Working out at home is getting popular nowadays. People find exercising at home comfy and time-saving. It’s a great chance to get in shape with no expenses on a gym membership. Building a home gym (or garage gym) may be challenging. Lots of aspects should be taken into account. This ultimate guide is made for your to slay home gym setup like a pro.
Let’s start building a home gym where you’ll want to work in. We covered all the stages here, from finding space to choosing essential equipment. Use these recommendations to level up your fitness routine.
Find Space to Workout
Look for a cozy nook where you could exercise safely. A home gym can be set anywhere, on the like of the living room or bedroom. There should be enough space to place a yoga mat to stretch and work on the core. Have equipment storage at hand to use everything you need at any time.
The required area depends on what exercises you’re going to perform. HIIT workouts may need more place to train. Besides, there should be solid flooring to jump around. A humble spot with a mat will be enough for Yoga or Pilates exercises. Heavy lifting routine is another point. You may need much space to set all the bulky gym equipment, including exercise machines and barbells with weight plates. A separate room for a home gym is even better in this case. A garage gym is a good thing to consider too.
Outdoor areas like a patio or back porch are excellent for exercising. Of course, if weather conditions allow you to do that. The basement is another place to set up a home gym. Turn your cave into a sports center as summer is on the go. Let’s get started!
Containers and Boxes
If you’re considering a bunch of fitness equipment, proper storage is a must. For pieces of equipment that require little space, a storage container is a great solution. The item comes in a wide range of colors, shapes, and sizes. The most common one is a transparent plastic box with a lid. There, you could place gym equipment like dumbbells, jump ropes, balance discs, and others. Keep it under the bed or in a closet to save space.
Apart from plastic containers, you can check some collapsible baskets. They usually have rectangular and round forms. Some of them come with a lid, others are designed with handles instead. A cotton basket is friendly to the environment, which is a plus. People like storage baskets as they have chic designs to spruce up your home decor. Nobody won’t find out this trendy item is for storing home gym equipment!
Some gear is better to store off the ground. Thus, you may need wall hooks as a great storage solution. Such gym racks are made with heavy-duty materials to grip equipment well. Use the racks to hang resistance bands, lifting belts, chains, suspension training kits, jump ropes, etc. All the bare essentials can be stored in one place. Before purchasing, make sure the product is friendly to gym equipment. The hangers are easy to install. They typically come with anchors and screws to attach the product to the wall.
A weight rack is needed for storing dumbbells. It’s better to place them on a stand to avoid tripping over them when exercising. Besides, organized equipment looks neet. Some sets of dumbbells come with a weight rack already. If you consider yourself a handy person, you could try to DIY a dumbbell rack.
The same goes for storing weight plates (bumper plates). There are special racks for barbell plates to keep them in order. Plus, they prevent the gear from dropping. Several weight rack options are available on the market.
Plate trees are designed to hang the plates on the “branches” all over the steel triangle shape. Storage poles allow keeping the weight plates always at hand. If you own cast iron plates, consider a wall rack to keep the gear. Another option is a bumper plate rack that’s great for storing bigger plates. When choosing a weight rack, check the product’s capacity in order not to overload it.
If you crave an all-in-one station, choose a storage corner shelf. That’s a massive rack that is suitable for various pieces of equipment. The bars are strong enough to withstand a bunch of dumbbells, kettlebells, weight plates, stability balls, medicine balls, ankle weights, and more. One corner can store all your gym equipment saving much space.
Heavy barbells should be stored properly. There are a few ways to do that safely. If you own one barbell, it’s fine to keep it on the hooks of your rack. But if there’s a batch of bars, more space is needed. Here’s what you can do with it.
First, consider horizontal barbell storage. As bar bearings are not designed to keep it vertically. Even more, much pressure applied may lead to the gear breaking down. Dropped barbell vertically has a worse effect than if dropped horizontally. Thus, proper equipment storage affects the item’s longevity.
There is a ready-made rack barbell storage available. It consists of several compartments to place the bars on. The rack is attached to the wall. A range of sizes allows choosing a number of compartments needed. Such racks are easy to use and maintain. But they are pricey.
Hooks are a more budget-friendly option. You can look for sturdy hooks that can carry a heavy load. Wall-mount hooks for storing guns may come in handy. Buy 2 items for each barbell.
