If you want to build your own home / garage gym, you can always shop around for used equipment and deals. But we do recommend that you spend a bit more on quality so that your equipment will last you for years to come: a good bar and plates will last you a lifetime, vs a bad quality one which will rust and bend over the summer.



While it’s the most important, a barbell is usually easy to find. There are two main barbell types: standard and Olympic. Standard bars are one inch in diameter, with 1-inch holes through the plates. They’re fair for light applications but aren’t suitable for heavy lifting, as the bars bend easily and usually cannot sustain more than 200 pounds.

Olympic bars are typically 7 feet long with a rotating, 2-inch-diameter sleeve. These bars are made for compound lifts.

As for weight plates, we do suggest to get around your own bodyweight in plates if you are new, as you can always buy more plates if you need to.


A power rack is the centerpiece of a home gym. Nearly anything important can be done within one, and they add a considerable measure of safety. The pins will save you if you miss a lift, and the J-hooks allow you to perform nearly any free weight move. Many racks have attachments such as dip and pull-up bars to increase their functionality.

We strongly suggest you consider a rack that has accessories such as pull-up/chin bars, dip attachments, band pegs, even pulley systems for a complete home gym set up.


Certain movements require you to lie down, such as a bench press. Most of the benches in circulation are meant to support a couple hundred pounds. If you’re a serious lifter, you might load 600 pounds on your bench (including your body weight), so you’ll want to avoid the cheap benches.


While not necessary as a start, you should consider investing later on the following:


If you are really on a tight budget, here is a very cheap configuration with the basics. These options are good for someone who is really starting out, and of course will need to be replaced over time, but again, focus here is on price.

  1. CAP Barbell Olympic Bar – choose Olympic, other bars are bad quality.
  2. CAP Barbell Olympic Plates – get at least 100 lbs worth of plates.
  3. Barbell Secure Collars – suggested for safety.
  4. F2C Adjustable Squat / Bench Rack Stands
  5. Marcy Utility Flat Bench



Although you don’t need any of this equipment for the bootcamp, purchasing some of it may help you get the most out of this program, as well as any future training.


Weightlifting shoes have a raised heel and a hard sole. A raised heel can be helpful because most people lack the ankle mobility to squat deep without their heels coming off the ground. Hard soles are even more important, though, because it’s almost impossible to squat well if your feet are squishing into a soft surface.

If you can’t afford weightlifting shoes, then make sure whatever shoes you’re squatting in have hard, flat soles. Chuck Taylors work pretty well. To simulate a raised heel, put your heels on a thin weight plate with your toes on the floor. That may not work for max-effort squats, but it will help you work on your positioning so your lower back, knees, and ankles end up in the right places.




A weight belt is one of the most important things in your gym bag, especially if you want to be the proud owner of a big-ass squat. I suggest getting a thick (at least 10mm) lever leather belt that will hold up for a lot of uses.

When should you buy a belt? If you are lifting around your own weight in squats / deadlifts, you should definitely consider getting a belt.  A belt is NOT an excuse to become lazy in maintaining proper form and posture with your abdominal and back muscles, nor to become lazy in breathing technique.




Knee sleeves can offer some fantastic bounce “out of the hole.” They’ll also help keep your knees warm and protected under heavy loads, perfect for both squats as well as to protect shins when deadlifting (roll them over down).



Wrist wraps can be used on any pressing movement, and are usually recommended for those with weak or injured wrists, or lifters who are starting to lift heavy.

Wrist wraps are very simple. Before performing a pressing movement, wrap your wrists as tight as you need. If your wrists don’t stay straight, wrap tighter. Lack of wrist strength can limit the weight you use on heavy bench presses.

Lifting Straps help with pulling movements (Deadlifts, Rack Pulls, Heavy Rows) but the downside is that they give you a false sense of security. Still a great tool to have and suggested buy.



Floss Band are a great performance tool and can help you improve range, restore joint mechanics, or unglue matted down or previously injured tissue.  Compression tack and flossing works on many levels; including re-perfusing tissues that have become stiff or gone cold after injury, and by compressing swelling out of tissues and joints.

You can also use floss bands for occlusion training.



Now you have a few of the basics to get you started on your muscle and strength journey!!!


You can also download this mini guide as a PDF document HERE.