There are many reasons to love going to a public gym, but for introverts and germophobes, there are plenty of reasons to hate them as well. Just imagine awkwardly waiting for someone to finish their reps, or seeing someone’s sweat left behind a bench – it’s pretty much a nightmare.
Or you may be a workaholic who doesn’t have time to hit the gym. If you happen to have spare space around the house, consider setting up a home gym so you can work out even in the middle of the night. But before doing so, you may want to hear from 16 Singaporeans who customised their own home gym and find out what are the best equipment to get for yourself.
1. Squat combo rack
Image credit: @tfthishouse
“My best gym buy would be the squat combo rack from Taobao. The price was reasonable as it’s versatile, comes with a pin-loaded cable machine and has the ability to add the weights to the rack directly. The only headache was the process of assembling it. It took me roughly 4-5 hours to get everything assembled.
Other items such as the assault bike or barbells are share-worthy too, but without the rack, it wouldn’t be much of a home gym!”
Ee Loong & Farrah
2. Barbells and plates
Image credit: Rogue Fitness
“The best gym equipment would be barbells as I do weightlifting. A lot of cheap(er) gyms don’t allow people to drop weights, don’t have equipment for weightlifting, or lack women’s bars. Men’s bars are heavier and thicker, which is not good for my small hands.
I have bought gym equipment from China, from brands such as Luxiaojun Barbell and Zhangkong (ZKC). ZKC is more established and they supply equipment for the Olympics. Luxiaojun is a newer company, but their equipment is decent and less expensive.
But for starters, I recommend buying from a Singaporean merchant and paying a bit more, because at least the Singaporean seller will have done some kind of quality control. If you want really good products, there are a lot of brands from the US. Rogue Fitness is the most prominent one.
Also, Chinese barbells tend to be chrome-coated and these tend to rust in Singapore’s humid climate. Hence, I changed my chrome-coated barbell from Luxiaojun to a stainless steel one from Rogue Fitness recently. The rusting drove me crazy and once it rusts, it’s challenging to control. And in a home gym, you don’t want all these rust particles to be flying around in an enclosed space.
I’m also careful not to drop my bar in case my neighbours complain, but my floor is protected with good rubber mats.”
3. Portable weights
Image credit: @7munbin
“I would say the best equipment would be portable weights as they are suitable for both men and women. Plus, it’s compact enough for an HDB room!”
“Honestly, I’d say a pair of dumbbells that are interchangeable in weight would be best. You can practically do most exercises with dumbbells to target the muscles. It wouldn’t be the most comfortable, but it gets the job done. And since we’re talking about HDBs, space is a priority and dumbbells don’t take up as much space as a half rack or a bench.”
“I have 16kg, 24kg, and 32kg kettlebells at home. I use them on alternate days when I’m not running. As opposed to having a bench and an assortment of dumbbells and plates in different weights, 3 kettlebells don’t take up much space at all.
They’re quite versatile and you can do quite a bit with them. Swings are its bread and butter. Other movements that I like doing with a kettlebell are Turkish get-ups, snatch, clean and goblet squats.”
u/6Hee9 on Reddit
Image credit: Decathlon
“I’d say get a good bench on top of getting weights! At the gym, we’re all taking turns using benches. Combined with weights, the different number of workouts you’d get from a bench is a lot. Bench press for chest, Bulgarian split squat for legs, and seated shoulder press, to name a few.”
5. Full functional trainer
“We initially wanted the full functional trainer but it was too big for our space, so we got the almost full functional trainer which includes a Smith machine, lat pulldown, a space for T-row, and bottom cable for glutes kickback, and more. We also got a 3-tier dumbbell rack, which has weights for 1kg to 20kg, an Olympic bar, and plates.
I think the best kind of gym equipment varies with what you train for, but if you have space constraints, dumbbells are good enough! You can do a lot with it.”
