T Nation

Minimum Amount of Equipment?


Reading through some Dan John articles, the Rusty Old Bar story by Keith Wassung, and some posts in the Worse Than Curls in the Squat Rack thread, I have kind of delevoped an interest in how much equipment is really necessary. I almost wish I didn't have a kick ass gym less than a mile away as it might inspire me to start training at home.

It seems like all I ever use there is an oly bar, pull-up bar, dip bars, and DBs with a bench for presses. It seems like I am using the power rack less and less these days as I am doing more exercises from the floor.

So what do you guys consider necessary? I personally think I could get by pretty well with just an oly weight set, pull-up bar, and some space in my driveway...and maybe a non-olympic bench. That would cover about 80% of what I do.

Anyone else not planning to compete in any of the 4 strength sports that feels the same way?

I will probably continue to go to my super nice University of Hammer Strength gym, but I might at least look into buying a used oly bar and some plates for oly lifts in the yard.


There is definitly something to be said for training in a shit hole. My old high school gym was hot, damp, and dark. It had a bunch of old rusty equipment. It also smelled like blood, sweat, and a little bleech. I would trade my commercial gym membership any day to go back to that.

When I have my own house someday, I think I will just buy a bar and plates. Maybe even some free weights if I can find them cheap. Then I will just build my racks out of cinder blocks.


I think it would depend on the person's goals. Since you said it's for anyone not competing any strength sports, then I'm assuming that the person's goal are body composition oriented.

In that case, then I think the bare minimum in the smallest space possible (i.e. a very small apartment)would be a pair of olympic (maybe even standard) adjustable dumbbells. The plate would have to be 2.5s, 5s, 10s, 25s, 35s, and maybe 45s. But I would also have to make 2 pairs of "homemade" 1.25lb weights since loaded progression on dumbbells would be tough. Perhaps the barbell would be better for mass-gaining purposes, but, given a very small space, a 7ft. BB is just too big. Maybe one of those "short" barbells and some olympics plates might work too.

If possible, I would probably also add in the doorway chinup bar since it's inexpensive and does not take up space (I use mine to hang some clothes sometimes aside from doing chinups). A sandbag and weighted vest would also be good since they don't take up space. The only problem would be doing weighted chinups, but I guess that could be solved by "practicing" 1-arm chinups. The same would apply for dips. They could probably be replaced with 1-arm pushups.

It's funny that you bring this topic up because I just started my spring semester at school and my schedule is all screwed up. So my workouts are at home whenever I get a chance. All I've been using is a barbell with weights, an exercycle (I think that's what it's called) for HIIT and warmups, a jump rope with bodyweight exercises (including the pullup bar in my doorway) for "roadwork" type GPP, my sandbag for just random lifts, and a flat bench.



I would be perfectly happy with a power rack, adjustable bench, barbell, dumbell handles, and a bunch of plates.

Only other things I do at the gym are cable crunches and cable press downs, almost forgot t-bar rows


I'd be perfectly cool with just a barbell.(with weights of course) Dumbells, cable machines, pullup bars, parallel bars, power racks and all that are just extras