To get started with a Home Gym all you really need is an Olympic bar, a set of plates, and a set of rings. With these items you can perform more than 50% of home workouts as written and substitute for most of the rest.
You can get the $150 Three Hundred Pound weight set at the local sporting good store and outgrow it in a few months, or for just a little bit more, you can buy a nice bar, solid rubber bumpers and rings that you will never outgrow. After that you can add items as your interest or fitness level grows. With the items below you can build a World-Class Strength and Conditioning Facility right in your garage.
We have gained a lot of knowledge about equipment that I felt would be helpful to new and experienced gym-goers in their homes as well as people putting together commercial gyms. The information below includes links to just about everything you could possibly want for an effective strength and conditioning facility so that you can compare products and prices. It also includes some opinions from message boards as well as my own opinion about several products.
B&R Bar by York Barbell:
Mike Burgener and Mark Rippetoe have teamed up with industry leader York Barbell to provide the ultimate Olympic weightlifting/powerlifting bar that is perfect for CrossFit workouts. The B&R Bar by York Barbell is produced to their precise specifications. It has a 29 mm shaft with a 200,000 lb. yield strength, marked for both powerlifting and weightlifting movements. It is made from elevated temperature drawn high tensile steel for maximum strength and flexibility. It features the perfect light weightlifting knurl that has made York Barbell famous, with a center knurl for squats and an extra half-inch of smooth steel between the knurls to protect your shins during deadlifts, cleans, and snatches. Manufactured with sintered bushings in the sleeves for reliable spin and low maintenance, and with sleeves attached with the same bulletproof end caps used on York competition weightlifting bars, the B&R is designed for heavy commercial gym use in a wide variety of training environments.
Most barbell manufacturers add chrome or other plating material to their bars to prevent discoloration from rust — it is not there to improve performance. The B&R Bar by York Barbell bar is made for serious lifting, not for looking shiny on the rack. No coating can ever match the look and feel of natural steel, and this quality old-school bar will age to a natural oxidized finish that matures along with your training and experience. This is the last bar you will ever have to buy. It will join the many tens of thousands of bars made by York Barbell since the 1950’s that are still going strong. This bar is also available in a 25 mm 15 kg women’s version that is identical to the York women’s olympic training bar with the additon of the second knurling mark and same plain steel finish of the men’s bar.
The Rogue Bar is a 28.5 mm (men’s ) and 25 mm (women’s) bar with no center knurling and both powerlifting and Olympic lifting knurling marks. This bar has the famous Rogue knurling. It features high quality brass bushings for reliable spin, and will whip enough for use in Olympic Weightlifting. The shaft is coated with black zinc and the sleeves chrome plated. GUARANTEED FOR LIFE AGAINST BENDING AND/OR COLLARS FALLING OFF BY MANUFACTURER
Rogue Castro Bar:
The Rogue Bar is a 28.5 mm bar with no center knurling and both powerlifting and Olympic lifting knurling marks. This bar has the same great Rogue knurling. It features high quality brass bushings for reliable spin, and will whip enough for use in Olympic Weightlifting. The shaft is bare steel for the ultimate grip without being sharp. This bar is bare steel and just like any fine piece of machined steel this will require some upkeep. Occasionally brushing the bar down with 3 in 1 oil or WD-40 will create a beautiful patina look. This is how bars were made for decades and this creates an unmatched feel. GUARANTEED FOR LIFE AGAINST BENDING AND/OR COLLARS FALLING OFF BY MANUFACTURER. A portion of the proceeds of the sale of this bar go to the families of two fallen Navy SEALs.
Rogue Burner Bar:
The Rogue Burner Bar is a 28.5MM 20KG Men’s training bar that does not have any coating on the bar. This bar is made with High Tensile Strength steel and is a work of art. The knurl is perfect, there is something special about a bar right out of the lathe! This bar can be used for heavy Olympic or Power Lifting movements. The sleeve has the classic bronze bushing and snap ring design.
