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5 Pieces of Equipment Worth Buying

You can accomplish quite a bit with bodyweight-only training, but there's no denying it has serious limitations for those of us who want to make long term strength progress. If you simply can't wait for your gym to re-open, or you've decided to start putting together a home gym, then this email is for you. There are a lot of pieces of kit you could buy, but the following 5 will provide you with everything you need. So in order of importance:

1. Barbell and Plates This isn't cheap, but it's also the most value you'll get for your money. A good lifting bar is going to cost north of €200, and potentially over €300. I know this seems like a lot, but a good bar could and should last 10 - 20 years, as long as you take proper care of it. Remember as well that the bar is the most versatile piece of equipment. You can squat, deadllift, bench, press, and row with it - and load these exercises indefinitely. As for the plates, these are less important. You still want to buy decent quality, but they should last a long while, unless you're doing snatches and cleans - in which case you'll want decent quality bumper plates. For everyone else though, regular iron plates will be fine. You may be able to get some second-hand ones for cheap, espescially as many gyms are likely to close for good soon.

2. Rack Having the barbell is great, but for squats and presses you're going to be limited to the max weight you can clean to your shoulders. Getting a rack will fix that and allow you to squat and press challenging weights. Again, the rack does not have to be state-of-the-art. I'm personally a fan of the portable rack (pictured below) as it's easy to set up. Power racks are great, but more expensive, more space demanding, and a huge pain to put together.

3. Gymnastic Rings Although I prefer a straight bar for pull-ups, the rings have the edge because of their versatility. The rings can be set up on anything sturdy, even a tree branch. They'll allow you to perform pull-ups, dips, and rows.

4. Dumbbell(s) Dumbbells are handy, but not great value for money. The problem is that just one pair of dumbbells can be quite expensive, and you will generally need at least 2-3 different weights in order to be able to do a decent range of exercises. However if you can afford them, they're a great piece of equipment, especially if you can't afford the bar. I would recommend getting 3 weights - one that's taxing for lower body exercises like squats, one that's taxing for upper body exercises like presses and rows, and one much lighter pair that can be used for shoulder exercises (reverse flies, lateral raises etc.) - although if you already have 1.25kg/2.5kg weight plates then this 3rd pair of dumbbells isn't essential.

5. Bench I'd have the bench further up the list except it's quite expensive for what it allows you to do, which is mostly just the bench press. Having said that, the bench press is an important exercise as it's the only horizontal pushing exercise we can progress for long periods of time. If you have cash to spare, I do think it's worth trying to get a competition bench, as I truly believe it saves your shoulders by allowing you to keep them retracted much easier than on a bad quality bench. But if you're on a tighter budget, just buy whatever looks sturdy and you can afford.

Recommended Retailers D8 Fitness Strength Shop Irish Lifting Rogue Europe Elite FTS Many of these retailers are now selling 'home gym' packages at a reduced rate, so go for those if you plan on picking up a few pieces of kit. Bear in mind that stock is likely to be limited at the current time due to demand. In Strength, Cill

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