“I’d like to do the olympic lifts but I do not have bumper plates, a platform and a revolving bar… and my gym owner is not too keen on having me do them in his gym… what can I do?”
“I’d really like to do prowler sprints and heavy pushes but we don’t have a prowler or the space to push it… and there are 3 feet of snow outside… what can I do?”
“I want to include lifts with chains in my program but the noise would bother the other gym patrons… not to mention that I don’t have any chains… what can I do?”
“I’d like to be able to train naked but I’m not sure that it would be well accepted by the other gym members… what can I do?”.
The answers to these questions and similar ones will always be “build your own home gym”…
In my home gym I have:
- A lifting platform
- 450lbs of bumper plates
- 250lbs of regular plates
- 2 olympic lifting bars
- 1 woman olympic lifting bar
- 1 powerlifting bar
- Pull-up station
- Gymnastic ring dips station
- Dead-Squat bar
- Weight releasers
- Jerk boxes
- Pulling blocks (well actually these are my old winter tires)
- Squat stand
and a few other random items…
Didn’t cost me too much… and someone wanting to start his own garage gym doesn’t need all of that (I built it up in 2-3 years myself).
You can start with a power rack, adjustable bench, a decent bar and bumper plates (thanks to the popularity of Crossfit it’s now possible to get decent lifting bars and bumper plates for cheap) that would allow you to do most big basic lifts (power clean, bench press, high pull, squat, front squat, lunges, deadlift, incline bench, military press, pull-ups, rowing, etc.). For the carries I’d get a dead-squat bar and a prowler. If you have bumper plates that you can drop these will allow you do to farmer’s walk, prowler pushing and overhead walks (with a straight bar) which are the main carries.
I personally do my carries in the street in front of my house. Obviously it doesn’t work that well in the winter, but in the winter there is a decent Crossfit gym I can go to in exchange of coaching them on the olympic lifts.
You could get your home gym (with the minimalist equipment mentioned above) for about 3000$ or less. Considering that the average gym wages is about 600-800$ a year that ain’t bad!
Now, if you dont have a house with a garage to build your gym in or don’t have 3000$ to spend the next answer would be “join a less wussy gym”.
I actually find that the best gyms to train in are Crossfit gyms/boxes because they have all the equipment you could possibly need to train hard as well as enough space to do carries… and people don’t care if you make noise or drop the weights. The downside is that they do not have any machines (which I don’t see as a downside personally) and that the hours you can train (if you are not doing a group WOD) are fairly limited (most Crossfit gyms have 3-4 hours of open gym per day).
However the biggest and best Crossfit gyms are big enough that you can still train by yourself even if there is a WOD going on: there are lifting platforms and space available.
There are also performance gyms (if you are in Montreal Tristar is an example) where athletes train and that do have all the necessary equipments and space to do any form of training.