Saturday, July 11, 2015

Building the Garage Gym on a Budget

Everyone's got a budget, whether its for weekly grocery spending, clothes, entertainment or gym membership.  Budgets are smart to have because they keep us on track while still allowing some indulgence.

And if you're in the process of starting your own garage gym, even a modest monthly budget can get it done.  In this week's blog we'll offer some suggestions on how best to build your garage gym even over one to two years time with smaller, but effective investments in equipment.

Everyone has a bias, a natural tendency to prefer one type of exercise over another.  The naturally slender, smaller build athlete might prefer bodyweight movements such as the pull up, muscle up or rope climbs whereas the medium to heavier build athlete may favor heavy back squats and deadlifts to burpees.  We've got plenty of choices in our Garage Gym Equipment Packages line up to appeal to all different types of athletes.

What we'll propose below is the most well-rounded equipment selections for the beginning level athlete to grow their garage gym with a suggested progression of pieces, starting with the equipment that any level athlete can use.

The Pull Up Bar - Coming in at one of the most highly programmed and effective bodyweight exercises is the pull up.  Our wall mounted pull up bar makes a smart first investment for the beginning level athlete because of the popularity of this exercise [you'll use it all the time] and the fact that the pull up bar also makes a great mounting station for gymnastics rings.  So, during that first month or two, start with a pull up bar and focus on pull ups, knees to elbows, toes to bar, burpees, pushups, air squats and running.  The Deck of Cards Workout is one of our favorites and it's easy to work with minimal equipment.

Gymnastics Rings - If we could get a set of our Gymnastics Rings in every aspiring athlete's hands across the US, we would.  For the tremendous amount of benefit, scalability and effectiveness of this tool, the price just can't be compared.  Combined with our wall mounted pull up bar as a mounting station, you can now add movements like ring rows, ring dips and ring pushups for starters.  Since our pull up bar is over 30" away from the wall, you'll have plenty of room to move.  And for those that might be wondering if a garage gym without heavy weights might not be as effective in building a chiseled body, seen any gymnasts lately?

Gymnastic Ring Hanger - Monthly budgets sometimes get smacked by surprise costs that come up.  We've all had the unplanned expenses like car and home repairs.  It happens.  And there are some low cost options in the way of equipment that can still make a big difference in your garage gym setup.  One of those pieces without a doubt is - the gymnastics ring hanger.  Hanging your rings up high in the gym opens up all the exercises that gymnastics rings have to offer like skin the cats, static ring holds, ring turn outs and muscle ups.  Our ring hanger is all welded construction and comes with all the hardware you need to install right out of the box.  And with the Ring Hanger's small price tag, that unexpected monthly expense that came up won't cause you to rule out adding something to the gym this month.

The Kettlebell - Ideally, a well-equipped garage gym should have at least three different sized kettlebells.  That's because the kettlebell travels to three different parts of your body - to the hip as in the deadlift, the shoulder as in the kettlebell clean and overhead with the press.  There's no need to get all three at once.  We'd suggest starting with the mid-weight to light weight kettlebell first.  That will keep the largest number of exercises open.  We're confident that you could use that kettlebell at least a dozen ways and that's why it ranks high on our must haves for the Garage Gym.  Keep it varied and you'll stick with training for the long haul.  Repetition leads to boredom and can stall gains.  Need some inspiration on movements?  We wrote a blog on nineteen great kettlebell exercises that anyone can do.

The Medicine Ball - Another fabulous, effective and reasonably priced piece of garage gym equipment is the medicine ball.  After a few months of air squats, pull ups and ring dips, you'll be getting pretty good at moving your own bodyweight.  So much so that you might want to add some weight to keep it challenging.  The medicine ball makes a great companion on many bodyweight movements as in those listed above as well as many abdominal exercises like the sit up and kayak.  Dynamax Medicine Balls are one of the oldest names in the industry and are backed by a 5 Year Warranty.  They've got a non-slick, tough vinyl shell that takes a beating and their weight stays centered.  Did we mention they're made in the USA?  There's way more to this little gem that the wall ball movement so keep thinking outside the box and grab it.

The Plyo Box - With our intention of making a new piece affordable every month so far, the Plyo Box is another outstanding choice.  Only for jumping on?  Well, sure there's that.  The Plyo Box is a great cardio conditioning tool and box jumps are great at burning lungs and at developing explosive power but there's more you can use them for.  We like to use them as platforms to raise the feet with ring rows and pushups too and propping your feet up on top of the box while performing sit-ups adds an interesting twist.  And performing weighted lunges with your back foot resting on the top is brilliant at developing leg strength and stability.

Once you've filled your gym with all these essentials, you are more than on your way to a great garage gym.  And the great thing about some of these tools is that they are mobile.  You can take a few with you if you're headed out of town on vacation.  If you're still missing something heavy, we'd recommend a few more kettlebells at this point.  Double kettlebell thrusters and cleans can tax even the most advanced athletes and in the long run they'll cost you far less than a set of bumpers and a good bar.  And with all of these different pieces, you can keep your workouts varied.