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Home Gym Advice

So my wife and I just had a baby and the gym is a no go. I cant stand the thought of going out after work and leaving him behind, but I want to keep training.
I’ve had the idea of a home gym with a dips/chins bar and a set of 3 kettle bells. I plan to do weighted Dips/Chins until they become power moves, along with leg raises, KB swings, squats, walking lunges and jump squats.
Along with that I’ll do HITT sprints.

I know I cant bulk on a routine like this so I plan to just use the time to get ripped and more importantly set a good example for my son (who, thanks to ‘tummy time’ is getting a beasting back!)

Thoughts please?

Life happens. You will learn to make certain things a priority and get rid of other things.

If you are wanting to take up a low footprint but still get a full body training effect, I’d strongly recommend getting a trap bar and some plates. You won’t need the space that a rack takes up, but between that, dips and chins you can pretty much hit the entire body. The KBs would just open up even more possibilities on top of that.

Home gyms are awesome, and they always start small and become sprawling monstrosities. I just moved mine for a 4th time, and it took 5 hours to put it all back together again, to include moving 1400+lbs in weight plates alone, haha.


Yeah, get a dip belt and you’re golden.

I’ve spent a lot of time training at home with just kettlebells and bodyweight and it works really well. Kettlebells don’t take up much space at all and they really do everything you need for most goals. My main piece of advice is to make sure you get a properly heavy kettlebell - at least 32kg but preferably heavier. I spent a long time with just 20kgs and 28kgs and it was fine, but when I got a 40kg it changed everything. In my opinion a heavy kettlebell is just as good a tool as a heavy barbell for developing power and athleticism.

If I were you I’d get a 24kg, a 32kg and a 40kg and base my training around swings, goblet squats, lunges, rows, pull-ups, push-ups, presses and dips. You wouldn’t even have to get 3 kettlebells - one light and one heavy would be perfectly adequate.

Good luck with it, and congratulations on the baby!

Yeah you absolutely can get in fantastic shape (and put on a decent amount of muscle) with equiment you have. Also get some bands…

Is a barbell with plates in garage an option?

Add a sandbag if possible, pretty much any barbell movement can be replicated with a sandbag.

Congrats on the baby.

If you have exercises that you can train while hitting muscular fatigue in the 8-12 rep range, and you have access to a kitchen, you can bulk. Just because you can’t “squat, bench, dead” doesn’t mean you’re S.O.L.

But if you do want to drop fat, complexes are one of the best uses of limited equipment. 3-6 exercises for 3-6x6-10, 3-4 days a week.

Also, what weight are the kettlebells? If they’re 15, 25, 35-pounders, it’s a whole different situation than if they’re 18, 48, and 70-pounders. Depending on how heavy/challenging they are, the 10,000 swing KB workout could be perfect.

Ha! Ain’t that the truth.

How much space do you have OP? You can get a Yoke that double as a squat stand (safety issue) from Rogue for about $500 + shipping (which isn’t awful). Throw in a nice bar (Texas Power Bar maybe) and some plates (check local yard sales) and you’re set for a while. If you have the room…

Welcome to being a dad. That shit is crazy…

You can also get the folding squat racks from Rogue and elsewhere. They seem hella cool if you want to optimize a little space.

You should look up as many body weight exercises as you can on youtube or from Mark Lauren, whose book had about 135 ways to do different body weight exercises, including how to make the harder as you get stronger.

I was considering that thing but I could never overcome the ideas of racking a heavy squat and the entire garage wall being pulled down by it…

Oh man, if we’re going space economic route, Iromind makes some baller squat stands that convert to dip stands and a chinning station in minutes. They’re really slick. They also apparently make a superlight version of it that you can carry in a duffle bag.

Congratulations. Lifting at home is fun. Start small and build it up as needed. Be creative with it ie: My dip station is a walker that I got at a thrift store for $5.00. (Be sure to take the wheels off before using it though), my blocks that I high pull off of are plastic buckets stacked 2 per side, they hold more weight than you would think.

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hey guys, thanks for your advice and encouragement!
to answer some of your questions, my space is in the back garden - which is small - so space is very limited and the equipment needs to be weather proofable. I want to be able to store most of the gear in my shed, which is generally crammed. I also want to be able to just go out and Start, cant be bothered with 5-10minutes of set up before i can get going.

I like the idea of a sandbag, but i’ve never used one.

also thanks for the congrats :smile:

Remember not to be constrained by your stock gym equipment resellers. You can get rigs built for outdoors if you shop around :


Galvanized pipe makes an excellent bar that lives outdoors. Plus you can do all the big lifts with it. Crumbed rubber bumper or plastic coated plates can live semi outdoors.

Sandbag was a great suggestion. $10 for a military laundry bag, $10 for sand (sepending on how much you want or free if you go to the beach) just about the best bang for buck item you can buy.

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That’s tight. Probably not great for the east coast, but very cool anyway.

So my story is the same as your… Had a kid, wanted to lift at home. My setup is: pull up bar with bands, dip bar with belt and kettlebells (2x of 4, 6, 8, 16, 24, 32, 40, 48, 56, 68 kg and 1x of the sizes in between from Rogue). You can definitely bulk with this setup. With this I can do basically everything; pressing, pulling, arms, deadlifts, squats. DB are better for arm work because they rotate, so as a workaround I use a KB hanging from a cable handle that rotates and is attached to the KB via climbing band and carabiner. 1RM work is very tough with the KB, but rep maxes are easily doable. Typical KB exercises I use are: RDL, front squat, hack squat, dead lifts, lunges, step ups, bridges, OH presses, floor presses, floor flys, tri extensions, curls, hammer curls with rope attachment, bent over rows, reverse flys, shrugs, laterals raises, front raises, etc.

I think if I were ever to equip a home gym I’d get a half rack, adjustable bench, barbell, olympic dumbbell handles, maybe an EZ bar and probably some bands for rehab/prehab stuff.

I’d miss cables though. Don’t see too many home gyms with a cable station (unless of course you’re Mark Wahlberg).