The Essential Gym Equipment

If you want to improve your movement capabilities, is there gym equipment that can help you?

If moving better is important to you, you’ve probably wondered what gym equipment would best help me reach that goal?

Gym equipment is endless and often gimmicky, so what would the essentials be to get me to where I want to go?

Fortunately, you can improve your movement capabilities without much equipment. Being able to position your body with many of the coaching tactics we discussed is the #majorkey

That said, there are some equipment pieces that make coaching WAY EASIER.

And I’ll tier this for you fine folks based on your budget 🙂 

If you are just building a home gym or beefing up your current gym, then check out Movement Debrief Episode 138 below!

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and the audio version:  

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The best exercise equipment to get

Question: Would love to see a video on the best equipment for building a performance/rehab gym in regards to the model you use. Even the brands/model  ….safety bar, ramps, hex bar, etc.

Answer: To improve movement options, you don’t really need a whole lot of equipment. You just have to ensure that you can challenge your body to get into positions it normally struggles with. The hope is then that you are crushing life once that happens.

That said, the right piece of equipment can help quite a bit at enhancing both your movement and fitness.

Here is a list of stuff I would look into, depending on what your budget is:

The home gym essentials

Heel Ramp – These are essential to improving your squat depth, which is a critical motion to improve your movement options throughout the body. A heel ramp makes it easier to vertically displace the pelvis. I like the one that my boy Levi Kirkpatrick makes get large. Olympic lifting shoes can also be an alternative, to which The Nike Romaleos are the best. If you want to save some buck, use books

PVC pipe – These are useful to do supported lower body activities and can incorporate rotation through the trunk. Dowel rods work great as well.

Kettlebells – These are quite versatile and offer way more loading options than dumbbells. They are much easier to hold for squats as well.

Power blocks – These are adjustable dumbbells that can save you space.

Superbands – these are great bands that provide versatility in loading for pulldowns and chops.

Cook bands – These bands are great for jumping, chops and lifts, unloading exercises. They rock!

Airex pads – These make any kneeling or inversion-based activities go WAY better.

BFR cuffs – These can help provide a great training effect at a fraction of the workload. My favorite brands are Occlusion Cuff, Edge, and Owens Recovery Science.

Weighted vest – When you get too strong for bodyweight stuff, this is a must.

Wooden plyo box – I love these for step-ups and more!

Gym equipment for a bigger space and a larger budget

Adjustable bench – Having decline capabilities is a must, as the slight inversion is great for improving your movement options.

Trap bar – A must. It’s a great middle-ground between a squat and hinge.

Power rack – If you are going to be lifting heavy weights, this is a must. If you get a retractable wall mount version, it’ll save you space.

DC blocks – These are useful for adjusting the height of your pulls but are also great for grading step-ups, jumps, and everything.

Barbells – A classic to get jacked.

Slideboard – A great piece of equipment for improving frontal plane mobility, pronation, and gives you tons of variety. You can do hamstring curls, body saws, the possibilities are endless.

Sled – Use for pushes, drags, pulls, all types of awesome stuff.

TRX – The amount of variety you can get to do with bodyweight stuff is endless with this piece of equipment.

Plyo boxes – You want something with a hard surface to land on and is adjustable. If you are doing any jumping, this is a must.

Mini hurdles – Once you’ve nailed box jumps, hurdle jumps are the next logical progression.

Adjustable cable system – You want something that you can move in multiple directions.

Glute ham raise – Great for nordic hamstrings and side hangs.

Specialty bars – I don’t use often because you can accomplish most things with the regular stuff. If I had my choice, the spider bar, safety bar, and neutral press bar would be my top choices. The transformer bar also sounds appealing but I haven’t played with it.

Raptor – Great for resisted sprints, backpedals, and more. The best part is your hands can stay free and move!

The best cardio machines that also improve your movement

assault bike – I love it because you can alternate pushing, pulling, and rotation!

Elliptical – Another great way to drive rotation.

Versaclimber – One of the best options to drive frontal plane conditioning. Your ribcage is going to be opened up like cray cray.

Jacobs ladder – Resisted crawling for conditioning? Drivinng all types of thorax rotation? I’m sold.

Treadmill – Although the free-running treadmills are dope, I like the classic ones to drive high incline walks and to run on when they are turned off.

If you got the money and space

Buy machines. Straight bodybuilder stuff. I love these for the following populations: geriatrics, obese, deconditioned, post-surgical, and variety with peeps who do a lot of free weight work. It’s just fun.


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