A minimalistic home gym and effective fitness routine for you

by Rudd-O published 2021/09/28 15:08:00 GMT+0, last modified 2021-09-28T15:25:52+00:00
Can't go to the gym? Gym fees got you down? Plandemic broke your gym? Don't worry — with a little bit of cash, and 3 square meters to spare, you can have a safe place to exercise at home. You'll never ever have to leave your home again to exercise.

One of the biggest barriers to exercise is the amount of time it takes people to travel to their gym.  It's extremely easy for most people — we are all human — to say "heck, I don't feel like going to the gym today, it's 20 minutes away".

Add to that the malevolent property use and personal activity restrictions we're living under.

This set of circumstances basically guarantees almost nobody will persevere in their exercise routine, save perhaps for the most internally-motivated individuals.

Having a home gym solves all of those problems.  It's also a badass thing to have — a privilege reserved for badass people.

And it's not expensive either.

My homebuilt plandemic gym

Saw the video?  Well, that's it.  You don't need anything else.

Here is the bill of goods and what you should look for:

  1. A safety cage.  These go for anywhere between $500 and $2000 (all prices quoted here are U.S. Amazon prices — you must adjust for local price variations).
    1. Don't optimize for price (either high or low) — optimize for space.  All online shops sport the measurements of the inner part of the cage.
    2. Mind the inner width of the cage you get, as this will determine the width of the bar (space-saving cages will not work safely with full Olympic bars).
    3. Keep your own stature with arms stretched up in mind as well — you want to fit holding a barbell up comfortably without hitting the top of the cage.
    4. Cages usually ship flat-packed, and they ship with the tools necessary to assemble them (two Allen wrenches, usually).
    5. Some cages have overhead bars for pullups and pulley attachments.  Those are good to have!
    6. Do not forget to adjust the lower safety bars to the minimum height that will protect you from the barbell falling onto you or slipping from your hands.  This is the most important aspect of your cage — it's the thing that makes the difference between "oops, I couldn't lift any more" and "Mr. Pennington's funeral services start tomorrow at 14:00".
  2. A bench.  These go for $50 to $200.
    1. Make sure the bench you get folds up straight so you can sit on it, rather than just lying down.
    2. Some have adjustable height.
    3. Try to find a bench that will let your feet rest firmly on the ground when you're lying down on it.
  3. A barbell for discs with 5cm holes.  $30-80 price range.
    1. The length of the bar depends strictly on the width of your cage.  Full-sized Olympic cages will not allow you to use short space-saving bars.  Narrow space-saving cages will be death traps if you use a full-size Olympic bar.
    2. Don't forget to get the clips (retainers) for the weights, if they don't ship with your bar!
  4. Barbell weight discs.  $200-$400
    1. Make sure to get discs with 5cm holes.
    2. I would suggest to get discs covered in rubber or polyurethane, as they are safer to handle, and there's a lower risk of you damaging your home's floor with them.  They are more expensive, though.  Your call.
    3. Some discs have handles.  These are way easier to rack onto the barbell.
    4. They will smell for a while.  Keep them in a sunny and dry space for a week — that will cut 95% of the smell.
  5. Floor mats.  $50?
    1. Get enough to cover the underside of the cage, and some extra to unfold under the discs for when you're doing deadlifts.

Be conscious of your budget — don't get the "most expensive stuff" reflexively thinking this buys you the best — but also don't skimp on or overlook factors that will make your fitness experience more pleasurable.  Remember: you're reducing the activation energy for you to exercise, so anything that frustrates you will increase that activation threshold, and therefore it's bad for you.  Having meh equipment always beats having none.

As you can see, you can build your own home gym for less than two years' gym membership.  Your gym is open at all times.  Your gym can have the standards of cleanliness you demand.  Nobody messes with you in your gym.  Nobody is judging or observing how "well" you do.  If you haven't felt it before, all of this is truly liberating.

So what exercises can / should I do with all this equipment you've made me buy?

StrongLifts 5×5.

  • It takes a mere 3-4 hours out of your week.
  • Because you're doing it at home, you're also saving all that gym commute time too.
  • There is almost no thinking involved ("what should I do next?").
  • You can track progress extremely easily.
  • You don't exercise every day — only every second day.
  • You can enjoy podcasts or other entertainment / learning while you exercise.
  • You only need a cage, a barbell, a bench, and weights — no machinery, pulleys, electricity, or anything else required.
  • It's a full routine that exercises all of your body's major muscles, boosting your testosterone if you're a man.
  • As the linked Web site says and its videos show, you must focus on form first, and then focus on adding weight.  If you do the exercise right, you will not get injured.  If you "cheat" to "lift more weight", you will almost certainly plateau, and you might get hurt too.

That's all.

Go and get started now!