Home Gym Set Up

The Home Gym.

At some point everyone convinces themselves that getting some fitness equipment at home is a good idea. They rush to their local sports store or gym equipment supercentre and pay through the roof for some dodgy piece of cardio equipment.

Said cardio equipment rattles, shakes, takes up space, doesn’t feel like the one at the gm and quickly gets boring as hell.

Guilty as charged! But over time I have worked out what works and what doesn’t.

Here are my tips on how to do ‘it’ – building a home gym - better.

Like everything to do with health and fitness it requires a plan and thoughtfulness.



1.      Get a dedicated space that you don’t have to pack up and reset every time you train – this is a hassle and a road block for every time you want to train.

·   “Oh my god I can’t be bothered and I don’t have the time to set it up and then pack up”.

2.      If you don’t have access to a dedicated space get equipment that takes up minimal space and is effective

·   “Just get the stuff out of the cupboard and go”

3.      Get a plan or programme made for you or sit down and draw one up

a.      Look at all the equipment and space you have, detail all the things you can do so you never have to stand there and ask yourself “what should I do today”

b.      Get a coach who can write you up a programme and provide demonstration videos. Don’t just jump on Professor YouTube and randomly do stuff. Access a plan that has progressions, developments and thought behind it so you can get the most from your training.

4.      Try virtual training: (sorry I had to put that in here)

·   www.thehealthandfitnessguy.com.au

b.      The site has hundreds of exercise demonstration videos, full follow along PrimalThenics sessions, weights programmes, mobility videos and a support group where I help people in their fitness journey.

5.      Try to recruit a training buddy: partner, spouse, kid, neighbour, friend etc.


Putting some thought into the above steps will really make the next stage easier.


NON-PURCHASING: There is lots of stuff you can use around the house before you purchase anything:

1.      Chairs/Benches – place your feet or hands on to alter push ups, use for triceps dips, step ups

2.      Towels – yes, seriously towels – get a buddy to hold a towel and offer resistance as you do a biceps curl, drag them along, play tug of war etc.

3.      Local park equipment – get outside and use the chin up bars at the local park! Take the kids to the park and use the monkey bars, use park benches to step up on, push on, jump off etc. The options are endless.



1.      Skipping rope – simple and brilliantly effective, requires little space to use or store, you can take it anywhere with you, great for indoor cardio/aerobic work. Ropes can be purchased easily at any sports store (starting at $10) or you can go full star wars and get a rope that counts your skips for you and links to an app and also flashes the numbers up on LED lights as you skip, The Tangram Smart Rope (about $100).


2.      Kettle Bell – once you master a few fundamental moves like the swing, deadlift and goblet squat, the kettle bell is a great training apparatus. Again, it requires limited space for use or storage. This is great tool for strength and conditioning training. You will have to be selective in choosing the size/weight of the bell. Too heavy and the exercises initially will be too difficult, too light and you are wasting your time. So, have a play at the shops. Ideally you want a weight that you can do about 10-15+ swings and 10-15+ goblet squats. AS you get stronger and fitter there are several things you can do before you need to go and purchase a second heavier one. These changes can include more reps, less rest, more complicated exercises and tougher supersets as well as slower reps. It is very versatile. Available at most sports/weights stores. Don’t go for the weird shaped ones, try to get the proper bell-shaped ones as they are better to use in my experience. Retail around $50-100. 

I have dozens of kettle bell exercises in my database, with full length coaching sessions due out soon, as well as KB weights sessions documents.

You can even take them with you where ever you go!

You can even take them with you where ever you go!


3.      Bands – there are various types of band set ups you can get. Starting at the small loop bands to loop around ankles and knees for smaller more activation-based exercises, right up to the heavy gym resistance bands. The large gym loop bands can be used for not only strength training, but also mobility drills, and if used intelligently enough they can also be used as great conditioning tools. Finally, you can buy full sets of multiple bands with handles that often come with exercise manuals. My suggestion would be to start with a middle size gym loop band as it gives you more versatility – strength exercises, mobility drills and conditioning drills. These gym bands are around $35-75 and come in a range of sizes and resistance levels. They require minimal space to use or store.

