The hit to the fitness industry in 2020 was unlike anything that had happened before. Powerlifters and bodybuilders who were stepping into the weight room six days a week now found themselves without a gym. As a response, many turned to building their own powerlifting home gym.
Do you have extra space in your home? Want to use that space to continue your pursuit of new personal bests? Let’s talk about what powerlifting equipment you’ll need to effectively perform workouts at home.
Powerlifting at Home: Is It Possible?
From the deadlifts to the bench presses, you might be wondering whether it’s even possible to perform a powerlifting workout at home. The short answer is, “Yes… as long as you have the space.”
While you don’t need an entire open basement or garage – although these are perfect lifting areas – you do need enough space to fit most of the following equipment.
Equipment for a Powerlifting Home Gym
While not an exhaustive list, the following pieces of powerlifting equipment are going to be more than enough to perform your workouts at home.
This is the bread and butter of your powerlifting workouts. Depending on your budget and the amount of space you have in your home, you have several options:
Power Rack: Also called a squat cage or squat rack, this is top of the line squat rack. It is supported on all four sides, ensuring safety and stability. If possible, this would be the type of squat rack we recommend.
Half Rack: Think of a power rack but cut in half. It still provides plenty of support, but instead of performing the squat inside of the cage, you’ll perform it on the outside. A lot of people prefer this as it allows you to rack the bar on the traps and step back according to your comfort level.
Squat Stand: Ideal for the space-saving shopper, a squat stand is easy to install and easier to store. It has a wide base for stability without the extended frame that you’ll find with a power rack or half rack. A squat stand is great if you don’t have a lot of space to dedicate to a powerlifting gym at home.
Combo Rack: This provides the most bang for your buck. It also saves a good amount of space. A combo rack is usually a bench with a squat rack across the back. This is ideal if you have an apartment or a small room in your home.
The good news about buying a bench is that, depending on the squat rack you get, you probably won’t need a bench press rack. Many squat racks are designed to incorporate the bench press exercise.
That means you’ll need to focus on finding a high-quality bench.
We highly recommend getting a bench that you can adjust into a decline, flat, and incline setting. A flat bench is okay, but you’ll want to spend the extra money on something that will allow you to target your chest from three different angles.
Since your goal is to bench press as much as you safely can, a wide base is a given. Go with a bench that has the extended base as this will provide extra support should you sway a bit while setting a new personal best.
Finally, verify the weight limit. If you’re pushing 400 pounds and the weight limit is 500 pounds, you’re asking for trouble. Find a bench that is specially designed for powerlifters like you.
Barbell with Weight Plates
Once you decide on a solid squat rack and bench, you’ll need a barbell and weight plates.
A traditional Olympic barbell is an obvious choice. If you want to splurge a bit, you can buy a second barbell that is thicker than your traditional barbell. Thick bar training can dramatically increase your grip strength.
When buying weight plates, keep in mind your flooring. If you are building a powerlifting home gym inside of a garage or basement, solid iron plates are probably acceptable. But if you have delicate flooring, go with the rubber coated plates.
Deadlifting Platform or Heavy-Duty Floor Mats
When you’re attempting a new personal best, there is no such thing as gently placing the barbell back down. With that in mind, you’ll want to save your floor and weight plates from taking a beating during deadlifting workouts.
If you have the cash flow and the space, we highly recommend a professional deadlifting platform. These things will make a world of difference. But a close second option would be to purchase heavy-duty floor mats.
If you purchase the floor mats, you should consider using an iron wedge for loading and unloading. The iron wedge makes the process a lot easier and reduces your risk of a weight slipping.
Now that you’re set with the foundational powerlifting equipment, let’s talk about gear that will make a huge difference in your workouts.
If you want to get serious about moving more weight, a powerlifting belt isn’t a suggestion, it’s a requirement.
A powerlifting belt is a necessity for deadlifts. The belt provides a stable area for the abdominal muscles to push on to ensure stability during the exercise.
Wrist Wraps and Lifting Straps
Long-time lifters know only too well how powerlifting can take a toll on the wrists. Whether your wrists have taken a beating, or you just want to avoid any issues down the road, wrist straps and lifting straps can help.
Wrist straps stabilize the wrist and protect it from awkward angles or movements. Lifting straps kick in when your grip fails, which is normal when you’re shooting for a new personal best.
We recommend getting a wrist strap and lifting strap combo. They tend to be higher quality, more cost effective, and convenient.