Rogue Training Bars:
IWF Spec. Olympic weightlifting bars guaranteed for life by the manufacturer. MADE IN THE USA out of the best materials available. The line includes a 28 mm men’s weightlifting bar with bushings and the Elite bearing bar with 5 needle bearings per sleeve. All are zinc coated for the best feel around with perfect knurling. These bars are also available in 25 mm 15 kg women’s versions and the more economical 28.5 mm men’s version (guaranteed for one year). You can not find a better weightlifting bar at any price.
Rogue Beater Bar:
The Beater bar is a 31 MM bar with no center knurling and has powerlifting marks. The shaft is black zinc and the sleeves are bright zinc coated.
This bar is not made for competitive olifts, it is meant to be the bar that takes a high rep beating where the diameter of the shaft is not essential.
The sleeve is assembled with a pin design.
York Competition/Training Barbells:
York Olympic bars with Satin Chrome finish are made from elevated temperature drawn high tensile steel for maximum strength and flexibility.Sintered bushings, impregnated with oil, facilitate free and constant rotation of the bar without allowing for counter-rotation of the weights. Sleeves are machine-finished to a precise 1.975-inch diameter. They are available in 3 Styles.
Men’s 20 kg. USA Olympic Training Bar
York Hard Chrome North American Bars w/Split Sleeves:
Years of precision engineering and tooling earned York Barbell a reputation for building some of the finest Olympic Competition and Power Bars in the industry. York applied its vast knowledge in bar design and produced perhaps the highest quality, most functional and attractive imported Olympic Bars today. York applied its signature “split sleeve” to each bar and designed a precision internal dual roll pin sleeve assembly. The replacement of the outmoded bolt sleeve assembly means the bar will not loosen or detach. Each bar is heat tempered. The hard chrome finish is more durable and decreases the liability associated with the chipping, cracking or peeling common with the use of bright chrome.
These bars are perfect for everyday uses around the garage, basement, or even a full-fledged training facility.
York’s Hard Chrome International Bars are also available in a needle-bearing bar and is an excellent choice for Olympic-style movements. The needle bearings ensure smooth, consistent rotation of the sleeves. The Men’s Bar is 7 feet long, 28 mm, and heat-tempered. Also available is a Women’s Bar that is 6.5 feet long, 25 mm, and heat- treated.
The needle-bearing bars are perfect for training the Olympic movements with lighter weights or for any CrossFit workout. They spin freely and the hard chrome coating is extremely durable and easy to clean. The knurling is a bit deeper than the Pendlay bars, but makes up for the slicker coating. We have been using ours at Rogue for over 2 years and is a staple for moderate weight O-lift work and WODs. The black-oxide/hard chrome bars are a welcome addition to our inventory. These bars fill the gap left by more expensive weightlifting and power bars. They are suitable for any of the power (slow) lifts or for light weight WODs. Perfect for leaving in a power rack, backup for more expensive bars, or for a beginning garage gym. And, they come in choice of finish and size! What more could you want? The “Ultra-Lite” bar is an aluminum technique bar that is the perfect starter bar for teaching beginners the technique of the Olympic lifts. It can also be used as a scaled-weight bar for CrossFit workouts.
7 foot International Hard Chrome Bar
Pendlay Nexgen Bushing Class Bars Bars:
Lifetime guaranteed weightlifting training bars. Shaft diameter of 28.4mm Mens, 25MM Women’s & 10KG Made from the strongest steel available. Very rigid, will not allow much flex. Dual bushing design inside each collar. Dual snap ring design inside each collar. Bright zinc coating throughout the bar. Bright zinc absorbs into the steel reducing the risk of chipping. Single piece collar construction – only barbell company in the world to use this method. Perfectly weighted, extremely strict weight and dimension tolerances. Made by weightlifters, for weightlifters.
Pendlay Nexgen Bearing Class Bars:
Next Generation Pendlay Bar. Shaft diameter of 25mm or 28mm. Made from high nickel content, super strong steel. Allowing maximum flexibility without bending. Only company in the US to produce barbells from this material. Five top quality, made in Germany, high speed bearings in each collar. Dual snap ring design inside each collar. Bright zinc coating throughout the bar. Bright zinc absorbs into the steel reducing the risk of chipping. single piece collar contruction – only barbell company in the world to use this method. high performance gel lubricant inside each collar. No more leaking hydraulic fluid. Perfect knurling with distinct entry and exit point. No cheese graters here! No fade in and out. Knurl points set for Olympic Weightlifting. Perfectly weighted, extremely strict weight and dimension tolerances.
