Equipment to train at home

By:  Aaron Whitten
Magazine 17 #1

Home Court Advantage!

A commonly held belief today is that you MUST train at a commercial gym to get results. There is certainly some benefit to belonging to a commercial gym. However it is NOT a prerequisite to success. There are several reasons why many people choose to train at home rather than at their local club:

A commonly held belief today is that you MUST train at a commercial gym to get results. There is certainly some benefit to belonging to a commercial gym. However it is NOT a prerequisite to success. There are several reasons why many people choose to train at home rather than at their local club:

  1. Convenience – your gym is always open
  2. Quality – you can outfit your gym exactly as you like with the best of equipment
  3. Cost – though the initial investment is high, over time it is much cheaper than yearly dues
  4. Atmosphere – no distractions and no rules!
  5. Clothing – wear what you want
  6. Time – no drive time or social ‘hour’
  7. Necessity – there are still plenty of areas without gyms within driving distance
Aaron keeps proper form during squat

You can build a platform in one afternoon that will allow you to save your floor and still complete heavy lifts.

Home training does not equate to second-rate workouts. In fact it is just the opposite. In the privacy of your home gym you can achieve the type of mental state needed for the most demanding of sessions. For this reason home training has appealed to some of the most serious and successful lifters. Names like Bill Pearl, Franco Columbu and Frank Zane arise as men who have trained at home for decades. Do you think they would settle for anything less than the absolute best in their workouts?

In this article I’m going to show you how you can put together a first class set up without going broke. In fact, in some respects your equipment may be superior for your specific goals than what you find at your local gym.

You can distill 90% of the equipment in any commercial gym down to just three pieces: Adjustable racks, an adjustable bench, and a barbell. It is easy to be overwhelmed when first planning a home set up. Where to start? How can you possibly have enough room and money to do this? If you attempted to simulate a commercial gym, you couldn't. They need tons of equipment since they are supporting many people at once. This is not the case in a home gym where it is rarely more than just yourself and possibly a single partner. The trick is to practice versatility and efficiency in your layout.

Aaron Whitten home gym
Aaron Whitten ’s home gym and his article
Squat, King of Exercises

Equipment in any commercial gym you can purchase for your home:

  1. Adjustable racks (power rack) – Vulcan racks – Champion power rack
  2. A barbell and plates –
  3. An adjustable bench – (Magnum Varsity bench)
  4. *With these three pieces you can do every essential movement, believe it or not.

A word on quality – home equipment should be of the highest quality for safety reasons. Do not skimp on quality regardless of price. This should be a one-time investment that can last for life. Take the time to find and purchase the best equipment. Doing so only once is far cheaper than replacing pieces yearly or, God forbid, getting injured. For this reason I have used IronMind equipment for nearly my entire home set up. They supply equipment for the World's Strongest Man contest so rest assured it is up to the biggest challenges.

If your gym will be on normal flooring, it’s a good idea to build a platform. This will save your foundation and creates a perfect area for heavy lifts. You can build one in an afternoon for a fraction of the cost of a manufactured one. Here is a link to blueprints that work perfectly for an 8x8 platform: IronMind Home Sweat Home.

With a 12x12 spare bedroom filled with an 8x8 platform, adjustable racks and a bench, you can do everything you need to build a quality physique. I can guarantee this because it is exactly what I have used personally for years! I wouldn't trade my set up for any commercial facility. If you have space and money, you could add some adjustable dumbbells or PowerBlocks and maybe a mirror. Most power racks will have a chin/dip attachment, if yours doesn't, just rig up somewhere to do these two valuable exercises. Additional machines are not needed and can actually distract you from the more effective basic barbell movements.

Without the distraction of machines the home trainee can concentrate on the most important aspect of resistance training: progression. Simply put, you must get stronger over time in order to continue growing. Sounds simple, and it is, but it is the most elusive factor resulting in the failure of most trainees. How many people look the same, year after year? And how many haven't put a pound on their best squat or bench in years? Probably a similar number. A key point to remember is all exercise is not equal. You can fool yourself with all the sets you can muster on preacher curl and seated calf raise machines but the reality is, without serious effort on the big barbell movements it is most likely a waste of time. Think about it: why are gyms packed with so much equipment when a few barbells could replace them all? The answer is because machine work is easier – and many folks are looking for the easy alternative. But, easy is not what progressive resistance exercise is all about. Stick with the productive basics and focus on increasing your strength levels over time.

Here are two routines using just a rack, bench and bar that will pack more beef on your frame than a million dollar's worth of machines could ever hope to do:
Squat 5x5
Leg raise 3x25
Bench Press 10 8 6 4
Power Clean 3x6
Stiff leg Deadlift 15 10 8 6 6
Crunch 3x25
Pull Up 50 total reps (might take 5 sets, might take 10 or more, you can intersperse your
Pull Ups between sets of the other listed exercises.)
Dips 100 total reps (same as Pull-Ups – start with Push Ups if Dips are too hard at first.

