How To Set Up A Complete Home Gym For Under $250
Originally posted on Warrior Soul Agoge.
One of the biggest complaints regarding fitness that I hear over and over again from clients and people I speak to over the internet is that they don’t have time to train. And here’s the thing, I get it.
We all have lives, and for most of us, those lives don’t revolve around training. But not being a professional athlete doesn’t excuse you from one crucial fact: you still need to be healthy if you’re going to be able to do all that stuff that’s keeping you from training.
Think about it:
- You might be able to be good at your job if you aren’t in shape, but probably not for long. Your energy will eventually dwindle, and if you end up suffering from something like heart disease or diabetes, it’s going to throw a major wrench into your career and ability to earn money. Training will help to alleviate stress and make it less likely that you suffer from one of these diseases. Plus, it’ll help you to look better in your suit or work clothes, maintain a more powerful presence, and help you to clear your head when your job is stressing you out.
- You can be a fantastic parent if you aren’t in shape, but again, the question becomes for how long? Do you want to see your kids graduate from high school? Do you want to see them get married and have kids of their own? Yeah, of course you do. You probably also want to look great at that wedding and you definitely don’t want to be wheeled around. Again, training can help to prevent this.
Ok, so maybe you hate gyms or maybe you need to make a long and annoying commute to your gym in order to get a workout. I’ve lived in both the Los Angeles and New York City areas and I definitely get this one. There was a time when I lived less than 20 miles from my business in Long Beach, CA, but it would take an hour to get there from my place on a good day and over two hours on a bad day. In southern California, those bad traffic days feel like they’re average.
But again, the world is always going to be the world, and unless Elon Musk and Richard Branson get together and develop a human teleport machine that’s completely affordable, traffic is probably going to still be a problem for the known future. You still need to train.
I could tell you that you need to wake up at 3am and train, but you’d click off of this article and head over to the 8 minute abs site faster than you can say Mike Chang.
So what are you supposed to do? Something way more realistic...You’re going to build a complete gym in your house.
Wait! Don’t click off! YOU’RE GOING TO BE ABLE TO DO IT FOR UNDER $250!!!
This isn’t going to be a gym with thousands of dollars worth of equipment. It’s not going to have heavy barbells that damage your floors. But it is going to have everything you need to build a strong, healthy body, look fantastic, feel like a greek god or goddess, and increase your chances of living a longer and happier life.
Good. Let’s get into it. First, I’m going to list out equipment and give you some links where you can get it on the cheap. Then, I’m going to give you a simple routine that you can follow to get yourself into the best shape of your life using this equipment. If you want to build on this routine and vary your workouts, I’m also going to show you how you can get free workouts from me every day.
If you get nothing else on this list, I highly suggest getting a kettle bell, even if you have a gym membership and you’re able to get there regularly. That’s because the kettle bell is the most flexible piece of equipment ever made. With a good kettle bell, you can perform almost any exercise that you could with a barbell or a dumbbell: squats, presses, lunges, deadlifts, cleans, snatches, and curls. If you're getting one to a few, they probably won't be heavy (as the need for versatility & bang for your buck for minimal pieces will likely necessitate buying light-moderate weight), but they’ll be enough to stimulate your muscles, get you moving, and work your loading patterns in a way that challenges your core strength and balance.
On top of this, there’s a lot of things you can do with a kettle bell that you couldn’t do with a barbell: like swings, single arm snatches, off set exercises, and single arm overhead squats to name a few. On top of this, you can string these exercises together or perform them in high intensity intervals, which would give you a cardiovascular workout that would cause a champion triathlete to breath heavy.
You can also keep a kettle bell anywhere. It will fit nicely into a corner of your office or under your desk. You can put it on your truck or in your car. And you can perform exercises with it without requiring much space.
The important thing to consider when purchasing a kettle bell is to get a size that is going to match your own strength and ability, but still challenge you. Don’t buy one that’s too heavy or it will sit there like a really heavy rock that you can’t do anything with!
For women, I suggest starting with a kettle bell that’s around 10-20lbs. For men, between 20 and 40lbs. I keep a 55 lb kettle bell in my office, but I’ve been doing this for a while.
Best Buy: - $41.95
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Second only to the kettle bell in versatility, dumbbells are fantastic, inexpensive, and simple pieces of equipment that also do not require much space. You can do almost anything with them that you can do with a kettle bell except that you don’t get the stabilizing benefit that a kettle bell offers due to it’s shape.
Again, weight is an important factor to consider here. You want dumbbells that are going to offer you a challenge, but not so much of a challenge that their weight hinders their flexibility of use. 100 lb dumbbells are vital for the gym for people who can do heavy presses and rows with them, but with a set of home dumbbells, you want to be able to do a lot more exercises than just a flat bench dumbbell press and one arm dumbbell rows.
For men, I would suggest going with a pair between 30 and 50 lbs and for women between 10 and 25. There are options for adjustable dumbbells that allow you to switch weights, but in my experience, these dumbbells tend to be a bit more flimsy and I’ve had weight fall off of them in the middle of a set. So my preference is for fixed dumbbells for a home gym.
