Should you invest in a home gym? If so, what do you need in the home gym? Are home gyms for everyone? No! Here’s some thoughts on the issue of home gyms vs commercial gyms.

19 Comments
  1. Chris Dumas 6 years ago

    Will,
    Just listened to you video on home vs. commerical gym. I agree with your points. MOTIVATION and DISTRACTION need to be accounted for and we are not all the same in these particular areas. I can tell you that 95% of my workouts are done in a “home gym”, that is, laundry room and unfinished basement. Sounds sorta lame but using BBR with Poliquin’s principles I went from about 25% body fat percentage to 7.7% within the past year. I used the commerical gym for the cardio equipment. The chief complaint about commerical gyms is they are usually packed and you have to wait. This is a problem if you lift like I do, using dense workouts with attention paid to rest time between sets.
    I invested in a set of dumbells ranging from 20lbs up to 100lbs about 12-13 years ago, buying them one set a week. They are invaluable and I’ll be using them for years. I also purchased multiple Olympic barbell sets which are frequently on sale anywhere. I have a Smith machine, but if I were to do it all over I would definitely purchase a rack/cage like you said. Thanks Will.

    • Author
      Will Brink 6 years ago

      Yes, many people total overlook/ignore the motivation factor, and learn the hard way they are not really cut out to train at home. Hopefully this vid can help a few people avoid that! I like having the choice to train at home, but I prefer a good well equipped commercial gym any day personally.

    • Aimo 6 years ago

      Well done, Chris.
      I also have a home Gym. It is situated on our flat roof, partly covered, partly under the Bright and mostly sunny Spanish fresh sea-air. Under the cover I have a Chinese 4 Station Multi- Machine with cables and an ab board. Then there are 4 longer bars and 6 shorter bars ( changeable-plate-Dumbbells ) and a Rack + 2 Benches for Incline and parallel training. I have more than 400 kg ( 880 lbs ) weights.
      I am quite satisfied for this rather small Gymnasium of mine, although I do not have a leg press machine, Smith machine or others.
      I like this freedom of training. My present method is the famous, and rather expensive HYPERTROPHY M.A.X. program by Vince del Monte and Ben Pakulski. I like this system, because I love Variation, it gives me for the next year or so, because I get a new program every month and the system itself contains a lot of variation for every stage.
      This is good, because it is not easy to me to decide; What Next, Doc? It is better to have have a coach than try to decide alone the next move. A Good program is what I need, to go on training at this age of 75 of mine…
      All best to you all, my friends. Prosper and be happy.
      Aimo, a Finnish retired muscle man, who has not forgot the proverb: “Mens Sana In Corpore Sano”.

  2. Gerrit 6 years ago

    Agreed on every point. For us that can only go to a home gym, do you have any pointers on self motivation?? PLEASE HELP!!!

    • Author
      Will Brink 6 years ago

      Mix up your program regularly, play music that really gets you charged, put up motivating pictures and perhaps slot in a budget for one new training tool per month, even if something small like Fat Gripz, etc to have something to look forward to/help change up the workouts.

    • Aimo 6 years ago

      The Psycho-Cybernetic Principles surely will help. Please look for literature of these principles, which are applied by Doctor Maxwell Smart and some others. They tell us, that you must use your unconscious mind to help you achieve any goal, that you have decided to reach in your life.Positive thinking is your best friend. Use it from day to day, and it will lead you to be your best in anything you want to be.
      Imagine continuously yourself standing on the winners platform having the trophy in your hand, because you are the best bodybuilder/powerlifter or what ever you want to be. Do it as often as possible and make it a reality in a few years. Give yourself enough time to fulfill your dream, but be aware, that there is a hurry, or else your time will pass too fast. (( Some motivation? ))
      Advance 1 step, 1 rep, 1 set, 1 workout at a time, and do your best and nothing but the best.
      Aimo

      • AMI 6 years ago

        Sorry for changing the original name Maxwell Maltz to a false: Smart, although this plastic surgeon is very smart (wise)… His books were sold in millions.

  3. Lou G 6 years ago

    One of the best investments I made with respect to my home gym is a set of selectorized power blocks. They are very well balanced, allow for quick weight changes, take up very little space, and are extremely ecconomical versus buying a whole rack of dumbells

  4. Jim 6 years ago

    I haven’t done it yet but seriously considering the purchase of dumbells and a quality adjustable bench to fill in when I can’t get to the gym.
    One additional point that Will didn’t mention is that my home is a place to relax and recover – not a place to train. Psychologically it works for me to have those activities separated. It would probably work fine if you had a room totally dedicated to a home gym that you didn’t enter unless training.