Static Test – We take each bar and support it on the ends in v-blocks. We apply 2500 lbs of pressure in the center of the bar and deflect it 6 inches. They consistently return to true center within .000/.006 inches.
Dynamic Testing – It is very hard to dynamic test a barbell in a way that mimics the actual use. The only true way a bar is dynamically tested is by the bar being used for its purpose, Olympic weightlifting. To date we have tried to bend the bar and have not been able to do so. We have yet to have any bars returned because of bending. And best of all backed with the Lifetime Performance Guarantee! Made by weightlifters, for weightlifters.
Werksan: The official Bar of USA Weightlifting. These are often favorably compared to Eleiko Weightlifting Bars. They come with a lifetime guarantee. They are available in both IWF certified versions and a training version. Unlike many training versions, the non-certified bar is nearly identical to the certified version.
Eleiko Olympic Bars are very highly thought of and used extensively in competition. These are often used as the gold standard that other bars are measured against. The Olympic Training Bar is available in Men’s and Women’s Versions. They also make competition bars and youth training bars.
Quality bars that are well respected for their strength. Simply the toughest Olympic bars made. They make a variety of bars at a range of quality levels.
Sorinex Power/Weightlifting Bars:
Innovative and indestructible bars from the heaviest name in fitness
ROGUE HG Collars:
Keep your plates in place under the most extreme conditions! This will save you the time of putting your plates back on during CrossFit Workouts like Fran and Elizabeth. We just bought some of these and love them for most CrossFit workouts you never have to readjust the plates. These are the collars that were used at the 2010 Crossfit Games.
Excellent clamps with a firm grip that are very easy to take on and off the bar. We have been using them for years.
Economical clamps that work well. These require more strength to get on an off the bars.
Steel Plates and Change: (Additional Weight)
York Brand Iron Pound Weight:
The original cast iron plates.
Rogue Fractional Plates:
0.25, 0.5, 0.75 and 1 lb plates. These are especially helpful for going up in small increments when you are stuck at a weight.
York Kilogram change:
Non certified kilogram change, reasonably priced.
Werksan Kilogram change:
Certified and non-certified kilogram change
Iron Woody Fractional Plates:
0.25, 0.5, 0.75 and 1 lb plates. These are especially helpful for going up in small increments when you are stuck at a weight. These are also available in 0.5 kg, 0.75 kg and 1.0 kg weights. Manufactured by Iron Woody.
Bumpers and Technique Plates:
Rogue Training Bumpers By Hi-temp:
Probably the most durable training bumpers on the market. They are made from recycled rubber with solid steel inserts. They are soft and provide the maximum protection possible for your flooring and bars. Now all weights including 10 and 15 lbs are full size.
Rogue Competition Plates:
Built to last like Eleiko plates. Available in pounds, black rubber with steel center plates.
Virgin rubber training bumpers with Brass Inserts and Non-certified Competition Bumpers. The training bumpers are available in pounds and kilograms. The Competition bumpers are available only in kilograms.
Bigger Faster Stronger:
Bigger Faster Stronger sells their own line of bumpers available in 10-45 lbs, in colored and black versions. Virgin rubber with brass inserts.
Technique plates that can actually be dropped and are solid on the ground. They were recommended by Mike Burgener and Mark Rippetoe also gave them a positive review.
Certified competition bumpers and non-certified training bumpers.
Certified Competition and training bumpers.
These come highly recommended as very durable plates.
Bumper Racks and Bar Racks:
Rogue 9 Bar Rack:
Space efficient storage for bars
Rogue Horizontal Plate Rack:
Horizontal plate storageon wheels for easy portability
York Mobile Horizontal Plate Rack:
A good option for commercial gyms. They are reasonably priced and allow you to move the bumpers to the lifter in a group rather than spending your time walking back and forth moving a couple of plates at a time.
