As we move into part three of the Ultimate Guide To Building The Perfect Garage Gym, we’ll be looking at some complimentary accessories that make for an even better training experience. While the first two parts (part 1, part 2) looked at the necessities, these accessories will put you in the right mindset and get you pumped up and ready to go to town with your training regimen.
Lets take a look at some of those accessories and why they should be a part of your gym.
Using bands will help you implement workouts into your routine when you don’t want to use dumbbells, barbells or weights. Bands are a great form of resistance training that can work a variety of different muscle areas.
You can perform an overhead squat with the bands to work on your leg and hip strength. You perform an overhead squat the same way you would a regular squat, except with the bands stretched above your head with your arms stretch above you.
Another option would be to do a push press. The push press exercise with bands will really help you get better with your clean and jerk exercises that you’ll have to do from CrossFit.
You can also use resistance bands for resisted running exercises. By attaching a bands to your body and then having someone hold you back, you will be able to work on your ability to explode into a run formation, while also building your leg muscles and perfecting your form.
Resistance bands can also help you work on exercises you may be having a hard time perfecting. For example, if you are doing dips or pull ups, put a resistance band beneath you to help lift your body weight so you can get the full benefits of the entire motion.
Bands should certainly be a part of your gym as a necessary accessory. They will provide you with plenty of benefits and helps with your regular exercises, which make them a valuable part of any garage gym.
Adding chains to your workouts is a great way to enhance your acceleration in a lift. For those unaware, the science behind using chains works a little something as follows. When you lift a weight with chains, lets say a barbell, it is extremely heavy as you have to account for the weight of the chains and in-balances. But then as you begin to relax the weight and bring it back into its set position, the chains coil up on the ground and it feels as if there is less weight. Adding chains to a certain workout can add anywhere from 10-50lbs per lift, depending on the size of the chains.
Training chains can be added to any type of exercise. Adding them to a bench press works great, but so does adding it to your squats as well. You’ll want to be careful when adding chains to exercises like cleans or snatches, as they may start flying all over the place and could be a bit dangerous. However, you can rest assured knowing that the chain additions to your more stationary exercises like squats, bench and other exercises will certainly help in the more active movements and exercises.
Plus, having cold, steel, clanking chains in your garage gym looks pretty sweet as well.
Part of being a serious athlete is the gains that you walk away with after a bunch of hard training. Sure, we all hope that this typically refers to big arms, legs and a defined chest and abs, but there are other ‘trophies’ that you’ll get along the way as well. If you haven’t guessed it, we’re talking about the blisters and bruises you are certain to get on your hands when training.
There is little you can do to avoid getting blisters. When you are doing exercises like snatches or cleans and jerks, the way that the barbell rotates in your hand is almost certain to tear apart your palms. For the most part, this is a welcome addition to the body of most serious athletes. However, these blisters and cuts can make it somewhat uncomfortable when it comes to your future lifts.
This is where chalk comes in handy. Chalk will absorb sweat in your hand, which will in turn give you a better grip on a barbell or dumbbell. This also will allow you for better forearm development, which will help you increase the overall amount of weight that you can lift, as well as the form that you have during the lift.
When it comes to chalk, you have a few different options. You can keep a chalk bar, which looks a lot like a bar of soap, that you scrub on your palms and calluses that you may already have. The other option is to have a bucket of already shredded chalk that you can grab a handful of each time you go in for an exercise.
Both options will work and have the same results. The only downside to chalk is that it might get all over your gym. I mean, if your looking for the ultimate garage gym, having a bit of chalk on the floor won’t matter. But if you want to keep things a bit tidy, you might have to keep a vacuum within range for the occasional cleaning.
An alternative to chalk is the use of support straps. These straps wrap around your wrist and then you can attach them to a dumbbell or barbell by wrapping the excess around the bar itself. Straps allow you to get a really good hold on the weight, which will then typically allow you to lift more weight as well.
The only downside about straps could be the fact that they allow your forearms to not be as stressed and instead more relaxed. Why this isn’t a terrible thing, it can become an issue when you go to train without having your straps. You may be inclined to try and lift the same amount of weight as before, but it’s unlikely you’ll be able to do so without the proper forearm development. This could lead to injury, so just play it safe and heed this warning before doing so.
All that aside, adding straps when doing exercises like deadlifts, shrugs, and even some biceps and triceps exercises will allow you to add more weights to your lifts. The best idea might be to rotate between straps and chalk, or have certain exercises that you use with one, and different exercise that you use for the other.
Whether you have ever been injured in your knee or elbow, wearing protective sleeves can have their benefits for these particular parts of your body. Sleeves support your knee and add stability to the area. They also can keep your joint, and the muscle around the joint, warm when doing a particular exercises. For those that have ever had an injury to a join that affects your sports performance, you can understand how frustrating this is. For some, it may result in you being sidelined for many months where you can’t train at all. For others, the ‘lucky’ ones, they may have to seriously cut back in how hard they train, which can feel like being on a leash that doesn’t allow you to properly push yourself. Either way, once you are given the okay to start lifting again, there is no way you’ll be where you were before the injury, and it’ll be a long road to recovery and getting back to those gains. Luckily for you, join support sleeves will help you get back on that road.