  5. david ross 6 years ago

    I have found for almost all of my interests, that I actually DO something when I have other people around me doing the same activity. Be it art or workout. It reinforces interest, intention and action. I think that is why a commercial gym works, and a home gym is for hanging clothes…

    • AMI 6 years ago

      David, David…
      I think, that we differ in one important characteristic: DEPENDABILITY. When I stopped being dependent on other people, I reached a true liberty or freedom, if you like the latter expression better.
      In my private Home-Gym I am the boss, no one else.In a commercial gym I never could train as intensively as now, for many years afterwards in my own home. I never have to wait my “turn” to use any machine, now my training, and only now, is as quick as to me humanly possible. Instead of before having been at the gym for 2 to 3 hours, or more, my training takes from 30 to 55 minutes, 5 times a week, and I do not pay anything to get to the place, I just take a few steps upstairs and open the large box, where my plates and barbells and dumbbells are.
      2010 autumn I placed 2nd in a transformation competition, at the age of 73, leaving a lot of young boys and men behind me. As a testimony of that Vince del Monte is continually using my before and after photos as one of his many trainees in his commercials…That would never have happened without training in my own privacy. The key word is: INTENSITY with INTENSION.
      But although I recommend my style of training to anyone, be free to continue your social training, if it really gives you the best possible results, if that is what you want. – To add, I train alone, and that is why I let build up a Rack to be safe. My social life is elsewhere and rather large.
      With friendly feelings, your Finnish friend Aimo, 75, Spain

  6. Ryan young 6 years ago

    Nice video I have a home gym not the best but dumbbells oylpic weight bench set but not not like a self spotting type of gym but I do it anyways

  7. Jeff 6 years ago

    Excellent vid. One point that someone else already pointed out is the time saving factor of home gyms. For someone like myself that (1) has the extra cash and space, (2) has the motivation, (3) educates themselves in nutrition and training, (4) knows their goals…then the home gym is a huge time saver. When I did have a gym membership, you could only workout during non-peak hours or else the gym was too busy and you had to wait for equipment. Adding up door-to-door drive time, walking from the parking lot to the locker room, finding a locker, and changing clothes I easily save 30 minutes per workout, plus another 10 minutes by my home gym having everything in close proximity and adjusted to my liking. Time is money, and knowing what my time is worth per minute, the equipment has paid for itself in less than a year.

  8. Kent Ingram 6 years ago

    Excellent video, Will! I’ve noticed, when I’ve had home equipment, it didn’t work as expected, I got bored with it or my body just plain rejected it! With a commercial gym, you have the variety of equipment and, thus, a wider selection of workouts, to keep things moving along in an intensive way. Thanks, again, for your insight!

  9. Andrew Snowdon 6 years ago

    I agree that the best answer is both. the commercial gym can often be more practical as I work out at lunch times and also use the treadmilll in winter and the spinning classes.
    However a home gym also provides a great top up. This also enables you to ppractice exercises that you might be reluctant to try in the gym. I am also amazed how some of the smaller commercial gyms miss out on some fundamental basics like chin up bars and dip bars.

    • Andrew Snowdon 6 years ago

      Other point i would mention on motivation wherever you train is that variety of exercise is of course brilliant and keeps it fresh,. Against that you have to be careful that you are not just playing with exercise and doing whatever you fancy. So you need to actually or mentally record what you achieved last time and aim for a bit more – maybe a higher weight or one or two more reps or sets. Keep improving and setting the bar higher whatever the exercise so that there is a competitve desire being sparked and that should in turn give improved . The body is continually pushed but at a level where you will not have to take a week off to recover!

  10. Steve Sorensen 6 years ago

    i couldn’t agree more with your conclsion Will. i have a pretty decent home gym in my garage. I also have a commercial gym membership. I would say 98% of my training takes place in the commercial gym. Even when getting to the gym is difficult I try like hell to find a way to get there. What I lke about the commercial gym is that everyone that is there is there to train. There aren’t any dogs to feed or dirty clothes to wash…..etc….etc… The commercial gym has a specific purpose…training. My home gym is great but the distractions are also.

  11. Anthony Duffield 6 years ago

    Will,
    I guess I’m one of the minority then. I heve a very professional 100 square meter gym with US$70,000 of equipment, at my house. I’ve trained in commercial gyms for may years and I find having my home gym so much better. I have a high end audio visual system in the main CV area, which I can choose whatever music and live concert DVDs at whatever volume I want.
    I never have to wait to use any equipment, especially when doing supersets. I don’t get people trying to chat with me when I’m focussed on my trainng and there are a number of other reasons why this set up works for me.
    You could comment that living in Phitsanoluk, Thailand that there isn’t a decent commercial gym in the city, but I would have my own home gym if I lived in Bangkok where there are many gyms.

    • Andrew Snowdon 6 years ago

      Wow! not real world at all then!

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