6. Resistance bands
“In my opinion, you can’t go wrong with resistance bands. I got mine from Decathlon. These are great for warm-ups, rigorous exercises, and cool-downs. It is also perfect for the whole family as it isn’t too tough or complicated for the elderly or children to use.
Resistance bands tone my body and help me get a better figure. With the addition of a yoga mat, you can stretch and exercise away. It is quiet, so you don’t have to worry about neighbours complaining. It is also versatile, and you can use resistance bands together with a pull-up bar or with other equipment.”
Image credit: @melkinsports
“My best gym buy was a treadmill. I have been asked why I bought one when you can run outside, but it lets me control my pace and the incline, and I don’t have to worry about the weather or having to find a toilet!
By the way, I use thick mats under the treadmill to eliminate the noise and so far, no one has been complaining. I think it’s also considerate that I don’t run at odd hours and disturb everyone.”
“I love my treadmill to death; I run on it every day. My treadmill is the AIBI EZ Tone Desk and I got it from Shopee. I used to run without a routine, but the treadmill helps me to stick to one and be consistent in keeping fit and healthy. I recommend getting one that is quiet and making sure that you have a space with a power plug nearby for the treadmill.”
8. Punching bag
Image credit: Decathlon
“I used to train as a boxer, so buying a punching bag was the best investment I have ever made. I have multiple punching bags from Punching Bag and Home Fitness. But I think the ones from Decathlon also work fine. I find that it is quite space-saving and sturdy, which is good for HDBs with small spaces. With some good boxing gloves and pads, I can kick and punch and get my daily exercise done.
I also teach my wife, and sometimes when my wife is stressed or frustrated, I will encourage her to vent her frustrations on the punching bag instead of me. So other than getting good exercise, it’s a good stress reliever.”
9. Pull-up bar/station
Image credit: Decathlon
“I like to rely on my trusty pull-up bar for some light exercise. On days when I want to train harder, I will do weighted pull-ups.
I think getting a pull-up bar is essential especially if you are a beginner, or if you don’t have a lot of space to work with. You can simply attach the pull-up bar between walls or doorways, and start working out.”
Image credit: owenkho
“A pull-up station is important. Not only is it affordable, but it is also easy to maintain and clean. Having this will help you strengthen your back and shoulder muscles, and increase grip strength too. I think this is a good investment for something that is on the cheaper side of gym equipment, so get this if you’re on a budget. Mine’s from Shopee; I got it after my friend recommended it to me.”
10. Suspension trainers
“I think getting suspension trainers is the best, especially if you don’t have space to buy an entire power rack. With my suspension trainers, I can work on my strength, agility, and flexibility. It’s great for women who don’t want to be so jacked, yet get enough exercise for lean muscles!
Don’t belittle suspension trainers – you can get sweating and sore from working out with them. Otherwise, it’s great to cool down with. The best part about them is that they don’t take up a lot of space, so I recommend them to those who have little space but want to do a lot of exercise. I bought mine from Gymsportz, which is on the pricier side, but I think you can still find suspension trainers elsewhere for cheaper. ”
11. Foldable Power Rack
Image credit: All About Jake and Emma
“We think that the best gym equipment to have in an HDB is a space-saving, foldable power rack. We bought the ForceUSA Versarack XL from homegym.sg. It can be set up in minutes and can be stowed away quickly, which is great for a small home gym layout. It is also versatile and you can add different attachments and customise it according to your needs.”
Jake & Emma
The best gym equipment for a home gym
Gym equipment isn’t something that is one size fits all. Perhaps the best part about a home gym is that it is completely customisable. However, make sure to be considerate of your neighbours.
“Ensure your home gym has the appropriate flooring and/or gym mats installed. This is so that you minimise the noise and impact of your weights hitting the ground when training at home,” our respondent Catherine advised.
It isn’t hard to start a home gym, based on the advice and anecdotes from our 16 Singaporean respondents. So get out there, pick up an equipment or two, and start working on those gainz.
Some names have been changed and responses have been edited for clarity and length.
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