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Creating A Home Gym

It was less than a year ago when I filmed the following video which emphasized the importance of time. As you may recall, I stressed the simple fact that real results take time. Shortcuts are a myth. There is no fastest way to develop anything that is meaningful.

And while such statements will never be marketable in our fast paced world, I’m grateful that there are some readers who have taken the message to heart. I’ve heard from several individuals who have come to appreciate the significance of patience. They have essentially empowered themselves to see through the deception that exists within the industry. Many have even expressed their desire to begin training at home. They are eager to cancel a gym membership to save money and time.

Many have written to me with a few questions however that they need answered before starting. The most commonly asked question from this crowd has been what is necessary to create a home gym. These folks essentially envision a list of tools and equipment that must secured before they can begin.

Unfortunately, it does not work that way. Results aren’t the only things that require time. Creating a home gym often takes time as well. That doesn’t mean you can’t start with what you have however. As I’ve said many times before, it is quite possible to excel with little or nothing. Bodyweight exercise alone provides countless options. An empty room could literally serve as a fully functional gym.

Using myself as an example, I have trained consistently for 20+ years. More than half that time has been confined to a small garage or outside in nature. Yet even after all these years of home training, I still find myself making or acquiring equipment. It’s not that I don’t have what I need to train. It’s just a case of me seeking out new and different challenges. To pinpoint a single tool as an absolute necessity would be misleading. Over the years, I have trained with almost everything. I’ve worked with calisthenics, odd objects, free weights, and more. There have been periods when I focused almost exclusively on a particular modality. And at other times, I’ve mixed and matched them all together. What I use depends on what I’m trying to achieve at a given time. As is often the case, it depends.

Regardless of where you train, it is important to understand that it is a continuous journey. There is no equation that can be solved today that will provide answers indefinitely. All that is truly needed is the desire and willingness to begin. Once you are determined to improve, you will find a way. As mentioned many times before, equipment is not the deciding factor on whether one succeeds.

One of the reasons I share so many low-tech examples is to eliminate excuses that pertain to a lack of equipment. When you see other athletes thrive in poverty-stricken lands, you’re all but forced to recognize the potential of a low-tech approach. If they can do it, so can you. And I don’t say this to discourage you from acquiring equipment. By all means look to add new tools to your arsenal over time. Just realize that such tools should be viewed as options, not necessities.

As for a few of my preferred items, here is an abbreviated list:

  1. Pull-up bar (somewhere to perform pull-ups)
  2. Heavy odd-object (ex. sandbag)
  3. Punching bag
  4. Suspension trainer (easy and inexpensive to make)
  5. Sledgehammer and tire
  6. Jump rope
  7. Furniture sliders
  8. T-handle for swings

For those interested in lifting heavy weights, a power rack is probably at the top of your list. Dumbbell handles are also excellent and won’t eat up a lot of space.

Most of the items above can be purchased or made very reasonably. If you are new to the site, you can find loads of homemade equipment ideas within the link below.

Homemade Equipment Archives

My Youtube channel also includes several equipment based tutorials. As you’ll see, much of the homemade equipment doesn’t require any craftsmanship. For example, a pair of furniture sliders can be used right out of the box. Even an old tire can provide a full body workout. I could go on and on with examples. The low-tech possibilities are truly endless.

In summary, regardless of your circumstances, you have more than enough to begin. Use what you have and expand when necessary.

Enjoy the journey.

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A handful of patience is worth a bushel of brains. – Dutch Proverb

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6 comments

6 Comments so far

  1. dan January 29th, 2014 11:32 am

    I like the idea of a home gym being built up slowly over time…like a collection of art or wine. That’s the approach I’ve taken with mine. Start by building or cheaply acquiring the bare necessities and then gradually expand as needed (if you even end up needing to) That way, the initial expense and effort isn’t insurmountable. I think too many people use the excuse of needing to have things perfect before they start. But the conditions will never be perfect – the key thing is to start and learn/adjust as you go. Like you said, an empty room and some imagination could provide a lifetime of exercise. Lack of ‘stuff’ is just an excuse like any other.

  2. brad January 30th, 2014 10:17 am

    start with burpees and a stopwatch and build from there. the burpees will leave you conditioned to take on just about any other exercise around. like ross has said, explosive bodyweight movements offer quite a challange.

  3. Chris January 30th, 2014 12:11 pm

    Ross,

    Thanks for your instructive articles over the years. How do you work your back, lats, & biceps in an empty room without being able to curl?

    In Christ,

    Chris.

  4. Jasmyne Teoma January 30th, 2014 12:54 pm

    Thanks for the reminder that the best things take time. Patience is a virtue that I’m working hard to develop. Exercise options, calisthenic wise are endless but sometimes its fun to spice it up with equipment. It’s maddening that equipment can be so expensive – once you have a homemade piece of equipment it means so much more. :-)

  5. admin January 30th, 2014 1:02 pm

    @Chris – Isometrics are one option. It’s also quite easy to rig up a doorway pull-up bar. You can also attach a DIY suspension trainer to the pull-up bar. You can also get creative depending on what is available in terms of furniture, objects, etc. It’s all a matter of creativity.

  6. RossTraining.com Blog January 31st, 2014 12:59 pm

    [...] my last entry about creating a home gym, I’ve had a few requests to see examples. Ironically, on the same [...]

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