Turn your garage into a CrossFit box with these 10 pieces of equipment
The CrossFit Equipment You Need for a Home Gym
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Never stepped foot into a CrossFit box? You might be surprised by just how sparse they are compared to your typical training floor. Most boxes look like a Marie Kondo-ed version of your standard gym space. CrossFit is one of the most varied and high-intensity workouts around—but it doesn't actually require a ton of equipment.
CrossFit is characterized by its combination of gymnastics, weightlifting, Olympic weightlifting, and metabolic conditioning (like running, biking, rowing, and jumping rope). Most of the time you'll use some equipment like a barbell, a pull-up bar, rings, kettlebells, a rower, an assault bike, or a battle rope. But some of the most revered CrossFit workouts actually require only your bodyweight. (For example, check out this Bob Harper at-home, zero-equipment, CrossFit workout.) And if the official CrossFit Instagram is any indication, you can get a serious workout in using just the furniture in your living room.
As a long-time CrossFit athlete and trainer, I contend that the *true* CrossFit experience mostly occurs in a CrossFit box. But there are times when having an at-home CrossFit gym could help you stay on track with your training and save some major cash. (A recent report found that a monthly CrossFit membership averages $155.00 in the U.S.)
Good news: Installing a CrossFit gym in your home can be as simple as just mounting a pull-up bar. Whether you want to keep it simple or turn your garage into a full-on box (which CrossFit founder and CEO Greg Glassman is all for) you'll find everything you need below to get ~functionally fit~ without ever leaving your house.
Photo: Hero Images / Getty Images
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Anyone who drank the Kool-Aid knows that a PVC pipe can begin to feel way heavier than its 6 ounces. These are the white PVC pipes commonly used for plumbing and drainage. These pipes—which are usually 4 to 5 feet in length—are used to warm up for barbell movements and help athletes fine-tune their positioning.
This super-simple tool might be cheap, but it can seriously enhance the quality of your barbell movements. And hey, if you don't want to shell out cash for something so simple, you can always use a broomstick. That's what this guy is using, anyway.
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Once you've mastered a lift using the PVC pipe, you're ready to advance to the barbell. While there are 15-pound training barbells, a standard women's bar weighs 35 pounds and is a mainstay for any box-in-the-works. That way you can practice your barbell back squat, deadlift, and overhead press while your laundry is in the dryer. Score!
Psst: Purchase weight plates to add to the bar as you get stronger.
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Recently CrossFit has double downed on reiterating that it is for everyday folks and those who want to become CrossFit Games athletes.
To prove it, CrossFit began a series of posts showcasing older athletes completing workouts with just two antifreeze jugs. Already have a set of antifreeze jugs? Try deadlifting, front squatting, bent-over rowing, or shoulder to overhead with them.
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Installing a bar like this in the doorway will allow you to either work on some of your gymnastics moves like the pull-up, toe-to-bar (and hanging knee raises), and chest-to-bars. (Related: Meet the Badass Female CrossFit Athletes You Should Be Following On Instagram)
CrossFit fanatics, beware. You won't have enough space overhead to complete a bar muscle-up with this bar, so don't try! (If having a place to practice your muscle-ups is a *must* for you, consider this mounted bar instead.)
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If you're looking for a no-mess, one-stop-shop way to make your at-home workouts more challenging, consider a weight vest. IMHO, weight vests (which usually weigh between 14 and 20 pounds) are the most underrated fitness tool. They can make simple bodyweight movements like the burpee, air squat, lunge, and push-up more difficult. And once you've mastered the pull-up, you can try them with a vest for some serious lat, trap, and shoulder gains. (Related: How to Master a Pull-Up)
A quick note on sizing: They should fit snugly and not bounce around, but you should still be able to breathe. Need some inspo to get moving once you're strapped in? Check out some of the most inspiring CrossFit Games moments from 2016.
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It may look like a flat black pillow, but it's so much more! CrossFitters position ab mats under their lower backs to enable a full extension of the abdominals. Plus they double as a cushion for handstand push-ups.
If you have an ab mat and a barbell, consider giving "Diane" a try: Here's how to do that WOD, plus why one CrossFit coach loves it.
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If you thought dumbbells were just for biceps curls, guess again. During the 2017 CrossFit Open, CrossFit made it clear that you can use dumbbells in CrossFit, too. A set will come in handy any time your WOD include dumbbell step-overs, dumbbell snatches, dumbbell thrusters, dumbbell hang power cleans, or dumbbell overhead lunges. And they're great for post-WOD accessory work.
While the suggested weight for most dumbbell movements is 35 pounds for women (and 50 pounds for men), consider getting a range of weights to build to that optimal weight.
If budget and space are particularly tight, you might want to try adjustable bells that allow you to add weight gradually.
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Kettlebells are a staple in CrossFit boxes. If you have one (or better yet, two) at your at-home gym, you'll be able to complete movements like kettlebell swings, kettlebell snatches, farmer carries, sumo kettlebell deadlift, high-pulls, and goblet squats (among others).
Your experience and strength should determine how heavy you go. Pick a weight with which you can comfortably do 10 kettlebell swings with good form. Once you get them, you can try this beginner-friendly Crossfit workout at home with just a kettlebell.
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Soft medicine balls are seriously underappreciated. They are *the* tool used for mastering the med ball clean (one of the nine basic movements in CrossFit). They're also essential to squat therapy and can add weight to moves like the goblet squat. (There's a reason you need a medicine ball for these top five fat-burning exercises.)
At about the size of a basketball, they're pretty space efficient, too,
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Any CrossFitter knows you don't need much to get in a good cardio workout. You can get your heart rate up with simply a jump rope, a pair of running sneaks, and a bike or rower. But Glassman has previously called the rower his favorite piece of equipment for metabolic conditioning.
A rower works your arms, core, and posterior chain all while improving your cardiovascular capacity. So while it's the most expensive thing on the list, you'll get a big bang for your buck. Just make sure you know how to use a rowing machine correctly.