Home gym in bodybuilding, that is, workout at home, has never been so “trendy”. We are now talking about Home Gym with equipment specially designed for semi-professional use so that it can be distinguished from equipment found in the gym.
The days of my youth are far from rickety benches everywhere we didn’t know if we were going to end up on the floor during the show. But what could make so many people exercise at home today?
What materials do you need to achieve the best result for your budget and level? And finally, can we expect the same results in a home gym in bodybuilding as in a traditional room? Let me explain everything to you.
Home gym benefits for bodybuilding
Like many practitioners, when I started out, I trained at home. First in my parents’ basement and then in the garage when we moved. As a teenager, I dreamed of exercising indoors , but no gym wanted to record a 14-year-old. I had to wait until age 16 to be able to register. I literally expected to break my records, gain strength like never before. But the truth is that the first year I spent indoors was my worst year.
Although many new exercises were now available to me, I could not resist the temptation to do everything. When I asked the big guys in the room for advice, they all contradicted each other and I didn’t know what to do. I did all the exercises , machines were possible and unimaginable.
Even though I was able to max out at 105kg in bench press over two years at Home Gym bodybuilding, which I gradually equipped with an incline bench, bar supports and a high and low pulley, this first year ended in regression.
I still remember my first session when the president of the gym wanted to test me on the bench press and where I gained 110 kg when hitting 82 kg body weight. I only gained 5 kg by changing equipment because I haven’t started working out in the gym yet.
But at the end of this first year at the gym, I only weighed 105 kg, and above all, I didn’t put on a kilo on the scale. However, in previous years I have grown a lot.
My workouts were simple, basic, and my diet was excessive. I tried to eat healthy food, but in terms of quantity, I have only one rule : eat as much as possible. I managed to gain 28 kg in 2 years, grew up at the same time, as a teenager. After that disastrous first year at the gym, I decided to do what I did when I exercised at home and the progress was new again.
I returned to Home Gym in bodybuilding after a year of training in the gym. So the First Advantage in Home Gym bodybuilding workouts should not be tempted to drift apart. Since we are alone in training, we are not tempted to ask everyone’s opinion on what to do and we listen to ourselves a little more. , even if it means that we make mistakes, but who are necessary for progress. The second advantage is undoubtedly concentration.
Alone again, we are not tempted to chat with a neighbor about the rain and good weather. We focus on what we do in our workouts while we don’t have noses on smartphones. You know as much as I do, you never progress better than you do in the present moment, and you are not distracted almost every second. Third advantage saves time.
By avoiding transportation, we sometimes get over an hour, especially if it is blocked to go to the room and back. Plus, you don’t waste time spinning with multiple people if they are on the machine you want to use or waiting for the right pair of benches or dumbbells to be available.
The fourth advantage is freedom. There is no longer the question of opening hours, even if many rooms are late opening hours today. The fact remains that you can exercise at any time. I had classes with students at 10 o’clock after putting the children to bed.
This is, in my opinion, freedom, which is priceless. The fifth advantage is the ability to train on the equipment you want, and not depend on the goodwill of a manager who does not often practice bodybuilding and so I don’t know what good material is.
This is how over the years, having bought equipment, I learned what good equipment is, and what is not just an eye (I will advise you a little below). However, there are drawbacks that cannot be ignored.
Disadvantages of a home gym in bodybuilding
In the beginning, in a gullible way, I wrote different links to different brands that I wanted, but I quickly had to admit the facts, I had no budget. Did you know that a professional hip press costs an average of € 5,000?
Is this the official Athletic Strength bench that we call the combined bench, around 1600 euros? And that federation-approved Olympic discs sometimes cost up to € 10 per kg? Although the non-Olympic kilogram cost € 1 when I started, I quickly realized that professional equipment was not a good place to start.
First flaw when you want a long lasting home bodybuilding gym is the price. This is why I turned to semi-pro equipment (I will come back to this below). Good equipment is expensive, even if there are scientifically proven “tricks” that minimize the cost of your home gym while still being of high quality.
The second flaw is the space we have. I started training in a basement with a 1.88m ceiling, so I couldn’t do all the exercises. Then, when I moved in, I had access to about 12 square feet, which allowed me to arm myself a little more.
From a simple bench with a built-in barbell, a 1m20 barbell, two dumbbells and sixty kg of weight, I was eventually able to get a bench separate from the bar, a 1m75 barbell, double the amount of kg I had and buy a high and low pressure pulley .
