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The Athlete’s Home Gym

by Brett Klika

I am asked quite a bit, from parents and athletes from across the nation, “I’m going to buy some workout equipment for the house, what should I get?”  Quite often my response is much simpler and less expensive than the asker expected. My criteria for at-home equipment are as follows:

It must allow for progression
Equipment must be able to increase in resistance and difficulty as the user gets more proficient.

Allow for many different uses
At-home equipment should be versatile since space and money is usually a concern.  You don’t want to have to spend the money and use the space for numerous pieces of equipment.

Provide tested results!!!!!
Anything I recommend for home, I have used in my programs and have seen measured results.  A lot of “gimmicky” home systems sound good in theory, but thousands of dollars later, they become glorified clothes hangers.

Body Weight
The simple fact is the best piece of workout equipment we have is our own body.  Any athlete should be able to do push-ups, sit-ups, body weight squats, lunges, pull-ups, bear crawls, crab walks, etc, in addition to balance and joint integrity exercises.  Most true speed drills involve proper running technique and movement training that requires no equipment at all.  If athletes were to work on a couple of drills every day to utilize their hips and arms better, they would become significantly faster without having to buy any equipment.  Body weight drills allow athletes and individuals to develop proper posture, movement mechanics, and technique without all kinds of other implements to worry about.  These body weight skills should be executed perfectly before buying other equipment.  Adding extra resistance to bad or improper movement patterns just makes them worse.  A door jam pull-up bar or the TRX system, ( are great pieces of equipment that utilize bodyweight as resistance.

The SPRI Superband
After body weight, I recommend buying a SPRI Superband, 1 to 1.5 inch thick.  These are the single most versatile pieces of equipment I have ever used.  These Superbands cost about $35-$40 a piece,  and there are endless drills that can be done with them for strength, power, flexibility, and speed.  I use Superbands with beginners and professional athletes to assist if they are unable to do bodyweight exercises, as well as challenge them beyond what any other weight room tools are able to do.

Dumbells or Power Blocks
Dumbbells are a versatile, cost efficient, adaptable, and progressive piece of equipment as well.  I recommend getting the “Personal Power Blocks” (look for them in Sports Mart and other equipment retailers).   This particular model of dumbbell can interchange from 5-50 pounds by turning a dial.  This allows for the athlete to progress as they get stronger.  Dumbbells add extra resistance to body weight exercises and can be used for many multi-planar and linear exercises.

All of the above mentioned equipment totals under about $500 and will provide nearly everything you will need in an athletic performance program.  If you are able to spend more money, the Gravity Training System by EFI’ (, is my favorite at home training machine.  I like it because it’s simple, uses bodyweight, and it allows for a lot of variation and progression.  If you live in an extreme weather climate, get a treadmill.  You can do a variety of conditioning and speed drills with a treadmill when the weather is too extreme outside.  If you live in a moderate-weather climate, I tend to say don’t waste the money on a treadmill.  Fact is, if you are able to run outside, and you don’t, you’re probably not going to run on an indoor hamster wheel.  Enjoy the great outdoors!

Aside from the Keiser air equipment, barbells, and a few other weight room staples, the above equipment is nearly all I use at our 8,000 square foot training facility full of nearly every piece of equipment known to man.  I have found these pieces to be the safest and most effective in regards to helping my clients, from beginners to professionals, attain their goals. Med balls, Swiss balls, balance equipment, and weight vests are also great, but I’ve found they are used safer and more effectively under the direct supervision of a professional.     

As you can see, at-home gyms do not need to be expensive, elaborate, space-eating monsters.  The two most important piece of equipment are a good, professionally designed program and consistency.  With those as a foundation, even the simplest implements can help create greatness!

Coach Brett Klika is the Director of Athletic Performance at Todd Durkin’s Fitness Quest 10 in San Diego, CA. He specializes in youth fitness and athletic performance, overseeing a staff of 8 strength coaches developing programs for over 300 youth per week, both athletes and non-athletes. He presents around the world to both trainers and corporations with Todd Durkin Enterprises on a variety of health, wellness, and athletic performance topics. Brett contributes monthly to the award-winning “TD Times” newsletter. If you would like to sign up, you can do so by visiting, or use the contact form below: [easy-contact]

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