Are you a skinny guy torn between getting a home gym or buying a gym membership? If you are, then this is the post for you! Today, I will be answering: Is a home gym good or bad for skinny beginners looking to build muscle?
A home gym is a significant time, space, and money investment. It can be a good investment for those who are 100% committed to a long-term training program to change their bodies. However, it will be a bad investment for those unsure about committing to a regular training program.
I have trained at home. And I have also spent 5 days a week for the last 2 years at the local gym.
And now I’m transitioning back to the home workouts.
That’s what I will be exploring today!
So let’s jump right in!
- 5 Reasons Skinny Guys SHOULD Get A Home Gym
- 5 Reasons Skinny Guys SHOULDN’T Get A Home Gym
- Should Skinny Beginners Invest In A Home Gym?
- Update: A $550 Home Gym For Skinny Beginners
5 Reasons Skinny Guys SHOULD Get A Home Gym
First, let’s explore the 5 main reasons why you SHOULD get a home gym.
1. High Return On Investment.
If you are committed to transforming your skinny body into a powerful and muscular body, a home gym can be one of the greatest investments of your life!
That’s a big statement, so hear me out.
|Home Gym Annual Time Savings||Home Gym Annual Cost Savings:|
|104 Hours Saved From Travel||$500 Savings From Gym Renewal|
|52 Hours Saved From Not Waiting For Equipment||$830 Savings From Gas/Transport|
|Total Annual Time Savings: 156 Hours||Total Annual Cost Savings: $1330|
A home gym can provide a high return in time and money, the hallmarks of a good investment.
First of all, you will reduce wasted time from not having to:
- Travel to and from a local gym- average gym commute is around 30 minutes for a round-trip.
- Wait for equipment IN the local gym- total average waiting time for popular equipment is around 15 minutes per workout, during peak periods.
Combined, this can save you over a week of travel and waiting time per year. And that equates to over 1 month throughout 5 years!
Secondly, you will save money by not having to:
- Renew gym membership- average annual renewal is around $500.
- Spend on gas or public transport- average travel cost is around $3-5 for a 30 minute round-trip.
So if you are looking to transform your skinny body, and 100% dedicated to long-term training, a home gym can be one of the best investments you can make over a 3+ year period!
A home gym is a good long-term investment when compared to training at a commercial gym. You will save approximately $500 in renewal fees and $830 in travel costs, annually. You will also save approximately 104 hours from travel time and 52 hours from equipment waiting time, annually.
Find out why home dumbbells are the best starting choice for a home gym, in my other article!
2. Minimal Training Distractions.
If you are a skinny guy who is easily distracted during workouts, a home gym can help you perform more focused training.
From my experience, distractions mainly come in two forms:
- Social distractions- making conversation and friendships is good, but it can also prevent you from reaching your training goal (to get BIG!).
- Equipment distractions- the sheer variety of weight machines can divert your attention away from what really matters to gain serious muscle (barbells and dumbbells!).
By investing in home free weights, you will minimize the impact of social and equipment distractions on achieving your training goals. And this means you will gain more muscle, more quickly!
A home gym can help you gain muscle quicker, by reducing time wasted on social distractions at a commercial gym. A home gym can also help you quickly gain muscle by forcing you to use free weights, which are more effective at building muscle than weight machines.
3. Familiar Training Equipment.
Many newbies will underestimate the importance of using standardized training equipment when trying to gain muscle.
From my experience, you will be able to more effectively train, if you are using standardized:
- Barbells- which vary in knurling (bar grip), size, and weight.
- Weight plates- which vary in size and shape.
- Barbell racks- which vary in size and functionality.
- Dumbbells- which vary in size and shape.
For example, this Sports Royal tower helped me to transform my skinny back at home through consistent pull-up training. I used the Undersun bands to do assisted pull-ups first.
When your equipment is standardized, you know exactly how to use equipment you have (with good form and technique).
This allows you to quickly establish a routine, where you won’t have to waste time figuring out how much weight you are lifting. Nor will you have to adjust your technique to accommodate for equipment that you aren’t familiar with using.
This is a particularly frustrating issue in cheaper gyms, where the equipment is a mish-mash of different brands that all feel different!
A home gym allows you to use standardised equipment which you are familiar using. Examples include barbell bars, weight plates, racks, and dumbbells. When your equipment is standardised, it becomes easier to sustain a consistent training routine and progression plan.
4. More Enjoyable Workouts.
One of the biggest advantages of a home gym is that you set your own rules. And you do whatever the F you like without feeling judged or told off!
From my personal experience, these are the main reasons why home training is more enjoyable:
- Workout when you want- helps to sustain a regular training routine without fear of gym closures.
- No waiting to use equipment- save time and maintain your workout rhythm.
- People don’t wait for you to finish using equipment- complete your workouts without feeling pressurised to finish using your equipment.