It literally accelerated my progress, because I could do exercises that I could not do before, like back exercises, squats … For the price per square meter, I do not know where you live, but the space that we have for of our Home gym is crucial, and often we have no more than a dozen square meters, which greatly limits
The third flaw doesn’t really concern me, but many find it difficult to motivate themselves “alone”.
Their motivation is as inherent (depends on themselves) as external (depends on others). Alone in their home bodybuilding gym, it will be tough for them. This is why they often work out with a partner and why the gym is increasingly being used as a social place to replace the plank of yesteryear.
We go there for both chatting and training, which if we do both reduces the progress we can make. Today, with social media and forums, especially the SuperPhysics forums that are most active on the Internet, it’s easy to share what we do and exchange with people as passionate as we are.
You can share your sessions, shoot yourself, take pictures, which is a big plus compared to my beginnings in 2001, when, apart from recording your sessions, you could do nothing.
What equipment should I buy to get started?
A lot of people write to me every week asking if I can distance training (see follow-up service I offer with guaranteed progression), even though they train at home.
So my question is very simple: what kind of equipment do you have? I think that if you want to improve at best by training at Home Gym bodybuilding, at home, it is important to seriously equip yourself or so that you train more in terms of letting off steam, moving, rather than building muscle and physically transforming (which I I understand very well, but in this case I am not a man for you).
I recommend the same thing every time:
Bench reclining and downward, with a support that wedges the legs into the bench press, which is the best pectoral exercise for most (I’m explaining everything here). and which is wide enough not to have shoulders in the air. I also recommend this bench.
I also recommend using a bar support, which is also called an integral fixed bar rack. I’ve always found it hard to train in a squat cage with protective devices, feeling constricted, tight, which is why I recommend it.
Barbell stands should be height adjustable so you can do all the exercises you need. So I recommend this one. In terms of weight, take 28mm or 30mm cast iron . This saves you the trouble of spending a fortune on 50mm Olympic weights. One kg always weighs one kg. From experience, I prefer to have weights that I can handle easily with these handles.
To start I recommend to get:
- 4 discs of 500 g each (so that the load can be added very gradually)
- 4 x 1.25 kg discs
- 4 x 2.5 kg discs
- 4 discs 5 kg each
- 2 discs 10 kg each
- 2 discs 20 kg each
In total, it will be about 250 euros, and you will be silent for a while. From there, you need the largest possible bar . There is a whole world in terms of load distribution and impact on connections depending on their length. If you have room, I recommend taking a 2m bar with tightening screws. For example, this one. If you’re running out of space, take as much time as possible. We set much heavier, for example, 2 m than 1.5 m.
Finally, you will need two dumbbells , ideally as long as possible and with tightening screws to prevent weight from falling on the nose due to lack of effective protection.
At the end of the day, this is quite budget, as we get around 600 euros, which is two years of gym subscription (see a little less depending on the room). Obviously, you can start with a bench and two dumbbells and then gradually get ready.
But with all of this, following my buying recommendations, you will enjoy years. So it’s best not to compromise on quality, especially for equipment that you will be using for years.
What materials to get to continue progress?
While the above material is sufficient for progress, it interferes with it momentarily, it can be limiting for your progress. Indeed, as the load increases, the risk of injury increases exponentially.
That is why, taking into account its morpho-anatomy (a more detailed explanation) and the physiology of our muscles (applying the tension-length relationship), it becomes necessary to continue to progress without getting injured. The greatest progress in the medium to long term is in those who avoid injury. So, from a personal moment, experience after about 1 year and a year and a half after the start, it is important to arm yourself with new ones.
For first I recommend you get 3 rubber bands resistances XS, S and M.
Thus, you can work with the small fragile muscles of the rotator cuff, you will stretch more efficiently (due to the elastic component of our muscles), and also reduce the impact on your joints of certain exercises by adding an elastic band that will better match the physiology of your muscles. These rubber bands can do the trick.
To further reduce the risks, I invite you to get a lumbar bench in order to work your sciatic, gluteal and lumbar muscles instead of traditional traction. Your back will thank you.
You can also do abdominals and work with your shell. I recommend this lumbar bench.
However, from the point of view of reducing joint injury, the purchase of a Swiss ball seems to me necessary to improve abdominal function and also to decompress the spine (for example, wearing face down).
Take this cool one. Less important, but sometimes very important, EZ bar , especially if you have valgus in your elbows (read this to find out).
