You’ve got the basics, now you’re wondering how you can finish you home gym and make it perfect. Accessories are the answer. Here are 6 things that make your home gym complete and your workout better.
6 Home gym strength accessories: Here are the 6 best accessories for people that do strength training in a home gym;
- T-bar row post
- Pull up bar
- Dip belt
- Resistance bands
- Gravity boots
These are the finishing touches of a home gym that can make your workouts more effective and help you keep injuries at bay.
Why did I pick these items? Keep reading to find out. Still looking for the essentials? Start here (click)
1. T-bar row post
One of my favorite gym accessories is the T-bar row post. The T-bar row is a great back exercise that just hits your back a bit different than standard rows. You’ve already got the barbell and weights, all you need is something to secure one side of the barbell in place. This post or base does that. Some can be bolted to the floor while others can be attached to a power rack.
For a few bucks you can add a great exercise option to your home gym. It doesn’t take up a lot of space and isn’t in the way.
Check out this T-bar row attachment for example. It’s cheap, attaches to a rack, floor or wall and fits all common barbells. It’s hard to beat this one. Click here to find the current price (Amazon link)
2. Pull up bar
If you’ve read my post about essential home gym equipment, you’ll know I recommend a power rack for every home gym. It’s just such a versatile piece of equipment that it’s good for everyone. Not everyone has the space for a full sized power rack and you might have chosen a squat stand instead. If so, that means you don’t have a way to do pull ups.
Pull ups are a great exercise everyone should be able to do somewhere. Without a power rack the next best option is a separate pull up bar. These come in many different shapes and types. Some are mounted in a door frame while others can be mounted on a wall. What is best for your really depends on what your gym looks like.
A door frame pull up bar will be the easiest although not the most flexible regarding your hand positions. A wall mounted pull up bar has more hand position options. The downside of a wall mounted bar is that you have to mount it really well and that’s not always possible. Another problem is that you might not have enough room between the bar and the wall to do pull ups comfortably.
The pure fitness pull up bar fits in the doorway but also allows for different hand positions. It safely supports up to 250 lbs. It’s super easy to mount and take out of the door frame. On top of that, it’s very cheap for what it is. Click here to get it for a great price on Amazon.
3. Dip belt
A dip belt is a little different than a weightlifting belt. A dip belt had a chain in the front you can use to attach a weight plate. This way you can add extra weight to your dips (and pull ups). It’s a great tool to add resistance to a bodyweight exercise.
Dips are a very effective mass builder for your triceps, chest and shoulders and even targets some back musculature. Having the option to add extra weight to this exercise makes it possible to make gains for a longer period of time.
Instead of pull ups, you could also do a lat pull-down with extra weight, but most home gyms don’t have the option to actually do lat pull-downs. Pull ups also require more different muscles like your core to perform correctly. So not only are pull ups likely the only option in your home gym, they’re actually the better option. At some point your bodyweight won’t provide enough resistance anymore and that’s where a dip belt is a great addition to your arsenal.
If you’re looking for a good dip/pull up belt, here’s the best you can get for a great price. Multi-functional, great quality, comfortable to wear and won’t slip off when you’re lifting. Grab it on Amazon (affiliate link)
4. Resistance bands
Resistance bands are a great tool to have around in your home gym. They’re cheap, don’t take up a lot of space and can really add something to your workout. Just a few different lengths and resistance levels could help you have a full body workout with just resistance bands.
Besides just using them for a workout, there are some other great uses for resistance bands.
Barbell and dumbbell exercises have a certain strength curve. Often the first bit of the movement is more difficult than the last bit. (although some exercises are the other way around). Adding a resistance bands (or chains) to a bench press for example, changes the strength curve by adding resistance at the lock out portion of the movement. This means you have to be stronger at the point where it’s usually easier. This can help you get extra muscle gains.
Here is a set of 4 different resistance bands so you can try out which one suits you and you don’t have to guess which resistance you need. Grab your set for a great price on Amazon.
Resistance bands can be used for ‘active recovery’. Active recovery usually means lightly exercising the muscle that has to recover. You use light resistance and high repetitions. This will force blood into the muscle and that blood carries nutrients. This helps the muscle tissue to repair itself quicker so you can exercise it again. Resistance bands are great tools to use for active recovery. Just use a light resistance and high repetitions until you can feel a ‘pump’. The pump means there is extra blood in the muscle which is exactly what you want.
Next up: a timer! Most people in the gym are used to just counting reps and sets. You don’t need a timer for that. There are some other cool things you can do with a timer however;
- Make sets last a certain amount of time. This modifies the time under tension. Try benching with a light weight but just move super slowly for 90 seconds
- Time rest intervals. How long you rest between sets does have an effect on your results
- Time cardio workouts. If you’ve got a very simple cardio machine or doing bodyweight cardio, a timer is a good tool to have.
Could you do these things on a smartphone? Yes, that’s possible but a phone can really distract you from a workout. Go to any gym and look at how many people have their face buried in their phone? A lot of them. Do you think they’re getting the optimal workout with good rest periods and proper focus? Probably not.
A simple timer/stopwatch can help you stay focused in the gym, not get distracted but still have the benefits it brings.
What are you looking for?
- Super easy to operate
- Big enough screen to see from a distance
- Beep or other noise.
All of those boxes (and quite a few more) are checked with the Gymboss interval timer. It does all the things you want from a timer in the gym. It’s waterproof so you can sweat on it as much as you like and is surprisingly cheap. Check the current price on Amazon here.
6. Gravity boots
Gravity boots allow you to hang upside down from a bar. Your power rack will do great for this purpose. Why would you want this? Decompression is the name of the game. Most exercises and lifts compress your spine. The vertebrae are pushed together.
A bit of compression is normal and if it’s limited it’ll sort itself out when you’re sleeping. With a lot of working out, you can end up compressing your spine more than your body can handle. This is going to cause problems pretty quickly. A good way to counteract this problem is to regularly decompress your spine.
I’ve personally got a herniated disc in my lower back and regular decompression is the difference between nerve pain and feeling perfectly fine. After having spent years with pretty bad back pain, this simple thing was a big part of the solution.
There also are inversion tables available that do a very similar thing but gravity boots take up a whole lot less space in your gym.
You want something that can hold your weight of course. If the Tonyko inversion/gravity boots can do that depends on how much you weigh of course but, with a 150kg load limit the vast majority of the population will be safe. They’re reasonably cheap, especially if you compare it to the pain that back problems can cause. Check them out here on Amazon.
As you might have noticed these accessories are focused on optimizing your training and recovery and also preventing injuries. Most of the exercises are still performed with the essential equipment listed in this post (click). Preventing injuries keeps you training longer. They are difficult to deal with and cost a lot of time and sometimes money.
In the long run your longevity in the gym is way more important than hitting a new PR. Being safe and being able to train into your later stages of life will have much better results (health wise) than hitting a 800 pound deadlift but not being able to walk when you hit 60. Of course everyone has different goals but even if you’re trying to hit big numbers, preventing injuries is very important.