Best Beginner Weightlifting and Cardio Equipment Guide for Home Gym

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Work, work, work, work work.

With so much time devoted to work – and so little time to get to the gym, it’s almost impossible to stay fit. A great way to stay active (and save time & gym membership costs) is to build a home gym.

It might seem like a complicated task to build your own personal gym. I get it!

But at least there is no need to drive to the gym when you can just pop into the garage in seconds.

A home gym can be built for the same (or even lower) price of a regular gym membership, and all of the equipment can be found easily (and cheaply) right online.

But remember!

Expenses add up quickly for each little piece of equipment you’ll need to purchase.

Buying little bits and bobs is less than efficient – if you build a decent framework out of reliable, multi-use pieces of equipment, you’ll find that your money goes much further.

In order to build a fully functioning weight gym that will perform even better than the stations at a regular gym, you’ll only need to focus on a few core things.

And in this article, you’re going to learn about some of the best weightlifting equipment for home gyms currently available.

As well as provide some weightlifting equipment reviews on the recommended items.

What you choose will depend on your budget, how much space you have, and what level of physical strength you’re at while you start your weightlifting journey.

Remember that it’s better to make one investment that will last a long time, rather than settling for a less expensive counterpart that you’ll need to replace or add to later.

weight lifting

The Basics

Good flooring

Good flooring is a necessity. Whether you are a cross-fit junkie dropping power cleans, a powerlifter dropping a heavy deadlift, or a cardio guy simply doing his crunches, a clean, safe floor is one of the most important investments you can make.

While many sporting goods stores advertise “foam exercise mats” (typically very expensive per square foot), the highest quality, most cost-effective flooring are horse trailer mats.

These mats are one of the best weightlifting equipment purchases you can make.

Horse trailer mats, such as Mat by Equine should be a staple in any home gym.

Horse trailer mats will keep your concrete floors undamaged and in pristine condition, and will provide years of durability from dropped weights, dropped kettlebells, and any other implement a home gym owner can think to drop.


Once your flooring is installed, the best weightlifting machine investment you are going to make for your home gym is a quality squat rack or safety cage.

Every single year a handful or lifters are killed and many more injured, doing a very basic exercise, that everyone does. The bench press.

The bench press is the single most dangerous exercise a home gym user can do. Chances are a home gym lifter is lifting alone without a spotter.

Body-Solid Commercial Power Rack has been a proven piece of equipment.

With 20 different adjustment levels, the safety catches can be lowered or raised to fit any body type. Adjustable pins will allow all lifters, short-arms, long-arms, the ability to have a solid, safe liftoff, and being able to have the peace of mind to — push it to the limit!

If you squat (which all of us should be doing), there is no better weightlifting equipment for home, than this Body Solid Pro Power Rack. With its wide, walk-in design, it’s deep enough to squat inside. Eliminating any need for a spotter, and keeping the user perfectly safe from the fear of failure.

Barbells and Curling Bars

You’re going to need barbells to stock your power cage or squat stand.

You obviously can’t sub in dumbbells because of their small size. If you want to intensify your game when it comes to squat lifts and power cleans, you’ll need a reliable dumbbell to help you reach your fitness goals.

There aren’t a lot of bells and whistles as far as barbells go.

At the very least, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting a solid barbell with coated weight plates that will be durable enough to stand the test of time.

For curling, you may want to get a different bar. Curling bars have grooves with grips that make them easier to safely hold and use.

Bends in the handles are designed to accommodate your hands, making it easier for you to maintain the proper form while you’re lifting.

Most of the time, curling bars are compatible with weight plates made for barbells by the same manufacturer.

They aren’t very expensive, and it’s worth the investment to have a bar that’s a little safer to use for certain exercises.

Our Recommendations:


Barbells and Curling Bars

Our Rating


US Weight Duracast Barbell Weight Setbuy-from-amazon-button
Gold Gym Barbell Weights Setbuy-from-amazon-button

The idea is to buy one, well-made versatile bar, that will fulfill all our needs.

CAP Barbell has been making high-quality weightlifting equipment for home and commercial gyms for over 25+ years. The 7 Foot, CAP Barbell Olympic Bar (with 1000-pound capacity) is the perfect home gym barbell.

This bar can be used for any type of lifter. The “whip” and “spin” is going to feel comfortable to both cross-fitters and Olympic style lifters.

