Healthful Living: Top 5 Pieces of Equipment for Your Garage Gym (Intermediate)

Welcome to the MAC Fitness Solutions Healthful Living article series where we get key insights from guest experts answering YOUR questions. Today, we are featuring 2 articles from Nick Snow, a Certified Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach based in Miami, FL. 

Top 5 Pieces of Equipment for Your Garage Gym (Intermediate)

Welcome, my brother or sister in iron - today is the day you have decided to build your own gym in the sanctity of your garage. No more will you have to fight traffic to get there and then fight the crowds once you arrive. The days you needed to deal with strangers’ sweat on the equipment are now in the past!

Now that you’ve made that decision, you realize that you’re not quite sure how to get started. Gym equipment isn’t cheap after all (although you can save a ton by buying used instead of new). Well worry not, for today I will guide you to the most important gym tools out there, so you can stop wondering and start lifting. 

  • Dumbbells
  • Dumbbells are probably the best investment for anyone wanting to start their home gym. Regardless of your goals or experience, dumbbells are so versatile that they can be used by anyone for anything.

    Adjustable dumbbells are ideal, but they can get on the pricier side. For guys just starting out, I would recommend getting a pair of dumbbells at 10 lbs, 20 lbs, and 30 lbs - maybe look at getting a pair of 50 lbs.  

  • Adjustable Bench 
  • Surprised that the bench is next on the list? Don’t be - just like the dumbbells, there’s just so much you can do once you have an adjustable bench. While a sturdy chair can make do, you’ll be surprised at how quickly you start missing the gym benches once you make the switch (random dude’s sweat notwithstanding).

  • Barbell and Plates
  • I recommend getting a good set of barbells + weights once the dumbbells start feeling too light. While you could just buy the next heavier set of handheld weights, there is a reason the barbell has been synonymous with working out since the very beginning! 

    We’re starting to get into the pricier pieces of equipment now though, but rest assured that your dollars will be well spent. Depending on your set up and goals, it might be wise to look into getting Olympic weights vs Iron plates; do your research as there are specific barbells + weights meant for certain activities. 

    As a side note, you might want to invest into some rubber flooring pads before you start dropping these guys onto the ground.

  • Squat Rack
  • Just like the adjustable bench above, the squat rack opens you up to a ton of different exercises that you may otherwise have not been able to do all that well (like the barbell bench press and back squat). Out of everything on this list, the squat rack is probably the most expensive one too - unless you shell out extra for a rack that pulls out from the wall, it will likely be the most space demanding one, as well. 

    Still, the benefits definitely outweigh the costs. Just like an expensive surround sound system, these may not be the best investment for those brand new to the garage experience - but once you have it, you’ll wonder how you ever went without. 

  • Resistance Bands
  • Keeping up with the home theater analogy, resistance bands will be the LED lights of your set up - they go well with everything and really bring it all together. Rubber bands, specifically the larger “loop” ones rather than the ones with handles at the end, can be added to all of the above pieces of equipment to both give you new exercise variations or add a new level of challenge to old exercises.

    Particularly useful for those on the move, they can be brought on vacation much easier than a bench and dumbbells. Bands are also the cheapest option on this list, as well, and for many they may be a great first option even before dumbbells or anything else. 


    There you have it, folks - the top 5 pieces of gym equipment I would have for myself and for any of my clients.
    Now get after it.

    Nicholas Snow is a Certified Personal Trainer & Nutrition Coach based out of Miami, FL. Originally from Connecticut, he is currently in school to become a Registered Dietitian. Nick specializes in nutrition coaching & strength training, with clients all over the world through his business Snow Personal Training. You can find him on Facebook; Instagram and YouTube (@snowpersonaltraining) , or email at  


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