Updated: May 17, 2022
#7 - Barbell Storage
On my list of home gym favorites is a gun rack style barbell storage. Does every barbell owner need one? No, not really.
Back when I only had 1 bar, I could get away with just throwing it on the j-cups and calling it a day. All 3 of my bars have a purpose, and I'd rather not spend more than enough time just moving bars out of the way between exercises.
If you own any specialty bars (swiss bar, safety squat bar, etc.) check the dimensions of each hook to ensure it'll fit those bars before mounting. I made that mistake, but it was an easy fix for me.
"It's one of those things you didn't know was needed until you have it."
#6 - Roller J-Cups
Think about this for a sec: You've spent over $200 for a new bar. If you could extend the life of the bar somehow (not buy another bar sooner), would you do it?
After a year of consistent use, my first bar always felt slick although I have a strong grip and used chalk. When I looked at my knurling one day (the rough part of the bar for better grip), I noticed it was worn down a lot. I mean hey... my hands aren't made of sandpaper.
I've got two words for ya: Roller j-cups (also called j-hooks). It's one of those things you didn't know was needed until you have it. With standard j-cups, you depend on the liner of the cups to protect your bar.
Most j-hooks have a "lip" that keeps the bar from falling off and an Ultra High Molecular Weight plastic liner (UHMW) to protect the bar. That plastic only protects the bar when it's taken out and put onto the hooks but not side-to-side movement which is what the rollers do.
I'm going to be honest. Roller j-cups can get expensive depending on who sells them. Ghost Strong is well known and trusted within the powerlifting community, but you're looking at $300+ per pair. My roller j-cups are nowhere near as pretty/fancy as what Ghost sells, but I only paid $70 for mine and they've supported every bit of weight I've rolled on them and most importantly protects all of my bars.
"I wouldn't dare get under 400 pounds wearing a cheap velcro belt."
#5 - Suede & Leather Belt
To stay alive, got to have this one as number 5! You can find weightlifting belts just about anywhere, but not all of them are created equal. I've got 2 belts made by General Leathercraft Manufacturing also known as Pioneer in the powerlifting and weightlifting world.
I've heard people say: "Hey man... it's just a leather or suede belt!" That's true, but would you take a car on a 13 hour road trip knowing it could overheat at anytime? I wouldn't dare get under 400 pounds wearing a cheap velcro belt.
I've had my all blue belt for about 3 years now and my American flag themed belt for a year. I haven't had a single issue out of either belt. The only reason I bought the American flag themed belt is because I won a gift card through a powerlifting competition and I needed a smaller belt due to my waist getting smaller :)
#4 - Dumbbells
Dumbbells are rolling in for the #4 spot. They come in all shapes, sizes and materials. If you decided one day to build a home or garage gym, you'll most likely want a set. You can find them just about anywhere from Walmart to Facebook Marketplace to a yard sale. I own iron and rubber dumbbells and use them often.
Iron is going to be cheaper, but don't do well cosmetically depending on the usage and where they're stored. Of course you can sand down and repaint them too. I'm transitioning to the rubber dumbbells, because they're more durable and don't chip.
The downside is they can be at least $1.25+ brand new and sometimes that rubber smell is strong. If you get lucky enough to not have that smell and can afford them, go for it!
"If you want to just hit triceps and do skull crushers (a killer tricep exercise), the Swiss bar is it!"
#3 - Swiss Barbell
To minimize clutter, I only buy what I'll use. If you want to increase how much you're able to bench press, do overhead presses often or just want something different and/or unique, get yourself a Swiss barbell.
I'm not kidding when I say the Swiss bar is different. It definitely put me in line the first time I used it lol! It weighs 44-45lbs like most barbells, but man it feels a little heavier because it's awkwardly big.
The cool thing about these bars is having a few grip options and can be straight like mine or arched. If you want to just hit triceps and do skull crushers (a killer tricep exercise), the Swiss bar is it!
Careful though! If you're utilizing the bar on j-cups, make sure the bar fits which it should.
"It's one of those things you didn't know was needed until you have it."
#2 - Bench (Flat & Adjustable)
My second favorite piece of equipment has to be my Rep Fitness competition flat bench. My first bench purchase was an adjustable one by Titan Fitness. It served its purpose at the time, but I needed something a ton better.
What makes this bench cool? I'm glad ya asked!
With it being a competition bench, its design is centered around the powerlifting style competition. This means the bench's specs (height, length, and design) meet competition standards. When compared to commercial grade benches, I believe this bench will stand out more, because of what the design accomplishes.
