So, you have a bunch of Spartan races on your calendar. Good for you. Now, it's GO time. And while yes, we're advocates of running steep singletrack, hauling boulders, and flipping tires, the truth is: You don't always have time to shred a three-hour outdoor workout — especially when you’re juggling a family, career, and jam-packed schedule.
That’s where building a solid home gym becomes critical to optimize your performance. The ultimate goal? To acquire the proper equipment to crush tough workouts now — no overthinking, no excuses, no shortcuts.
“The biggest benefit [to having a gym at home] is time,” says Spartan Master Coach Trevor Franklin. “Time is our most valuable asset. The ability to have a gym at your place of residence can save up to an hour (or more) per day, which is huge.” Having the right tools at the ready can optimize a busy schedule, helping athletes immediately get back to work and life post-workout. It also leaves little room to end sweat sessions early in a time crunch, he says.
The good news? Creating a home gym is easier than you think. You simply need room to train and resistance to train with. But while it’s tempting to break out a mat on the living room floor and stick to bodyweight or HIIT work, lifting weights is also essential to building race-ready power for two main reasons. “You won’t achieve improved grip strength through cardio, bodyweight, or HIIT,” says Franklin. “You have to carry a load to get a stronger grip. It’ll be a game changer on obstacles. You also need a weightlifting routine for injury prevention. Having strong muscles and bones allows the body to maintain resilience: This helps keep athletes in the fight.”
Franklin says his home-gym must-haves include a barbell, pull-up bar, and rubber plates. “With these three things, building a workout regimen designed to crush performance goals, increase strength, reshape the body, and nail other fitness objectives can be easily obtained,” he says. “A barbell deadlift is a staple — it makes an individual a powerhouse of an athlete if done with proper technique and intensity. Pull-ups are huge for OCR grip strength, and barbell power cleans help build explosive power and speed needed to crush a Sprint race.”
That's why we built your own at-home toolkit for you — with just five essentials (and a few bonus extras), you'll be well on your way to varied, efficient training right in your residence. Here's the Spartan short list of equipment you need to improve body composition, and get fitter, faster, and stronger than ever.
The Ultimate DIY Home-Gym Toolkit
First, Set the Stage: 2 Extras to Amp Things Up
You’re a Spartan, so you’re tough. You don’t need a fancy environment to get the job done. But a couple of extra things to set up your workout space can take your conditioning from mediocre to unbreakable. First, snag a few sheets of rubber flooring to make your gym area next-level. No-slip grip provides extra traction through your power moves, and protects your floor from daily wear and tear. Second, an adjustable bench with multiple bench and headset positions allows you to get more creative with your lifting routine, and easily target muscle groups with support.
Then, Get the Gear: 5 Essentials to Build Out Your Home Gym
1. Blues City Olympic Cerakote Barbell
Designed for functional fitness, this 20kg barbell can be tricked out for everything from light resistance work to heavy lifting up to 1,500 pounds. (Think: the perfect piece to make extreme gains within your appropriate range.) Its durable Cerakote shaft is couched in heavy-duty zinc sleeves for a lifetime of use, and has just the right amount of whip and flex to maximize any workout. Plus, dual-knurl marks make sure that holding the bar under intense pressure won’t compromise your form from a slipping grip. Add Olympic-size plates with a 50mm diameter, like the LB Elite Black Bumper Plates, sold in pairs of 10-pound increments, and you’ll be good to go for squats, presses, rack pulls, Romanian deadlifts, bent-over rows, hip thrusts, and more.
2. Rubber Hex Dumbbells
Free weights provide an opportunity to mix up your workout on the fly, and these clearly-labeled rubber hex dumbbells will have you on your way to better curls, rows, swings, lunges, calf raises, kickbacks, and more. Sold in pairs of 5-pound increments, you can grab a low, medium, and high set for your program and work within those limits to tone and build strength like a pro. Each dumbbell features an easy-to-grip handle with a knurled texture that makes for surprisingly comfortable lifting, even at the max end of your range, or through many repetitions.
3. X-3 Series Tall Squat Stand
When it comes to building strength for obstacles like the monkey bars, rope climbs, and wall ascents, a strong (or weak) pull-up game can make (or break) you. This tall squat stand features the same durability and versatility of a regular power rack, but has a bolt-together frame so stable you don’t have to drill it into the floor. Strategic hole spacing and reinforced J-hooks allow you to rig it up for a wide range of exercises, from squats to bench presses. Plus, it comes with (you guessed it) a 1.25-inch pull-up bar, so you can bag reps, build upper body and core strength, and hit the race course stronger than ever.
4. Composite Wall Ball
Oh, how we love composite ball workouts: They’re super handy to prepare for obstacles that require explosive power, and for carrying heavy loads. This wall ball is made to be thrown against tough vertical surfaces and beat to all hell during your workouts. (Trust us, it can take it.) Durable poly-composite laminate and cotton material capitalizes on soft-shell siding, with a weighty interior, to help you combine lifting with dynamic movement to target multiple joints and muscle groups. The only thing you can’t do? Slam ball exercises…(But there are rubber-sided options for those.)
5. 3-In-1 Plyometric Wooden Box
Plyometric workouts help you jump higher, lift heavier, and cultivate power because they work target muscle groups and increase your cardio threshold. They’re also key to better mobility and stability when you tackle negative jumps (like launching off of obstacles and maintaining your speed, without injuring yourself). And while this three-in-one plyo box looks like just a box, it’s not. Designed to rotate to 16 inches, 20 inches, or 24 inches, you’ll have a wide range of options to make your box jumps, step-ups, and dips more or less challenging. No matter how much you weigh, you can charge with confidence knowing this sturdy piece is pretty much indestructible.