How to Set Up Your Home Gym
Let’s face it: we’re in this for the rest of the year.
With all the gyms in Singapore possibly reopening with some kind of capacity restriction, we’re already in an unprecedented winter— and it’s here to stay.
Now there are many ways to look at this, depending on the space you have and more importantly, what you’re willing to do at home. Everyone has different goals and needs, and because fitness is so specific to the individual, we’ll try to cover as many bases as we can. We’ll leave out the people with “all the space, all the money and all the willpower to work out in a productive way” because chances are, you already know the answer. But for those who don’t have as much space, money or willpower, this one’s for you.
I have no space and I have some money, but don’t break my bank!
For most of us living in a high rise apartment, the lack of space to even consider a home gym is a reality. We’re working with clients who are set up in their living room at best, or their laundry room with no space to swing a cat. In either space, there is an endangerment of living things (both the people and the cat), so we want to be getting equipment that can remain close to the body, while being able to work many planes of movement.
Here’s a list of things that we consider core to this type of set up:
- A single heavy-ish Kettlebell. A good rule of thumb is to go by how heavy your deadlift is. If it’s 50kg or less, a 16-20kg kettlebell will do. if it’s between 50kg-80kg, try a 24-30kg one. If it’s above 80kg, get a 32-40kg one.
- A single light-medium weight Dumbbell. We’ll look at how heavy your shoulder press is here. If it’s 25kg or less, get a 6-9kg Dumbbell. If it’s between 25-35kg, get a 10-12kg one. If it’s between 35-45kg, a 14-16kg one, and so on in that pattern. As you can see, there are more brackets here with more weight choices, simply because you’ll hit the wall faster in the upper body press.
- A yoga mat
That’s it. If you want to get a pair of Kettlebells and Dumbbells because you like pairs, be our guest. You’ll open up more possibilities for your training, which is always a good thing.
The heavy-ish kettlebell should be something you could perform no more than 12-16 kettlebell swings with, and it’s going to be great for you to perform Suitcase Deadlifts, Kettlebell Swings and Explosive heavy rows— good movements for your posterior chain. In addition, you could also take it out for a Single Arm Farmer’s Carry. Your obliques will hate you. It’s also good to give you motivation to work up to a heavy goblet squat, or 10.
The light-medium weight Dumbbell is great for tempo Goblet Squats, Single Arm Shoulder Presses, Single Arm Rows, Bicep curls, Tricep Presses, Dumbbell Snatches, alternating Renegade Rows, and the list goes on.
The possibilities are greater with two weights, because you can work on both bigger and smaller muscle groups, and the single weight can be manipulated with rep schemes and tempo to get a desired muscle stimulus.
The yoga mat is there so your hands don’t slip when you hold the ground with your hands, and your back has a cushion for when you’re on your back.
If you have a bit more cash to spend, invest in a pro-grade kettlebell so you can put it on your shoulders for front rack work— the ones that look like irregular farm weights don’t cut it.
I have some space, but I have no money (go outside), or I don’t want to invest in equipment that I won’t use and will throw away
We all have access to space outside, be it in a field or a carpark or a void deck. If you don’t have the cash to invest in the equipment mentioned above, but are willing to get to an open space, here are concepts you can work with:
Lower/Upper body Plyometric work
We’re looking at jumps, explosive single leg and upper body movement to train our muscles to move explosively. You’re going to want to work with a coach on these; the potential for injury is greater. Coaches Wu and John are good to hit up on virtual PT here for their plyometric expertise. Lorne’s Movement class also provides a good base for skill-specific training without equipment.
Long distance running with obstacles in between
This is literally what your parents told you not to do as a kid. Go out for a run, and look for things to jump over, crawl through. Stop every 5 minutes to do push ups, crawl, dips, throw a heavy rock into a canal. Don’t run at a fast pace, don’t listen to music. Keep an eye out for things to do as you run, and don’t show them this article if you get caught. George is someone you’ll want to connect with via remote training; his creativity for training outside the box shines through.
If you can’t accurately measure distance, go by feel. Find a long pathway and run as fast as you can until you can’t. Rest until you feel like you can go again at the same intensity, then do it again. Start with 4 sprints, then increase progressively. Coaches Alex and Douglas will jump at the chance to share their repository of sprinting knowledge and how to work that into a program; find them through virtual PT.
I have no willpower to work out, or follow a program.
We see you, and We understand! This circuit breaker has hit us all in ways we don’t like to admit sometimes, and while there are days we also feel like not doing anything, the knowledge we have as coaches demands we “use it or lose it”.
Try this. If you live in a high rise and go out to get groceries, walk down all the steps. If you stay way too high, start by walking down 5-8 fights of stairs, then take the lift down. Increase the next time you go down the stairs, until you go all the way down. The same works for going up. Start with one flight if you’re really not in the mood, then two, then three.
It doesn’t have to be more than that if you don’t want it to. Walk more often than you would normally, maybe walk to the second closest supermarket if you normally walk to the closest. Be kind to yourself, don’t sweat it (but find ways to sweat at least), and reach out to us if you need anything!
The thing about winter is that things will slow down, and it’s okay to let it slow down. The thing about this particular winter, is that it’s going to last for some time. The “home gym” concept is starting to become a real thing, but not all of them need to look the same.
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The base answer is a mathematical one. Depending on what you’re going to the gym for, the energy and fuel that you need to take back in will vary.
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