If storing horizontally is not an option for your home gym, try vertical. A typical bar holder consists of several tubes to insert the barbells in. When one sleeve of the power bar is in the tube, the gear stands in an upright position. The product has deep compartments to support the bars from bending over. That’s an option to store the piece of equipment on the ground.
No matter what storage option you choose, make sure you unload the barbells before leaving your home gym. Also don’t lean the bars against the wall. It can fall down and damage the floor. And don’t leave the barbells on the floor. There’s a chance of tripping over it. When building a home gym, consider one of the storage options mentioned above to keep your barbells safe. Especially in a garage gym, where non-gym stuff is stored as well. Everything must be kept in its spot.
Home Gym Maintenance
Building a home gym is not just purchasing fitness equipment. You need to arrange the home workout area wisely. All the details are important here, including flooring, light, cleanliness, etc. Let’s get the hang of it.
Outline home gym space with sturdy flooring. A proper floor guarantees safety and comfy performance. It should be solid enough to withstand the workload. Soft padding provides space to do floor-based exercises.
Don’t use horse stall mats. They’re designed for animals, not sportsmen. Look for quality flooring made for gyms.
Benefits of Home Gym Flooring
- It protects your basic floor from scratches and cracks. Especially, if you work out with heavy weights. In case of dropped equipment, shock-absorbing flooring will come in handy.
- It protects your gym equipment from breaking. If you want to buy a bunch of equipment for a home gym, solid flooring will save it from rolling or hitting each other.
- Smooth home gym flooring makes working out at home more pleasant. Soft padding is great for stretching, meditation, and more. So you don’t need to push up on the cold floor.
- Gym flooring provides enough traction for better grip. When doing exercises, your position must be fixed with no slipping. The same goes for the gear. All the pieces of equipment stay still when you workout.
- Shock-absorption is a must when it comes to heavy weight lifting. This feature allows equipment like a barbell with bumper plates not to bounce and roll away.
- Proper home gym flooring is a great way to threshold your workout area. Spruce up your home with a good-looking fitness zone.
Gym Flooring Options
1. Rubber Flooring
One of the most common flooring types you may face at the gym. It’s a superb option for garage and home gyms. The material is highly versatile. It provides a solid grip while staying smooth.
This type of flooring is available in different shapes and sizes. It includes rubber mats, tiles, and rolls. They come in a range of thicknesses to hit your workout needs. The rubber floor is easy to install and clean. Interlocking tiles are a favorite as they set up flawlessly.
The rubber flooring costs anywhere from $1 to $20 per square foot. The average price tag is around $2 to $4 per square foot.
2. Foam Flooring
Another popular gym flooring option is foam tiles. It’s a sturdy material with good padding. The color palette is impressive. You’re able to pick the most suitable colors for your home gym design.
Foam floor is great for beginners. The tiles provide enough protection and grip for basic equipment. Olympic weightlifters are recommended to choose something more durable like rubber. Foam is not good for heavy weight gear.
Foam tiles are budget-friendly. Such flooring is worth $1 to $5 per square foot.
3. Vinyl Flooring
Consider vinyl floor for a garage gym. It’s quite durable and grips well. The material is great for heavy weight lifting. The vinyl floor comes in interlocking tiles and rolls. Both options are DIY-friendly.
Great traction ensures the equipment will stay still. Garages with vinyl flooring can withstand gym machines as well as vehicles.
The price range of vinyl flooring is wide. It goes from $2 to $20 per square foot.
Check out our home gym flooring guide to find more options for your sports area.
Fresh air helps to feel comfy during workouts. It prevents you from overheating and reducing the level of activity. Proper ventilation keeps the area hygienic and clean. Poor air quality leads to mold and respiratory diseases. Especially if you work out at the garage or basement.
It’s better to build a home gym where there’s access to the window. But if it’s not your case, no probs. Mechanical ventilation is a great way to supply fresh air. Consider purchasing a fan or an air conditioner. Install it on the wall and enjoy pleasant training.
A fan helps to get rid of moisture and bad smell. Ventilate your home gym at least three times a day. Contact an HVAC expert to get professional help on product choosing and its maintenance.
A window provides not only access to fresh air but to natural light too. Proper lighting allows you to work out at any time efficiently. And your eyes won’t be tired because of working with dim light. You must see what piece of equipment you’re taking, right?