What do I like most about it? Everything! Although this sucker is beefy at 74 pounds, it has wheels and a handle to move the bench with ease. If you have rotator cuff issues, get yourself the bench with their wide pad. I have the wide pad on mine, and it's great!
If you look at the front post, you'll notice it doesn't have the crossmember on the bottom like the back does. Competition benches are like that and it makes a big difference. The cross member is almost always in the way of your feet (super annoying).
One last thing about the pad. It's not stiff or too squishy. Here's a little bench tip: Your bench should help with stabilization and aid in ascending and descending. In other words, you need something stable enough to provide decent support and with enough squishiness or give to "hug" your shoulders and allow you to "tuck" your lats effectively so you can press the bar away from you.
An adjustable bench? If you can find a stable adjustable bench (incline and/or decline), snag that bad boy!
"When it comes to the price, you get what you pay for isn't just a saying."
#1 - Power Rack
I wanted to save the best for last. You can find power racks (also called power cages) at Dick's Sporting Goods, a gym equipment site and even on Amazon or Walmart's website.
They can run you anywhere from $200 up to a few grand or more. When it comes to the price, you get what you pay for isn't just a saying.
If you're going to spend that much money and want your equipment to last a while, buying a sturdy rack with great quality is ideal.
Many companies now allow the lifter to customize their purchase. You can select the depth of your rack, pick the colors of your uprights and crossmembers, type of j-cup and safeties as well as the style & thickness of pull-up bars. It doesn't stop there though. The number of attachments available for power racks seem endless!
Want a cable system, strap safeties, weight plate holders, multi-grip pull-up bar, leg press attachment and access to a chest press lever system? Yep... you can get all of that for yours too!
My Titan Fitness power rack has black 36" crossmembers (depth), standard j-cups, roller j-cups, pin & pipe safeties, 2 pull-up bar thicknesses, band pegs for adding resistance, stands at 82" with red uprights, has extra bolts for attaching weight plate holders, and only weighs about 200 pounds. Is it a great starter rack, yes! Is it the Rep Fitness PR-5000 (white power rack above)? Not even close, but it gets the job done!
If the quality of the PR-5000 is like their competition flat bench and it works with your budget, I highly recommend it! The ONLY reason I bought the Titan T3 power rack versus the PR-5000 was because they were out of stock and didn't know an ETA of new stock when I needed a new one.
1. Amazon.com : Balelinko dodecagonal dumbbells in pair, free hand weight with metal handle for home gym equipment workout strength training,10LB : Sports & outdoors. (n.d.). Amazon.Com Inc. https://www.amazon.com/Balelinko-Dumbbell-Protection-Durable-Weights/dp/B08XBJ62CR/?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_w=K8uLO&pf_rd_p=bbb6bbd8-d236-47cb-b42f-734cb0cacc1f&pf_rd_r=8T5RHRXGR8NRPM2E5GS1&pd_rd_r=e8570251-6174-4113-b0ef-937ea63b33a8&pd_rd_wg=ihQcJ&ref_=pd_gw_ci_mcx_mi
2. General Leathercraft Mfg., Pioneer Fitness. (2022, April 11). Weight belts & accessories by pioneer fitness • general leathercraft Mfg. Pioneer Fitness Products and Weight Belts. https://generalleathercraft.com/
3. J-Cup 2.0. (2022, April 27). Ghost Strong. https://ghoststrong.com/fitness-products/j-cup-2-0/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIsOyHvsji9wIVL3FvBB3wXAZ-EAQYBSABEgKg6vD_BwE
4. Rep Fitness. (n.d.-a). FB-5000 competition flat bench. https://repfitness.com/products/fb-5000-competition-flat-bench?variant=41499496415390
5. Rep Fitness. (n.d.-b). PR-5000 build your power rack | REP fitness | home gym equipment. https://repfitness.com/collections/power-racks/products/pr-5000-build-your-rack
6. Titan fitness hybrid Multi-Grip olympic barbell, rated 1,900 LB, rackable swiss/football bar : Sports & outdoors. (n.d.). Amazon.Com Inc. https://www.amazon.com/Titan-Fitness-Multi-Grip-Barbell-V2/dp/B07HJSW3YC/ref=sr_1_4?crid=34S7RHC66KVUV&keywords=titan+fitness+bar&qid=1652654632&s=sporting-goods&sprefix=titan+fitness+ba%2Csporting%2C179&sr=1-4
7. Yes4All horizontal wall mounted olympic barbell rack - 3 bar vertical barbell storage rack - weight bar holder (1 pair). (n.d.). Amazon.Com Inc. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07L7WVN2J?psc=1&ref=ppx_yo2ov_dt_b_product_details