Best Buy: $40 or lower
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Crossfit made gymnastics rings popular again, but they’re been around as a strength and conditioning tool for a very long time. They are fantastic for pull ups, dips, muscle ups, suspended pushups, and bodyweight rows, but you can also do a whole lot more with them if you want. For example, you can wrap the rig around a tire and drag it up and down your driveway. And if you want to get into more advanced gymnastics movements, then that’s always an option (under the proper guidance of course. See gymnastic bodies).
One question you might have is, “where the heck do I hang them from?” Well, go outside, find a strong branch on a sturdy tree, and throw one ring over the branch grappling hook style. It’s great for impressing the neighbors and making them think that a ninja lives in your house.
Best Buy: $25.99
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Dips are an amazingly effective exercise for building the upper body and mobility in the shoulders. You can definitely do these off of the gymnastics rings, but some people need a bit more stability to start. You could do tips between two chairs, but if they aren’t sturdy you can risk a pretty bad injury and ruining a perfectly good chair. So I recommend that you get a parallette dip station. They’re inexpensive, they store easily, and they’re stable.
Best Buy: $44.24
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Itching for a barbell like workout but can’t afford a full olympic barbell set? Try sand bags. You can either make your own with well…sand… and a heavy burlap bag, or you can buy one of those fancy bags with the handle straps. These are great because you can do power cleans, deadlifts, presses, rows, curls, squats, and loaded carries with them.
Best Buy: $44.95
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PULL UP BAR
If you’re looking to add muscle to your upper body and increase strength, then there’s probably no better exercise than pull-ups. You can head over to your local park and do pull-ups off of the playground equipment, or you can use one of these pull up stations that inserts directly into your door frame.
Best Buy: $23.62
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This is one of the simplest but most effective pieces of equipment for building your conditioning, coordination, burning fat, and increasing your general physical preparedness. It can literally store anywhere, and it’s inexpensive.
Best Buy: $10
Click on the image below.
That's an order total of: $230.75, and if you order through Amazon Prime you won't even need to include shipping!
There are plenty of other things that you could add in here if you want. Barbells and squat racks are easy to get in this day in age and more affordable than they once were. You can also build deadlift platforms pretty easily. But the goal of this article was to get you a home gym for under $3 00. Now I’m going to teach you how to use it.
The following is a program that includes the equipment listed above.
DAY 1: LOWER BODY
Exercise 1: Kettle Bell Goblet Squats 5 sets of 10
Exercise 2: Sandbag Front Squat 3 sets of 10
Exercise 3: Dumbbell Romanian Deadlifts 4 sets of 12
Exercise 4: Kettle Bell Front Loaded Reverse Lunge 4 sets of 10
Exercise 5: Tabata Russian Kettle Bell Swings - 4 minutes (20 seconds as many reps as possible, followed by 10 seconds of rest for 4 minutes).
DAY 2: CORE AND CONDITIONING
Circuit: 5 rounds
Dumbbell or Kettle Bell Waiter’s Walk - 25 meters
Dumbbell Wood Choppers - 10 repetitions each side
Burpees - 10
2 mile walk carrying your kettle bell
DAY 3: PUSH DAY
Exercise 1: Kettle Bell Clean and Press 4 sets of 10 each side
Exercise 2: Gymnastics Ring or Parallel Bar Dips: 4 sets of 10
Exercise 3: Dumbbell Renegade Pushups: 4 sets of 10
Exercise 4: Dumbbell Floor Press 4 sets of 10
Exercise 5: Lying Dumbbell Triceps Extensions 4 sets of 10
Jump Rope - 20 minutes
DAY 4: CORE AND CONDITIONING
Kettle Bell Complex, as many rounds as you can in 10 minutes of
10 Russian Kettle Bell Swings
10 Goblet Squats
5 Kettle Bell Clean and Press each side
5 Kettle Bell Snatches each side
Sand Bag Sit ups 4 sets of 10 repetitions
Hanging Leg Raises 4 sets of 10 repetitions
DAY 5: PULL DAY
Exercise 1: Kettle Bell Sumo Deadlift 5 sets of 10 repetitions
Exercise 2: Pull ups 5 sets of 10 repetitions
Exercise 3: Bent Over Dumbbell Row 5 sets of 10
Exercise 4: Sand Bag Squat Clean 5 sets of 8
Exercise 5: Inverted Rows with the Gymnastics Rings 5 sets of 10
Jump Rope - 20 minutes
DAY 6: ENDURANCE
2 to 3 mile Run
DAY 7: REST
So there you go. A complete home gym set up for under $200 and some workouts to keep you going for a while. If you want even more workouts, be sure to sign up for our free fitness mastermind the Warrior Soul Agoge. Click here to sign up, and you'll get free workouts every day from our private Facebook Group and nutrition information from our newsletter.