Make the home gym light sufficient with artificial lighting. For instance, track lights are a go-to option. The product is highly adjustable. You can manage the shape, intensity, and color of the light. The number of lamps can be changed and added over time. Such an item is installed on the ceiling spreading the light all over the gym.
Add some side light if needed to manage shadows. Set up your home gym close to the windows if possible. Ceiling windows are great for top-floor home gyms. Make sure you get enough lighting when working out in the evenings and in foggy weather.
Soundproofing is a great way to ensure you won’t disturb your neighbors. Working out with heavy weights and dropping them may squeeze some noise out of your fitness zone. This may irritate you as well as your family members. There are several ways on how to make a home gym quieter.
As we already mentioned, solid gym flooring features sound suppression. Your floor vibrates less and hence, creates less noise in the room.
Exercises that involve heavy weight lifting create noise most. A deadlift platform is an excellent way to work out on. When dropping the power bar, the plates bounce back spreading the noise and vibrations all over the house. This can be avoided by setting a deadlift platform. The common shape is a rectangular metal frame. Put some rubber tiles underneath or a piece of wood to stand on. Such an item set on the gym floor enhances sound absorption.
If the platform is not enough, consider crash pads or crash mats. These are thick-padded mats similar to airbags. The outside is usually made with vinyl, which is smooth and water-resistant. The inside is filled with foam that absorbs the sound well.
A crash mat reduces the impact when dropping heavy weights. That’s a great way to minimize the noise and vibrations. Crash mats are a more affordable option than a headlight platform. They come in an array of sizes to fit your home gym.
Think of plate types suitable for your training. Dropping a bar with heavy plates create sound and vibrations. Iron plates make much noise. Thus, bumper plates are a great alternative. They are made with rubber, not steel. Some of the plates come with rubber cover but they’re steel inside.
Weight plates also create sound when hitting each other. Even when you move and pile them together, there’s a chance of rumble. To avoid that, store the plates duly, in a weight rack, for instance. Besides, when exercising, use collars to secure the plates on the bar.
In case you’ve got custom iron plates, you don’t want to buy another set. You could try gluing cloth tape around the sides of the weight plates. This will prevent banging the items to the bar when exercising. The protection layer may reduce the level of noise.
When building a home gym, consider wall soundproofing. There are two ways how to do that. They refer to the result you want to achieve – sound deadening or sound insulation. What’s the difference? Sound deadening is removing the echo in a gym. Sound insulation is preventing noise from pervasion inside or outside the gym.
Ways to sound deadening:
- Set acoustic foam on the walls.
- Install moving blankets on the walls.
- Hang thick curtains on the windows.
Ways to sound insulation:
- Set soundproof drywall.
- Add mass loaded vinyl (MLV) to the walls.
- Install Sheetrock at the back of the drywall.
Add more trinkets if you crave a cozy workout area. First of all, consider installing a TV at the gym. It may help you feel the workout just got away. You could turn up your fave music to add some buzz. Alternatively, look for fitness online classes to follow their moves. Watching other people exercising may get you motivated.
Posters and printed quotes are another great way to be motivated. Hang some pictures of your role models and follow your dream! Such printing may fire up your ardor. If you’re a DIY person, make decorative slogans to spice up your workout area. This will add more colors to your space keeping you in the frontline.
Find a spot to set a mirror or two. The ones, floor-based, that may be seen at fitness centers. Use a wall to hang all the mirrors or put a mirror on each wall. This will help you to check your proper pose when exercising. Enjoy yourself every time you look at the mirror! Another perk is that mirrors make the room lighter and visually bigger.
Pamper yourself with a mini-fridge at the home gym. What could be more delightful than a cool drink after a tough workout? You deserve it! Store your favorite shakes and smoothies to refresh at any time.
Surf the net to get more ideas. We bet you’ll find something catchy to your taste.
Stock Your Home Gym with Essentials
It’s time to fill your gym with substantial equipment. Before purchasing the gear, think of what types of training you’re going to perform. Choose pieces of equipment to take full advantage of. When building a home gym, make sure there will be enough space for all your desired knick-knacks.
Depending on your aims and what fitness level you gain, the home gym essentials may vary. You could start with the bare items and then add the gear when needed.
Beginner Gym Set
1. Adjustable Dumbbells
Adjustable dumbbells are great for strength training. They can be used for the whole-body workout. Dumbbell exercises target a wide range of muscle groups. A single set provides a variety of weight options, which is a plus.
