I started CrossFit about three years ago and I set up a Crossfit home gym in a spare bedroom we have because I always seemed to miss a workout session at my gym. I wanted to be able to do at least 95% of what I did at the gym at home. Six months into this, it’s proven to be a great setup, and I think it would really benefit anyone who is just trying to stay fit at home. I attend Centric Athletics, and at the moment, because of the Coronavirus, we are closed. Like all of us, I needed a solid way of staying fit at home right now.
Place, Routine, and Simplicity are My Friends
Let’s face it, getting motivated to work out is hard, even on a good day. If you don’t have a place to go to, it’s a lot harder to get motivated, and motivation is everything. For me, when I walk into my workout room, I feel at home and ready to work. Here is my set up…
Rogue Monster Lite Rack
My favorite piece of equipment is the Rogue Monster Lite Rack. It allows me to do every Olympic lift, including front squats, back squats, deadlifts, strict press, and bench press. I can do pull-ups and toes-to-bar which are included in many CrossFit WODs (Workouts of the Day). I have a standard set of weights that include two 45-pound plates, two 35s, two 25s, two 15s, two 10s, two 5s, and two 2.5s.
While I feel comfortable doing all the lifts, I videotape myself on the more technical lifts like the deadlift, clean and jerk, and snatch. These are complicated movements and I don’t have the benefit of having a coach critique me during the pandemic, so video is the next best way to improve technique.
My kids got me a step box and I love it. Cross-fitters love jumping on boxes and this box gives me three different sizes to choose from – all the way up to 30 inches. If I miss a jump on a wood box, I am going to rake my shins – or worse. This box is firm enough to be stable, but soft enough on the edges not to injury me if I miss.
Concept 2 Rower
The Concept 2 Rower is a fantastic piece of equipment for cardio. It doesn’t take up a lot of room and it’s used in a lot of CrossFit WODs. It works your abs, your lats, your legs, and works great for interval training. I use a heart monitor that wirelessly connects to the unit and displays my heart rate in real-time.
Here are the details the equipment in my CrossFit home gym:
Typically, I do a CrossFit style warm-up, executing a list of 15 exercises to get my heart rate up, stretch, and activate all of the major muscle groups. I change up the warm-up now and then, but for the most part, it stays fixed. Next, I do strength training. Each day I do one lift. On some days I may do two lifts targeting different muscle groups. For example, I may pair a bench press with a front squat or pair a back squat with the strict press. I follow a periodization program with a 4-week cycle.
The table below shows my current plan. I test my one-rep-max on each lift every four to six months, then plug the numbers into the spreadsheet that calculates what my lifts should be for each week in the next cycle. As you can see, I am not a world-class weight lifter, just an average guy who is trying to get better all the time. :)
The Smart WOD App is Awesome
After the strength portion of the workout, I do a WOD (Workout of the Day). Yesterday, for example, I did bench press and my WOD was 10,000 meters on the rower. For most WODs, I use an app called SmartWOD. When you initially set up SmartWOD, it asks you for a list of your equipment, then serves up workouts that only utilize what you have. If you have no equipment, it will still serve up bodyweight exercises.
I tend to click through the app until I find something where I say to myself, “Okay, that’s going to be challenging, but I can do that.” The app takes all of the guesswork out of programming and gives me nearly infinite variety in my workouts. While we all need the power of routine, we need to build in a little variety to keep things fresh and motivating.
I write my workout on the whiteboard and take a picture of it so I can review my progress over time. I tag my workouts in Google Photos for posterity.
Fight the Old!
Everyone needs motivation in the gym. The motivational statement that works for me is, “Fight the old.” I’m not getting any younger, but I’m not going to sit on the couch and binge watch Netflix while “The Old” creeps up and devours me. I’m going to fight it all the way until the grave.
If you hope to get into shape or you’ve been going to the gym, it’s extremely helpful to have a dedicated workout space in your own house. You can do this in a garage or in an extra bedroom. It doesn’t take much space. My CrossFit home gym cost about $3,000 for all the gear. It’s not a lot of money when I consider that I’ll be using it nearly every day for the rest of my life.