Weightlifting at Home vs the Gym

A lot of people believe you have to go to "the gym" in order to do any serious strength or fitness improving workout. This is true if you consider your home can be a gym. The phrase home gym has the stimga of late infomericial elastic band machines or weight machines with limited weight. A home gym need not be like that. To lift weights all you really need is a dumbell and perhaps a barbell. You can have more than that or even less if you are willing to do unusual exercises and make do with what you find around you. The advantages of a gym you pay a membership fee to is fancy machines and equipment, potentially people to inspire you, spotters, and atmosphere. The main advantage of a home gym is convenience, usually no monthly expense, you can workout any way you wish to, and you have no one bothering you. This allows you to focus on what is important to you with whatever form, style or movements you wish to use. Even if one ultimately does go the professional gym route it may be prudent to try some basic stuff at home first. Most people start with what they can do at home even if its pushups or situps and graduate to the gym setting later on. But that is not necessary. If you can find a place to workout with a barbell or dumbells then with a small equipment purchase you could be set to have your own dungeon gym to use any way you wish. I prefer the home gym approach and will list below some pluses of both approaches.

Advantages of Lifting at Home

Lift Any Time You Want

You can lift any time you want for as little or as much as you want at a time. If you have to spend 30 minutes or more driving to a commercial gym you are unlikely to go and do just one lift for 1 minute and head home. When lifting at home you can lift a minute or two at a time and watch tv if you want and do more later. You can break up your workout into any time interval or intervals you want. That is very convenient.

Listen to Music You Like and Pysch Yourself up Anyway You Want

You can listen to whatever music you wish to. You also can watch whatever inspirational video, picture or do whatever psych up method you want before a big lift. No one will be there to say anything no matter how silly it is but if it helps you then you can do it.

Do Any Lift You Want Any Way You want

You can perform any lift you want in peace. You won't have to justify if you want to do cheat curls vs strict curls or prefer to sit on a bench for a long time to rest after a taxing lift. At a commercial gym people may try to hurry you up to free equipment for their use or have issue with your form or goals. None of that is an issue at home. Planet Fitness has a no deadlift rule in many places more or less. If you want to deadlift the closet potential gym might not allow it.

No Monthly Fee

There is in general no monthly fee for your set up at home. This means if you wish to stop lifting for a bit there is no monetary loss to you like there would be for a prepaid gym membership. This also means if you wish to lift even more you wont be asked to cut back on your gym time as a commercial gym ironically might ask you to. Commercial gyms in general make money off those that do not spend a lot of time there. Curves and Planet Fitness; while some would argue if they are gyms at all they still are the commercial gyms one is most likely to encounter. And they do not want someone there many hours a day. They are not the only gyms like that too. With your own place at home this is no factor whatsoever.

Have the Equipment You Want

You have freedom to use your own equipment that perhaps most commercial gyms would never buy for basically just your personal use. This means you can have thickbars, microloading devices of any sort, specialized machines, weight vests, chains, elastic bands or anything you wish. A commercial gym probably would not allow you to use what you might wish to even if you bought it and brought it to the gym due to lack of understanding as well as liability risk.

Advantages of Gym


For some people the fact that they have to go out to the gym inspires them to do something when they get there because they have to put in effort to get there. This is similar to how dancing at home by yourself is not the same as in a club with other people around. The right gym with the right people can help provide the atmosphere and people to help you achieve your goals. People can be there to advise you and help you as you start out. This does not mean you necessarily will get good advice in a commercial gym though. Its cheaper to hire a trainer at a gym than pay for them to come to your house if you wish to hire one. That is a factor for some.


With people all around its easier to get a spot on your heavy lifts and you have less risk of dying under a heavy load as could be a possibility at home by yourself. On the flip side a lot of people do not know how to spot properly. Its still a safeguard worth noting.

Expensive Equipment

Commercial gyms can afford multi thousand dollar machines you might not be able to afford for your own personal use at home. That doesent mean the machines are actually better than just using a barbell necessarily though. But it is a factor if you want a specific high end machine to use at a gym that has it. You might have to wait to use it though.

Other Ameneties.

This could include showers, lockers, saunas, aerobic classes and other things that may be of interest to some people that often are not available to the home lifter. Having members of the opposite sex to admire as you lift is an ammentity of the gym to some. It can help inspire some to improve or just be a distraction.


In summary choosing to lift at home versus a comercial gym is more a lifestyle choice than anything else. Its much like choosing to learn something on your own versus go to a professional school to learn a given thing. With the internet the knowledge is out there to help you set up your own place to lift at home and use it to do things perhaps you could not accomplish at the gym. The freedom to lift as you wish when you want is valuable. If you want to lift kegs, rocks or really thick barbells you can in a home setting. In a commercial gym you would be looking at a rare specialized gym to do those sorts of things and that will be more costly. Everything a commercial gym has you can have at home. If you want expensive machines you can buy such. If you want spotters you can invite people over when you need such. You get a no monthly fee option that you can expand from to do whatever you want. You also can start cheap with just a dumbell or barbell to see if you even like lifting before commiting to a yearly gym membership somewhere else.