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Keeping fit and building muscle require long term investments. You have to allocate the time, effort and motivation in order to get the results you’re aiming for. One thing they don’t require, however, is a gym membership. You can achieve your goal from the comfort of your own home, or better said, the comfort of your own garage. Don’t get sentimental and throw your car out in the rain, it’s worth it.

In order to achieve those goals you’ll need equipment. Jogging and exercising with your own body weight can only get you that far and even if they prove very useful, mixing up your routines once in a while helps with keeping motivated and interested. When it comes to garage gym equipment, the sky’s the limit.

Muscle Building Equipment

Muscle tissue responds differently to the types of exercises performed. A high number of repetitions with smaller weights may strengthen the fibers and reduce the risk of injuries but it won’t help with gaining more of it. For that you’ll need heavier weights, ones that you can only lift up to roughly 12 times in one go.

Sets Of Dumbbells

Although quite affordable, most dumbbells out there do not allow you to adjust their weight. Purchasing a pair may be cheap but, in the beginning, you’ll soon outgrow them for the purpose of muscle building. You may start as low as 10 lbs, depending of your initial, overall fitness level but if you keep at it, your new found strength will need heavier weights for those bicep curls.

Using dumbbells that have a fixed weight can become both pricey and a space issue. As you progress you’ll start collecting them on a rack and have your garage too cluttered. The best pair to buy is the one that allows adjusting. The most common of them are those that use bumper plates, similar to barbells.

Barbells And More Bumper Plates

While dumbbells are great pieces of equipment that allow for a large variety of exercises, barbells confer a different set of advantages. For one, you’ll have symmetry in your workouts. If you use one arm at a time (as sometimes needed with dumbbells), chances are that your predominant arm will be able to perform more reps and hence, develop faster than the other.

Barbells also allow for a better isolation of muscle groups since your body won’t be able to compensate when you reach a point of exhaustion.

When it comes to purchasing the needed bumper plates for them, make an assessment of where you are strength-wise. There’s no point in buying too many of them or plates that are way too heavy if you’re just starting out. Your garage is now a gym, not a storage facility, you can always buy more later on the road.

Power Rack And Bench

The power rack is an efficient tool for making barbell exercises both safe and effective. It doesn’t take too much space and, if on a low budget, can be built up from scratch. Just remember to make safety your number one priority.

As garage gym equipment goes, a bench is probably the most versatile tool in the arsenal. It doesn’t have to be new and it’s not at all expensive. You can place it inside the power rack and use it for safe bench presses that do not require a spotter, you can use it for abdominal exercises or dumbbell workouts, even leg training.

All it needs is good padding and sturdiness. Ideally, you could purchase one that allows for incline, decline and flat positions.

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Strength And Conditioning Equipment

Performing conditioning workouts, while not increasing muscle mass, can save you a lot of trouble down the road. Through conditioning, muscle fibers strengthen and are able to take a lot more punishment. Body building is all well and good but won’t contribute much to overall health if done exclusively.

Fortunately there are many pieces of equipment that can be used for strength and conditioning.

Pull-up Bar

A power rack can be used for pull-ups just as well but if you’re short on cash or simply don’t have the room for one, a pull-up bar will do wonders. Simply lodge it above the door frame and make sure it does not come off. Pull-ups are great for strengthening almost all back muscles.

While difficult at first, you’ll soon be able to increase the number of reps. Most of them come with more than one way to grab a hold of them. Combine wider with tighter grips to develop all the muscles in your back.

Heavy Bag

Before purchasing a heavy bag, make sure that the garage support beams are able to hold it. This piece of equipment is more of a mixed breed, depending on what you’re after. Punching hard develops strength in both shoulders and arms while doing it for longer at an intense level can turn into a great cardio workout.

If you manage to learn a proper boxing stance and have enough room to circle the heavy bag as you hit it, you’ll be benefiting more from it. Moving from the waist while punching will strengthen core muscles. Please use hand wraps, bag gloves and correct punching technique to avoid any injury to your wrists and hands.

Wrist Weights

Wrist weights shouldn’t weigh more that 4 pounds each. They can be strapped on the hand wrists or on the ankles. You can use them to warm up before more intense exercises or for an intense cardio workout. The faster the reps the easier you’ll gas out but your lung capacity will soon improve, allowing you to keep going. Wrist weights are great for muscle conditioning, especially for the shoulders, the ones you tend to use in almost all upper body workouts.


Although you may now have all the weights you need, that doesn’t mean you should completely eliminate bodyweight exercises from your routines. Parallettes don’t take up much space and are ideal for people that are getting bored with standard push-ups. By allowing you to adjust the grip and drop the torso bellow hand level, parallettes can help with the developing of chest and back muscles, triceps and shoulders.


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