And the “solid” feel is going to appeal to anyone looking to hit new personal records!

CAP Barbell also is the “go-to-choice” for high-quality bumper plates.

Even with horse trailer mats on our garage floors, the wife and kids (and the neighbors) aren’t going to be too happy with metal plates dropping on the floor all hours of the morning and night.

CAP bumper plates are the perfect addition to any home gym. They are quiet and can be dropped safely from any height.

These plates come in a variety of sizes. 10lb, 15lb, 25lb, 35lb and 45lb and can be purchased in pairs.

Something overlooked, but none the less important is fractional plates.

As lifters, our goal is always to make progress. To keep on pushing forward. Sometimes, though, it is impossible to make 5lb jumps every day. Standard equipment typically (on its lightest side) only lets you add 2.5lb plates to each side of a barbell.

Fractional plates, such as Serious Steel Fitness plates allow loading as small as one quarter pound weight to each side of the bar. A half-pound increase, and a more manageable lift.

Adjustable Dumbbells

In a word. Versatile. Since we are looking for the most bang for our buck (and our space), the addition of dumbbells to our home gym is crucial.

Never purchase individual preset dumbbells.

When you pay for each set individually, the costs add up to insurmountable numbers. Not only is it more expensive, but you’re creating a lot of clutter.

When you bring home 12 sets of dumbbells, you’ll need to find a place to store them.

Traditional plate dumbbells with threaded ends are better than individual barbells, but they’re still complicated to gather and store.

Purchasing newer style adjustable dumbbells gives you the best value for your money. Most of them are easy to change within the stand that they come with, and can be adjusted from anywhere between 2.5 to 50 pounds.

These offer a great value, superior versatility, and the best space saving solution. It doesn’t get much better than high-tech adjustable dumbbells to make your workout simple, safe, and easy.

Our Recommendations:


Adjustable Dumbbells

Our Rating


Power Block Adjustable SpeedBlock Dumbbellbuy-from-amazon-button
Unipack One Pair of Adjustable Dumbbellsbuy-from-amazon-button

Keep in mind: most commercial gyms provide a full dumbbell rack with an assortment of different sizes. However, the standard home gym size, just won’t allow for that. And this is why you have to look at adjustable options.

Next to the ones mentioned above, one of the best pairs around is the Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells.

This set combines 15 sets of weights into one dumbbell using its unique dial system. Each dumbbell can be set to 5, 7.5, 10, 12.5, 15, 17.5, 20, 22.5, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, and 52.5 pounds to give any user, exactly the weight combination needed for their favorite exercises.


One of the best ways to gain both strength and physical fitness in the shortest amount of time is the addition of kettlebell training, and adding kettlebells to our arsenal of weightlifting equipment for our home gym is extremely easy.

Here again, we can look no further than CAP Barbell.

Their high quality, cast iron kettlebells are perfect for our home gym. The diameter of the handle is perfect for almost any sized trainee.

Kettlebell swings, cleans, snatches, presses & squats – some of the very best exercises in existence, can all be performed safely and securely.

And the fact that they come in 10lb, 15lb, 20lb, 25lb, 30lb, 35lb, 40lb, 45lb, 50lb, 60lb, 70lb, 80lb sizes, means they are ideal for anyone from beginner to advanced, and since space is always at a premium in our home gym, you can just buy the sizes that you need.

Power Equipment

For those who are looking at building a serious home gym, this kind of equipment is a must-have!

Choosing to go this far is going to increase your expenses of your personal gym. But there is no doubt that the overall value of investment increases as well. It gives you a lot more opportunities to differentiate your workouts etc.

Squat Stands

Squad stands are a great piece of equipment for lifters, especially if they’re building a weightlifting gym in an area with limited space.

Squat stands are similar to power cages, but the range of motion is a little more limiting. Power cages have a squat stand already built in, but they take up a lot of vertical space. If you aren’t able to fit a power cage into your workout space, a squat stand is a perfect alternative.

Squat stands provide you with everything you need for low lifting exercises. They’re durable steel poles with safety spins, designed to support your barbells.

If you practice barbell squats without a stand, you pose the risk of dropping the weight and injuring yourself.

This is one investment you don’t want to skimp out on.