York Single Sided Bumper Plate Tree:
A really nice option for both home gyms and commercial facilities. It will hold you bars, bumper, change and collars all in a small footprint.
York Olympic A-Frame Plate Tree:
A reasonable storage option for a commercial gym.
Power Max Bar Holder #WE515:
We have a few of these. They are a very space efficient way to store your bars.
York Dumbbell Racks
Rogue “KILO” Bells – American Made:
These are made in a joint venture between AOS and Rogue so they bear both brands. They are made in New England. They are painted with a matte black finish so they will hold chalk! Following are the Rouge KILO Bell Specifications:
1.0 Handle and Bell ratios are built to Rouge Specs
2.0 Finish: Matte Black – The paint is not thick like many other brands or filled with bondo. These are meant to be as close to naked as possible.
Iron Woody Kettle Grips:
Grips that allow you to use your own plates to make adjustable kettlebells.
Kettlebell Country Kettlebells:
Smooth enamel coated kettlbells.
Dragon Door Kettlbells:
The company responsible for the current kettlebell popularity in the United States. These have slightly smaller diameter handles that many prefer when doing snatches and jerks.
Dumbbells come several styles such as colored rubber coated, rubber coated, and enamel coated cast iron. For a CrossFit gym the rubber coated ones work best. A couple of the popular brands are below. If you are just working out in your garage, you may be able to get by with the enamel coated cast iron which can usually be found in your local sporting goods store.
Power Max Rubber Coated Dumbbells
Rogue Pull Up Bar:
Well made portable bar with straps that are interchangeable with the Rogue rings.
Rogue Pull Up Systems:
Multiple options for outfitting your garage or your affiliate
Rogue Infinity Racks:
The racks used at the 2010 Crossfit Games and many of the qualifying events. These provide pull-up space and West Side Squat Racks in one convenient package for the price you would pay for just squat racks from another vendor. The pull up height is variable and numerous additional attachments such as wall ball targets are available. There is also a wall mount version available.
Review of the Rogue P-4 Wall Hung Pull-up System:
You can make almost anything you can dream up with these slip on fittings.
Tactical Athlete Pull-Up System:
Portable pull-up system. Like any portable pull-up bar it will not stand up to heavy kipping without someone holding it.
Power Max Wall Mounted Chinning Bar #WE179:
Good quality wall mounted pull-up bar. It is a little too close to the wall unless you mount it over a door way so you can swing through.
Sorinex Base Fit:
Modular rack that combines pull-up bars and squat racks.
Probably one of the best made flat benches available
Kris’ review of the Rogue Flat Bench:
York Flat Bench STS-FB (54026):
Professional quality flat bench
TDS Bench with Dumbell Rack:
Very affordable option, that includes a dumbbell rack, this sounds good unless you will be moving it around a lot.
Power Max Flat Utility Bench #WE100:
Affordable flat bench.
Assisted Pull-up Bands:
Iron Woody Bands:
These are excellent for assisting movements, such as pull-ups, dips, and muscle ups. They are available in a variety of resistance levels.
Squat Stands, Racks and Systems:
Rogue S-1 Squat Stands:
Built for everything from clean pulls, floor press, squats, overhead press and much much more! No moving parts or trinkets that will wear out.
“This is the best squat stand on the market, I would have one of these on every platform.” Coach Mike Burgener
Rogue R-3 Racks:
This is a Rogue version of the classic West Side Rack that has built world champion powerlifters. Designed with the help of Louie Simmons.
Here is a video review for the Rogue R-3 Power Rack:
Rogue Infinity Rack System:
The rack used at the 2010 Crossfit Games and many of the qualifying events. These provide pull-up space and West Side Squat racks in one convenient package for the price you would pay for just the squat racks from another vendor. The pull-up height is variable and numerous additional attachments, such as wall ball targets are available. This is also available in a wall mount version.
York Press Squat Stands FTS-PSS (48052):
Very stable stands that work well for bench press and squats. It is hard to believe that they cost as little as they do. They include high uprights above the cradles allowing for proper re-racking technique and a separate set of cradles for bench press.
