Top 5 Garage Gym Essentials On A Budget – Home Gym (2020)

I know this year has been challenging with a global pandemic, gyms closing, people training in their homes, and the prices of equipment going up while the supply keeps going down.

So today, I’m going to go over the garage gym essentials you need on a budget.

The 5 main things that every good garage gym has are:

If you have these 5 things, you can build as much muscle and strength as you need without any gimmicks or massive machines that only allow you to do one thing.

We’ll be going over what you need and what pieces of equipment I recommend.

Garage Gym Essentials 2020

And a forewarning before you dislike this article, I’m aware that most of these will be out of stock.

However, you need to be patient and help your neighbors out.

If you know of any good deals or suppliers out there that I didn’t cover here, share that information for everybody in the comment section below.

Everybody should have the opportunity to build a home gym so let’s help others out and get stronger together.

And with that, let’s get started!

Power Rack

dont curl on me

The Power Rack, this one piece of equipment, gives you the ability to do all the best exercises. 

If you don’t have a Power Rack, you can’t Squat or Bench. 

They also give you the ability to do overhead press without cleaning the bar from the ground.

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The power rack is the main piece of equipment you need.

So make sure when buying one not to skimp on it; this needs to be reliable; one with built-in pullup bars and dip attachments would be preferable. 

I’ve seen Power Racks that look like they are made out of Aluminium foil. 

Don’t buy these racks; instead, pick up a piece proven to stand the rigorous test of time that strength training places upon it.

Power Rack Less Than $300

Most power racks that you see on Amazon could definitely be considered part of a garage gym essentials considering just how cheap they are.

REP PR-1100 Home Gym

Budget REP Power Rack
REP PR-1100 Home Gym Power Rack

This rack is rated at 700 lbs and allows you to add a bunch of different accessories based on your own individual needs.

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Power Rack Less Than $500

REP PR-4100 Folding Wall Mount Squat & Power Rack

Rogue RML-3W Fold Back Wall Mount Rack

Power Rack Less Than $700

Rep PR-4000 Power Rack

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Rogue R-3 Power Rack

Power Rack Less Than $1000

REP PR-5000 V2 Power Rack

Rogue RML-490 Power Rack

Barbells

A power rack is only useful if you have a barbell to use with it. 

Just like with the power rack, you don’t want to buy a crappy bar.

The best barbells I think you should be getting are; an Olympic barbell, a trap bar, and a safety squat bar.

If you can only afford one though, I would recommend a standard straight Olympic bar.

Less Than 200

Rogue 28.5MM Boneyard Bars

Rogue 25MM Boneyard Bars | Rogue Fitness

A Boneyard Bar is a brand new, seconds quality barbell off of Rogue’s standard production line. These bars may have minor cosmetic issues such as finish blemishes or inconsistencies with the knurl.

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Less Than 300

Rogue Ohio Bar – Black Oxide

The Ohio Bar - Black Oxide

Each Rogue Ohio Bar is machined and assembled in Columbus, Ohio, and includes a lifetime guarantee against bending*.


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If you decide to get some specialty bars for squats and deadlifts, the two I recommend are the Safety Squat Bar and Trap Bars from Rogue.

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Best Trap Bar

Rogue TB-2 Trap Bar

Best Safety Squat Bar

SB-1 – Rogue Safety Squat Bar

SB-1 - Rogue Safety Squat Bar

The weight distribution is unique to this bar. Training with the Rogue Safety Squat bar is known to tax your anterior chain; the weight distribution falls between the front squat and the high-bar back squat to vary your power output training. This bar is a safer option for intense squat progressions or maximum load lifts.This bar is known to increase your maximum working weight when compared to the traditional back squat.

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Olympic Plates

Without standard Olympic Plates to load your barbell up with, you aren’t going to be getting much stronger; that’s for sure. 

I recommend at least 300 lbs to get started with; you can buy more plates as you get stronger.

Make sure your plates are the correct size for your barbell; otherwise, they won’t fit. 

You want Olympic plates and barbells, not standard.

REP Iron Plates – priced per pair compared to pretty much every other company. 

A 45 lb pair of plates from Rep Fitness is only $98, whereas Rogues cheapest offering is $65.79 per plate or $131.58 for a set.

This means Rep Fitness sells plates for around $1.09 per lb while Rogue is selling them for $1.462.

This is much cheaper than the markups I’ve seen on Amazon and everywhere else the past few months.

The standard is around 2 dollars per pound, and people selling 3rd party can be over 3 dollars per pound.

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Obviously, these are all horrible deals, and I wouldn’t recommend them.

With that in mind, you’re going to have to get set up for Rogue and Rep Fitness notifications so they can notify you when their plates are still back in stock.

