you (feel free to ignore it, but I had the same dilemma) is to buy once and buy nice, instead of buying something cheap and regretting it later when you want to upgrade. NewYorkBarbells is the US distributor for TDS, a chinese manufacturer. Their stuff works, sure, but it’s just cheaply made. If I had to do it again on a tighter budget, I’d look for a used commercial rack. If I wanted brand new, it’d be Black Widow, EliteFTS, Sorinex, Rogue, etc. But definitely not anything from TDS. I’ve used a few of their racks and to me they just scream low-quality. there’s a reason they’re much cheaper than the other options, because they’re just Chinese knock-offs.
Also, their barbells are SHIT quality. They’re too thick (a good bar is 27-29mm, the TDS ones are like 32mm, way too thick to deadlift or use a hook grip comfortably). Invest in a really good barbell. As a powerlifter, it’s essential. And you’ll never regret it.

Also, for flooring - horse stall mats. THE best option out there from a cost perspective. They’re $45 each brand new (4x6, 3/4" thick) at Tractor Supply. I have my entire gym floor covered in them (got a great deal on them used from a CrossFit place that closed) but you can get away with getting 1-2 and just using them where you’re going to be deadlifting.

From there, I’d look at getting a few specialty bars if you like them (Swiss, safety squat, etc), dumbbells, and a GHR or reverse hyper.

The nice thing about all this stuff is if you buy nice stuff, you can easily sell it if you ever needed/wanted to.

Just trying to help you get the most out of your money. I definitely could’ve saved some real $ if I knew then (when I started putting my gym together) what I know now. I buy and flip alot of equipment (some of it for my own personal use, but mostly for profit) which is why I know this much crap. And I’ve never lost a $ on a piece of equipment.

If I were outfitting your gym:

Power Rack - something 4-post with pin/pipe safeties, and top/bottom band pegs. Get a dip attachment too. BWTG, EFS, Rogue, Sorinex, get something nice. I can assure you you’ll be glad you did. You want something like the EFS 2x2 racks, or the Rogue R-3. they’re not cheap, but they’ll last forever and if you ever need/want to sell, they’ll sell no problem.
Barbell - Texas Power Bar. You’ll have to buy one of these new, most likely. Theyre $300 shipped. The Cap Ob-86PB is another good option, and it’s usually $200 shipped.
Bench - search for something used on Craigslist. I have am $1100 Icarian/Precor that I got for $300, and it’s incredible. I could park a truck on it, and it has 0 wobble.
Plates - used iron plates from Craigslist or a used equipment store. Regardless of where I got them, though, I would NOT pay more than $.50/lb. Get the cheapest ones you can. Buy 1 pair of 2.5s, 2 pairs of 5s, 2 pairs of 10s, 1 pair of 25s, and as many 45’s as you’ll need. 35’s are useless (just use a 25 and a 10) and there’s no real need to own more 5s, 10s, 25s.
Bumper Plates - these you’ll have to buy new. I don’t own any bumpers, but Ive heard great things about these: http://bumperplates.com/bumper-plates-econo-series/econo-series-bumper-plate-sets.html
Dumbbells - the cheapest option is to just get a pair of olympic dumbbell handles and use your iron plates. The best option is pro-style dumbbells, but they’re ludicrously expensive. Keep an eye out for a used set of Ironmasters or Powerblocks - the adjustables are much cheaper and take up much less room.

If you want, I can post some pics of my set up so you can get some ideas.

I’ve honestly had nothing but good experiences with NYBB. I’m still using their basic model TDS power rack after 5 years, and have dropped many 500lb squats on it with no issues. These days, I am doing chain suspended squats with even heavier weight, and it’s still going strong. I’ve also made use of their safety squat bar for years and their squat box.

It’s definitely bare bones, and now that I’ve got a little more income, I would’ve spent more on something better, but it’s still great starter equipment in my experience.

For bars though, I can’t go back now that I have a texas power bar and texas deadlift bar.

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:It’s definitely bare bones, and now that I’ve got a little more income, I would’ve spent more on something better, but it’s still great starter equipment in my experience.

For bars though, I can’t go back now that I have a texas power bar and texas deadlift bar.[/quote]

Definitely agreed on this - if you absolutely can’t afford anything else, the TDS rack will get the job done, but if you can save a little and afford a better rack, you’ll be glad you did.

But whatever you do, invest in a quality barbell. All barbells are not created equal and as a powerlifter, the most important tools in your arsenal are your rack, bar, and bench. I wouldn’t skimp on the bar. The first time I used a Texas Power bar, I wondered how in the hell I ever got by with anything else.

Would any of you all’s recommendations change if you found out the OP was 19 years old?

[quote]smallmike wrote:
Would any of you all’s recommendations change if you found out the OP was 19 years old?[/quote]

If I was going really bare bones/cheap, I would get squat stands instead of a rack, and no bench. I’d get a power tower, and then just focus on squats, deadlifts, dips, presses, chins and rows.

Thanks again guys. Just an update: I found a ‘hard core’ gym (power/oly friendly) about 4 mins away from my parents’ house, so I think I will hold off on purchasing my own equipment for now. It will be a lot cheaper to pay for a summer membership at the gym than buy my own stuff, but after college I’m sure I will end up investing in a permanent home gym.