Dying for a DIY Home Gym? Here Are the Equipment Essentials Every OCR Athlete Needs
Everyone should have a basic home gym. Not necessarily a whole room solely dedicated to working out, but a few basic items that can be used to get a solid workout in your living room or garage, or support active recovery between more strenuous gym workouts.
A good, basic home gym will also include a few lightweight items that can be easily packed and travelled with. In other words, a “travel gym” for when you’re on the road and won’t be staying at a hotel with its own gym.
Here's the best home-gym exercise equipment we consider to be most essential to nailing your best total-body workouts like the Spartan champ you are.
Related: 5 Simple Ways to Make Your At-Home Workouts More Challenging and Effective
The Home-Gym Workout Equipment Every Spartan Needs
1. Spartan RAMroller
SPARTAN RAMroller RAMfit
Foam rolling is great for working out knots in your muscles, softening a muscle up to enhance a stretch, or simply relieving pain. A foam roller is therefore a great addition to any home gym.
Of course, the best home gym equipment is multifunctional, and so the Spartan RAMroller isn’t just a foam roller: it’s also a really unique-looking weight.
The RAMroller is a heavy foam roller that can be gripped on the edges and used somewhat like a very short, harder-to-grip barbell.
As you can see from the photos on the product page, the RAMroller can be used similarly to a barbell for exercises like squats, floor presses and rows. It can even be used to provide an unstable surface from which to perform pushups, with an added challenge to the gripping muscles of the hand.
The RAMroller comes in five weights, and it’s a big enough investment that you’ll probably want to pick the weight that’s right for you on the first try. Bear in mind that you’ll get stronger on new exercises fast.
2. Spartan Covered Resistance Tubes
SPARTAN by Power Systems Covered Resistance Tube Power Systems
SPARTAN by Power Systems Covered Resistance Tube
A lightweight alternative to dumbbells, resistance tubes can be used to perform many of the same exercises while being much easier to store and transport.
Additionally, by anchoring resistance tubes to a door or bar, you can use them to move in a wider variety of directions than dumbbells—horizontal, downward, or diagonal angles.
As I’ve discussed previously, resistance bands tend to work especially well for “pushing” exercises like chest and shoulder presses, because of the way they modify the exercise’s resistance curve.
Spartan Covered Resistance Tubes use a unique double-tube design, plus a nylon cover, to maximize durability. They come in six different levels of resistance, from extra light to ultra heavy, and most people will want to pick up two of them.
If these seem on the heavy side, remember that a) you’ll grow into your tubes fast, and b) you won’t usually be stretching them fully, so you’ll mostly be staying in the bottom half of a given tube’s resistance range.
Related: 12 Days of Fitness: Super Spartan Training Plan Day 3 - Pushing
3. Spartan Resistance Loops
SPARTAN by Power Systems Resistance Loop Power Systems
SPARTAN by Power Systems Resistance Loop
Spartan Resistance Loops are designed to fit comfortably over your legs, effectively pulling them together. Fundamentally, they can be used in two different ways:
On their own, they enable hip abduction (pushing your legs apart) exercises such as seated hip abduction or lying leg raises. In these exercises, they essentially replace weights or exercise machines, providing the only resistance.
Second, wrapped around the thighs they can provide additional resistance in lunges, squats or lateral walks. In this case they’re modifying the exercise, providing additional resistance while also working muscles that would normally only see minimal use for the chosen exercise.
These come in six different levels of resistance, and you’ll probably want two of them. Each resistance level can be found on a different product page:
4. Spartan Jump Rope
SPARTAN Rugged Jump Rope - Red Spartan
SPARTAN Rugged Jump Rope - Red
Jump ropes are a fitness staple for a reason: they’re small, highly portable, and allow you to do pure cardio—effectively substituting for running—while staying indoors, in one place.
While I’d still recommend running, there will be times when time, or weather, don’t allow that. And as I discussed in my last article, jump-roping between sets for active recovery can enhance your gains.
Along with resistance tubes and bands, the Spartan Jump Rope should go in your travel kit as part of your portable hotel gym. With these three items, you can get at least a decent workout anywhere you go.
Spartan jump ropes are rugged, heavier and tougher than typical jump ropes. That means they’re far more durable, and also a bit more challenging to use with the added weight on your arms.
They’re available in red and black.
Related: Go-To Jump Rope Workouts
5. Spartan Slam Ball
SPARTAN by Power Systems Slam Ball Power Systems
SPARTAN by Power Systems Slam Ball
Medicine balls are an excellent tool for building power—the ability to move explosively against resistance.
Research shows that 12 weeks of power training with a medicine ball translates to significant gains in weightlifting strength as well as sport-specific explosive movements—even in already well-trained athletes.
In some cases, a heavier medicine ball can even be a strength tool of its own. This is particularly the case when one is used to add weight to abdominal twisting motions, such as twisting crunches or lunge and twists. Overall though, medicine balls are mainly used for power training, supplementing the use of weights for strength (lifting really heavy, slowly) training.
The Spartan Slam Ball features a heavily textured rubber surface for a better grip than other medicine balls. Like all Spartan products, it’s designed for extreme durability.
Related: The Spartan Guide to Building a Simple (and Cheap) At-Home Gym
It also features what Spartan calls a no-bounce design. To be specific, when slammed really hard straight down onto a concrete surface, it bounces maybe 2-3 inches, as you can see in the video on the product page. This is primarily a safety feature, to avoid the danger inherent in a heavy object bouncing back at you—an unpleasant experience you may have had with conventionally-designed medicine balls.
Spartan Slam Balls come in eight different weights. As with the other items on this list, you should bear in mind that you’ll grow into it. However, remember that this item is primarily for power rather than strength training; you want a weight you can lift and throw explosively. With that in mind, I recommend picking a moderate weight, towards the middle of the range that feels comfortable to you.
Take it Next Level with the Spartan Bucket Training Kit
SPARTAN In A Bucket Training Kit Beast Edition - Men's Spartan
SPARTAN In A Bucket Training Kit Beast Edition - Men's
As a final note, the slam ball and a complete set of resistance bands—along with a Spartan Battle Rope—are included in the Spartan Bucket Training Kit, which is available in both men’s and women’s versions. Both buckets contain the same items, differing only in the resistance levels for the included resistance bands.
With these five items, you can get a good home workout any time you need to actively recover between workouts, and even put together a decent hotel room workout on the fly.