The Home Gym Set Up


Those who read blogs like Bold and Determined, John Doe Bodybuilder, Danger and Play and even our own here at intense apex alpha male, should be very motivated to begin working out. It doesn’t matter how old you are. There is one thing I want you to keep in mind, and that is your age means nothing. You are never too old to improve your life and to make life changes. It is only too late when you are six feet under and dancing the tango with the grim reaper. You should be constantly aiming to better yourself. I read once about a 90 year old man who decided to resume working out daily by walking a few miles a day and working out with a 50 pound dumbbell. Now, this may not sound like much, but to him these changes gave him a reason for living.

The person I am today is very different from the person I was five years ago. Why, because I am constantly improving myself and growing in wisdom, spiritually ( Know the God of the Bible) and in knowledge. And because of this, I hope to impart and share with all of you this knowledge.

So, you decided to start training. You have two options available to you and they are:

1) Train at a local Gym

2) Train at your own home gym

If you train at a commercial gym, I think you should continue to read this article because I believe that a nice home gym with basic equipment is a necessity especially for those who have to travel a long way to train at the local gym. By having a home gym, you never have to worry about missing your scheduled training sessions. Most of my life I trained at my home gym. The gyms were quite far from where I lived at when I was growing up so I had no choice but to set up my own training quarters. My passion for home gym training stems from the fact that I did not have access to a commercial gym when I was a kid and growing up in poor neighborhoods (the ghetto to be exact).

Now that I am an adult and have moved up in life, the home gym thing stuck with me to this day. Now, I train at a commercial gym from time to time and also and mostly at my home gym.

I would like to go over some of the basic equipment you will need to set up your home gym along with the sources on whare to purchase them at. Also, I would like you to read “TOOLS OF THE TRADE,” which will show you the needed tools you should have in your gym bag. This is very important whether you train at home or a commercial gym.

Here is a list of basic equipment you will need and should have for your home gym. They are:

1) A really good barbell set

2) Multi-purpose bench

3) Squat racks

4) Chinning bar

5) Dip bars

6) Dumbbells

7) Rubber floor mat

8) Stationary bike or gauntlet

1) Ok, let’s go over the barbell set. You will notice that I emphasized a really good barbell set.The reason why I said that is because many of the weight sets being sold today are not good. For example, Modells sells a real crappy weight set, which is made in china, which comes with a two piece bar that attaches in the middle with two bolts or a screw on piece. This is retarded. The people who made that junk obviously do not workout at all. If you are a strong individual and you load up the bar with two hundred pounds, you can expect the bar to bend right in the middle and right where the bar is joined at and bolted. I remember reading from Randall J. Strossen’s Ironmind catalog, If you have to skimp on something, skimp on the weight plates but never on the bar. Much of what is being sold out there is pure crap. Let’s go over what a real barbell bar should have and look like. A really great barbell bar should have the following:

1) solid steel black bar

2) metal sleeve

3) Inside collars and outside collars.

Barbell set

York barbell bars are top quality and really great barbell bars. Unfortunately, you can’t go out to a sporting goods store and buy one. Many barbell companies do not make them anymore. The best place to get a bar like the one I just mentioned would be through E-Bay. Usually there are many people selling these wonderful bars at bargain prices. You should go there and try to purchase one. I did that a while ago and I can tell you I am not disappointed at all. Make sure you get the dumbbell bars as well, which include the same things as the bar, which are the solid bars, the metal sleeves and the collars.

Next you will need the weights. You should have about two hundred pounds of weight. I advise that you get these from e-bay as well and make them York barbell plates. If you go to most sporting goods stores and walk over to where the weight sets are, go over and feel the weight plates and compare that feel with the feel of the York weight plates. You will notice that the quality is different. If you drop the more modern weight plates, you will quickly notice that they will chip easily. The York weight plates can take a good beating and they will never chip unless you throw them off a tall building, which I do not advise. Get your weight from e-bay as well and search for York Barbell Plates.

York Standard Plates

Here is an interesting post from Forum about a man who purchased what he thought were York Barbell Olympic weights. By the looks of things these look like made in Korea plates and not made in USA York plates.

Some people on this forum are aware of the problems I have had with my York Fitness oly plates for some time. I have tryed to refrain from being too public about the matter as I have/had respect for the brand. I am also a firm believer in giving a company a chance to redeem themselves and put right a wrong. One more time, I am going to stress that this is aimed at York Fitness not York Barbell. I’ll explain the difference later in the review.

Heres a bit of background knowledge on the matter; I have bought these plates over the last 3 years in stages, building my collection slowly. All my plates were bought new from reputable dealers such as Watsons Gym Equipment, and Amazon, with the orders being fulfilled by York (fitness). As time went on I was noticing more and more defects with the workmanship on the plates. Because of this I decided to call York to see if they could resolve the matter. I will not go into the customer service that I recieved as it is not really relevent to this post, but lets just say it consisted of a months worth of multiple emails back and forth, lots of false promises, missed deadlines, and unreturned emails and calls.

So whats the difference between York Barbell and York Fitness? link on the York Fitness site explains the confusion a bit, but it is basically dressing it up a little. The jist of it is (in my opinion, and memory) that York Barbell over in the US was the awesome brand that we have come to know and love… check my crew allegences…. They have/had a strong history in the lifting game, with excellent equipment that has stood the test of time. York Fitness on the other hand were always a budget home brand, similar to the cheaper weider stuff like benches and weights. There big bold red and black branding were similar, and there names were practically the same (YF used to just call themselves YORK). A deal (I can only imagine how much money was involved) brought the 2 companies together in 2004. This is a good thing for us in the UK right?… wrong. York Fitness are still making the cheap rubbish they did years ago, only now they are riding the coattails of the brand name that started it all.