Devise your own progression scheme for each exercise. For example, on the 5x5 squat, do 2 warm-up sets of 5 and then 3 sets with your target weight. Whenever you can get 5 reps on all 3 of these “work” sets add a little weight the next time around. 5 or 10lbs is the most you should add to the bar for you next workout, many home gymmers have invested in 1lb or even 1/2lb plates so they can add just a pound or two per week and continue progressing month after month.

If you are a bit more ambitious, try this one:
Calf raise
Leg Raise
Bench Press
Incline Press
Clean and Press
Close grip Press
Chin Up
Bent Row
Barbell Curl
With this tried and true routine you do the following set/rep scheme, adding about 5% each week:
Week 1: 3x10 reps
Week 2: 3x8 reps
Week 3: 4x6 reps
Week 4: 5x5 reps
Week 5: 5x5 reps
Week 6: 5x3 reps
Week 7: REST and repeat

If you started with 185 for 10 reps in the bench; at week 6 you'll be doing 235 for your sets of 3 on week 6. Start again, this time with 5lbs more than your original week 1 poundage (upper body) or 10lbs (lower body) and go through the entire progression again. You can repeat this routine over and over if you like.

Notice that both of these routines are abbreviated, intense and filled with result producing movements. This is the definition of an efficient program. An individual who truly applied themselves in progressive fashion to the above routines for a couple of years while following sound nutrition would make more progress than most gym members do in their entire training lifetime.

And what constitutes sound nutrition on such a program? Plenty of quality protein and veggies matched with low to moderate carbs.

Beverly International Diet Library
3 Complete Nutrition Programs for Men
2 Complete Nutrition Programs for Woman

Intermediate Muscular Weight Gain Nutrition Program

Here is one suited for a hard training guy who is interested in gaining some serious size and strength:
Meal #1
2 whole eggs + 4 egg white
6 oz lean beef
1 cup oatmeal before cooking (optional: add cinnamon, raisins and a banana)
I know a lot of you have trouble eating a lot in the morning so here are two options:
Drink Option:
 2 scoops Ultimate Muscle Protein + 2 scoops cottage cheese (use the Ultimate Muscle Protein scoop) mixed with 2 tbsp heavy cream and 12 oz water
 Alternate Meal Option:
4 (whole) egg omelet with 2 oz cheese, ½ grapefruit or ½ cantaloupe, 1 cup oatmeal
Meal #2
1-2 scoops Ultimate Muscle Protein + 4-6 scoops Mass Maker
Meal #3
8 oz chicken (before cooking) or other lean meat
8 oz sweet potato, potato, or 1 cup cooked rice
2 cups vegetables or 1 piece fruit (apple, orange, cantaloupe, nectarine, peach, a cup of berries)
8-12 oz Roast beef, chicken or tuna made into 2 sandwiches with 4 slices whole grain or rye bread, 1 piece fruit
Meal #4
1-2 scoops Ultimate Muscle Protein + 4-6 scoops Mass Maker
Meal #5
10-12 oz sirloin steak (lean) or other meat
8 oz sweet potato or baked potato2 cups vegetables / salad / or fruit
Meal #6
3 scoops Ultimate Muscle Protein, 3 tbsp Heavy Whipping Cream
9 oz sirloin strip steak (lean) or 10 oz chicken + 2 cups vegetables - no potatoes or other starchy vegetables.
Super Pak 1 with meal #1
Creatine Select Load with 4 scoops per day for 5 days, then 1-2 scoops daily
Mass Aminos 4 with each meal
Ultra 40 4 with each meal
Next Steps (Add one or more of the following supplements to the above program):
Quadracarn 3 tablets, 3 times daily
Muscle Synergy 8 tablets twice daily or 1 scoop Muscle Synergy powder twice daily
Glutamine Select 2 scoops before, during, or after training
Bev ZMA 3 at bedtime on empty stomach

There you have it – a full program for home training that beats the socks off anything else out there. Following this basic, progressive routine coupled with a protein-rich diet will deliver real results. You don't need a fancy gym filled with chrome and spandex, just an old fashioned barbell and plenty of sweat!

Send high resolution photographs (minimum size 600 kb or 1 MB per photo) of your home gym and we may publish it in a future edition of our No Nonsense Magazine.
Include your name, where you’re from, one of your best home gym workouts, and list your favorite Beverly International products.
Email photos and information to [email protected]
For more home training:
Brian Wiefering
Back To The Basement series
  Heavy Arms Barbell Curls
  Squats Quad Training