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What Equipment Do I Need For a Crossfit Gym

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

Crossfit can be an absolutely outstanding way to workout when done properly and safely.  It combines a number of training styles and techniques making it a unique way to train yourself to be ready to take on just about anything.  Crossfit is designed to provide "Jack of All Trades" workouts.  You won't turn into a massive bodybuilder, or be the fastest sprinter in the world, however you will be able to take on just about anything thrown your way.  Who knows, it is quite possible you might even become a pretty good athlete along the way.

Crossfit Handstand pushups
One of the biggest hurdles for people wanting to try out Crossfit is the cost. You typically will have to pay a startup fee anywhere between $300-$600 where you will learn the basics, then $100-$200/month in membership fees.  While you get a lot more than access to a bunch of equipment, the ongoing cost to participate makes it hard for most people.  

Fortunately, starting your own gym is a one time cost, then its free moving forward.  If you can get a few friends to train, and chip in a few bucks a month, maybe you will even make a few bucks.  Either way, you can get the rudimentary equipment needed to start your own garage Crossfit gym for a few hundred dollars. Don't get too carried away though as there is tons of awesome gear out there that could set yourself back $10,000 or even more.

For the exercises that require fancy equipment, there is usually an alternative you can substitute until you eventually take the plunge and buy all the Fancy Crossfit equipment. If you aren unfamiliar with Crossfit, I highly recommend checking out a local Crossfit gym before you proceed to training by yourself.  Many movements can be extremely dangerous if not performed correctly and the last thing we want is for you to get hurt.

I've broken this article up into two sections.  Absolute requirements, and optional equipment that you can slowly accumulate over time.

Basic Crossfit Equipment for Starting a Home Gym

Olympic Weight Set

The Olympic weight set is the bare bones, single most important piece of equipment in a Crossfit gym. I would personally recommend getting at least 1.5 times your body weight in plates.  As you get stronger you may need to get additional weight for the Crossfit Total WODS.  Also, if you can afford it, I would recommend getting bumper plates as opposed to the traditional metal plates.  You can safely drop bumper plates without damaging your concrete or the weights themselves.

USA Sports by Troy Barbell 300 lb. Olympic Grey Weight Set with Chrome Bar
Amazon Price: $344.99 $299.99 Buy Now
(price as of Aug 27, 2013)
A great entry level Olympic weight set that comes equipped with 300 lbs of plate weight, a 45 lb Olympic bar and weight clips.

Pull Ups/Dip Station

Pull ups and dips are two fundamental movements you will probably doing a lot of.  It is pretty easy to anchor a bar across your garage for pulls ups, and it isn't too hard to find a place to do dips if you are creative.  If you have money to burn and just want something that is good to go out of the box, I would recommend getting a pull up/ dip station.  You can anchor these to the ground to improve stability and will be a great tool for years to come.

Body Solid Deluxe Vertical Knee Raise and Dip Station Power Tower GVKR82
Amazon Price: $475.00 $440.00 Buy Now
(price as of Aug 27, 2013)
A relatively compact station that provides a place to do pull ups, dips as well as leg raises. A great alternative for those of you who don't want to drill a giant bar into the wall.

Plyometrics Box (Box Jumps Box)

The Plyometrics box is something that you can easily put together yourself if you are creative and good with tools.  A plyometrics box is used quite frequently in Crossfit to perform box jumps.  You are going to be doing a lot of these over your crossfit career, so make if you do build one yourself, make sure you make it sturdy.  You don't want to be pushing your limits and have a box break on you. Face plants are never fun!

Plyometric Platform Box Set- 12", 18", 24" Black
Amazon Price: $395.00 $219.50 Buy Now
(price as of Aug 27, 2013)
If you want to limit your liability (IE: A box breaking and your client doing a face plant), do yourself a favor and don't slap together your own wood boxes. These plyometric boxes use heavy duty steel welded together with a solid rubber top to prevent slippage.

Dynamax medicine ball

If you are a man, I suggest picking up a 20 lb Medecine ball, if you are a woman, a 16 lb medicine ball will probably do.  The medicine ball is used in a large variety of WODs typically when doing wall balls and medecine ball runs.  The med balls are used a lot during warmups as well.

Dynamax Medicine Ball (Black/Grey, 20-Pound)
Amazon Price: $119.98 Buy Now
(price as of Aug 27, 2013)
Not only great for your standard Crossfit workouts, medicine balls are great for training your abs as well as for rehab exercises where smaller loads are necessary.


Ahhhh kettlebells, how I love you.  I personally have a nice pink 54lb kettlebell which does the trick for most workouts for me, but you might want to grab yourself a 45lb kettlebell as well. With the kettlebell you will be performing both American and Russian Kettlebell swings, 1 arm snatches, bulgarian getups amongst other core demolishing exercises.

Cap Barbell 35-Pound Kettlebell
Amazon Price: $68.25 $42.26 Buy Now
(price as of Aug 27, 2013)
Kettlebell workouts have been shown to burn on average 13 calories per minute when used Anaerobically, and over 6 calories per minute when used aerobically. This is on par with running a 6 minute mile!

The Jump Rope

The jump rope is one of the bread and butter pieces of Crossfit equipment.  The primary movement with the jump rope is the 'dreaded double under'.  A double under is when the jump rope must make two complete rotations under your feet prior to your feet touching.  When you first start Crossfit, unless you were a double dutch champion, double unders with be the bain of your existence.

