MF home gym masterclass

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In the December issue of Men’s Fitness, we’ve put together three home gym set-ups that’ll suit everyone from the diehard home trainer to the cash-strapped bachelor living in a studio flat. But if you’re going to construct your own training facility, the devil’s in the detail. Here’s what you need to know.

Buy nice, not twice

If you’re buying for your own gym, invest in quality kit. Getting a good set of rubber bumper plates that will last your whole training career is better than getting some cheap ones that’ll break after one dumped deadlift. And a sturdy bench could literally save your trachea.

  Floor it

You’ll need some sort of flooring so that you aren’t dropping your dumb-bells on solid concrete. If you’re on a budget, try the rubber mats sold by horse tack shops – they’re the same as gym flooring and usually come at a fraction of the price.

Turn it up

One of the biggest problems with a home gym is that you won’t have the same atmosphere that you get in a proper, hardcore gym. Cope by making sure you’ve got a stereo – or just an iPod with a decent set of speakers – and some solid training tunes to crank up.

Get some accessories

One benefit of a home gym is that you can include kit that would never be allowed in a commercial set-up. If you’re working out in your garage, consider sticking some climbing holds to the walls or getting yourself a pegboard from

…Or build your own

Having your own gym is a great excuse to add bits of home-made kit that you’ll never see in a commercial facility – whether that’s because they’re too dangerous to let untrained punters on, too noisy or potentially messy. Learn how to build some cool DIY fitness equipment by reading our DIY feature.
To read our full home gym article and other exercise tips pick up the December 2011 issue of Men’s Fitness magazine, on sale from 19th October. Subscribe now and get five issues for £5.

Joel Snape

From 2008 to 2018, Joel worked for Men's Fitness, which predated, and then shared a website with, Coach. Though he spent years running the hills of Bath, he’s since ditched his trainers for a succession of Converse high-tops, since they’re better suited to his love of pulling vans, lifting cars, and hefting logs in a succession of strongman competitions.