How To Set Up Functional Training At Home

How to do Functional Training at home | Part 2 of 2
Good, Better, Best — Which home gym setup is right for you? 


Once you’ve got the right space in your home, you will probably want to consider investing in at least one piece of cardiovascular equipment, as well as mapping an outside running route that you can use for warm ups and required distances. Adding in a rowing machine will greatly increase your options in selecting your daily workout. You can use a staircase or low porch to get started on box jumps and step ups. Add to this setup with a little basic equipment that will allow you to vary your workouts. Important initial investments are a good jump rope, kettlebell, wall ball, and resistance bands.
Initially, you can modify most movements using bands or kettlebells and work in higher weights over time. Not sure how to do that? It’s probably a good idea to head over to your local gym and join in on a workout or two or get some private coaching. A good coach will help you to get set up with safe options for the movements that you can do at home.


Once you have the basic setup, your most satisfying investment will be installing a pull-up bar from your wall or ceiling (give yourself plenty of space above the bar). Use your bands to assist you or combine the bar with a box for jumping pull-ups. This will open your options for completing movements and working on developing the strength for pull-ups.
Adding a plyo box to your home gym at this point will also give you options as you begin to expand your gymnastics skills to include muscle ups and handstands/handstand push-ups. You can use your plyo box to complete elevated push-ups and box dips for additional strength training.
You should also include a foam roller and mat for the mobility work you will want to add to your warm ups and cool downs.
A treadmill or exercise bike would be a good investment at this point, providing you with lower impact active recovery options, as well as an indoor option for completing those 400 meter runs and concentrated cardiovascular conditioning.


The best home gym set up can be added to over the years. To really take your home gym to the next level, seek out some support and training from a local, qualified coach to work on your lifts.
Functional lifts are technical and repeating them with bad form leaves you at risk of injury. While a home gym set up is more convenient and offers greater privacy than working out at a public gym, your best option is to combine your home workouts with some one on one professional support. Most gyms offer an “on-ramp” or “fundamentals” program that will get you familiar with the lifts and technique for a reasonable price. After completing that program, you can choose to complement your home workouts with individual training sessions to keep your progress on track.
Adding Bumper Plates, an Olympic Lifting Bar, and a Rig to your gym represents the biggest investment in money, floor space, and the structural demands of your home gym. This investment will provide you with the potential of completing (or at least attempting), as well as substantially stepping up your dedicated strength training sessions.
It goes without saying that those weights are heavy and hit the floor hard so if you haven’t already moved your weights out of the house, you’ll want to do so at this point. Rubber coated bumper plates are designed for the repeated impact of weightlifting and can also be used for other lifts, such as squats and deadlifts. A good set will have at least one pair of ten pounds, 25 pounds, and 45 pounds.  If you don’t purchase them immediately, you’ll want to add more plates as you start setting those PR’s (personal records).  If you really want to make your home gym awesome, you should also look at adding in a pair of wood rings and a climbing rope at this point.
Nothing beats the convenience of having a well-equipped home gym. Having a convenient space makes tough workouts and strength training more accessible. Starting with the basic “good” version of a home gym is enough to get most people started on workouts at home. Combining that with personal training or participation in a few daily exercises emphasizing scaling options is a powerful combination. As you progress, you’ll find that community, both on-line and in-person, is one of the biggest motivators in continuing your workout. Be sure to use your local gym as a resource for opportunities to work on your skills and technique as you enjoy the convenience, privacy, and accessibility of your own dedicated space.
Read Part 1: Is Functional Fitness Right For Me?
About the writer: Joli Guenther is a certified personal trainer, yoga instructor and clinical social worker practicing in and around Madison, Wisconsin. Learn more about Joli.

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