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Everything you need for a basic home gym

Heavy kettlebells

Heavy kettlebells

Two heavy kettlebells are the next best thing to a bar and plates. A weight of between 20 and 24 kilograms (45 to 52 pounds) is recommended.

By using the kettlebells individually or together, you can focus on almost every muscle group by squatting, swinging, pressing, pulling, or pushing them.**

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Everything you need for a basic home gym

Everything you need for a basic home gym

https://www.popsci.com/story/diy/set-up-basic-home-gym/

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Key Ideas

Your goals with home exercising

Consider what you're trying to achieve.

  • If your goal is general health and well-being, a pleasant stroll is sufficient.
  • If you want to lift heavy weights, there isn't a minimalist setup that can replicate a barbell. While a barbell and weight plates would let you do almost everything, you need quite a bit of room to use them, ideally an outdoor area or a garage.

Heavy kettlebells

Two heavy kettlebells are the next best thing to a bar and plates. A weight of between 20 and 24 kilograms (45 to 52 pounds) is recommended.

By using the kettlebells individually or together, you can focus on almost every muscle group by squatting, swinging, pressing, pulling, or pushing them.**

Resistance bands and a stick

Two kettlebells might not be enough resistance for movements like squats and deadlifts. Some resistance or pull-up bands can increase resistance when you do "sumo-style" squats and deadlifts by looping one band around your wide-spread feet and through the handles of the kettlebells.

Add a wooden broom handle, and you have a wide range of new exercises. With a stick and a band, you can do many pulling exercises.

Gymnastic rings

Gymnastic rings or suspension straps can be used to do pull-ups and rows. They are also used for some ab exercises.

Both gymnastic rings and suspension straps can be mounted to a sturdy door.

Expanding your gym

There are always pieces you can add to your gym, depending on your goals.

  • If you have space, a barbell is the best thing you can buy. Up to 225 pounds is suitable for an average person.
  • For cardio, you can run outside, add a jump rope, or use a bicycle.
  • Sandbags and slam balls allow for more high-intensity workouts outdoors.
  • A yoga mat makes the floor movements more comfortable.
  • More kettlebells or a set of dumbbells can also be added.

Workouts inspiration

Gear will only be as good as your knowledge of how to use it safely and effectively.

  • Reddit's Bodyweight Fitness community has put together a fully-scalable bodyweight routine.
  • Online personal training can give you direction, accountability, and easy access to an expert coach.
  • Other services, like 8fit and NEOU, have many workouts to try out.

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Home exercises can help

It's tough to build a lot of strength or otherwise make progress without the incremental weights you find at a gym, but a few inexpensive home tools and specific movements can go a long way.

It is important to ensure that you prioritize compound movements that work muscle systems, not individual muscles. You'll get a lot more done in less time if you focus on bigger movements - squat, bench, deadlift, row, overhead press.

Lower and upper body movements

Goblet squats and squat jumps are great for your lower body when you only have dumbbells. You could also try lunge variations, split squats, step-ups, and deadlift variations.

For your upper body, you could do some chest presses, pushups, row variations, curls, tricep extensions or pullups (if you have a pullup bar installed in a doorway.)

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Each day, t...

Scalable based on your skill

Every day there is a particular workout prescribed that is completely scalable based on your skill. For example, if the workout calls for barbell squats with 135 pounds but you can only do squats with the bar (45 pounds), then that’s where you’ll start.

CrossFit is perfect for...
  • Beginners to weight training: If you have never weight trained before, CrossFit is a great place for you to start, provided you have a great coach.
  • People looking for support and community: Every CrossFit gym has a really tight-knit community feel to it.
  • Fitness fanatics: The general protocol is 3 days on, 1 day off, but many CrossFitters end up at the gym more frequently. 
  • Masochists: You’ll often be in situations where you use all your effort to finish a workout and continue to push yourself beyond.
  • Former athletes: You get to compete with people in your class and go online to see how you did against the world’s elite CrossFit athletes.

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High-intensity interval training (HIIT)

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  • Jogging light...
HIIT home workout

HIIT workouts generally only last about 20 minutes, which makes them attractive for busy people (most of us).
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  3. Push-ups
  4. Star Jacks (or other dynamic exercises)
  5. Inverted Row (or other pull exercises)
  6. Plank (or other core exercises).
  7. A stretching to cool down.
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Home Work Outs

Burpees are a quick push-up and jump combination that can be done easily on a flat surface. It’s a good idea to start with five to ten of them, and then challenge yourself with 100 in one go.


Air squats are an effective basic lower body exercise that can be done anywhere and combined with push-ups, mountain climbers and lunges, become a full body work out.

Work Out Creativity

Simple movements can be made challenging and more effective by holding them at key positions(like the bottom movement of a squat), making the muscles work harder. Any exercise that gets your heart pumping and makes you uses oxygen as fuel for the muscles is a cardio exercise.


Home furniture, like a chair, can be used to support your squats and also your upper body during tricep dips. For weights, broomsticks or jugs full of water can be used.


Keep washing your hands, eating healthy, and hydrating yourself, while getting plenty of sleep.