Surge Ultra Speed Rope - Top End Rope for Double Unders! - Red
Amazon Price: Buy Now
(price as of Aug 27, 2013)
A great skipping rope for perfecting your double unders. Prepare to get some whip marks on your shins while you learn the 'ropes'.

Optional (But Awesome) Crossfit Equipment


While you can substitute a lot of exercises in Crossfit with either a barbell or a ketllebell, both you and I know that no real gym would be complete without a nice set of dumbbells.  How else would you perform hundreds upon hundreds of reps on those gorgeous biceps? With Crossfit, you generally won't need dumbbells too much higher than 45lbs. Thankfully many people invest thousands of dollars into fitness equipment just to never use it and sell it for cheap on Craigslist.  Their loss, your gain (Who said failed New Years resolutions were a bad thing).

Bayou Fitness Adjustable Dumbbell (50 Pounds)
Amazon Price: $199.00 $136.74 Buy Now
(price as of Aug 27, 2013)
If you want to save a ton of money, invest in a set of adjustable dumbbells. A great item for a personal home Crossfit gym. If you plan on having others use your gym, I would suggest more traditional dumbbells as there is a much lower risk of breakage.

Climbing Rope

While rope climbs don't rear their ugly face too frequently in crossfit programming, they do show up once in a while and if you want to stay true to the Crossfit.com programming, a rope is going to need to get installed in your garage.  The biggest hurdle we have with installing a rope, is having a garage with a short ceiling.  Don't have 20 foot ceilings? Don't sweat it, scrap the climbing rope. The skin on your shins will thank you.

Manila Climbing Rope with Polyboot End - 18 Feet Long
Amazon Price: $125.00 $124.76 Buy Now
(price as of Aug 27, 2013)
If you've got high ceilings and want to make sure your Crossfit experience is complete, this rope will give you 18 feet of climbing fun. Just be careful to watch out for the rub burns on your lower legs. Your shins can thank me later.

Gymnastics Rings

Like muscle ups? Ring Dips? How about L-Sits? If you said yes to at least 2 of these questions that you are going to need to install some rings in your garage gym.  While height isn't as much of a concern as a climbing rope, you are going to need a slightly higher than normal roof to anchor a set of gymnastics rings to if you want to use these properly.  If you don't have the room, maybe you have a really symmetrical tree you could anchor them to outside? Just don't forget to take them in at night before it rains.

Pellor Olympic Exercise Fitness crossfit Muscle training Gymnastic Rings with flexible buckles
Amazon Price: $38.99 $35.79 Buy Now
(price as of Aug 27, 2013)
Even if you are limited to hanging these off a tree, the nice thing about Crossfit Gymnastic rings is that they are affordable.

Glute-Ham Developer

The Glute-Ham developer is an awesome tool for developing your glutes and hams (who would have thought). It is also an amazing machine for really crushing your abs.  Thousands of power lifters around the world use GHDs as a tool to rapidly increase their one rep max on squats.

Glute Ham Developer
Amazon Price: $555.00 Buy Now
(price as of Aug 27, 2013)
If you are ready to start your career as a butt model, the Glute Ham developer is the first step in achieving your dream.

Concept 2 Rower

If there was a piece of cardio equipment that was synonymous with Crossfit, I would have to say it is the Concept 2 Rower.  You won't find another piece of cardio equipment in a Crossfit gym.  While you can easily substitute rowing with a jog for the same distance, jogging just doesn't hit the same spectrum of muscles as the Concept 2 rower.   For the most part I would recommend picking one of these up after you've been using your home Crossfit gym extensively for a few months. No point in spending over $1000 on something if you are just going through a phase.

Concept2 Model E Indoor Rowing Machine
Amazon Price: $1,260.00 Buy Now
(price as of Aug 27, 2013)
Rowing is an amazing activity for full body cardio. Develop strength and stamina with the only Crossfit approved piece of cardio equipment.

Once you've got your equipment setup and you are 100% familiar with all the exercises that are used in Crossfit, it is time to get down to business and start training.  If you are a seasoned athlete, you can follow Crossfit.com's daily programming.  To start I would suggest reducing the weights and volume from what they prescribe for roughly one to two months until your body starts to get the feel for things.  As you get used to it, start to ramp up your intensity.

Keeping track of your Numbers

The old fashioned way of keeping track of your weights and stats is a good old pen and paper, however this isn't 1972, we have the freaking Internet.  Beyond The Whiteboard is probably the top resource online for keeping track of both your own times/scores but also a way to keep track for other people who might use your gym.  Not only does it keep track of your times, it allows you to compare your score against scores you had in the past as well as scores from other people, both in your gym and around the world.

Level 1 Crossfit Trainer Training

So you've got a great athletic background, you've been lifting weights since before you were able to grow arm pit hair and you want to understand Crossfit better than you know your significant other.  The next step is to take a little training.  On the right side of the Crossfit.com web site is a list of cities hosting training in the next year.  For $1000 you can get your level 1 Crossfit certification which is enough to start training folks at both your own gym as well as already establish Crossfit Boxes.  If you really love Crossfit, get certified and start making money off your own home gym.



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