Here are the 10 best weight lifting equipment for your home gym.
As a personal trainer, I recommend weight lifting for everybody. This is not just for body builders and power lifters. But for men and women at every level of fitness and age.
Especially when you get older, your muscles and joints need pressure to stay healthy and strong. .
There are five basic exercises for weight lifting: squats, deadlifts, bench press, shoulder press and pull up. These are generally known as the big 5 of strength training.
What equipment do you need in your home gym to do those exercises? As a personal trainer, I give you my top 10 weight lifting equipment for your home gym. Let’s dive in.
#1 – Standard barbell with plates and clamps
The standard barbell is my favorite training item. You can use it for squats, lunges, bench press and deadlift. And even for a shoulder press, if you are strong.
It would be best if you have a power rack (see #2) with hooks. So you can adjust the height of the barbell before you take it on your shoulders or in your hands.
If you aim for powerlifting, consider an Olympic bar. This barbell is longer and thicker than the standard barbell, so you can load them up with more plates. They are usually made of a better quality steel.
Standard barbells weigh between 10 and 25 lbs, and Olympic barbells between 25 and 50 lbs.
Pay attention to the diameter of clamps and plates, because they are different for standard and Olympic barbells (1” vs 2”).
Barbell plates come in different materials and shapes. For your home gym, look for softer plates that don’t damage your floor, for example rubber. The different plates have no effect on the resistance they offer, so choose the ones you like.
Cast iron plates
Cast iron plates are durable. The only thing you have to be careful with is moisture, because they are susceptible to rust. Also, they can damage your floor if you drop the weights.
Rubber covered plates
To avoid floor damage, consider cast iron plates coated in rubber. They are less noisy and easier to pick up. These plates usually have handles (see below on the topic of shapes).
Bumper plates are entirely made of dense rubber. That makes them thicker than other plates to get to the same weight. Bumper plates come in different colors. They are more expensive than steel plates.
Urethane plates are the most durable and expensive. You often see them at gyms. Urethane is a chemical form, it feels between rubber and plastic.
Most plates are round, but some have flat sides. They both have an advantage and disadvantage. The ones with flat sides don’t roll away. But when you do deadlifts, it might be annoying when the plates don’t touch the ground evenly on both sides.
Weight plate handles
Barbell plates are available with and without “handles”. These are the extra holes near the outer edge of the plate, so you can pick it up and hold it firmly. If possible, buy plates with handles, because you can do them for other exercises.
For example: overhead press, side bend, quat reach, squat press, chest squeeze press, lateral raise, front shoulder raise
Make sure the hole of the plates fits the barbell. Plates designed for a standard barbell have a 1” hole, and plates for Olympic bars have a 2” hole. .
Clamps or collars
You need good quality clamps to keep the plates on your bar. The plates should not wobble and shift.
Make sure the clamps are compatible with your standard barbell. Clamps for Olympic barbells have a bigger diameter.
#2 – Power Rack
Power racks are found in every gym, and more and more also in home gyms. The power rack is an iron cage with hooks and other options to hold the bar at the proper height. Power racks are also called “power cage”.
If you want to do weight lifting, you need a power rack. So you can mount hooks at the desired height and easily take the barbell on your shoulder. Or, lower if you want to do deadlifts.
An alternative could be to go with an All-in-One machine that supports a barbell at different heights.
#3 – Weight lifting shoes
Weight lifting shoes make weight lifting easier. They have an elevated heel, to help you do better squats and other weight lifting exercises. Science indicates an elevated heel is better for your muscles and leads to more results from your training.
If you don’t have special weight lifting shoes, you can also do squats on a slanted footboard.
#4 – Weight lifting gloves
Gloves for weight lifting are nice to have. You can do without, but they protect your hands and help prevent calluses. Workout gloves also provide a better grip to bars, dumbbells and kettle bells, and thus help you work out longer.
#5 – Dumbbells
If you could only have one set of items in your home gym, I would recommend adjustable dumbbells. You can do so many weight lifting exercises with them. Like squats, lunges, deadlifts and shoulder presses.
For more in-depth advice on what to look for in dumbbells, check out our guide on how to choose a home weight set.
#6 – Kettlebells
Kettle bells are a good addition to dumbbells. The way you hold a kettle bell ensures your muscles are addressed differently than with dumbbells. Also good for kettle bell swings and snatches.
#7 – Resistance Bands
Every home gym needs a pair of resistance bands. They are relatively inexpensive, and you can use them in many ways to get stronger. They are also easy to carry with you when you travel.
A specific way to use resistance bands for weight lifting is to attach the bands to the power cage and to the barbell.
You can also use the resistance bands for deadlifting. Put your feet on the resistance band and pull the band up on both sides.
#8 – Cable Machine
If you have space in your home gym and want to improve on weight lifting, then a cable machine can be worth the investment. They come in hugely different price ranges, and maybe you can get one second hand.
Pay attention to the quality of the pulleys and the number of exercises you can do. Some cable machines have all kinds of attachments available.
#9 – All-in-one home gym
If you start with weight lifting, consider an all-in-one home gym machine. This saves a lot of space, and you can do many exercises on this one machine.
Check out our Guide on All-in-One Home Gym Machines.
#10 – Fitness Mirror
A relatively new category of weight lifting equipment is the Smart Fitness Mirror. This is an interactive mirror that can stream workouts and provide real time feedback on your movements.
More smart workout mirrors come with weight lifting equipment, like pulleys, dumbbells and kettle bells.
Check out our Guide on Smart Fitness Mirrors.
What to do next
Make sure to get the best weight lifting equipment for your goals. Always consult a trainer before you start weight lifting, and always build your strength slowly and carefully.
Also check out our Guide on Home Gym Equipment.