How To Choose Equipment For Home Gym – A Few Must-Haves To Consider

I will introduce you to the process of selecting the best gym equipment for the home gym, based on cost-effectiveness and budget!

So, you have a free, comfortable room, and you decided to dedicate it to a home gym. A good initiative and a great solution!

There is one question though – what should you incorporate into your home gym and how to choose equipment for home gyms properly?

Below, I will introduce you to the process of selecting the correct gym equipment. “Correct” here is based on cost-effectiveness and budget. I hope that this guide will be useful to you!

What Is The Correct Selection Of Equipment For A Gym Based On?

The choice of equipment depends on what you are planning to do. However, in my opinion, all strength training programs should be centered around three basics exercises:

  • The first basic exercise is the squat. The squat engages primarily the leg muscles, although the rest of the body is activated too to ensure stability.
  • The second basic exercise is the deadlift. This exercise is a powerful back builder, although it also significantly engages your legs.
  • The third basic exercise is the bench press. The target muscle group in the bench press is the chest (the pecs), though the shoulders and the triceps are loaded as well.

Barbell & Power Rack – The Staples Of Any Home Gym

Given the list of exercises given earlier, the most crucial pieces of home gym equipment are:

Ideally, you should get yourself both these pieces. However, if your budget is limited, then you should start with a barbell.

A barbell can be used to train pretty much any muscle from head to toe. If you are completely new to strength training, then you also don’t even need weights at the early stages of training.

In the video example below, you can see the wide range of exercises that can be done with a barbell. You may even do cardio with it!

Power Clean/Olympic weightlifting and crossfit

Once you start advancing in strength, you will need to think about getting yourself a set of weights and a power rack. A power rack will particularly help you with performing weighted squats and bench presses.

For the bench press, you may also need to purchase a bench, though some power racks may include one out of the box.

Next Step – Multifunctional Weight Bench

The next logical step would probably be getting yourself a multifunctional weight bench. Depending on what you get, a multifunctional weight bench allows you to perform:

  • Bench press.
  • Squats.
  • Deadlifts.
  • Curls.
  • Military press.

Some higher-end multifunctional weight benches may replace power racks, while simpler models are great at complementing them.

We have reviewed a bunch of multifunctional weight benches earlier – check out our review to find more details.

Cardio Machines

If you have the space, then also get yourself a cardio machine. Among the most popular cardio machine types are:

These have a number of distinct advantages and disadvantages that will dictate which type of cardio machine you should choose. Check out our cardio machine guides to find out more and select the right type of equipment for your home.

What Else Could You Purchase For Your Home Gym?

For the most basic exercises, a combo of a barbell, power rack, a multifunctional weight bench, and a cardio machine should be more than enough. But if you want more variety, then you could complement your home gym with other sports equipment.

Below, you will find a few suggestions along with references to our reviews.

EZ curl bars

EZ curl bars are excellent for training your biceps, triceps, shoulders, and some other smaller muscles. The advantage of EZ curl bars over traditional straight Olympic bars is that the curved body makes exercising less straining on your joints.

For more info, check out our overview of the best 5 best and most popular EZ curl bars – we have some more tips and suggestions there.

Triceps bars

Triceps bars are made specifically to train the triceps, although you could use them for curls and shoulder presses as well. However, thanks to their parallel bars, these bars are the best for skull crushers and other triceps exercises that cannot be comfortably performed on a regular straight bar.

Have a look at our review of the best triceps bars for more info and tips.

We also have an exercise complex for triceps and EZ bars – check it out as well.


Dumbbells are great for a home gym because they are fairly cheap and don’t occupy much space. They allow you to perform plenty of exercises too for a good workout at home.

However, once you progress, dumbbells can become a little inconvenient since you need to have plenty of space for several sets of dumbbells with different weights.

Once again, you may have a look at a dedicated review of the best dumbbells for more tips and suggestions.

If you are intending to purchase a lot of dumbbells, then also consider a dumbbell rack.

Ab rollers

Ab rollers are brilliant for ab training. If crunches no longer cut it, then you should definitely get ab rollers a shot. They load your abs quite a bit, allowing you to build that sixpack in no time (given that your diet is right, of course).

Ab rollers are very tough on the joints, so you should know how to perform ab roller exercises correctly.

For ab roller suggestions, check out our dedicated review & buying guide.

Pull-up bars

Finally, we have pull-up bars – a must-have for a home gym. Although if you have a power rack, you probably have a pull-up bar already because many power racks include them.

Pull-up bars are often hung from door frames, but there are also more secure options that are intended to be mounted to walls.

Again, we have a separate material dedicated to pull-up bars, so check it out for suggestions and buying tips.

Gymnastic rings

Gymnastic rings aren’t for the faint-hearted, and they require some considerable space for mounting as well. However, if you can afford rings space- and money-wise, then you will gain access to a wide range of upper body exercises!

For a few suggestions, check out our gymnastics ring review.

Final Words

So first up, give preference to a barbell and a power rack (preferably with a pull-up bar). Dumbbells are also nice for starters, but they occupy a lot of space if you need several sets of weights to have a good workout.

Consider cardio machines as well, though if your budget is limited, you may temporarily stick to outdoor walks or runs.

As for the rest, they’re really up to preference. Get the basics and see how they work for you!

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