T Nation

Let's Build a Gym!


If you were putting together a gym for a...................????? (insert sport here as long as it is one that involves blokes running as fast as they can and smashing into each other) team. I want your opinion as to what are the must have pieces of equipment? This is not a fantasy gym...as in you can spend unlimited amounts of money. What I am talking about is a gym that will give the most bang for the buck? What's the bare minimum we could get away with to have a gym that could get the job done? All input welcomed.

  1. Elite Power Rack
  2. Texas Power Bar
  3. Weights (plates)
  4. Dumbbell set
  5. Glute-ham Bench
  6. Reverse Hyper

Those would be the first things I'd go for. You could add to this later (chest supported row, other machines/pulleys).


Composite rubber bumper plates (cheaper than Eleiko).
Power rings.
Sand bag. (Check out the ones from K2)
Some place to do pull ups and hand the rings (a high power rack).
Some heavy medicine balls.




Seriously, that's a tough list to argue with. Good work, Nate. Only thing I can think of are attachments to the power rack for dips and pull-ups (but maybe that was part of what you were thinking to begin with).


Elite Power Rack, that's awesome!!! Then I can have a place to do my curls!!!!!!!!

On a more serious note.

You can get a lot of bang for your buck by getting boxes for box jumps. Boxes are cheap, but developing explosive strength is priceless!


1). A floor covering that can take a beating - western stores sell these great pads horses stand on when in their stall. Cover the floor first.
2). Oly bar and a bunch of weights. numerous 25lbs plates and thirty five lbs plates are good, so you can start to pull the bar from a lower starting position.
3). One flat bench that can raise and lower one end so you can do inlcines presses.
4). EFS squat rack. $695.00 when I bought it several years ago. It is simply the best most versatile thing on earth.
5). Pick up some dunmbells as time goes on.
6). Large clock with a sweeping second hand.
6). Lastly, but most importantly -- hard work.
7). Things not to put in your gym; mirrors, posters of body builders, phone/cell phone, or any other distractor.


-Platform with good oly bar and lots of bumper plates

-deadlift bar

-good squat cage and safety squat bar

-Sportstrength GHR machine

-Chinup/dip (an actually decent one, so many are crap) station

-boxes of varying heights


-adjustable keg


-adjustable Fat Bastard dumbbells

Those would be my must haves.



5 bosu balls, some pink rubber dumbells and the "Now That's What I Call Music: Volume 8million" cd...

One thing that I might suggest if you are looking for a good, cheap training device would be to take an old basketball, cut out a slice and pour a shitload of sand into it, then ducktape the crap out of it. It makes a great, cheap medicine ball. Just make sure somebody can catch it when you throw it.


Mirrors are a big distractor? hmmm...
If i ever belt a gym id be sure to bring in mirrors. When it comes down to them they help me get my form down big time.

Posters...??? I dont see how those are distracting either. When going on a rest period I can just imagine how motivational those can be for some people.


Mirrors can be good as long as you don't spend too much time staring at yourself.

Posters are fine. I tend not to see posters after a little while.


wall bars


a set of sledgehammers

sand bags
cones, and ladders

a whole set of various BARS-squat bar, deadlift, for Olympic lifting, a thick bar, a couple of cheap to take heavy beating in racks

climbing rope,
monkey bars
chains for various uses

adjustable log, or set of logs,

a few barrels
a few different size tires

Glut-ham bench

maybe a set of kettlebells

A couple of various thickness mattress/mats

  • some more smaller and useful and non-sexy gadgets

stacks of good CDs

AND FOREMOST, .... SOMEBODY who knows what to REALLY DO with all this

did I forget Monolift?

hope it helps. I was creating similar list some time ago. I think I am home right now.

Good luck


I'm liking this.... only thing I'd add = pole dancers! I'm thinking Jessica Simpson


Some sleds and a hill nearby.

Some serious lifters to help give the place the right atmosphere.

A full length heavy punch/kick bag in a seperate room to the main gym.

A pull-up/dips station.

I'll help you build it if you give me free membership :stuck_out_tongue:


A platform
Bumber weights
Squat Rack
reverse hyper


I?ve got a very basic home gym with a variety of mix and match weights. In the past I?ve enjoyed the variety I?ve gotten at the gym but with 3 yr old twin boys it's impossible to work gym time in so I work out at night at home. I?m thinking of purchasing either the PowerBlock system or the Ironmaster system (just dumbbells for now. Anyone have any feedback on either product? I?ve priced out the IM at about $600 for 5-120 lb set up and PB at $940 for 5-130 lb set up.


Nice list. Here is some potential additions:
* Rubber floor mats. Our knees are our friends.
* Powerblocks for the Dumbbell set. Saves space, cost, IMO better than the Nautilus/Bowflex versions.
* Sled to drag.
* Shoulder horn.
* Foam roller (from Robertson's "10 Bucks" article).
* A couple of flex bands from elitefts.

Not completely familiar with the Elite Systems - are cable systems attachable, or do cable systems have to be their own units? Not sure if the intent of the gym is personal or commercials. If personal, attachments may be preferred to save space...



power rack
oly lifting platform with rubber plates
pull up station
one adjustable bench


Power Rack w/ Chin-Up Bar
Barbell and plates


If money was no object:

1) Eleiko Competition Barbell
2) Full Set Customized Bumpers-Eleiko
3) Vulcan Squat Racks w/dip attachments from Ironmind.com
4) Pillars of Power racks from Ironmind
5) Flat bench from Ironmind
6) Competition level O-lift platform from Biggerfasterstronger.com
7) Concept II Rowing machine
8) Pullup Bar
9) Plyometric boxes, all sizes, from BFS
10) Gymnastics rings
11) Full set rubber-encased dumbells
12) Glute-Ham Developer from Sorinex