We are more than two months into quarantine and many of us have begun to accept the reality of working out at home.  We have been fortunate that Steve has lent many of us equipment, but I suspect that many of you have been longing to touch those pieces of exercise equipment that we have a love-hate relationship with (barbells!).

But for whatever reason, even after the gym opens, you might find yourself needing to workout at home. Thus, you need some basic home equipment.

With that in mind, I offer the following suggestions for suppliers to check out.  I have built up a fair collection of equipment over the years and have built out my own home gym in my garage.  A lot of it I have purchased brand new, but please don’t neglect to explore the wallet-friendly options:  CraigsList, yard sales, build your own, etc.  Two quick examples:

  1. One of my favorite pieces of equipment that I own is a squat rack.  I got it for free!  My neighbor was cleaning out his basement and he always saw me working out in the driveway.   A few years ago, he just randomly asked if I wanted his son’s old rack that was just collecting dust in his basement.  Hey Annie!  Look what I just got!
  2. Want to do box jumps at home?  A brand new plyo box will cost you north of $100 online.  Google “plyobox instructions” (or search Crossfit.com for DIY instructions… trust me, they’re there) and head to Home Depot.  Pick out some lumber, screws, and wood glue… have the Home Depot guys cut the wood to your specs.  Invest a little elbow grease.  There’s your 20″/24″/36″ inch plyo box for less than $30.  I’ve done it and it’s great.

But if you decide your really want your own brand new kettlebell, dumbbells, or barbell, the following are suggested suppliers to check out.

For equipment suppliers, here are three I recommend keeping an eye on.  Note:  during this pandemic quarantine, there has been a run on fitness equipment.  Most suppliers have wait lists.  The sooner you get your orders in, the sooner you get your equipment.  Understand that “sooner” may be a month from now. 

Rogue is the gold standard of functional fitness equipment.  Their gear is of the highest quality and it is all made in America.  As a result, it can also be a little pricey.  However, they have excellent selection of equipment.  They are the only supplier that I have seen where you can set an email or text alert for their out-of-stock items for when they come back in stock.  (You have to be quick!  It reminds me a bit of when I was registering for classes at GW and you had to log on the second it opened up to get the classes you wanted; it took me two alerts to get 50 lb. dumbbells.  The first time, they were sold out again five minutes after I got the alert!)

Titan will usually be your cheapest option.  As a result, some of their stuff can be of suspect quality and they have been known to haphazardly ship it.  A lot of their stuff are Chinese-made Rogue knockoffs.  That said, a good general rule of thumb that I’ve read – and agree with based on my personal experience – is so long as you are not purchasing items that need assembly (like a squat rack), their stuff is usually fine.  For what it’s worth, among other Titan items, I have a Titan competition kettlebell that is great.  Titan really is far and away the least expensive option (in normal times).  The kicker is they have free shipping, which is very clutch if you’re having lots of weight shipped to you.  You’re shipping cost can be almost as much as your purchase price with other vendors.

Again Faster is a happy medium between Rogue and Titan, both on price and quality.  I have plenty of equipment from them and have never had a problem with any of it.  (In fact, my preference for speed ropes has long been for Again Faster’s and that’s where I have purchased mine from for years now.)  A note on Again Faster:  they tend to cater more towards affiliate-level sales; the result of that is you can get decent “bundled” sales from them if you’re looking to outfit a full garage gym, but they can have less of a selection of unique individual items.

I admit that this list is not exhaustive.  There are lots of other suppliers out there.  Just search for “fitness equipment” in Facebook, Instagram, or Reddit and let your internet cookies work their magic and bombard you with ads.  However, the majority of equipment that I have collected over the years have come from these three suppliers and I continually browse their websites.  (I may or may not have requested a new barbell from Again Faster for Father’s Day.)

Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Garage Gym Reviews.  An internet dude known as “Coop” has built an amazing enterprise on YouTube, Instagram, and GarageGymReviews.com posting exhaustive reviews of any and every type of equipment you can think of.  Check it out.  He’s a former collegiate hockey player with a deep passion for exercise and working out at home.  I really respect his videos.  He has reviewed just about every piece of equipment under the sun.  It’s to the point that all the big name suppliers like Rogue, Sorinex, and Eleiko send him their highest quality stuff now for free for review.  (He has some funny videos of his wife freaking out at the random daily shipments that arrive in their driveway.)  He rates everything with quality, purpose, and cost in mind.

Hopefully we’ll all soon be working out together at Second Wind again with Steve’s gear.  But in the interim, if you’re interested in continuing to work out at home and building your own collection of exercise gear, I hope that this is helpful.  Feel free to ping me with any questions and I’ll do my best to answer.

Happy Fitnessing!

Coach Richard