What’s in My Gym

Full gym 1

*For a full list of all my gear with no descriptions, scroll to the end of this article.

If you watch my YouTube channel, you’ll see that I have a lot of gear in my home gym. It didn’t use to be that way. When I started training regularly at home, I did it in my living room with a single kettlebell. Wow, how things have changed!

The mere fact that I run a website and YouTube channel devoted to building home gyms means that I end up with more gear than most. I have way more stuff than I can use or need.

GymCrafter was built on a foundation of my training six days a week. That, to me, is a non-negotiable aspect of my life. It’s not right for everyone, but I’m determined to age well and stay fit as I turn 50 and beyond!

That means that six days a week, I go into my garage first thing in the morning, and I train for about 90 minutes. The question is, with all that gear to choose from, what do I actually use? Which things do I find myself using in my own workouts day after day?

Which, in my mind, are the best?

And that’s why I put together this list. If you were to sneak into my garage gym in the middle of a training session, these are the things you’d see me using. I love them all and enjoy training with each of them.

If you want to skip all the articles, all the recommended gear pages, and all the buying guides and see what I use in real life, you are in the right place. So, without further rambling, here we go!

My Rack – The Titan Tall X-3 Flat Foot Power Rack


When I built my gym, I thought I would end up with a Rogue Rack. I was almost sure of it! Then I looked at their pricing. Whoa!!! I couldn’t justify that price tag. Not for something whose only job is to hold the bar in place and provide a safe cage to lift within.

While the Titan racks had mixed reviews due to powder coat quality, some ugly welds, and some other fit and finish type issues, no one knocked their functionality. In fact, it was just the opposite. So I took a chance and ordered my rack from Titan.

I am so happy that I did!!! Sure, it’s not the prettiest powder coat. Yep, some of the welds are a bit ugly. Yes, the fit and finish could be better. And it only comes in black, no fancy colors. But you know what?

None of that affects how well the rack works!!! And it works really, really well!!!

And that’s what is important. For anyone looking to save some money and still get a quality rack, Titan is the place to go. Here’s what I love about my X-3:

  • A flat foot design means I don’t have to bolt it to the floor.
  • 3”x3” steel uprights are solid and heavy, and the rack is extremely stable.
  • It came with two pull-up bars, safety pins, j-hooks, and plate storage.
  • At 30” deep, it’s big enough to work inside without taking up my whole garage.
  • At $599 with free shipping, it was over $700 less than the same rack from Rogue!!!

Want to see the rack I own, love, and use every day? Check out the Titan X-3 rack here!

My Barbell – The Rep Fitness Black Diamond Power Bar

Rep Fitness Black diamond power bar endcap

In late 2023, Rep Fitness redesigned their entire barbell line. I’ve tried every bar in that lineup, and the bar I train with daily is the Rep Black Diamond power bar. In end-to-end stainless steel, it’s also the bar that all of my personal training clients prefer.

If you want a great all-around barbell for your gym, the Black Diamond bar is the perfect choice.

Want to see the bar I train with every day? Check it out here on the Rep Fitness website!

My bumper plates – Fringe Sport Contrast bumper plates

FS bumper2

Bumper plates are not the least expensive way to go when buying weight plates. If you are on a budget, I don’t recommend them. But if you don’t mind spending extra for all the benefits that bumper plates come with, Fringe Sport is the only place to go.

When I was selecting my bumpers, I wanted two things: durability and virgin rubber. Fringe Sport is the only place that delivers on both counts and won’t empty your wallet at the same time.

First, they make the most durable bumper plates on the market. Period. How durable? Check out this video of them chucking a loaded barbell off of their warehouse roof onto concrete. Go ahead; I’ll wait.

Second, unless you want your gym and your hands to reek of rubber for the first 6-12 months, you have your plates, and you want bumper plates made from virgin rubber. 

Fringe Sport makes a few varieties that all have the above two qualities. It’s just a matter of picking what you want your plates to look like. In fact, my only regret with my bumpers is that their amazing-looking “savage” bumper plates weren’t out when I bought my set.

Check out the bumper plates that I train with every day here on the Fringe Sport website!

My bench – The Rep Fitness BlackWing adjustable bench

blackwing bench side view

With a zero-gap design and stability that rivals benches that are bolted to the ground, the BlackWing is the best adjustable bench I’ve ever used. Yes, it’s a bit expensive. It’s also the last bench you’ll ever need to buy!

Want to see the bench I train on every day? See the BlackWing here on the Rep Fitness website.

My dumbbells – Power Blocks USA Elite 90 lb set

PB db

After your bar and your bench, dumbbells are the thing you’ll come into contact with the most. Having a good set of adjustables is almost a requirement for any home gym.

I’ve owned and trained with all 3 of the major options out there (BowFlex, Iron Master, and Power Blocks). To me, the Power Blocks are head and shoulders above everyone else. And that’s why I own them, recommend them, and use them on a regular basis.