- Film yourself- study your technique and progression without feeling embarrassed about filming yourself.
- Choose your own music- helps with motivation and overall workout enjoyment.
- Wear what you want- go topless and see your hard work pay off (motivates you to keep pushing).
Gaining muscle is a long game. It doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, it can take months of training to see big results.
By setting your own rules, you will find that working out is much more enjoyable. And when you enjoy your workouts, you will more likely stick to them for the long run.
Home workouts are often much more enjoyable since a home gym can accommodate your personal training preferences. These include workout availabilities, unrestricted equipment-use duration, filming technique, choosing your music, and wearing what you like. This will facilitate long-term training and increase the likelihood you will make significant muscle gains.
You may be interested in checking out my other article to the complete Skinny Guy’s Guide to gaining their first 10lbs.
5. Accountability For Gaining Muscle.
Building muscle as a skinny guy requires a regular training program. And this can be difficult for inexperienced beginners who have just purchased a gym membership
But when you have your own gym, you have no reason NOT to work out. Additionally, you would have invested a significant amount of your own money.
And if you are someone who lacks the discipline to train at a local gym, then a home gym may be exactly what you need to stick to regular workouts!
Buying your own gym equipment gives you financial accountability to use your equipment. This will help you to maintain a long-term training programme if you currently lack the discipline to regularly frequent a commercial gym. As a result, you increase the likelihood of transforming a skinny body into a muscular body!
You can read my other article to find out if home weights are worth the money!
5 Reasons Skinny Guys SHOULDN’T Get A Home Gym
Now here are 5 reasons why you SHOULDN’T get a home gym.
1. Expensive Up-Front Payment.
A home gym is expensive.
No matter how savvy a shopper you are, or if you only buy used equipment, you will have to spend a bare minimum of $500+.
To give you a better idea, here is what you will be looking to pay for:
|Home Equipment||Used For:||Second-Hand Price||Brand New Price|
|Olympic-Sized Barbell.||Compound lifts.||$100||$200|
|330lb (150kg) Barbell Plates.||Weighting barbells.||$400||$594|
|Adjustable Weight Bench.||Introduce lifting angles.||$100||$200|
|Power Rack.||Holding barbell.||$300||$500+|
|Pair 55lb (25kg) Selectorized Dumbbells.||Compound and isolation lifts.||$400||$500|
|Pair 55lb (25kg) Plate Dumbbells.||Compound and isolation lifts.||$60||$150|
The final price of your home gym will vary depending on the equipment brand and what sort of equipment you require. But don’t expect to get a good set-up for anything under $500. And that’s for second-hand!
So if you don’t have between $500-1000+ of spare cash, then a home gym may not be suitable for you!
A home gym is expensive, but you can significantly reduce the cost by buying second-hand equipment. Buying a barbell, weight plates, rack, bench, and dumbbells will cost a minimum of around $2000, brand new. This cost can be reduced to around $1000 when you buy used equipment.
For more up-to-date details on how much a home gym should cost, you can go to my other article to find out the average price per lb/kg of different weight training equipment.
2. Lack Of Climate Regulation.
If you are a skinny beginner, then chances are you have not yet adapted to pushing yourself to your limits (physically and mentally).
Pushing yourself can be difficult as a beginner, even in an air-conditioned weight room. But it can become 10x harder when you are working out in a garage gym on a hot summer’s day!
If you are someone who cannot tolerate exercising in extreme temperatures, then investing in a home gym may not be suitable for you.
Of course, you will need to consider the yearly climate of where you actually live.
But if your local climate get’s very hot in the summer, very cold in the winter, and you know this will affect your training, then you will not make the most out of your home setup!
You won’t build muscle!
A home gym will lack climate regulation unless you invest in it. This can make it difficult to exercise in extreme seasonal temperatures. If you cannot push yourself in extreme temperatures, then you will make slow muscle gain progress. And a gym membership may be a better alternative.
3. No Weight Machines.
Free weights (barbells, dumbbells, and kettlebells) are often touted as the king of muscle-builders.
But weight machines are also beneficial for skinny beginners to learn the movements involved in free weight exercises. All the while, you will build muscle. In fact, this 2020 study has shown little difference in muscular hypertrophy between using free weights and machines.
However, weight machines are extremely expensive.
Don’t expect to get a FULL range of weight machines for anything under $15,000 second-hand!).
Of course, weight machines aren’t essential. You could just start with light free weights and progress that way.
But if you do plan to use weight machines in the early stages of your lifting journey, then you might want to buy a few months of gym membership to capitalize on their weight machines!
Weight machines can be beneficial for beginners to learn the movements required for popular muscle-building free weight exercises. But the majority of home gym-owners are unable to afford the cost and space required for a full range of weight machines. So a gym membership may be a more suitable alternative.
4. Reduced Safety Measures.
To promote long-term muscle gains, you will have to progressive overload (regularly increase exercise intensity).
