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How Was Your Transition to a Home Gym?

Home gyms have become very popular during the last year due to COVID. I finally pulled the trigger last spring and dumped money on a power rack, barbells, Texas power bar, EZ curl bar, adjustable bench, cable pulley, bands, power block sport exp 90’s, light weight fixed dumbells, plate loaded DB’s, dip attachments, pull up bar & boom box. To those of you who made the transition from working out in a commercial setting with more equipment available to a garage or home gym, how did your training change? I am interested in seeing how ya’ll are structuring your programs.

That sounds like a sweet setup man!

During the dark ages of lifting at commercial/university gyms, my training was focused on powerlifting. Building a garage gym allowed me to see the error in my ways, opening my eyes to the wonderful world of strongman.

I built my own log using a 12.5" diameter sweetgum log (and 2 1" pipes, 2 floor flanges, 2 12" pieces of schedule 40 1.5" pipe, and 4" lag screws), a drag sled, some plate racks, a frame for arm-over-arm pulls, a portable Viking press stand for my barbell attachment, a seal row bench, a wall-mounted barbell rack, farmer’s handles, bought an assload of strongman equipment, a reverse hyper, a GHD, installed a cable system and a multi-grip pullup bar, hung an Outslayer heavy bag, and have never looked back.

Having free reign over the entire space allows me to employ circuit training without worrying about whether I’m inconveniencing other lifters. My driveway is flat, so I can open the garage door and easily do loaded carries, which are difficult at commercial gyms.


Wow man you have a sweet set up! I’m hoping to build mine up to something like that as well one day. Probably build up over time. Seems like the home gym route is the way to go, saves a lot of time and can avoid the commercial gym hassle.

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I’ve had a home gym since I first started lifting in high school. I somehow got a pretty good set up that my parents bought me (circa 2001). It consisted of a squat/bench type rack with a plate loaded lat pull attached to the back, an Olympic barbell and 300lbs in plates and adjustable bench. I didn’t know what I was doing then, but I still did squats, bench, incline, bb rows, lat pull downs and power cleans every day, pretty much Monday-Friday. So I suppose I could’ve started out worse.

When I moved into my current house 6 years ago I brought that stuff out of storage and put in a spare bedroom. Since then I’ve upgraded to a power rack with chin bar and dip attachment. So got rid of the old half rack and lat pull. Installed horse stall mats covering the entire floor of the room. Added an Elite FTS yoke bar, a couple more barbells, trap bar, angle grip Swiss type bar, ez curl bar and DB handles, bands and a flat bench. I made a plate loaded “kettle bell” out of plumping pipe although it can really only be used for swings. I also got a 45 degree back extension apparatus and some bands. So I can do almost anything I’d want to do outside of GHRs, reverse hypers, and prowler. But I got a $20 membership to a really good well equipped gym through a promotion a few years ago and have just kept it since it would cost more now. I usually lift one day a week there and alternate the GHR and RH and I push the prowler and sometimes I’ll go on an off day (I lift 4 days a week) and just push the prowler.

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Surprisingly well. I got an adjustable bench for both flat and incline pressing, a pair of squat racks, an Olympic bar, some rubber floor covering, and 400 pounds of old fashioned black iron weights, all used, and well under $1,000 for the whole deal. I thought it would be rough, but I realized that in my home gym (that is, my garage), I could work out whenever I wanted, and with the music I wanted. I got really comfortable with it, and really enjoyed it after a while. Now, I’m into powerlifting, so as long as I can bench, squat, and deadlift, I’m having a pretty good time, and I didn’t need to change my training much. My wife is strong enough to spot me on the bench if needed (hand her standing by on max attempts). I used a few bands as well for some supplemental movements. I worked out like this from about late March 2020 through about August. I’ve gone back to my commercial gym now, but I’ve kept my equipment in case there are any further lockdowns. If I have to go back to working out at home, I know I can do it and enjoy it.

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You and @nealdog have nice setups!

I forgot to mention these- they are perfect for home gyms.

I also forgot to mention this ha. This thing is awesome. I also use it for duckwalks.


Thanks man, so do you. I’m jealous of the GH and RH. I just don’t have the space. Also the Viking press, I’ve never done one but I’d love to, they look bad ass. And yeah the homemade KB handle is pretty cool for ten bucks. Much better than buying a bunch of KBs though.

I train off my back porch. It takes time to adjust to Houston heat and humidity late Spring through early Fall. I’ll train in the morning or evening when the temperature is usually ‘only’ in the upper 80’s to even mid 90’s on the hottest days and it takes a couple to a few weeks before the heat isn’t a factor that eats into my performance and recovery.

I work out indoors with a yoke that doubles as a rack. I use an axle only. No other bars.

My workouts are repetitive. And working volume is hard as you have to find way to work the same muscle lots of ways with out doing the same thing. So example - doing flat pressing. You have bench, close grip bench, skull crushers and close grip press ups. Although I added 3 bands to the gym and thats helped loads.
The really hard group to work is legs. Sure you have a few squat and lunge variations. But leg extension / curl and leg press are fairly hard to replicate. This is where the yoke had been a God send. This REALLY lets you change things up a bit. Adds a whole new ball park to the work out.

A side from this - it mostly been about managing time. Its too easy to get 75% of the way through the work out and think - screw this I have a beer in the fridge. Its not adult and it shows a total lack of control. But it happens…

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