Outside of my Onnit Primal Bells, this is the piece of gear I’ve owned the longest. That speaks volumes about their quality. Until there comes a day when I can afford and have space for a full set of dumbbells, these Power Blocks will be my dumbbells of choice for sure!

Check out the Power Blocks version I train with here on Amazon.

And don’t forget the stand! It’s a must-have accessory!

My kettlebells – Rep Fitness LB Kettlebells

Rep KB

I own a dumb amount of kettlebells. It’s what I started training at home with, and it’s still one of my favorite implements.

I’ve owned kettlebells from Onnit, Body-Solid, Titan, KettleBells Kings, and Rep Fitness. The Titan and Body-Solid were a waste of money. I sold the Titans, and I donated the Body-Solid to the gym where I work.

This is why you don’t go cheap on kettlebells. This is one of the Body-Solid kettlebells that I donated to the gym where I work.

Of the three that are left in my gym, all are good options. But I find myself reaching for the Rep kettlebells first on most days. I love the way they feel. I love the grip. I love the fit and finish. And even though it doesn’t have anything to do with how much I like using them, I love the price.

On my recommended kettlebells page, I list Rep as the best “budget option.” But I think I may need to change that and simply list them as the best option, period. I just can’t give anyone a meaningful reason to spend more on anything else.

Check out the kettlebells I reach for time and again here on the Rep Fitness website!

My Treadmill – ProForm 1000 series (discontinued)

I walk a lot. 2-3 times a day, every day. That’s life with bulging discs in your lower back for you. Occasionally I jog. Once a week, I do hill sprints—all of it outside if the weather permits.

But I live in a suburb of Chicago. And the weather definitely does not always permit it! That means I need a way to do all that inside when needed, which means I need a treadmill.

But I’m not a serious runner, so super-expensive treadmills were out of the question for me. What I needed was something that was well-built, reliable, and easy to walk/run on. I didn’t need fancy screens or interactive programs. I just needed a way to walk an hour or two each day when it was cold out!

So, I bought a somewhat entry-level treadmill by Pro-Form. It cost a little more than I wanted to spend at $1100, but it’s been really great for a long time. And, knock wood, it looks like it’ll keep on going for a long while more!

Pro-Form has a new version of my treadmill called the Carbon T10. It’s the same price and looks pretty darn similar to mine. 

The best place to get a ProForm Carbon T10 is right here.

My favorite accessories

Accy Feat

If I had to sell most of my gear and get back down to just the basics, I’d be thrilled to have only the above-listed equipment. All you really need is a nice rack, a great bar, durable plates, an amazing bench, some adjustable dumbbells, and a few kettlebells to round it all out.

That right there, folks, is all anyone needs! Everything else is extra.

If I could, though, there are a few must-have accessories I’d need to keep to go along with those essential items. Nothing fancy, and it’s not a huge list, but there are a few items that I use every day that I’d be hard-pressed to do without at this point in my training.

The nice thing is that all of these are inexpensive and easy to find.

My collars – Lock-Jaw OLY 2 Olympic Collars

Lock Jawz

My two favorite collars are the Lock-Jaw and the OSO collars. I even made a video about them which you can see here. All along, I thought I’d like the OSO better. In fact, I used them exclusively for over a year.

But I’ve switched back to the Lock-Jaw, and I couldn’t be happier. They open a lot more smoothly (the OSO will “bite” you if you aren’t careful and…. ouch!!!) and have a wider lever for closure.

One tip is do not buy the cheap knock-offs you see on sale for $15 and less!!!! Those do NOT work. They are NOT secure. Looks and reviews can be deceiving.

Get an authentic set of Lock-Jaw collars here on Amazon.

My bands – Rubber Banditz Reistance bands


Every gym needs a quality set of bands. ‘Nuff said. What you don’t need is a cheap set that snaps on you in the middle of doing face pulls and leaves a welt on your forehead that doesn’t go away for a week (no, no, that totally didn’t happen to me at all, why do you ask?).

I use these every day, and of the 3-4 different brands of bands I’ve had, they are the best by far.

Check out their full assortment here on Amazon.

My favorite barbell accessory – Fat Gripz


I like these so much that I own all three sizes. I made a video about them you can see here. I have more videos planned to show just how many different things you can use them for.

There isn’t a week that goes by that I don’t use these at least 1-2 times.

This is another one where you don’t want to buy the cheap knockoff. If you do, you’ll end up getting a slippery, squishy, useless piece of rubber, and you won’t have saved any money at all.

You can get the same Fat Gripz that I use all the time right here on Amazon.

As I mentioned at the start of this page, I have a lot of stuff. What I just listed above is what I actually use. If you are curious about all the stuff that’s currently in the gym, here’s the most up-to-date list I have: