I wanted to share my home gym with you so you get a great idea of what your gym should have. This should give you some great ideas for adding equipment to your gym in the future. The more weight lifting equipment you add the larger variety of exercises can be done.
Adding equipment over time is what I highly recommend as it's fun to build your very own gym that will last a lifetime. You can add upgrades here and there and end up with something like I have or something even better.
I've been building my home gym since the year 2000 so it's taken many years to build up. So don't get overwhelmed by the amount of equipment I have. Instead, use it to get ideas in building your gym at home.
My gym is in my unfinished basement so it's not the prettiest thing you'll ever see. But it works very well, it's convenient, and provides plenty of space for my workouts.
Pictures of My Home Gym
Here are several pictures of my home gym in its current state. It will be changing very soon to the other side of the basement.
And no, I do not work for Lowe's but I am working on finishing my basement.
Weight Lifting Equipment in My Home Gym
Here's the exact type and quantity of weight lifting equipment I have in my home gym right now. I am constantly adding new equipment here and there so this is definitely subject to change at any time.
Power Rack with Cable System & Smith Machine
I have a power rack with a cable system and a Smith Machine in my home gym that I found for a great price on clearance at a local sporting goods store. As you may know, I don't recommend the sole use of a Smith Machine for anyone but it does have some good uses.
I use the power rack and safety spotter bars for many different exercises including squats, rack deadlifts, rows, and bench press.
I use the Smith Machine especially for standing calf raises, reverse grip bench press, and a couple of other exercises. I do not EVER use the Smith Machine for squats or any other exercises that should never be locked in a specific plane as this machine forces.
I absolutely love the cable machine that came with this power rack and highly recommend you get one if available. I use the cable machine for the pull thru, squat raises, leg kicks, triceps push downs, cable curls, face pulls, 1-arm pulldowns, terminal knee extensions, and many more.
I also use a squat rack in my home gym so I can do a couple of different exercises without having to move barbells and weights around in the power rack. For example, I setup many of my weight lifting workouts so I don't have to move any barbells around.
I have a barbell in the squat rack for squats and overhead presses, a barbell on the ground for rows, a trap bar for trap bar deadlifts, and a barbell in the power rack for bench press. With this setup, I don't have to move any barbells around at all. I can get my workout done with less rest and less time by using this method.
I have had the same adjustable bench for many years and it's still working great. I highly recommend one that adjusts quickly and easily. I simply have to pull out the fixed pin, adjust the bench to the correct angle, and let the pin go. That's it.
I also recommend a smaller but strong adjustable bench so it's easy to move around and doesn't get in the way as much as a large weight bench. Look around for a small but strong bench that adjusts quickly and easily.
Chin Up / Dip Station
My power rack has a good pull up bar but I didn't always have this power rack in my home gym. I also highly recommend you find a power rack with a dip station as well. I don't have this because I made a mistake when buying many years ago.
I have the chin up and dip station separate from the power rack and it works very well. Plus, it gives me a way to do leg raises and knee raises for the core and abs. So I would only get a chin up and dip station if you don't have a way of doing them with your power rack.
Pulls ups and dips are 2 of the 7 core WLC weight lifting exercises so they are very important. You need a way to do pull ups and dips. They are 2 of the best exercises in existence. If you can't do them right now, you will be able to soon.
Hex Dumbbell Sets
I have hex dumbbells from 5 pounds to 80 pounds so 16 sets of hex dumbbells. I purchased all of these before the cost of dumbbells became so ridiculous. When you get to the heavier dumbbell sets, the price gets very expensive.
For example, the cost of an 85 pound dumbbell set is a little too ridiculous for me. I cannot afford to purchase 85's, 90's, 100's, and larger even though I really want them and need them.
Instead, I went for adjustable dumbbell sets with weight plates that I can adjust. I'll talk more about these a little further down the page.
I have 3 different Olympic Barbells in my home gym that I use for convenience purposes. I always keep all 3 loaded up for different exercises in different areas of my home gym.
For example, I'll leave 1 in the squat rack for squats, 1 in the power rack for bench press, and 1 on the floor for rows. This really saves a lot of time and effort during my workouts. Instead of removing all the weight plates and moving the barbell around, I can leave them where they are.
I started out with a standard barbell set and standard weight plates in the year 2000. I still have this bar and use this bar for certain exercises. I don't use it a lot but I will always keep it since it was my first ever barbell. I'll probably pass it along in the family.
A trap bar is one of my favorite barbells because it allows me to do the trap bar deadlift. The trap bar deadlift is one of my personal favorite weight lifting exercises. It's one of my favorites because it has given me amazing results.
I highly recommend a trap bar for your home gym. The trap bar deadlift is reason alone to get one of these bars. I can lift the heaviest amount of weight with the trap bar deadlift than any other exercise.
I don't use the triceps bar as most people do. I don't use it for triceps exercises. Instead, I use this bar with the hip belt for hip belt squats and calf exercises. The triceps bar gives you several spots to attach the hip belt straps. Works very well. Much better than an Olympic barbell.
Adjustable Dumbbell Handles
Adjustable dumbbell handles allow you to make large dumbbell sets as well as smaller dumbbell sets. I have 3 sets of adjustable dumbbell handles in my home gym that can handle large amounts of weight.
For example, I can place 3 standard size 25 pound weight plates on each side of the dumbbell for 150 pounds total. That's about as large as I need for any exercise. The dumbbells handles weigh about 5 pounds each so 160 pound dumbbell sets are the maximum I can create and perfect for my strength levels.
I have multiple dumbbell handles because it saves me time in changing out weight plates between exercises. If you only have 1 pair of dumbbell handles and are using dumbbells for most exercises, you'll be spending lots of time changing weight plates between exercises.
A hip belt is a great piece of equipment for your home gym and something I believe everyone should have. I use it for calf exercises with a triceps bar, use it to add weight to pull ups and dips, and use it for hip belt squats as well.
Extreme Calf Block
If you read much of my material or have been around at Weight Lifting Complete for a few years, you might know that I had a weakness in my calves. So I added extra equipment to my home gym that would help me build my calves.
The extreme calf block gives me a greater range of motion for my calves so it has helped me to build my calves over the years. I gained over 3 inches on my calves and some of that is due to the extreme calf block. Much of it was due to really hard work, though.
Wood Calf Blocks
I also use many different calf blocks to give my calves a different stimulus. I constantly change the surface I am using for calf raises. This has really helped me to build my calf size over the years. I built the wood calf block on my own with 4×4 posts, 2×6, and 2×4 lumber.
Homemade Squat Boxes
Box squats are another great variation of squats. I built my own stackable boxes with plywood and 2×6 lumber. I stack them on top of each other to give me different heights.
I also use these boxes for step ups as well. I simply put a barbell on my back or hold dumbbells and step up onto the boxes. Step ups are a great exercise and I can easily vary the height of the exercise with these boxes.
If you build your own, just make sure you make them stable… especially when stacking them on top of each other. You might line them with rubber so they don't slip.
I have an old tire that I drilled an eye bolt through. I use a chain and my hip belt to pull this along the basement floor. I pull it forwards, backwards, and even side to side. I use this for conditioning and for warming up for heavy squats and deadlifts. Once I finish the basement, the tire will cease to exist in my home gym. My wife will take it and beat me with it if I attempt to have it in the finished basement =)
Pulling / Pushing Sled
Besides the tire that I use indoors, I also have another sled that I use outdoors on the grass. I pull and push this sled in my side yard during the spring, summer, and fall months. The sled has a weight holder spot and when the grass is a little taller than normal, you won't need much weight to get a very good workout.
Various Bars & Handles
I also have various other bars and handles for the cable system. I have a single handle bar that I use for 1-arm pulldowns, cable curls, and other 1-arm exercises with the cable system. I also have a straight bar that I use with the cable system for squat raises, curls, overhead triceps extensions, and other exercises.
