You guys know that muscle building and strength training is not SUPER dependent on what type of equipment you use. Unless you are looking to push or pull massive amounts of weight (think powerlifting), you can build an impressive amount of muscle mass and a decent amount of strength from intense training with just about anything.
What’s this mean for you? That you can get an intense session in no matter where you are training, how much time you can dedicate to it, and what equipment you have access to.
Don’t be a “bars and plates only” man.
Free weights and machines usually win because that’s the easy choice. They’re top dog because of the sheer fact that you can increase resistance pretty quickly, which in turn increases strength and muscle size quickly.
BUT, that’s not to say you can’t get jacked and strong from not using them. If you use other pieces of equipment, you just have to thing outside the box a bit. It may not be as cut and dry as adding more weight to the bar. You might have to play with rep speed, total volume, etc.
Here’s 5 pieces of equipment (besides bars and plates) that should be staples in your home gym.
Use these 5 pieces of equipment to improve your strength, muscle mass, and the effectiveness of your home gym without breaking the bank or taking up too much space.
- Single Kettlebell – This is a great tool as you only really need one. While 2 are even better, the single kettlebell is just fine. You can pretty much interchange these for dumbbells in most cases and do your presses, rows and carries with this thing. I would opt for a single heavy kettlebell over 1 or 2 light ones. The reason is heavier kettlebells are great for conditioning circuits and weighted carries. If you can’t do too many movements with it because its too heavy, keep doing swings and carries until you build up enough strength to toss it around a bit more.
- Body Weight Training – Nothing is more primitive than pushups, pullups, bodyweight lunges (jumping and regular), bodyweight squats (jumping and regular), and sprints. Doing any of these movements for submaximal (or max) reps is a good way for you to add another dynamic to your workouts. If you want to make these harder, try changing rep speed (faster or slower), slow negatives, and static holds.
- Bands – Using bands is a solid way to improve strength, muscle contraction, and explosiveness without needing a ton of expensive training equipment. Plus they don’t take up that much room in your house or your car. These are probably my favorite travel gym item (over suspension straps) because they give one hell of a pump.
- Suspension Straps – You guys probably know these as TRX straps, but there are other options available that are a little more price friendly (like the Jungle Gym XT). These will take your bodyweight movements to a new level and will allow you vary your resistance using angles and gravity. Definitely a solid piece to add to the home gym.
- Pair of Dumbbells – Obviously dumbbells make the list, as you already know they don’t take up much room and they are a home-gym staple. I would opt for a set of moderate weight dumbbells as they’re great for moderate to high volume work and you can usually do a ton of exercises without buying an entire rack of weights. 50-70 are usually a great weight for a single pair. Save the heavy movements for the beast-of-a-kettlebell you’re going to get.
Once you know what pieces of equipment to use, you have to structure the workouts…
For a complete collection of workouts you can do no matter where you train (or what equipment you have access to), check out the Badass Bodybuilding Collection. There are 10 workouts per body part that will increase your strength, add pounds of muscle, and improve muscle density in your Chest, Back, Legs, Shoulders, Arms, and Abs.
60 Badass Workouts Using Bars, Dumbbells, Kettlebells, Bands, Body Weight and Advanced Methods!
6 x 'Old-School' Style Workouts
6 x Quick Mass Blasts
6 x Barbell Workouts
6 x Dumbbell Workouts
6 x Kettlebell Workouts
6 x Bodyweight Workouts
6 x Suspension Trainer/Band Workouts
...and 18 Advanced Workouts
[PLUS] Complete access to training videos for every single exercise.