I have over dozens of band exercises in my exercise database and a full length coaching Band Session due out soon.


4.      Gymnastic rings – The gymnastic rings are one of the most effective at home gym tools you can get. Great for upper body exercises – pulling, pushing, biceps curls, triceps exercises, and can also be used to help with lower body exercises. They can be looped around a tree/support beam so they can be hung from just about anywhere. They also require limited space to use and store. My suggestion would be to get the wooden ones that retail around the $90 mark and not the cheap plastic ones as they are rougher and slippery on the hands.

I have dozens of ring-based exercise demonstration videos, ring-based programmes available as well as full length coaching Ring Sessions due soon.

Versatile and effective, Gymnastic Rings are a great tool to compliment your home gym.

Versatile and effective, Gymnastic Rings are a great tool to compliment your home gym.


5.      Barbell – The barbell! A fantastic and device for your strength and conditioning. Along with purchasing the bar, you will need to purchase some weights and every now and then possibly upgrade with some extra weights. However, things like, shorter rest, slower reps, more complex supersets and exercises can be adjusted before you need to upgrade the poundage! So much can be done with the barbell. This is where it would be key to have a programme in place. Don’t let yourself be in a position where it’s first thing in the morning or late after work and you are trying to work out how you are going to lift it that day. Bars can range from $150-750 for Olympic size (20kg bars). If you are not lifting 150kg+ regularly then the cheaper ones suffice. You can buy packs with a skinny 10kg bar and weights sets for around $50, just don’t buy the variety where you have to screw the weight locks on – they are annoying! Get the slide on clips.

The one limitation you will have, unless you buy a set of racks, is racking the bar for exercises such as Back squats, bench press etc. There are ways around this by altering exercises, and again, this is where the help of coach will come into play.

I have dozens of Barbell exercise demonstration videos, weights programmes as well as a full length coaching Barbell Session due out soon.

One of the reasons I love training at home is I don't have to spend more time away!

One of the reasons I love training at home is I don't have to spend more time away!


6.      Chin Up Bars – You can purchase door chin up bars, bars that come as part of a station with dip bars etc or ones you can drill into a wall. If you have rings and the ability to hang them up I would suggest go with the rings as they are more versatile. A lot of parks have chin up bars so once a week/fortnight, make the effort to get outside and go to the park and do some chin ups. Also, as for door chin up set ups, check YouTube for chin up fails……..


7.      Cages/Stands – You can buy power racks that you can use it to rack the bar for back squats, and also that can have chin up bars attached. These racks can cost a few hundred dollars. With some initiative at home and well thought programming these won’t be necessary unless you are a die-hard lifter. Requires space for use and set up. Cost $250-2,500


8.      Machines – This is where people often jump straight in. Treadmills, bikes, X-Trainers! They take up loads of space and get BORING fast. If you want aerobic work get outside and walk, run, swim, bike. If you want conditioning work do some Virtual PrimalThenics, use bands, barbells, kettlebells, and bodyweight. If you do decide that you need a machine at home (weather/environment/safety/personal choice), then my advice would be a:

a.      Rowing machine – Concept 2 Ergo is the go to model; $1250-2500 – depending on model and second hand or not

b.      Ski Erg machine – Concept Ski erg - $1850approx.


They are the main choices for equipment. You will notice I have left a large range of pieces out:

- Parallel bars   - medicine balls – boxing bags – dumbbells - treadmills

They are all great, but just start with one or two pieces, create the habit, routine and enjoyment of training at home. Train for a period of time and then reward yourself or vary up your training with a new piece of equipment at some point in the future. Getting results with training isn’t about how hard you can go, nor your supplements intake, nor how whiz-bang your equipment list is, rather, it is about consistency and effort over a period of time that results in the accumulation of small wins.



1.      Space, time, habit/routine, programme, support

2.      Equipment you want based on above and your skill set, goals, and programme design

3.      Get help with creating a programme


5.      Join my virtual PrimalThenics site and you get all the support and coaching you need: www.thehealthandfitnessguy.com.au