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Best Home Gym Equipment For Limited Space or Big Spaces

The best home gym equipment really depends on what your circumstances and goals are, particularly how much space you have and how much you want to spend. If you have a good sized space, like a double garage or a basement then you can kit it out with an excellent home gym that would satisfy any avid gym goer - but you'll need a larger budget.

If you have a limited budget or you haven't got much space, then you can still get some excellent equipment that will get you fantastic results. The important thing is that you're able to work out all muscle groups in the main movement patterns. Space and budget is not really a barrier to this, although some equipment will make it easier to work certain muscle groups as you get more advanced, and this equipment is likely to cost more and take up more space.

The main movements that are important to train and will see you working all major muscle groups are: 

  • Squat
  • Hinge
  • Horizontal Push
  • Horizontal Pull
  • Vertical Push
  • Vertical Pull

There are many ways to train these movements and endless pieces of equipment that can do the job. However, you don't want to buy different pieces of equipment to train every muscle group and movement pattern. It's best to have the most versatile equipment that can do multiple jobs and also allow the most potential for progression.

Best Home Gym Equipment For Limited Space

If you have a smaller budget/need to conserve space We can still hit the 6 main movements and offer a lot of load for your progression without breaking the bank or needing a large dedicated space.

You just need some dumbbells and a pullup bar. There are dumbbell variations of all the barbell movements, so you can still train your whole body.

They can just be more difficult to keep progressing with once you reach a certain level, as they can't be loaded onto your back for squats, or held in position above you by a rack for heavy pressing movements.

1. Pullup Bar For Home Gym

For a pullup bar, it's useful to have one securely attached to a wall, like in a garage or on the side of your house, but this isn't a requirement. Doorway pullup bars can be really good and take a lot of weight. You have to watch out for them damaging your door frames though. Get the type that goes through the door and hooks on to the frame from the other side. The pressure fit ones are a bit less reliable. This is a great option as it folds down too for easier storage whereas many of the others don't:

KOMSURF Pull Up Bar for Doorway

If you have a bit more in your budget, go for the Crossgrips or RyzeUps from Jayflex Fitness. These fit over your door frame too, but they won't damage the door and because they're just two separate handles rather than a long bar, they are small, fold flat and are ultra portable and easy to store.

Jayflex Fitness - CrossGrips

 2. Dumbells For Home Gym

For dumbbells, you will want adjustable ones to save on space rather than a full rack of fixed weight dumbbells. You can get handles with plates that you add on, then screw into place with spin lock collars. That's usually the most cost effective option, but storage can become a pain if you have a lot of plates, and it's not seamless to switch between weights. Still, it's a great option if you're not looking to spend the best part of a thousand dollars/pounds on some dumbbells.

This is a great set from CAP that offers an iron dumbell set all under $100.

CAP Barbell Adjustable Dumbbell Set, 40 to 200 Pounds

If budget allows, go for some truly adjustable dumbbells like powerblocks or bowflex adjustable dumbbells. These are a serious solution that are good enough for the most serious of trainees, with options that offer more than enough weight. They save space by housing all the weights within a base unit, and you select the weight you need by turning the dumbbell handles. When you pick them up, your selected weight is attached. This is easily the best option for saving space, and is highly convenient when working out as you can switch weights in seconds instead of having to mess around unscrewing the spin locks, taking off plates, putting others on etc.

NordicTrack 55 lb Select-a-Weight Dumbbell Pair

 

With dumbbells and a pullup bar, you can work your whole body at home. - Standing dumbbell press (vertical push) - Pullups/Chinups (vertical pull) - Dumbbell squats - Dumbbell deadlift/Romanian deadlift (hinge) - Dumbbell row (horizontal pull) - Dumbbell floor press (or bench press) horizontal push.

3. Resistance Bands For Home Gym

You can also add resistance bands to assist you with doing pullups, or add more resistance to other movements like pushups. There are a lot of different type of bands, make sure you buy the long type if you want them to assist you with pullups (not mini bands - these are better for glutes and leg exercises).

Eackrola Resistance Bands Set of 6

You may have to use multiple bands in combination at first if you need more assistance, and then remove bands/swap for lighter bands as you get stronger. One option that offers adjustable levels of resistance so you can keep training with the same band is this one from Innstar:

INNSTAR Pull up Assist Band System

Best Home Gym Equipment For Big Spaces

If space isn't an issue and you want equipment that will always allow you to keep progressing, no matter how advanced you get then you should consider this as the minimum:

1. Power Rack For Home Gym

A full size power rack with adjustable safety bars, pullup/chinup handles on top and the ability to install extras such as cable pulley systems, landmine attachments and dip bars, such as this one:

Fitness Reality Power Rack

 

2. Adjustable Bench 

A solid adjustable bench rated to take a lot of weight. This one from Bowflex can take 650 lbs and also folds down to save space:

Bowflex Weight Bench Series

 

3. Olympic Barbell

A 7 ft, olympic barbell. This is what powerlifters, Olympic lifters and Crossfitters all use. It weighs 45 lbs or 20kg:

CAP Barbell 7-Foot Olympic Barbell

 

4. Olympic weight plates 

Olympic weight plates (you can add more as you need them, but make sure you have more than you need to begin with. These come in a variety of options, but bumper plates are a great idea for a home gym so you don't damage the floor, the plates or make excessive noise. Check these out from CAP Barbell:

CAP Barbell Bumper Plate Set with Horizontal Bumper Plate Rack

5. Cardio Equipment

Cardio is great for staying healthy while buying muscular and cardiovascular strength. If you have a lot of space then you could buy something like a manual treadmill, Precor Elliptical, Arc Trainer or something else.

 

Other equipment...

Anything else is optional, because with this equipment you can work all of your major muscle groups and get very strong in all of the major movement patterns. With the power rack and safety bars, there are no limits to your lower body development as you can safely load and unload heavy weights on/off your back and safely squat with it due to the safety bars.

Put the bench in the rack and adjust the safety bars to the right height and you have all you need to get really strong at horizontal pushing (bench press). Move the barbell to the outside of the power rack and you have unlimited potential with vertical pushing (barbell overhead press). Take the barbell out of the rack and you can get ultra strong in the hinge movement pattern with barbell deadlifts, and the horizontal pulling movement with barbell rows. The pullup bars on top of the rack give you the vertical pulling option. These 6 movements are all you need to develop muscle all over your body and reach the limit of your strength potential. Anything else is optional, but nice to have. You can add dip bars to the rack, or a landmine attachment to allow for a range of other exercises if you want variations of the 6 main movements. You can also use your bench and your barbell (with a pad or rolled up yoga mat) to do barbell hip thrusts and grow impressive glutes. Even dumbbells aren't necessary when you have a barbell and power rack, but if you want them I would recommend one of the space saving options above.

Thanks for visiting and reading this article about the best gym equipment for limited space or big spaces. We hope you found it helpful!

Author bio: Robert Dodds is a Certified Personal Trainer, a fitness coach, and fitness influencer. He is the founder of nothingbarredfitness.com, a fitness coaching service for busy parents.



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