It is my opinion that York Barbell should go back to doing what they do best, and distance themselves as much as they can from this company as the good name of YB is being dragged through the mud by York Fitness.

These are the plates I am refering to:

Shown below is the first email I sent to York Fitness following my phonecall to them. It explains what most of my issues were with the plates. In following email traffic I was able to find all my receipts stretching over 3 years. Half the plates were in warrenty, half werent- hense I wanted to see what they as a company were prepared to do about it.

I have bought approximatly 500kgs worth of York olympic weight plates. I bought them based on Yorks good reputation, and the fact that I have had York standard weights from my early teens through to my 30s. On arrival I have been very dissapointed with the drop in quality, and lack of QC. Apart from the design and colour of the plates, I have nothing good that I can say about them.

The difference in weights of the 20s are well beyond normal tolerance levels.
The paint is so weak that the slightest knock or contact causes it to chip. (My whole gym is covered in high quality rubber matting, and even that is not enough to protect them).
The paint used on the weights appears to have been done in a very contaminated environment, as all of my 20s look like they have been sprayed over rust/dust/or flakes of metal from other parts of the manufacturing process.
The castings are so bad that in all my years as a gym user, and gym instructor, I have never seen worse. They are pitted, have sharp edges, some have bulges out of the side, and some have dips in them. Some look like they have been attacked with an angle grinder.
The outside of the plates have a camber that never allows them to sit flat on the floor when set up for deadlifts or similar. This combined with a sharp edge means that the metal on some of my plates has already chipped after minimal use of which all is on rubber mats within my home gym.
One of my plates arrived completly snapped in half. I had this refunded at the time by Watsons Gym Equipment, but it showed me just how weak the plates were and I have babied them ever since.
One of my 20kg plates is almost curved. -When it is stacked on top of another plate, you can see a big gap all the way through to the bar.
The holes are all so big that they don’t sit well even on a York bar. I have 3 olympic bars from other manufacturers, aswell as a high quality Texas Power Bar, and they all have up to 5mm slack at the bottom which causes the weights to rattle all over the place even with bulldog collars.
For all the reasons above, it is my opinion that these weights are not fit for purpose.I bought these plates on the assumption that they are high quality pieces of equipment by a high quality brand. When I see photos of the high quality of the plates being produced by York Barbell over in the states I feel very dissapointed by my purchase. I have bought them all over the past two years (new) from Watsons, and I don’t have any reciepts. Most of the deliveries I have had have been fullfiled by yourselves so I am hoping you may still have some record of this. Photos can be supplied of all the defects and quantities on request.
Please advise how you are going to resolve this matter. You can call me on the number below to discuss.

Now here are some photos you may just find interesting. I only have a crap camera but hopefully you can see where I am coming from.

If you look closely you will notice a large gap between the plates. At the time I took this photo I didn’t even notice it was there. It is caused by the plate being completely warped like a salvador dali clock, leaving a 5mm gap between the plates. Many were like this.

My plan was to take a load more photos and close ups showing the plates, but I was glad to just get rid of them in the end. I have a few more which I will try and add as the thread progresses, I just need to find them.

Edit 1: Here’s a few more pics, sorry for the bad photography;


This pic is of a couple of the small plates. Look at the edges, one plate has a chunk missing, and the other has a chunk added. This is due to very dodgy casting.

This pic shows the same lumps and bumps, but more importanly it shows the side profile of the plates which is a major flaw. All the plates are this shape, which means they don’t sit flat on the flaw when deadlifting. Even when you put collars on tight, they push the collars away. There is absolutly no comparison to these and milled Yorks.




This pic shows the amount of clearance be on the hole that the advertise proudly as ‘machine bored’. …I’m guessing they used a washing machine!



This one shows the ‘Salvador Dali clock’ plates. It was hard to show properly on camerabut basically I squeezed the plates together flush at the bottom, this is the gap it made at the top. I couldn’t believe my eyes the first time I saw it.

Want to know how strong the Iron is and whether they will stand the test of time? Check this plate out;



In summary, UK buyers- AVOID YORK FITNESS UNLESS YOU GET THEM VERY, VERY CHEAP. Even then, buy them with a view to selling them on as they are honestly the worse plates I have ever come across.

Sorry for the wall of text, I just hope this post helps someone.

So again, Make sure you get your standard set at E-Bay. If you want an Olympic set, I would advise the same thing; E-Bay.

If money constraints isn’t a problem, I would also advise you to get a set of the Power Block dumbbells. These dumbells are fantastic to work with and will save you a lot of room with the benefit of have a full rack of dumbbells that go from 5 pounds to 90 pounds and do not take up space.


2) Multi-purpose bench This is self-explanatory. This is a bench that can incline, decline and flatten out to a prone position. You will be using all angles.

Multi Purpose bench

3) Squat Racks You will need these for squatting as well as for placing your multi purpose bench under to do bench presses.


4) Chinn up bar Beach body fitness sell a great door way chin up bar. You will need this for all of your pull up training.


5) Dip Bars You will need this as well, but not right away, for performing dips for chest training.


6) Rubber flooring This will become necessary to protect your floors.


Visit our Approved Equipment tab on this site so that you can see and use the fuctional tools you will need to be successful at your training goals. I own and use everything on that page. In the future that section will grow. I will keep you posted on what if completely functional and what is junk.

Everyone reading this post should have at least some of these things to use when going to the gym becomes somewhat strained. You never know what can happen and if your workouts are as important to you as they are for me, then have a small set up is important so that you do not miss your training sessions.

Get Going Friend.



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