Your Ultimate Home Gym Setup

By now the world is up to speed on the concept of Crossfit and functional fitness. So how do you get constantly varied, high-intensity fitness at home whilst sticking to a budget? It's easy.

Firstly let's answer this. Why do you need a garage gym?

Apart from the fact it looks cool and your mates will be super jealous, there are some very good reasons to have one.

  1. Cost Effective. The average cost of a gym membership in New Zealand is pretty high, $15 a month gets you machines, a decent shower, and minimal free weights. Whereas a full-blown box could set you back at least $40 for a cheap one, you'd be lucky to get change out of $2000 in a year!! In short, either option is not cheap. A garage gym may have some buy-in but long term will save you a massive sum.
  2. Convenience. Stop endangering the lives of others by waking up at 5 am and driving half asleep to your local gym. Pay homage to the fitness God's in your very own 24/7 gym. It's that easy. And besides, do you really want to be in the office any earlier then you have too on a Monday??

The List

1. Barbell

An obvious first choice. These are the staple for many Crossfit workouts, not to mention powerlifting and bodybuilding. Squat, Snatch, Clean, Jerk.....the list goes on, a lot of programmes use a barbell so its a no-brainer.

A word for the wise, don't cheap out. Now, this isn't to say you have to go buy a $400 made in NZ bar that self-levitates, set your budget and stick to it. There are many brands that will match those bars for sub $300 and even more in the <$200 price range. For the serious home gym, we would recommend going with an Olympic barbell with good knurling that won't rip up your hands. If budget permits integrated bearing and bushing design is the clear winner as it combines the consistent spin of the bearings with the versatility of the bushings. If you are serious about lifting 2000lb ratings are a must.

Hex bolts are a big NO, the loadable sleeve will just snap off and you would have wasted a bunch of money on scrap metal.

Here at Seventh Sin, we offer a range of Olympic Bars suitable for both Men and Women, with a budget conscious option that still packs a punch. You can check them out here...

2. Bumper Plates

So you've bought a barbell, now what's the best thing to put on it? There are a variety of different plates to suit your needs and wants. Bumper Plates are always our go to for a home gym setup. Basically, these are rubberized plates that allow you to drop the bar from the hip (or above the head if necessary) without damaging your bar, the plates or the floor. Perfect for the home gym!

Why not iron? Although the most cost-effective of all the plates, iron plates will cause more damage then you care to admit, and the cost of gym flooring your entire garage really does out weight the few dollars per plate saved. But ultimately its horses for courses, if you max out the loadable sleeve on your bar with Bumper Plates then Iron is the only ones for you.

Virgin vs Crumb...Seventh Sin offers both Virgin rubber and Crumb Bumper Plates, both within quoy of one another on price but fit for different needs. Virgin Bumpers offer the best price to performance, with a smooth finish and dead bounce you can safely drop the bar without the risk of it bouncing into the wall; all at the cost of sound. Crumb Bumpers are your silent assassins. Made from recycled rubber, they offer a softer landing, small bounce with greater durability and protection from cracking in the long run. Perfect for those 5 am training as they are quieter and won't wake up your neighbors or kids!

Check out our complete range here... 

3. Kettlebells

Every good home gym has kettlebells, providing the perfect combination of strength and conditioning. From swinging to snatching and all things in between you can't beat a good kettlebell workout.

You don't need the fanciest ones to get the job done, but there are a few key things to keep your eyes open for.

  1. Cast iron. These are the most durable and the sexiest of all the kettlebells, nothing beats the feeling of iron in your hand. One thing to look for is obvious signs of welding around the handle, you definitely want one that comes from a single mold.
  2. Powder Coating. Powder coating is king, this gives you a natural feel under the hand that works well with chalk (rubberized ones can get a bit tacky after a while); this prevents your hands ripping during high rep workouts.

The ideal starting weight varies from person to person. For women just starting out, 6 kgs will suit perfectly, men should opt for a 10 kg.

The Seventh Sin range starts at 6 kgs and maxes out at 28 kg's giving you plenty of growing room! Check them out here...

4. Speed Rope

Another Crossfit staple is the double under, if you haven't tried these you will learn to love them. Simply there are two types of ropes to help you on your way to greatness; the budget-friendly plastic ropes and the bearing integrated ropes (i.e Seventh Sin Cyclone rope). Both of which will get the job done, just depends how much you like your shoulders to burn.

The plastic ropes use a bushing like approach, plastic on plastic friction points, these are cheaper to manufacture but significantly easier to use than the traditional boxers leather rope.

Bearing integrated speed ropes are the top of the bunch. If we use the Seventh Sin Cyclone Rope as an example; it has an aluminum handle with a textured grip for added comfort. At the business end, we use a bearing integrated within the handle to allow the rope to whip around with incredible ease. The result is a much faster and consistent approach to double unders. 

Check them both out here...

5. Gymnastic Rings

If you are confused as to why they are here bare with me for a sec. They do everything and I mean EVERYTHING. Muscle ups, pull ups, ring dips, toes to bar, L sits...the list goes on. For the price they pack a massive punch and are a must have in your home gym. We recommend going for the plastic ones as they are significantly cheaper and offer the same performance as the wooden ones. You can get the Seventh Sin rings here...

6. Wall Ball

The wall ball is a functional fitness staple, providing a full body workout everywhere. The standard weights are 6 kg's for women, 9 kg's for men and 12 kg's for those who are a bit more than human. 

What are you looking for when buying a wall ball?

  1. Even Roll. Probably the most important thing is weight distribution. If the wall ball is uneven then it makes it difficult to throw and catch, causing you to fatigue unnecessarily. If it can roll along the ground in a straightish line, you have a good one
  2. Stitching. As with all fabric products you need to make sure the stitching is resilient to the abuse you will throw at it
  3. Non-slip surface. This is often overlooked, but there is nothing worse than catching a wall ball that then slips through your hands and smashed you in the face. Not a good look...

The Seventh Sin wall balls are designed with these three things in mind, and all without breaking the bank. Colour coded for ease of identification you can't go wrong. For more details have a look here...

7. Ab Mat

Who needs a GHD? They just take up space, and abs are like calves, we always plan on doing them tomorrow. So why not an Ab Mat instead?

Ab mats give you all the benefits of the GHD without the price tag. By promoting a natural curve in your spine during the sit-up movement you get better ab activation coupled with added protection for the lower back. Honestly, you will be amazed as to how great this little piece of equipment really is. 

8. Plyometric Box

You are probably wondering why it is so low down the list, simply at $150 for a wooden 3 in 1 or $250 for the softbox option, there are more vital things to spend your hard earned cash on (its an essential, non-essential). 

The Plyo Box is the staple of explosive movement training, great for rugby and sports requiring fast power delivery, you can never go wrong with a Plyo Box. The 3 in 1 feature of the premium boxes allows you to set variable jump heights, giving you scaling options to meet your fitness level and bang for your buck. Not to mention, box squats are killer for developing your squat strength!

Check out our epic Plyo Boxes here...


October 22, 2018 — Mark Phillips