This will allow you to work better for your biceps while sparing your wrists, elbows and shoulders. Be careful to buy an angular enough one like this one. Finally, adjustable ramps can also be a good idea. Personally, I have them in my home gym and I am more than satisfied. With all of this, you will be ready for years of injury-free progression. However, if you want to go even further, some machines may be useful to you.
What materials do you need to reach the highest level?
It’s more than obvious that when you have a almost unlimited choice machines , the exercise possibilities are almost limitless and that “We don’t get lost like I did when I started at the gym. hall, we are making better progress in the medium and long term.
As before, as we progress, we must adapt more and more of our workouts to our morpho-anatomy, as well as the slight pain we feel.
We understand that we are not invincible and that it is better to train without pain than with training, even if it means that in the short term it will be less muscular. Those who swear by the scales are forced to gradually change their minds in the face of the increasing number of minor physical difficulties.
In this sense, if you are bodybuilding at Home Gym and do not want to walk indoors due to questions about schedule, time and concentration, I recommend that you invest in 3 machines, which are actually a difference in terms of long-term progress :
The first is the upper and lower pulley , which will allow you to work better not only on your back, but also on your biceps and triceps. Even though using rubber bands can get you rid of push-ups, forward bending exercises are almost mandatory when you don’t have a pulley and risk your back.
This is the best value for money I’ve found. With that, I recommend at least 4 different markers :
- Wide grip (often too narrow)
- Stiff neutral grip useful for back exercises
- Rope for triceps, shoulders and even biceps (long instep support)
- Ankle straps, which you can also wear on your wrists to work your sciatic muscles, glue locally, as well as triceps and biceps without interfering with the muscles of the forearm (which can be very useful at a proven level for better finding.
The second is a opposed adjustable pulley in height to be able to isolate the pectorals, deltoids (shoulder muscles), and to do myriad of whole body exercises.
Handles are generally provided, but since you already have ankle straps, they will better assist you with certain exercises.
The cheapest I’ve found and who will do the job is. Finally, if you have the space and budget needed to reduce spinal compaction from squat practice or options, I recommend purchasing a hip press that also does crack squats .
You can also work with calves there. The important points to look out for are the diameter of the discs to be accepted (28 or 30 mm, but no more, since that is what you have) and a tray wide enough, especially if you have large legs (to determine) to have the ability to put your feet comfortably.
For example, this hip press might help. That said, you’ll be better equipped than most rooms.
What are the limitations of the home gym in bodybuilding?
In my opinion, bodybuilding has two real limitations for a home gym. first is that we will always be limited by space and budget.
Since we are not “open” to the public, the only income we have is work, which is not endless. So you can’t buy whatever you want and the rule of compromise is essential.
But the real limit , in my opinion, is the lack of collective emulation. Social media and forums will never replace the presence of other people who also want to grow with you. You never progress better than together if you are well supported.
So for or against Home Gym in bodybuilding?
After 2 years in the gym, from 16 to 18, I decided to return to training at home. Cause? I couldn’t take it anymore from counter-discussions. I was so motivated to train that I couldn’t get distracted for a full set, come and try to shake my hand while I was dying under a hip press and I had music in my ears.
Of course I had access to many “efficient” machines, but that was honest and contrary to my goals. So, I’m back for training at home.
I have equipped myself with everything I just told you, except for the opposite pulley (lack of space). I trained like never before, with my own music and using the SuperPhysics forums, I never felt alone.
I progressed and I ended up returning to the room opposite the pulley, especially for shoulder and pectoral work and access to converging machines for the back. I alternated between the gym and home gym in bodybuilding for years every week, so until I broke my hip (I gained too much weight, it wasn’t guaranteed until that much).
After I moved to the Annecy region and had no choice , I returned to the gym to find the advantages and disadvantages mentioned above. I have equipped it gradually and continue to monitor what is being done to continue to equip it.
Being a full house (I’ve optimized the space for the price per square meter), every time I sell a car, I have to buy a new one. Who knows what the future will be like, but I understand more than ever anyone who trains at home and who returns to training after an indoor tour.
He is long gone from small meeting rooms where everyone knew and helped each other, where club dinners were organized. Very few survive. I am still convinced that we progress better together than alone, depending on the “whole”. For those with options and options, I recommend Home Gym for bodybuilding.
It’s always a matter of compromise. I hope I helped you understand the subject better. If ever, I wrote a free training from my own experience and coach after several thousand students have coached since 2006.
I’ve listed my top tips to help you avoid wasting time, making mistakes, and hurting yourself. This changes the advice that is usually given, but it doesn’t surprise me that much, since today anyone can advise anything. So this should help you.