Olympic Weight Plate Holder
In order to keep my home gym looking great, I use an Olympic weight plate holder to keep all the extra weight plates off the floor and organized. If not, it's tough to find the right weight plates at times.
Standard Weight Plate Holder
In addition to the Olympic weight plate holder, I also have a standard weight plate holder. I have tons of standard weight plates because I use them with the hip belt, adjustable dumbbells, adjustable kettlebells, and standard barbell. If I didn't have this weight holder, there would be weight plates everywhere.
A suspension trainer is an amazing addition to your home gym and has allowed me to work stabilizer muscles very well that other free weight exercises can't work. For example, a gymnast uses suspension rings to do certain exercises. You should try this if you never have.
I thought I was strong because I could add over 100 extra pounds to dips and pull ups. Try dips and pull ups with just your body weight on a suspension trainer. You'll see what I mean.
The suspension trainer allows you to take your physique and strength to the next level. I highly recommend a suspension trainer for your home gym.
Adjustable Kettlebell Handles
Kettlebells allow you to add an entire new arsenal of exercises to your workouts. Kettlebells give an entirely different feel to the same of similar exercises. You'll be able to work all of your muscles completely different with kettlebells.
I use a padded ankle strap with the cable system to do cable kickbacks for the hamstrings. I also use the padded ankle strap around the back of my knee for terminal knee extensions. You can also do front leg kicks with the ankle strap and a cable system.
I use resistance bands to add extra resistance to certain exercises. For example, you can use them to add extra resistance to push ups. Push ups are a great weight lifting exercise and are an amazing exercise when you are able to safely add resistance with bands. You can also use resistance bands to help you with pull ups, dips, or other exercises.
I use a triceps rope attachment with the cable system to get a greater range of motion for exercises like triceps push downs and face pulls.
I don't use the curl bars much but sometimes I'll mix in curls for the biceps or triceps extensions. I also might use the curl bars for pullovers as well. A curl bar is something you don't absolutely need in your home gym.
I do not use a pad for squats, and I highly recommend you NEVER use a pad for squats as it can hurt your form and even lead to injury.
I do recommend a barbell pad for seated calf raises or barbell squat raises. I also use the pad for heavy Zercher squats as well to protect my elbows.
I use the manta ray for standing calf raises. It helps me keep the barbell in the correct spot without the need to worry about losing the barbell. I can better focus on my calves when I use the manta ray.
The balance pad is a great addition for your home gym and is great for calf raises (standing, seated, squat raises, and reverse). I also use a balance pad for bulgarian squats and this really adds extra difficulty to the exercise.
Fractional Weight Plates
Fractional weight plates are very useful for your workouts. You can use them to gain strength when you think you've hit a wall. Adding a small amount of weight at a time can really help.
For exercises that don't use much weight, fractional plates are very useful. For example, a 2 pound increase on an exercise that uses only 15 pounds is a very large increase in weight.
You can also attach fractional plates to the sides of dumbbells to add an incremental increase between dumbbell sets. Most dumbbell sets increase at 5 pounds per dumbbell or 10 pounds total for exercises that use 2 dumbbells. Fractional plates allow you to increase in smaller increments.
Extra Weight Plates
You always need extra weight plates for your home gym. I have tons of extra weight plates so I can easily use multiple barbells and dumbbells for exercises without the need to move weight around. Here's what I have in weight plates:
Standard weight plates
25's – 12
10's – 21
7.5's – 4
5's – 10
2.5's – 10
Olympic weight plates
45's – 6
35's – 4
25's – 8
10's – 6
5's – 10
2.5's – 4
So I have a total of 615 pounds of standard weight plates and 730 pounds of Olympic weight plates in my home gym. I still have to move weight plates around many times so I continue to add weight plates when I find a good deal on weight plates. In other words, I am continuously building my home gym.