For a serious lifter interested in high-intensity training, or HIT, nothing in the world beats the convenience and peace of mind of having your own home gym. You can exercise when it suits your schedule, and you will NEVER have to stand in line for a piece of workout HIT equipment again, making it easy to keep up the brisk pace that HIT demands.
Of course, you will be somewhat limited in which equipment, and how much, you can afford and fit into whatever space you have available, but it’s not too tough to make the right choices if you put some thought into it.
So, which pieces of workout equipment are the best for HIT? Even though Arthur Jones brought HIT to the mainstream with his Nautilus equipment in the 1970s, the truth is that you don’t need any fancy machines to get the bodybuilding job done.
Here are five gems that cover all the basics and won’t cost you a second mortgage.
(This post contains affiliate links to Amazon listings for the products being discussed.)
Barbell and Plates
The barbell has been the standard tool for physique development for well over a century now, and for good reason: it works!
With just a bar, some weights and collars, and a couple of the other items on this list, you can exercise your body as intensely as you could ever want. Make sure to pick a sturdy bar and iron or steel weights so that you know the numbers listed are accurate, and you should be all set.
If you want a weight set that will last for as long as you lift AND will let you get as strong as humanly possible, opt for an Olympic bar and plates. It will cost a bit more up front but will be worth the investment in the long run.
While you CAN get by with just a good barbell, working your chest will be hard without some sort of bench to lie on. A good adjustable bench will allow you to hit different angles for your chest — decline, flat, incline — and also gives you some variety for other bodyparts.
As with your barbell, get the best quality bench that you can afford, and make sure you pick a model that is stable.
There’s nothing worse than having to wimp out on the weights you use because your bench falls apart under the strain!
As an added bonus, try to find a bench that includes a leg curl/leg extension attachment so that you can add a couple more exercises to your leg repertoire.
Maybe even more so than a barbell, dumbbells will provide you with an almost endless supply of exercises for all of your bodyparts. While you CAN buy fixed hex-headed ‘bells, opting for adjustable models will save you money and space. If you can afford them, selectorized dumbbells will be your best bet for both convenience and safety, but there is nothing wrong with plate-loaded models either, if you use them with care.
Now we’re getting into the hardcore stuff.
Particularly if you work out alone at home, you need to build as much safety into your setup as possible. Bench pressing heavy weights by yourself in the basement with no fail-safe is a sure recipe for disaster.
A sturdy power rack with hooks to rack your weights and, most importantly, adjustable safety stops, will let you push your limits without fear of getting squashed under a huge load of iron. If you miss a lift, just guide the bar down to the pins and slide out from underneath.
Many power racks come with a built-in lat pulldown and row combination, which is a great tool to have if you’re interested in building your back thick and wide.
Calf Raise Machine
You’ve got a couple of ways to go with your last piece of workout equipment to support your HIT routine.
If you were able to score a pulldown attachment with your power rack, then a calf raise machine is a great investment. You can work your calves in other ways, too, but this piece makes it much more convenient.
If your power rack is a bit more basic, then you’ll probably want to go for a lat pulldown to round out your gym.
You’re Covered from Top to Bottom
If you follow HIT as intended, you’ll be hitting ALL of your major muscles, and you’ll get pretty darn strong over time. These 5 pieces of HIT equipment will provide all of the muscular stimulation you need, and, no matter how much you end up lifting, they’ll last for the long haul.
Just like your pumped up muscles.