T Nation

Home Gym Help


Anybody have any experience with those home gyms? You know, the ones you find at Sportmart and other sporting good stores: olympic squat and bench rack with a high and low pulley (no weight stack, plate loading only).

what i'm really curious about is how do the cable exercises feel? would i get a good back workout from these home gyms? how do these cable attachments stand up over the years?

See, I just bought a new house, so i'm looking for equipment for a home gym.

unfortunately, the room i'm planning to have my gym in has a low ceiling: 7 feet. so that rules out a chinup tower, which is what i originally wanted to workout my back.

i know a lot of people recommend barbell rows for the back, but i agree with Poliquin: it's a great exercise, but not a great back exercise.

i can do pullovers and dumbbell rows. but i really want to know if i can do various pulldowns and seated rows on these home gyms and get a great back workout.

anybody with experience with these home gyms?


I don't know if this falls under the category of "advertisement", as I have no affiliation with this comapny, but I'll give it a try.

Sarden.com has some good package deals on home gyms, and they'll customize whatever you can think up. I'm currently designing a power rack with a plate-loaded pulley attachment off to the side. The prices are a little more reasonable than some competitors as well.

I had a chance to visit the facility last summer when visiting Pittsburgh, and got to use the Monolift, his glute-ham bench and other equipment. All of it was awesome.


I went with the Powertec P-PRS system for my home gym. It is a well built power rack with a plate loaded high/low pulley that can handle 400lbs of plates. The cable motion is very smooth and works great for seated rows. It also comes with adjustable dip handles (capable of holding 400lbs) and has grips for chin ups and pull ups in the front.

I'm not sure of the exact height of it off the top of my head, but I would highly recommend it if it will fit.


In my experience, you're going to have to shell out pretty big bucks to get a decent pulldown/cable attachment for these types of home gyms. Most are rough and only use a partial ROM. Only the very ecxpensive ones are any good, at least of the ones I've tried.


I've been using a cheap ol' Weider Squat rack that has a high and low pulley. It works fine and has a chin bar. I sit on the floor for rows. It came with a bench, but using the squat rack pegs don't work very well. I think they changed the design on the new models to make the unit work better for squating and benching.

It's cheap, but it works for the budget and handles 400 lbs pretty easily. If you're a heavy lifter, I'd consider something higher priced/better quality.


Check out New York Barbell. Their entry level power rack is rated for 1000 lbs (I think!).


Usually they have free shipping on most items too. Heard nothing but goodness about them.




Hey, how u doing.

Dont negate chins from your w/o.

Simply make or buy some type of bar that will go under the ceiling you are hampered by. Then when doing chins bend at the knees. Do what you gotta. In my opinion chins are to good to just throw out.



thanks for the responses guys. that's what i love about this forum: thoughtful answers from T-men helping each other out.

i think i will go with a home gym with the squat/bench rack and cable attachment. i guess if i want to do chins, i'll place an olympic bar at the top rungs of the rack and do them with the knees bent. that way i don't bang my head on the ceiling.


The best start, in my opinion, for a home gym set-up would have to be a power rack and barbell with sufficient weights. I went a whole summer with this in my basement and was impressed with my sucess. There are plenty of ways to get a full body workout and you'll do so with free weights, which is a great big plus. On the downside you will get bored after a few months and will want more. And if ya want the best results ya gotta have the cash. Stay away from "all-in-one fitness machines", etc...it's all a bunch of crap. My power rack and weights cost me nearly$1000, but i don't regret it.


My experience is similar to jackzepplin.
I bought the Weider rack, and it works fine for squats, but I couldn't bench with it until I added some pegs on the back. The pulleys don't feel real smooth, but they do work. For a poor man, it wasn't too bad at $350 for the rack and a 300 lb weight set.