Starting A Home Gym, Part 1

Lots of folks either can’t get to a gym to train, or aren’t near a decent gym. Others just plain prefer to train at home. Whatever your reasons, it is fairly simple to build your own home gym. If you do it right, your investment will pay for itself in terms of savings on a gym membership in just a few years.

The Basics of a Home Gym

Powerlifting involves three lifts, the squat, the bench press, and the deadlift, and the gear you’ll need to train at home for powerlifting is the stuff needed to do these lifts. Realistically you need just 4 things:
  1. a barbell,
  2. a bench on which to bench press,
  3. a rack from which to squat, and
  4. some weights.

In this first part, we’re going to talk about the most basic item you’ll need: a bar.

Let’s talk about barbells

Bars are like beds and shoes. It pays to spend a money on a good bed because you need to get good sleep, and that is hard to do on a junky bed.
mattress fallout 4
You don’t have to be a murder-hobo in the post-apocalyptic dystopia of Fallout 4 to know that you won’t rest very well in this “bed.”


Likewise, good shoes are a solid investment, particularly if you have a job where you spend a lot of time on your feet.

mr burns kleenex box shoes
C’mon, Burns, you’re a jillionaire. Buy some decent shoes.


As a powerlifter,  a barbell is is the core item in your training. A good bar won’t automatically make you a good lifter, but a terrible bar can cause you to miss lifts you should otherwise make. For example, overly-smooth knurling can lead to grip issues on heavy deadlifts (or cleans, if you are doing those as an accessory movement). Of course, if you get a bar from Craigslist, caveat emptor, as they may not be super great.

A classic example of this: Melissa Urban finding out why her Craigslist weightlifting bar only cost 25 bucks. She handles this with more equanimity than I would have, that’s for sure.

The gold standard bar for powerlifting is the Texas Power Bar. It is strong, won’t get bent easily, and will last for 50 years if you care for it a bit. You can get them from lots of different places. I got mine from Texas Strength Systems; Wes Zunker, the owner, runs a TON of meets in Texas and I like to give back to people who spend so much effort on the sport.
Look for the Buddy Capps TPB logo at the end of the sleeves to make sure you are buying a real Texas Power Bar!


There are other options as well. Rogue Fitness makes a copycat product they call the “Ohio Power Bar” (they’re based in Ohio) that is pretty good, although of course it is innately inferior due to not being Texan.
Hey, that logo looks familiar…

Having said that, the Ohio Power Bar is a very good bar, and Rogue is a company that is also doing a lot to support and promote strength sports. Either this bar or the TPB will serve you well.

So there you go, now you’ve got (or are planning to get) a decent bar. Next time we’ll talk about racks!
This entry was posted in Uncategorized by Dave Nix. Bookmark the permalink.

About Dave Nix

I run a powerlifting club in Houston, Texas. The athletes I coach come from all walks of life, and have found success in the gym and on the platform. As a Masters (over age 40) powerlifter, I've competed and placed at USAPL Raw Nationals, as well as winning and placing in numerous local Texas meets. Follow me on Twitter as @Coach_Dave_VS.

1 thought on “Starting A Home Gym, Part 1

  1. Pingback: Starting a Home Gym, Part 2 | VintageStrong

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