Knee sleeves should be worn when you are doing exercises like squats or other movements where you are doing serious movements that require you to bend the knees and get into a low stance. Knee sleeves will keep your ACL and MCL lined up with the kneecap, and therefore it will add to the stability of the lift. Another benefit of knee sleeves is that they may limit the amount of soreness you have after a workout. Considering the support that the sleeves give, you will have more proper muscle training, which will lead to a more efficient workout that doesn’t leave you looking for a wheelchair the days following leg day.
Another option for your joins is the use of elbow sleeves. Elbow sleeves can help with injuries to the biceps or triceps, but as well as minor issues that bug you, such as tendentious. Just as with knee sleeves that are worn during leg exercises, you can wear elbow sleeves when you are doing any type of upper body workout. They will keep your ligaments and muscles lined up, as well as keep your elbow warm.
Those who have ever experienced an injury to the knee or elbow should seriously consider having sleeves within reach in their garage gym. And for those who haven’t been injured, keep in mind that having these could protect you from sustaining an injury that could put you on the shelf for a considerable amount of time.
Clock And Stopwatch
As wonderful of a life it would be, we can’t spend all of our waking hours in the gym throwing weight around and getting bigger, faster and stronger. Instead, there is an outside world that usually consists of work and a personal life. That’s why it is important to have a clock in your gym that tells you what time it is. However, a clock can also give you an idea of how long it’s taken you to do a specific set of a particular exercise. This can come in very handy in high-callisthenic exercises where you need to keep your heart rate up and minimize the amount of time between resting. Lastly, there are a few great functional clocks out there that can also time your workouts, so that you can keep a log of this information for future reference. This will allow you to make your workouts even more detailed than ever before.
Along with a clock, you should also consider a stopwatch or other machine that can keep precise times of up to one one-thousandth of a second. When it comes to speed training or preparing for an obstacle course, every second counts. Therefore, a clock that digitally displays the time on the wall can only be so useful. Instead, a stopwatch that will keep more detailed accounts that can help you when it comes to improving your time and getting faster with each time you run the course or do a specific workout.
Having a clock and a stopwatch in your garage gym will help you organize your workouts like never before. You can keep organized and detailed records of every exercise that you run and how long it takes to accomplish each. As well as make sure that your workouts are only taking a reasonable time and that you get out in time to shower for work.
Use your Smart phone or Go to your local store grab yourself a stop watch ASAP.
It’s happened to us all. We’re halfway through our workout and we come across an exercise that we may not like, but we know how good it is for us. What do you do? You reach for your MP3 player and turn on the “it’s go time” playlist. Your favorite song starts blaring through the headphones and you feel like you can literally life anything that is put in front of you.
Well when you have a garage gym, forget the headphones, it’s time to wire the music system throughout your entire garage. You can put some Bluetooth speakers in each corner of the gym and hook it up to your MP3 player that already has your favorite playlist on it. Now you can make sure that you always have music pumping that gets you up and ready for the next set that you know you have to get out of the way.
Another option is to add a television to your garage gym. However, adding a TV isn’t quite like it would be for a gym with treadmills or an elliptical machine. Instead, a garage gym is going to be hard core with a ton of weight thrown around. You should be working so intensively, that you don’t have time to stop and watch the morning news in between sets. However, we know how important it is to catch up on last night sports scores or today’s weather, so adding a TV to your garage gym is completely understandable. As long as it doesn’t become a distraction.
You know what music you like, turn up the Volume and ROCK ON!!
Each day you should have your WOD written down on your white board in your garage gym. This is effective for a few different reasons. First of all, it lets you see what you’ve accomplished and what you have left for your daily workout. But second, it also lets you keep track of your lifts and how much you’ve improved since the last time you did a specific exercise. The larger a white board is, the more detailed information you can keep track of from previous weeks.
Another idea is to get white board paint, which lets you turn an entire wall, or walls, of your garage gym into a white board. Not only will this allow you to put your WOD and totals on the board, but you can also write motivational messages to surround yourself with each time you hit the weights.
When you have your own garage gym, there isn’t the same necessity to rack your weights like it would be at a fitness club. However, you want to keep your gym safe and pleasing to the eye. As hardcore as you may want your gym to look, you probably also want it to look appealing and impress people with how beautiful it looks. Therefore, it is important that you keep everything organized.
You should obviously have racks for your bumpers and depending on the type of dumbbells you decide to go with, you should also have a set place for those as well. Also, put your chains and resistance bands in a specific area or in a storage unit where they will be out of place.
Having storage for your garage gym doesn’t mean you have to clean up after yourself each and every day. But it does mean that you can keep things organized when you finish your workout a few minutes early and want to spruce things up for visitors to come and check out. It’s better to remember to make room for storage, rather than to not account for it and wish you had it.
Foam rollers can be extremely helpful when it comes to massaging your muscles and loosing things up before a hard workout.
Foam rollers have become all the rage as of late in a variety of different athletic circles, so obviously there is something to be said about how effective they are.
Be sure that you have a few foam rollers around in your gym so that you can roll around and get the kinks out of your body.
These are some of the most important training accessories that any garage gym should have. Sure, you don’t have to run out and grab everything right away. But if you want to start rounding out your gym and having things that you may find useful, be sure to consider adding these elements over time.
Some will give you an alternative to your exercises, others will keep you safe and others will just help you prepare mentally for your workout. But all of them piece together to make up the finishing touches on the ultimate garage gym.
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