The Guide to Male Lifestyle in Las Vegas

How to Build Your Own Home Gym

June 17, 2013

Las Vegas features some excellent local athletic clubs and gyms; that is, if being social while working out is your thing. However, sweating in public may make you feel a little self-conscious. Or, the monthly fees may cause you to involuntarily hide your wallet. If building yourself a home gym, like I did, sounds like a good idea, then here’s how to go about it.

First, you must consider that there is indeed an up-front cost. However, most of the equipment listed below is durable, will last forever, and can often be bought on sale or closeout. Therefore, for a minor investment, you can save thousands of dollars on gym fees in the long run. Plus, you’ll never find yourself waiting to use your own equipment.

To get the best workout at home, you’ll need to buy a broad spectrum of equipment in order to workout more muscle groups. Do yourself a huge favor and buy metal plates for your racks; vinyl-covered cement weights will break the first time you drop them slightly too hard. In the list below, I recommend the minimum price metal plate sets, but of course you’re welcome to upgrade to rubber or plastic coated plates at further cost.

Iron Gym Total Upper Body Workout Bar – Extreme ($33.09 at Target): For developing the triceps, biceps, shoulders and lats, there are no better exercises than pull ups and chin ups. Pick up one of these no-install bars, which you can hook onto the top of any open doorway in your home.

Weider 300 lb. Olympic Grip Weight Set – Sport Chalet ($219.99 at Sport Chalet): This is a great starter set, giving you the 7 inch barbell you need for bench press, close-grip press, incline press, deadlifts and squats. (If you don’t know any of these exercises, look them up.)

Why Olympic plates and not Standard? The two inch opening in the plates and slide-on “clip grips” makes them easier to rack and secure, and Olympic bars can sustain more weight before they begin to bow, which makes standard barbells a little dangerous.

Hex Dumbbells, Various Weights and Sizes: Visit your local Sears store and try out the various weights of dumbbells. Telling you what exactly to buy here is difficult, since everyone can lift different weights to start. Avoid buying these in sets, as the 5-20 pound weights will probably be useless (if not immediately, then soon) for most bodybuilding adults. Find weights that you can lift while doing exercises such as hammer curls, pullovers, triceps extensions, triceps kickbacks, lateral raises, front raises, and lunges. I recommend a 30 pound set, a 40 pound set and a 50 pound set to get started, though you may be able to wait a few weeks on the latter ones.

Century Vinyl 15 lb Medicine Ball ($36.99 at Dick’s Sporting Goods): Medicine balls are vital for core strengthening, ab building exercises such as Russian Twists, weighted sit-ups or crunches, arc chops, and diagonal chops. The 15 pounder is as good a ball to start with as any, but try it out first and see if you need one heavier.

Best Fitness BFOB10 Olympic Bench ($310 $199.00, on sale at This is my weight bench, a recent birthday gift from my wife. I modified the leg-lift bar with this Olympic Adapter Sleeve for an extra $20, allowing me to use all my Olympic plates for leg extensions and lying leg curls. For the money this is an extremely sturdy, durable, and comfortable bench.


The total cost for the above gym, dumbbells included, comes out to around $757. Granted, you don’t have to buy these items all at once. In fact, it might be best to start with the Iron Gym Extreme bar and work your way around. But when you compare a once-in-a-lifetime investment of $757 versus paying gym fees of $200-$600 per year, you can see how owning your own weight set is a benefit. Plus, with gyms you have to pick yourself up off the couch and drive a (hopefully) short distance in traffic to go workout, which will often leave you unmotivated. Having your own weights in the next room is often more than enough incentive to hit the links.

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