Does My Gym Have What I Need To Get Toned

gym checklist

Most commercial gyms have all the equipment you need to look great naked and then some. But not all gyms are equal and for some of us we don’t have the option of a big commercial gym or just prefer a smaller gym.

So what are the necessities of a gym to get fit and toned?

I’ll break it down into three categories.

The minimalist

The practical

The Legendary

The minimalist


This category is for home gyms and small apartment gyms. If you are planning on building a home gym and looking for equipment this is my recommendation that takes the fewest amount of pieces but gives you the most bang for your buck.

With square footage limited it’s important to prioritize the right equipment.

1. Squat Rack + Bar and weights

The squat rack is extremely versatile. You can of course squat, barbell lunge of most variations, bench press, shoulder press, and do pull-ups among other exercises. This takes care of almost 70 percent of your training alone. The weights should go up to 420 pounds: 3 Sets of 45 pound plates, 1 Set of 25 pound plates, 2 sets of 10 pound plates, 1 set of 5 pound plates, and 1 set of 2.5 pound plates. Of course if you’re starting out 1 to 2 sets of 4 pound plates is more than enough to start with.

2. Adjustable bench

An adjustable bench is needed for the bench press, incline bench, shoulder press, step ups, bulgarian split squats, and dumbbell rows among others.

3. Dumbbells up to 50 pounds

These are of course extremely versatile for what you can get out of them. For a small space you can get adjustable dumbbells up to 50 or so pounds which is extremely space saving. This can be used for upper body lifts such as bench, shoulder press, rows and lower body for lunges, RDLs, etc.

The accessories

Bands for pull-ups and warm-ups

Med ball/s for slams and core

Ab straps

Foam roller

Dip belt for weighted pull-ups



Most of the accessories are relatively small. If space permits then an assault bike or ERG would be a great addition for conditioning.

The practical

gym practical

This is typically for a larger home gym or for your local gym or apartment gym that is well equipped.

The practical includes everything mentioned above with the addition of:

1. Cable Lat Pull Down

This is great for building strength for the pull-up and developing the back muscles as well as arms. This is one of my favorites for beginners to advanced lifters. Anyone can benefit from these.

2. Seated Cable Row

The cable row is the second that takes up a bit of space but if your gym has the space this is an amazingly versatile piece of equipment. When it comes to getting toned and looking great naked as well as being strong the back is the body part to prioritize. Gravity makes it a bit tricky to challenge the back and these two pieces of equipment get that out of the way.

3. Cable crossover machine

This one gives you plenty of exercises and a lot of bang for your buck. From a pull-up bar to an adjustable cable for isolating the arms, shoulders, warming up.

The legendary

gym legendary

This is most commercial gyms and luxury apartment gyms. Since space is not much of a problem it’s easy to fit all of the above in and then some extras.

1. Cardio Equipment

My favorite is the assault bike, ERG, treadmill, Upright bike and stairmill. These make cardio a bit more exciting and you can vary the modalities with some creativity. But also if the weather is pretty gross just 40 minutes of low intensity steady state on one of these pieces will burn the fat away!

2. Seated Ham curl, Leg Extension, Laying Ham Curl, Abductor / Adductor

Typically if a gym has one of these they usually have all of these. But These are great when available but of course not needed to build an amazing physique. This is like the icing on the cake.

3. All the bells and whistles.

This is where it makes the training Instagramable, as most of the fitness models post this type of stuff on there. From battle ropes, sleds, hack squats, to back, chest, and shoulder machines. These are the things that look pretty cool but are at the bottom of the list for a reason. This list is in order of what is most important to least important when it comes to getting toned and looking sexy. If your gym doesn’t have these then have no worries.

This completes the list of what a gym needs to build a great physique. From most important to least important.

It’s time to get to lifting!

Click here to join my free course to learn how to get toned, from goal setting to navigating alcohol, it’s all covered

Jamari Jackson