The UK Covid-19 Home gym

Publication date – 12th May 2020

We just entered the 8th week of lockdown in the UK and while home workouts and keeping training are great some people might be looking for a little more. Realistically the earliest we are going to see gyms opening their doors will be July so that leaves another 6 weeks of working out at home for the majority of us. The price of gym equipment on the second-hand market has been driven up by demand to the point of being a joke. Gym equipment whole sellers are out of stock and the stock they do get in is flying out the door quicker than they can order it in. So outside of breaking yourself financially to buy the ridiculously priced eleiko kit here are some options you can use to get a home gym set up together for a reasonable price.

Authors note – you are probably going to struggle to unload your equipment at the end of the crisis since the second-hand market is going to be flooded with equipment. You will also probably lose a fair amount of the investment you make into the equipment so if you do buy equipment please do so with this foreknowledge

Squat Rack option – Builders trestles

You can pick up a pair of trestles for around £40-50 and they are rated to 300kg and above. You might need to secure them down with some weight like bags of concrete or soil but should provide you a platform to put you barbell on between sets and set the height for squat, bench and overhead press.

Example – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Industrial-Builders-Trestles-Pair-Extendable/dp/B01BGWYL5K?ref_=fsclp_pl_dp_8

You should be able to pick these up from wicks, b&q or screwfix and of course online.

Build your own squat rack

Barbell options

Barbell – Rebel strength 7ft axel 2″ diameter.

Rebel strength is a British manufacturer of strongman equipment they are one of your best options for a barbell at the minute. Barbell is probably going to be one of the hardest items to get your hands on. For the price this is a really reasonable alternative but lead times might be pretty length due to skyrocketing demand.

Option B – Scaffolding pole

For 10 quid you can get a length of scaffolding pole that will fit an olympic plate (48mm diameter of pole, 52mm diameter for hole in olympic plate). This will not be an ideal solution but it will allow you to train with a barbell. I would caution this if you are a stronger lifter (250+kg on squats or deadlifts) as it the scaffold pole might not be up to the stress and snap during usage.

Scaffolding pole length – https://www.scaffolding-direct.co.uk/scaffolding-tube-galvanised-steel-3-2mm-x-48-3mm-o-d-x-2-1m-7ft-galvanised-.aspx

Weight options

Rebel strength 2″ plates – again made to order plates these are probably your best option for value for money. Finding weight plates that aren’t inflated hugely due demand or finding more traditional plates from whole sellers is going to be a difficult task. Again the lead times on these plates are probably going to be elongated due to demand.

Option B – bags of sand/concrete and Ikea bags

For 0.53p per Kilo you can get your hands on bags of sand you can either put them into a large carrier bag like an IKEA bag or you could secure them onto the end of your barbell using something like a loading or ratchet strap.

An example of one such industrious soul Rodger and his sweet ass deadlift set up using an axel pole and sandy bois.


Lifting Platform

Protecting your floor should be a concern especially if you are lucky enough to have olympic plates below are 3 really good options for under £100

Pre made platform

Price – £78

URL – https://www.horsematshop.co.uk/shop/sportsmat/gym-mats-and-flooring/popup-platform/

3x gym mats

Price – £106

URL – https://www.slip-not.co.uk/Rubber-Matting/Gym-Mats

1x Horse stall Mat 1.82 x 1.22

Price – £41.55

Bench press

The floor press is, of course, an option as is loaded press-ups. I personally wouldn’t pay for some of the options that are avilable from rebel strength because I don’t think they provide good value for money 200-300 quid for a simple flat bench isn’t really a good spend unless you want the bench, have the money and want to bench more than you want the money. You can of course build your own bench.

TRX / Blast straps

Elite fts blast straps are probably the best option at the minuite they are maybe a wee bit on the pricey side at just under 50 but they will be delivered to you in a reasonable time frame, will be of good quality and you are supporting a good lifting company. Best amazon can do is a set of TRX clones for £35 that will be with you in the middle of next month.

Resistance Bands

Again there is probably some good options available elsewhere but Elitefts have them in stock, they are a reasonable price and the delivery should be decent.

Adjustable Dumbbells and Kettlebells

Finally dumbbell handles if you can get your hands on them and have the weights to put on them they are a really cost effective way to add some variety to your regieme. Rebel strength are selling 60kg (2x 30kg) dumbells for £175 which is pretty reasonable they also have kettlebells for sale. Again there will be a lead time on these but in the given circumstances they offer some pretty good options.

Hope this article is of use. I intend to update this on a weekly/bi-weekly basis and will replace options if better ones emerge.

Remember sub-optimal is better than fuck all.


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