Many bodybuilders believe that they're too advanced for home training. They think it's for beginners-the little guys and gals with pea-size biceps who haven't graduated to heavy iron. This common misconception is far from reality, however.
Take Bob Paris and Lou Ferrigno, for instance. These two bodybuilders both train in home gyms, and they have made outstanding progress. Paris is one of the top IFBB professionals, and at 320 pounds of solid muscle Ferrigno is undoubtedly one of the biggest advanced bodybuilders in the world-in fact, he's advanced into another dimension. Granted, their gyms are more elaborate than a bench from Kmart and a few cement-filled barbell plates, but the point is, these champion athletes do train at home.
Nevertheless, training exclusively at home isn't for everybody. Some people love the commercial-gym atmosphere-the socializing, the sounds and the smells. If you're one of them, it doesn't mean you shouldn't consider a home gym. A home gym can make your training much more successful by giving you workout flexibility.
The following types of bodybuilders should consider the home-gym alternative:
The serious bodybuilder: With even a basic home gym the serious trainee has the option of working smaller muscle groups at home. Many advanced bodybuilders prefer double-split training, where they train one or two bodyparts in the morning and then go back to the gym in the afternoon to work another bodypart or two. If these people had home gyms, they could do one of their workouts without leaving home.
Arm work is probably the easiest to do in a home gym because you don't need tremendous poundages. With a basic bench, a barbell/dumbbell set and some extra weights you can blast your biceps and triceps as good as, or better than, you can in a commercial gym. The overall improvement in concentration alone is worth the investment in equipment for even the most advanced trainees.
The bodybuilder who has a family: If you're like most Americans, you work hard, and you don't have all that much time to spend with your family. If you're a bodybuilder who goes to the gym a few nights a week after work, the time you spend with your family is even more limited. A home gym can change that because you don't waste time driving to and from your workout and you're close at hand in case of family crisis or problems. You can even get your spouse and/or children involved in training, which can turn your workouts into quality family time.
The bodybuilder who's on a tight budget: The initial equipment expenditure for a home gym isn't cheap. A good basic setup-including bench, weight set and a few extras-will run you about $400 to $600. Remember, however, that this is a long-term investment-this equipment will last you a lifetime. With no more yearly fees at the local commercial gym, your home gym essentially pays for itself in one to two years. It's like buying a car instead of paying for a taxi whenever you want to go somewhere.
The bodybuilder who lives in a small town: This is rather obvious, but what most small-town bodybuilders fail to realize is that there are other lifters in the area who have the same problem-no commercial gym. Put an ad in the paper, get together with these bodybuilders and pool your equipment. I once heard about a couple of industrious bodybuilders who rented out a storage unit and converted the space into a gym. Each trainee had a key and could work out whenever he felt like it.
When I was training in a small south Texas town where there was no commercial gym within 200 miles, a friend of mine built an air-conditioned 15-by-15-foot building and equipped it with the basics heavy-duty bench press, homemade power rack, Olympic set, dipping bars and a few pairs of fixed dumbbells. At one point there were eight people working out there-not all at the same time, obviously-and each one contributed equipment. A Mr. Texas winner even trained there during a couple of summers while he was home from college-which brings us full circle, back to the idea that advanced bodybuilders can't make progress in a home gym. Hogwash! Every bodybuilder can benefit from having a home gym. The rewards include more variety, better concentration and a new sense of freedom when it comes to pumping iron.
by Steve Holdman
Bodybuilding on a Budget
Weight Training at Home
Workout Without a Gym