If your gym has closed numerous times over the past couple years, or you prefer to stay home to train, you can still maintain or gain muscle or lose body fat. In order to do so, we’re going to have to go back to the basics and, you know what? That might not be such a bad thing. Afterall, if you look back at the golden age of bodybuilding, you’ll see all of the basic exercises and none or very little of the modern equipment or techniques used today. Now, that has its upsides and downsides for us modern gym-goers but when it’s all said and done, nothing will beat the basics, and that’s a good thing for you if you’re training from home or in a home-outfitted gym. 

When you think of home training, you might think of just using your bodyweight, but we’re going to talk about what you need to get a gym-like training session from home. However, we recommend you work out in your garage or a place that has a hard cement floor or you may end up with a crater in your living room. Very hard to vacuum!

Let’s go over the bare-bones equipment you’ll need to get started with a raw, old-school home gym set up.

Half Rack

A half rack, or squat stand, is a versatile piece of equipment that can be used for anything from squats to bench press, to shoulder press to pull ups. It’s half of a power rack, which makes it light and depending on the brand you buy, easy to assemble and move. If you have the room, a full cage rack will give you some more versatility. 


For at home training, any standard 20 Kilo bar will do the job just fine. 


When you choose a bench, make sure it is sturdy, stable, and ideally adjustable from a decline all the way up to a vertical position. 


Depending on your starting strength, you may only need to buy a couple weights, but as with any strength or physique training, you’ll want to progress to heavier weight, so you can get more as you go.


Bands are some of the most useful tools in the gym. You can use them for their resistance by looping them around an anchor for flies, side raises, de-stabilized presses, or rows. You can also use them in conjunction with your barbell exercises to match your muscle’s natural strength curve. In other words, you can set up your bands so that the weight is lighter when your muscle is weakest in a lengthened position, and heaviest when you are at your strongest, through the mid and most contracted range. We suggest that you have a whole range of resistance levels on hand and better yet, two of each band. 

Now that you have your hardcore, raw gym set-up, it’s time to train. You now have a barbell for all of your heavy compound movements, and the bands will mimic a full set of dumbbells and a cable machine. You can now structure your programming just like you would if you were in a fully equipped gym setting. 

The barbell and rack (with pull up bar) will allow you to do:

Bench Press
Incline Press
Decline Press
Shoulder Press
Upright Row
T-Bar Row
Barbell Curls
Pull Ups

The bands will allow you to do:

Assisted Pull Ups
Goblet Squats
Hamstring Curls
Deadlifts with Accommodating Resistance
Reverse Band Bench Press
Reverse Band Incline Press
Band Flies
Lateral Raise
Front Raise
Rear Delt Fly
Single Arm Rows

As you can see, you have tons of options if you use a little creativity and good form. The bands also give you the versatility to customize angles so that each exercise fits your personal biomechanics, rather than being forced into the range of motion of a machine. This set-up is going to force you to do the hard stuff and improve week over week. WIth a proper diet and supplementation, you can build an amazing body without ever leaving your house. So, take your Carnage and make the commute to the garage because your gains are waiting!

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