The Best At Home Training Equipment
Besides nutrition, supplementation and how to become the strongest, leanest most badass version of yourself, the most common topic I am asked about is at home training.
Many of the athletes we work with at TAW are, just like anyone else, extremely busy. This makes it difficult for them to come in and train more than 2-3 times per week.
And for my online athletes, they are in the same boat…making it to the gym more than 2-3 times per week can get tricky when you have a job, a significant other, a newborn baby and your favorite TV waiting for you on Netflix.
***I can’t wait for April for Season 8 by the way!!
Fortunately, most athletes ask about what they can do while at home, and I am always happy to help. So I find myself discussing, designing and implementing at home programs quite regularly.
While it would be nice (and easier on my end) to design an at home program where the athlete has access to a full arsenal of training equipment, it is usually not the case.
More often than not an athlete may have a stability ball, a pair of dumbbells and a bench (if lucky).
Although I can make a killer program for them with just these few basic pieces of equipment, I always ask them if they are willing to acquire a few low cost pieces of training equipment that have a huge return on investment.
Most of the time they take out their smart phone, open up their amazon account and are ready to throw down the digital paper…and I am happy as hell because I know I can then design them an even better program.
So with that, I wanted to provide you a list of my favorite at home training equipment.
The following list has been compiled with the thought of getting your biggest “return on investment” and therefore takes into account the price you pay and the value you get.
Foam Roller / Tiger Tail
Since many of the athletes who are inquiring about an at home program train 2-3 times per week at TOP, another training facility or classic big box gym, the days that they are looking to add at home should exploit recovery.
This doesn’t mean that they can not train at a high intensity at home, but they should focus on getting their body ready to train hard during their main training days.
For this reason I always suggest a foam roller, tiger tail or other piece of equipment that will help address soft tissue quality.
I really like the tiger tail as you can throw it in a gear bag and take it anywhere, or use it while you are chilling out at night with the wife (or other significant other.), kids and the families favorite fur ball.
2) Various Resistance Bands
Resistance bands are an amazing tool, not only for overloading movements and adding resistance in a “classic fashion” (think adding a resistance band to a squat), but they can also be used to add resistance to target different, and often more specific, directions of force.
Mini bands can be used to help engage hip musculature by placing them around the knees/ankles during exercises such as glute bridges, side lying clams, lateral band walks, squats, etc.
Power bands are great to overload exercises utilizing accommodating resistance (the resistance gets harder in the phase of the movement where you are stronger) such as squats, split squats, push ups, rows, etc.
Power bands can also be used to challenge accelerative and declarative forces to a greater degree and more specific direction of force during exercises such as forward lunges, reverse lunges, lateral lunges, etc.
Lastly, power bands can be used to assist in movements that have not yet been solidified and strengthened to a sufficient degree. These can be every exercise mentioned above by using the band to help, or assist the movement rather than resist it.
3) Pull Up Bar
The pull up bar is a classic, and today you can pick them up for cheap and throw it up in a door jam at home and have a great piece of equipment.
Not only would you be able to work on the obvious (your pull up…or other vertical pulling variation), but you would also have a nice anchor point to attach bands for various exercises.
And if you have the power bands you can also use them with the pull up bar with the bands to for a little assistance if you cannot hit a pull up/chin up.
I would argue that the pull up is the single most challenging upper body exercise there is, and is the upper body exercise that provides the most bang for your training buck.
Working towards achieving your first solid pull up, or increasing your strength with your pull up is one of the best ways to further progress your results, transform your body and enhance your performance.
4) Adjustable Dumbbell
You can attack this one with a couple different options.
First, you can go the classic adjustable dumbbells where you can add or subtract weight by putting more metal plates on the dumbbell handles.
Or, if you are more of a space (and time) saving individual you can look into something such as the power blocks.
Either option is a good one…it all depends on your preference and whether or not you want to be able to throw traditional steel.
5) TRX Suspension System
I guess it doesn’t have to be a TRX, but any suspension system would work…I just prefer TRX for it is the most user friendly system I have come across.
The great thing about the TRX is that you can use it pretty much anywhere, as long as you have a door or other point to anchor it from.
And the number of exercises you can complete on the TRX are pretty much endless. Not only does it provide you with the ability to complete numerous exercises, but it also provides a stability challenge that is not easily reproducible with other pieces of equipment.
So for the price (around $200 brand new), the TRX is another piece of equipment that can transform an at home program (and a program performed at a facility or on the road).
6) Half Rack w/ Bench
Ok, time to pull out some of the big guns.
The only problem with the big guns is that they will cost you a little more money than the previous pieces of equipment…but they are worth it!
I know it was forever ago, but my parents decided to make a semi large investment when I was a freshman in high school.
We went to our local bulk discount store (Sams Club) and my dad told me we were going to pick up part of my Christmas gift.
We walked over to the training equipment and he told me that it was time to get some real weights…I had been using a Bowflex, which was awesome at the time, but my dad was always partial to free weights so out went the Bowflex and in came the half rack.
At the time we picked up the half rack, 350 pounds of olympic weight, a bench with leg extension and curl attachment and an olympic barbell for just under $400…It was a steal!
This isn’t the same rack from my childhood, but this is what we use at TAW…the wall mount rack from RogueFitness.com
If you can get your hands on a set up like this, it is an absolute game changer when it comes to at home training. Essentially, you will have everything you need to continue to progress for a long, long time.
7) Assault Bike
Easily one of the most effective ways to condition, the Assault Bike is absolutely the best piece of “cario equipment” you can pick up for home use.
It is relatively compact and is a full body attack as you use both the pedals and handles.
And compared to other bikes, treadmill, ellipitcals, etc. it is relatively cheap, durable and if it does break there are not too many parts to work through.
It is an absolute beast when it comes to conditioning and super easy to use.
There is no resistance to set, no speed to set and is all dependent on how hard you want to work. The faster you go, the more resistance as the wind resistance created by the fan is the central component to the bike.
Not only is the fan a great way to provide resistance, but the breeze it creates is HHYYUUUUGEEE when your heart is about to explode and you are spewing sweat from every gland in your body.
So forget about the gigantic, ridiculously expensive treadmills, ellipticals and bikes and opt for the basic, ass kicking Assault Bike…we also get this at RogueFitness.com
Pick and Choose…You Can’t Go Wrong
So there is my list of the best equipment for your at home gym.
Depending on your fitness level and finances available, start at the top of the list and work your way down.
Even if you start with just the foam roller, you can do a lot of great training with your cheapest and most readily available resource…your body. All you need is some creativity and a progressive program (if you want some help with this just shoot me an email … firstname.lastname@example.org)
If you have any other equipment that you like (or hate) leave them in the comments to help everyone out…and send this along to those who can use it!