The most inexpensive squat stands around. They do the job for a reasonable price. They do not have very high uprights above the cradles and the holes for adjustment are much farther apart than on the other listed stands. These go low enough to use for bench press.
Nike Romaleos Weightlifting Shoes:
They are not just good looking shoes with a well known name. These were designed for Olympians and were extremely popular at the 2008 Olympic Games. They are comfortable, stable and durable. I got a pair for my birthday. They have more lateral stability than any other lifting shoes I have used. You won’t be able to go back to your old shoes after using these.
Rogue Dowin Weightlifting Shoes:
The best looking shoes out there. They also have what seems to be the optimum heel height for effective lifting. These have hard wood mid-soles.
Adidas Adipower Weightlifting Shoes:
Lightweight polymer Torsion Heel system and Neoprene on the underside of the tongue provides maximum support and locks your heel into place. Lightweight upper maximizes flex in the forefoot. Heavy duty strap and new design with increased ventilation in the forefoot and sole provides maximum breathability for your feet.
VS Athletics Shoes:
Reasonably priced lifting shoes with wood mid-soles.
High quality lifting shoes with wood mid-soles.
Dynamax Medicine Balls:
The absolute best medicine balls on the planet. There is no other ball out there that is as durable, or as safe for CrossFit exercises.
The only balls suitable for ball slams.
Climbing Ropes and Power Ropes:
Climbing ropes are available in natural (manila) and synthetic varieties. For the most part the natural ropes have a better texture for climbing, but the synthetic ropes are much stronger and more durable. The natural ropes tend to shed when used, which is a concern for some people. The synthetic ropes are generally more expensive. There are many synthetic ropes that claim to feel like natural ropes, which may be true as I have not tried every type yet.
Rogue Climbing Ropes:
An excellent option for a home gym or affiliate. These are have spliced eyelets so all you have to do is throw the rope over a beam and pull it through the eyelet. You can also attach them to an eyebolt using a carabiner.
These are used for workouts where you send waves down the ropes. They are very good for grip and arm strength.
Manilla ropes with a steel rope clamp for attachment.
Draper and Jammar seem to carry the same high quality natural and synthetic ropes with steel rope clamps.
Draper and Jammar seem to carry the same high quality natural and synthetic ropes with steel rope clamps.
Synthetic ropes designed for gymnastics gyms.
Functional Hand Strength:
Manila ropes with steel rope clamps
Accessories including I-beam and wood beam clamps for hanging your ropes.
Rx Jump Ropes:
The best jump ropes made. Designed and made by a Crossfitter in San Diego. This rope is used by many top Crossfit Games Competitors.
Power Max Jump Ropes:
Standard jump ropes, such as rubber and leather versions.
Super Rope Jump Ropes:
Called the worlds fastest jump rope. Greased bearings, and a steel cable inside a plastic shell. In addition to being fast they are very durable.
Ultra Speed Jump Ropes:
Newly designed handle and a lightening fast metal dowel that will cause this handle to last and last.
Adequate stands that will keep you safe. It would be nice if there was a little larger area to catch the bar. They are very reasonably priced.
Pillars of Power:
Nicer than the TDS ones with a larger target to aim for when you miss a squat, but quite a bit more expensive.
Rogue Gym Mats:
Indestructible rubber flooring
Mail order horse stall mats.
Horse stall mats are also available from Local Feed Stores to help you save on shipping. Do a search online for stores in your area.
Practice Mats and Folding Mats:
Essential if you use climbing ropes or do any harder gymnastics moves. Ours has definitely saved us on a couple of occasions.
High quality martial arts mats that are textured, so they don’t get slippery even when people are sweating.
Gymnastic Mats, Wrestling Mats and Martial Arts Mats
Online retailer that sells all types of mats in one place.
These packages offer everything you need to get started either in a home gym or an affiliate.
Rogue Crossfit Equipment Packages:
Everything you need for a home gym
Economy Equipment Packages:
Save money when you buy bars and plates together
Outfit a whole affiliate with a single order
Packages designed specifically for military units