You can and should also check Facebook Marketplace and Craiglist since they are your best bets for great deals.

Adjustable Bench

Having an adjustable bench to do Bench Press, Incline Presses, and Seated Military Presses expands the type of training you can do in your garage gym.

For an adjustable bench, I recommend investing in one that can hold at least 1000 lbs. 

Because it’s not just holding the weight of your pressing movements but also your bodyweight, you need to factor in.

If you’re doing a 400 lb press and weight 200 lbs (which is a pretty good bench press for sure!), the bench needs to be able to hold at least 600 lbs.

Plus, the stability with a lot of lower quality benches is something you need to keep in mind. 

A lot of them you screw in, and after it’s tightened down, you can wiggle back and forth, which is bad news when you’re trying to bench a couple hundred lbs over your face!

Once again, I love Rogues equipment but compared to the value that Rep Fitness brings, I’m going to have to recommend their benches instead.

Rogues cheapest bench is the Flat Utility Bench 2.0 for $179.

Our Pick
Rogue Flat Utility Bench 2.0

No nonsense. No limitations. No assembly required. The redesigned Rogue Flat Utility Bench takes the weight bench back to basics, featuring 2x3” 11-gauge steel construction, a high-density Neoprene pad, and a pair of angled, wide-set legs for maximized stability.

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This isn’t even considering their cheapest adjustable bench, the Adjustable Bench 2.0, for $545. 

Yikes, talk about a steal, amiright?

You could buy a whole power rack with dip bars, pull up bars, safeties, etc. for that price.

Obviously, it’s just not worth the price. Just because it’s Rogue doesn’t mean it’s worth it.

Rep Fitness has similar steel construction on all of their benches. 

Their cheapest flat bench is the FB-3000 Flat Bench at $94 and is constructed entirely of 11-gauge steel holding up to around 1,000 lbs.

Their cheapest adjustable bench is only around $100 more at $189, the AB-3100 Adjustable Bench V3.

This is much more reasonable and something I would definitely recommend as they’re strong, the value is there, and it’s 400 cheaper than Rogue, which is insane that they would charge so much for just a bench.

Most of these benches are out of stock, so just keep an eye out and strike when the irons hot!

Adjustable Dumbbells

If you have access to a commercial gym, you can only find dumbbells up to 100 lbs on average. 

This is definitely plenty for most people. 

When you have a garage gym, buying a full set of dumbbells isn’t really practical for most.

If you want to pay for a full dumbbell set from 5-100 lbs, it’s absolutely going to cost thousands. 

Our Pick
Titan Black Rubber Hex Dumbbells

The Rubber Coated Hex Dumbbells from Titan Fitness® are offered in pairs of 5-pound increments from 5 to 100-pounds. Additionally, we provide various sets from 5 to 25-pounds, 5 to 50-pounds, and a full set of 5 to 100-pounds.

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Even the cheapest sets I’ve seen cost more than a power rack, which just isn’t a good investment in my mind.

Instead, you have 1 of 2 options, you can either buy adjustable dumbbell handles or buy something like a Powerblock.

The adjustable dumbbell option will be a lot cheaper. 

Our Pick
Titan Loadable 20-in Dumbbell Handles

With these dumbbell handles, you will be able to get to work toning chest, ab, arm, pectoral, and back muscles. Incorporate them with lunges and squats in your fitness routine to target your hamstrings, quads, and glutes.

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Still, you’ll be limited by how long the dumbbells will be, and they get a little unwieldy based on if you’re using 10 lb plates compared to 25 lbs or more.

I’ve used these for years, and they work great. If you want to get something that’s a little easier to handle, you can get Powerblocks, Ironmaster, or other knockoffs.

Those two I just mentioned are the best on the market, but there’s new systems coming out each year. 

The main downside with these is that they cost hundreds of dollars.

So if you want something cheap that goes with the Olympic plates you already own. 

Buy a pair of Olympic dumbbell handles and call it a day.

Conclusion

For those that still need to invest in a garage gym to keep the gym gains going, this list is what you should be starting with to get your best bang for your buck. 

This doesn’t mean going and buying subpar equipment that bends under pressure.

As always, I recommend buying nice, don’t buy twice.

What pieces of equipment do you plan on getting for your garage gym?

Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time,

-Dante Redgrave

danteredgrave

danteredgrave

I'm a Strength Coach and Content Creator with freedom on my mind! Without strength training, I hate to think of where I would be without it. What kind of person I would be, what kind of shape I would be in. It scares me, and that's why every day is a new chance to better myself. Anybody that's interested I am taking online clients now! Just shoot me an email and know you won't find a better deal online or offline. Guaranteed:)

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