The caveat to this is that you will also increase the likelihood of pushing your muscles to failure.
Now, pushing your muscles to failure is good for muscle growth. And this has been shown in a 2019 study.
But pushing to failure is only effective when done safely!
Unlike in a commercial gym, a home gym will not give you ready access to a spotter (unless you have a training partner).
This may not sound important as you read this post. But you will regret not having a spotter when a 200lb barbell falls onto your chest!
Safety concerns become an issue for home gyms when you push your muscles to failure. If you do not have a human spotter to assist you, this could cause serious injury. The alternative is have a training partner or use the built-in spotter arms on modern barbell racks.
5. Research Required To Buy Suitable Equipment
Being such an expensive investment, you will want to do diligent research to ensure you get the most suitable home gym equipment for your needs. And this requires time.
There are many different home gym setups you could choose:
- Barbell, rack, and bench- most expensive but allows greatest progression.
- Dumbbell and bench – moderate price with good progression for most people.
- Dumbbell, bench, and power tower – more expensive, but a power tower will allow you to do pull ups, chin ups, chest dips, and leg raises.
- Resistance bands and bench- cheapest but requires discipline and motivation to use long-term.
These are just to name a few. All these setups will allow you to gain muscle at home.
But each setup will vary greatly in price, functionality, and future progression opportunity.
So if you are not willing to spend time researching, it may be a good idea to try a gym membership first!
Many home gym setups can be created using a combination of free weights, gym towers, resistance bands, and accessory items. Different setups will vary in price, functionality, and progression opportunity. So it is highly recommended to do your research to find the most suitable setup for you.
For more information on home gym ideas without a barbell, read my other article!
Should Skinny Beginners Invest In A Home Gym?
So the final question- is a home gym a good or bad choice for skinny beginners?
Here is what I recommend.
A home gym is a good choice if you are:
- Able to spend $500-1000 or more for good quality equipment.
- Confident about sticking to long-term weight training.
- 100% committed to transforming your body.
- Sure that a lack of climate control won’t be an issue for your workouts.
- Able to spend time doing diligent research into what’s suitable for your needs.
A home gym is a bad choice if you are:
- Unable to spend at least $500+ for good quality equipment.
- Unsure if weight training will be enjoyable for you.
- Not 100% committed to transforming your body.
- Unknowledgeable on how to use the equipment safely.
- Unable to perform research on your ideal home gym setup.
Update: A $550 Home Gym For Skinny Beginners
Since writing this article, I’ve committed to this home dumbbell gym setup (see below). It’s affordable but effective for beginners to get to the intermediate stages of muscle-building.
1) Heavy Adjustable Dumbbells: $400
The Powerblock Elites are fully adjustable from 2.5lbs to 50lbs.
They can also be upgraded to 70lbs and 90lbs whenever you become strong enough.
And that’s enough weight to take you to the intermediate-advanced stages of building muscle (around 5 years of training)
These bad boys will replace an entire set of dumbbells.
They’re perfect dumbells for beginners.
For more details, you can check out my other article on building a dumbbell-only home gym.
2) Adjustable Bench: $150
The Flybird adjustable bench gives you flat, incline, and decline angles.
This helps you to target different muscle groups.
For example- incline bench press for the upper pecs, decline situps for the abs, and incline rows for the upper back.
It can also be folded and stowed away after your workout!
3) Power Tower: $190 (Optional)
The Sports Royal Tower allows you to do pull-ups and dips.
These are two of the best upper body exercises to transform a skinny body.
I used resistance bands to do assisted pull-ups and drips first.
4) Bands: $80 (Optional)
The Undersun bands can be used to directly train your muscles or help you to do weighted dips and pull-ups.
Having had 2 sets of cheap bands snap on me prior to buying these, I can highly recommend paying the small premium on these.
They’re honestly the best on the market.
They also come with a lifetime warranty.
I’d highly recommend getting gloves with bands (something I wish someone had told me at the start).
A cheap pair like the Ihuans will protect your hands from friction burn, allow you to lift heavier resistance, and get a better workout overall.
Today, I have answered the question: Is a home gym good or bad for skinny beginners?
A home gym can be a great investment, and it can also be not-so-great.
Whether or not a home gym is a good investment for you, will depend on how dedicated you are to training long-term.
If you are 100% sure you want to transform your body, and maintain those muscle gains, then a home gym will be one of the best personal investments you ever make!
Otherwise, you should consider trying a few months of gym membership first. Test the water, and then take the plunge!
Will you be buying home gym equipment?
Let me know in the comments below!
Alternatively, download the FREE Kalibre Muscle Blueprint to find out EXACTLY what it takes to transform a skinny body!
Thanks for reading guys!
(Biochemistry BSc, Biomedical Sciences MSc, Ex-Skinny Guy)