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Build A Basic Home Gym On A Budget

The author is an Honours graduate of Queens University Belfast, Ireland.

CAP Barbell Full Cage Power Rack

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CAP Barbell Full Cage Power Rack

The CAP Barbell Full Cage Power Rack will be the centrepiece of your home strength training gym. CAP are known for their value for money but also their reliability for those on a budget. For only $275.38, as of October 2021, you get a power cage with attachments for barbell squats, a bench press with a barbell, safety bars and a pull-up bar. There are multiple holes for further spotter arms. These are very important for safety when training alone and they have saved the author from serious injury on at least one occasion! The rack itself is made out of 12 and 14 gauge steel which guarantees it will easily support 500 lbs to 750 lbs of weights. It is a relatively lightly built power cage so that is why the shipping is so inexpensive. To quote the retailer's CAP:

  • Gusseted uprights provide exceptional stability and security; Catches and safety bars for added reliability; Pull up bar to strengthen arms and core
  • RELIABILITY – Durable powder coat finish and industrial zinc hardware provide exceptional maintenance-free durability

The CAP Barbell cage is returnable until January 2022, and there is also sporting goods protection plan for $24.99 which is of course optional.

CAP Barbell Classic 7-Foot Olympic Bar

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CAP Barbell Classic 7-Foot Olympic Bar

At $69.99 the CAP Olympic 7-Foot Barbell is not going to win any prizes for elaborate knurling or presentation among Power Lifting purists but it is

  • Made from solid cold-rolled steel with a chrome finish
  • Accommodates Olympic style 2-inch weight plates
  • It Will work perfectly with the CAP Power Cage
  • Has decent tensile strength

CAP's specs for the Classic 7-Foot Olympic Bar are as follows:

  • Measures 2185 millimetre in length; Shaft length of 51.75”; Loadable sleeve length of 15.3”; Handgrip diameter of 30 millimetres; 63,800 PSI tensile strength steel; Weighs 20 kilograms; Center knurl 4.75”; Side knurling 10.75”
  • Features: Medium depth knurling and centre knurling for a secure grip; Rotating sleeves with bushings to reduce pressure on forearms


Cap Cast Iron 2" Olympic Grip Plate

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Cap 45 lb Cast Iron 2" Olympic Grip Plate for Strength Training

The Cap 45 lb (20.41 Kg) Cast Iron 2" Olympic Grip Plates cost $75.99 with free delivery. Since the pandemic, the price of weight plates have shot up drastically, previously plates generally retailed roughly at a dollar per pound. Four of these 45 lb (20.41 Kg) plates will set you back just over $300.

Although these would not be nearly enough for experienced Power Lifters, for the beginner four 45 lb weight plates plus a barbell that weighs 44.09 lbs (20 Kg) will be more than enough for the three main compound exercise

  • Squats
  • Deadlift
  • Bench Press

Plus, for the beginner, they can of course be utilized for

  • The shoulder press
  • Upwards rowing
  • Arm curls
  • Close-grip Bench Press
  • Shoulder shrugs
  • Behind the neck shoulder press
  • And by using the power cage alone, pull-ups

There is also a variety of different poundage plates available from the same manufacturer, from five pounds to 20-pound weight plates as an alternative or to add more weight to one's workout.

Green7 2" Inch Barbell Clips-Olympic Weight Barbell Clamps Collars

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Green7 2" Inch Barbell Clips-Olympic Weight Barbell Clamps Collars

Green7 2" Inch Barbell Clips-Olympic Weight Barbell Clamps Collars with Anti-Slip Pad and Thicken Solid Body for Weightlifting Fitness Training at only $8.99 were the best value Olympic 2 inch collars I could find on Amazon. They are of course essential for safety, specifically, they prevent weight plates from falling off a barbell mid exercise. They are available in a variety of colours and there is free delivery if using Prime.

Amazon Basics Flat Weight Workout Exercise Bench

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Amazon Basics Flat Weight Workout Exercise Bench

The Amazon Basics Flat Weight Workout Exercise Bench in black at only $53.47 with free delivery was the least expensive weights bench I could find on Amazon. Although 'basic' it is has a strong design. There are no incline or decline features but it will be quite sufficient for beginners. If determined to use it for incline pressing it can be raised at the top by adding a couple of weights plates under its forward uprights. It is a popular bench due to its price, so some days it may say it is unavailable but keep checking on a daily basis if this is what you are definitely on the lookout for. Its manufacturers used to guarantee it for holding 600 lbs but I'd state that would be at its lower limit and could probably be safe for much more although it is unlikely that beginners would come close to putting this bench under stress.

Amazon states the following about their weights bench specs etc:

  • Flat weight bench enhances any home gym; ideal for both beginning and advanced levels
  • Accommodates a wide range of fitness routines for a full-body workout in a small amount of space
  • Made of rugged high-quality materials, including a durable steel tube frame and a smooth PVC top surface
  • Assembles quickly and easily; weighs 24 pounds; upside-down T-shaped legs/feet for reliable stability

Amazon Basics Flat Weight Workout Exercise Bench

How To Set Up A Power Rack

Buy Even Cheaper!

If not fussy about buying new equipment, keep one's eye on the likes of Craigslist, Facebook Market Place and eBay where you can often buy any of the equipment listed above for a fraction of the price. However, with all fitness equipment being at a premium during, and for some reason, after the lockdown, there is a fair amount of price gouging going on.

Furthermore, the barbell, collars and weight plates listed above are all of the Olympic-type dimensions, but there is no reason for beginners not to buy standard weights equipment where barbells, collars and weight plates are at one-inch diameters. Weight is weight, after all! If buying a 'standard' barbell buy as lengthy a one as possible. There are a lot of standard barbels at five foot in length which, unless you are badly stuck for space, will not be long enough for squatting comfortably.

CAP Barbell Classic 7-Foot Olympic Bar

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Liam A Ryan

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