Our Recommendations:


Squat Stands

Our Rating


Valor Fitness BD-9 Power Squat Standbuy-from-amazon-button
CFF Squat Stands Gen 2 – 750 LB Capacitybuy-from-amazon-button

Power Cages

If you have space for one, a power cage is a vital piece of equipment.

It’s designed to do everything you could ever dream of doing, and some of them come with attachments and performance packs that drive up their value even further.

Power cages are durable, sturdy racks that you can work out inside of. They come with adjustable pegs for safety hooks, allowing you to place your barbells at whatever height is comfortable for you – high for high lifting, and low for squat lifting.

Many of them also support chin-ups and lateral pulls by allowing you to use their heavy-duty frames for an extended range of exercise.

Essentially, a power cage is an entire gym inside of a single steel frame.

Any barbell lifting you need to do, you’ll be able to do within this space. By adding a bench, you can increase their potential even further.


Power Cages

Our Rating


Valor Power Rack with Lat Pull Attachmentbuy-from-amazon-button
Marcy Olympic Strength Cage Systembuy-from-amazon-button
Cap Barbell Ultimate Power Cagebuy-from-amazon-button


In order to make the most out of your squat rack or power cage, you’ll need to add a lifting bench.

The bench can be used with the rack or cage for most exercises, and alone for other simple exercises such as simple rows and any lifting technique that requires the use of dumbbells.

This creates a double duty piece of functioning equipment. Instead of buying separate bench pressing equipment, you’ll be able to use what you already have with one simple addition.

It eliminates the need for an excess of workout equipment or machines. A bench is a necessary investment to help you maximize the productivity of your home gym.

Click here and Read more about best weight benches for your Home Gym 2019

Cardio Equipment


The next best weightlifting equipment for home is our cardio equipment. In a perfect world, of insane home gym storage space, we would want both an exercise bike, as well as an elliptical to make sure our “dreaded” cardio days are kept to a minimum, and that there are always a variety of things we can do.

The ProForm Hybrid Elliptical machine “ProForm Hybrid Trainer” is the best of both worlds (in a smaller footprint).

This machine has 14 different workouts, as well as 14 different resistance levels. A ridiculous amount of combinations can be set, and you’ll never have the same workout.

Also, for the “techies”. The ProForm Hybrid Elliptical can be connected to iFIT via BlueTooth and will allow you even to download workouts. You can even use Google Maps and take your workout anywhere in the world!

It also comes with a built-in table holder, freeing your hands to work even harder.


Another high-quality alternative to an Elliptical is a combination Rower/Bike. Exercise science increasingly tells us that rowing is one of the best full body movements we do for increased overall cardiovascular health.

The Avari Conversion II Rower/Bike combination is a perfect way to fit a rower (and a bike!) into our home gym. This machine is extremely quiet and extremely comfortable to use.

It has all the features one would expect from a cardio machine. Distance, speed, time, odometer, heart rate monitor and it keeps track of calories burned. It’s fully adjustable for all sizes, and it’s 46 x 26 x 10-inch footprint, means it’s virtually guaranteed to fit in any home gym.

Odds and Ends

Our home gym would be complete using the equipment described above.

But for those owners with a little more space, or for trainees looking for a little more variety, there are a number of highly useful “extra” pieces of exercise equipment that can be added to our home gym.

Resistance Bands

The addition of resistance bands to add variable assistance/resistance to any lift or body weight exercises makes resistance bands an almost necessity in any home gym.

Serious Steel Fitness makes some of the most durable bands on the planet.

Plyometric Boxes

“Plyo” boxes are perfect for box jumps, step-ups and can be safely added inside our power rack, to allow box squats. While these boxes can be home-made relatively easy, one of the best choices to make, to save time & money on supplies, is the 3 in 1 Wood Plyometric Box made by Rep Fitness.

Ab Wheel

Another piece of “core” weightlifting equipment for home, is the Ab Roller. One of the best values out there is the Fitness Master Ab Wheel Roller

The next step

The next step is all yours. Make the commitment to a better body and a better life. A home gym is one of the best investments you can make.

Hopefully, we’ve introduced you with some great weightlifting equipment reviews to get you started down the right path.

The best news about all of this equipment is that all of it is a one-time investment.

You’ll never have to pay for a gym membership or the transportation costs to get to and from your gym.

When you shop smart, it all pays for itself in the end. You can’t beat the value you get from a home weightlifting gym.