By: Nick Showman - TAD Sports Performance Coach - GHS Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach - Ohio Natural Bodybuilding Federation President
Strength coaches and gym owners should be making their own wish list. As a strength coach you need durable equipment that will help athletes get the best results in a timely manner.
Here are some Weight Room Essentials for Any Home Gym or Fitness Center
- Plyo Boxes
These are a great way to start any workout. The jumps will help athletes prepare for the more physically demanding strength movements in their workout. Master the basic box jump and then have your athletes move to more complicated variations of the movement. In a school setting I would recommend at least two sets of Plyo-Boxes.
Click here to see Plyo boxes.
- Full Rack
A full rack is standard in every high school and collegiate strength program. These make training large groups or whole teams at once possible. Making the transitions from each exercise is made easy with a full rack. This is the quickest and safest way for teams to perform main exercises like squat and bench press.
Click here to see Stray Dog Racks.
- Glute Ham Raise- Every single weight room should have a GHR. Nothing builds the posterior chain like this machine. When athletes squat or jump you probably notice some have their knees come in very much, this comes from weakness in the glutes.
Perform this movement in the off-season and in-season and your athletes will be noticeably stronger. This machine is easily adjustable for athletes and will soon become a staple in your program.
- Dip Bar Attatchments
I’m a big fan of doing bodyweight movements and I believe dips should be performed by all athletes unless there is an existing shoulder injury. The Dip Attachment can be stored easily with any rack and is ready to use in a matter of seconds. The attachment will help any athlete develop a stronger upper body.
Click here to see Attachments.
- Chin Up Bar
Athletes should be performing some chin up variation after their main press movement. Weighted or just using bodyweight, all that matters is they are getting quality reps and not using a lot of momentum to complete each rep. If the racks in your weight room don’t have a chin up bar, try a wall mounted chin up station. These bars can easily mounted anywhere throughout the weight room to ensure athletes are getting as much work done in the given time.
Click here to see a Dip Station
A good way to get athletes to properly row is the ring row. These can hang easily over any rack or chin up station and athletes can make them harder or easier depending on their strength level. The rings can also be used for several push up variations and can quickly be adjusted to fit the athlete. These rings can be an alternative on the sled and used for sled rows and pushes.
- Adjustable Bench
An adjustable bench can be used for a number of pressing or rowing movements. The bench is easily used as a spot for several athletes to perform single leg movements such as split squat. When it is not in use it can be stored away vertically using a minimal amount of space.
- Battle Ropes
I was hesitant on using the ropes for a while, but after seeing them in use at Granville High School and Total Athletic Development I do think they are a great conditioning tool for injured athletes. They can also be used as a finishing exercise on an upper body day.
Bands are without a doubt one of the most versatile pieces of equipment in a weight room. Bands can be used for warm up, stretching, sprints, main movements, and accessory movements. The tension of the band increases the further it is stretched making it safe for athletes.
The deadlift is probably my favorite exercise for the lower body. It builds an incredibly strong posterior chain and requires the athlete to use an exceptional amount of force. In the last two years I have become a big fan of using the hex bar instead of a straight bar due to the decreased possibility of injury. With these bars you have the choice of two different handle heights.
In the last few years the use of kettlebells has exploded. They are great for triple extension movements to start a workout with. They are also beneficial for injured athletes that are not able to squat with a regular bar. The kettlebells can be safely used for a front squat or attatched to dip belt for belt squats to help develop power in the hips and glutes.
Sled Pushes are an easy way to create competition during conditioning. On the Diesel Sleds you can load up to 9.45lb plates for athletes to push. The high handles and low handles feels like two different exercises. This will help develop lower body power very similar to most athletic activities.
Every strength coach should strive to make competition a part of their program and this is easiest way to do that. With the Diesel Sled summer conditioning will never be the same.