I've always had my own weightlifting equipment. I like the convenience of walking outside first thing in the morning and getting my workout in.
I've had a variety of personal weightlifting equipment over the years, but this is what I use currently for my home gym:
- Doeplex Adjustable Rack - I use this to squat and bench
- Adidas Performance Flat Bench - for benching
- Body Solid Olympic Bar (7 Ft) - for most exercises
- Titan Olympic EZ Curl Bar - for your curls, extensions, etc.
- Olympic Weight Plates ranging from 2.5lbs to 45lbs - I bought mine off of people and Walmart
This equipment is reliable up until you get your strength levels at a high intermediate or advanced level.
I personally like having my own equipment because I'm a huge fan of convenience and ownership.
But when I started going to a real gym, I fell in love with equipment that was presented to me.
I would find myself doing at least double the work I would do than when I would lift with my home equipment.
Should you lift in a home gym or a real gym?
I'll be completely honest - there is a lot more potential benefit to be had by going to a real gym.
There are plenty of machines and equipment that let you do additional supplemental exercises that you probably wouldn't be able to do at home.
And if you have a good gym, you can have access to a sauna, personal training, classes, among other things.
However, if you're unable to afford a long-term membership or you have social anxiety, then you will be absolutely fine working with a home gym.
I recommend that you have the equipment to do your basic compound movements at the very least.
This means your squats, bench press, rows, and deadlift. You can make muscle gains doing these exercises.
However, I also recommend a curl bar and a pull-up bar to help you perform supplemental exercises for variety.
Like I've mentioned before, a home gym is fantastic for its convenience and ownership.
But chances are, you'll be lacking the means to perform additional exercises.
You will be limiting your workout potential.
And while getting a gym membership is a great idea, it's only worth paying for if you're actually going to use it.
If you're only going to the gym once or twice a week, you may be better off having your own equipment at home for ease of access.