A set of dumbbells requires little space to be stored. The gear is easy to set and maintain. They come in a range of colors to fit your home gym interior design. Adjustable dumbbells have a lever mechanism to manage the number of plates. The gear is easy to use and adjust to your needs.
2. Adjustable Bench
A weight bench is a great piece of equipment to tone your muscles. The gear is highly versatile. You’re able to perform a wide range of exercises on one piece. Including CrossFit, cardio, and weight lifting. The bench is friendly to crunches, bench press, bicep curls, lunges, and others.
An adjustable bench is quite durable. Thick padding and steel frame will last for long. The smooth surface makes the gear easy to clean. Some adjustable weight benches come with extra features like a dumbbell storage rack, leg brace, and resistance bands. This will take your training to the next level, no doubt.
3. Yoga Mat
Extra padding is a great thing to have in a home gym. A yoga mat provides soft flooring when exercising. Besides, it has enough gripping to keep your position secured. Admit it, working out on the mat is more pleasing than on the cold floor.
A yoga mat doesn’t help you to tone your muscles directly. But it does help to feel comfortable and safe. Stretching, Pilates, meditation classes prone to have soft-padded mats. Heavy gym equipment, like a treadmill or squat rack, may damage your floor over time. Put a yoga mat underneath to avoid scratches.
4. Pull Up Bar
Pull-ups are a common part of a workout routine. This exercise is great to pump up your arms, shoulders, and back. Pull-ups are beneficial for your flexibility and stamina. Perform pull-ups and chin-ups to strengthen your upper body.
Nowadays, a pull-up bar is not just a bar set in a doorway. It comes with handholds, improved grip, and anchors for resistance bands. That makes the exercise equipment more versatile and pleasant to use.
A pull-up bar can be sold separately or as a part of a power rack. Beginner users may consider purchasing a pull-up bar only. The gear is quite affordable. One bar will serve you for years.
5. Resistance Bands
Resistance bands are an integral part of many gyms and fitness centers. They provide a wide range of resistance levels. This means the gear can hit various muscle groups and tone them duly. Resistance bands may replace heavy weights as an excellent starter pack.
The exercise bands come in a range of shapes and lengths. A set of bands will allow you to work out the entire body. They are great for push-ups, pull-ups, bicep curls, crunches, and more. People recovering from injuries find the bands advantageous. Seniors also use them to stretch well.
Resistance bands are available in a variety of colors. The gear matching to your workout outfit will look stunning. Another feature is that the bands are lightweight. They require little space and they’re easy to transfer.
6. Stability Ball
A stability ball (exercise ball, yoga ball, swiss ball) is a superb gear to amp up your muscles. It’s great to work on your strength and balance.
The ball is another piece of equipment you can use to train the whole body. Crunches, squats, leg raises, planks are usual exercises with a fitness ball.
The inflated ball is light and easily portable. You need minimum maintenance for such gear. A versatile color palette is pleasing to the eye.
We also recommend the article revealing even more home gym essentials for beginners.
Advanced Gym Set
1. Barbell Set
Level up your deadlifts and squats with barbells. Use this gear for strength training. A barbell is a steel bar where you stack the weight plates on.
An Olympic barbell is about 7 feet long and weighs 44 pounds. It’s the most popular gear in a commercial gym. The Olympic barbell can be used at a home gym and garage too.
The bulky ends of the bar are called sleeves. A standard barbell has 1-inch sleeves that are fixed. While an Olympic barbell features 2-inch rotating sleeves.
A barbell comes in different shapes. Olympic bars and standard bars have a long straight design. A curl bar is about 4 feet long. It’s great for a small home gym. A trap bar features better gripping and less pressure on your lower back.
2. Weight Plates
Barbells are more efficient with weight plates. Depending on what type of workout you want to perform, there are different weight disc options.
An Olympic disc has a 2-inch center horse. While a standard disc features a 1-inch center hole. Check the product’s description so it’s suitable for your barbells.
The plates come in an array of materials used. The common options are rubber and steel. Rubber provides great protection and durability. Steel discs are thinner so you can stack more weight on the bar.
Weight plates come in a set of different sizes and weights. Use barbell clamps when loading the discs. The items provide more security when performing exercises. The plates can be stored in weight racks to keep them in order.
3. Squat Rack
A squat rack is a stand that helps you to workout safely. It’s used to put a loaded barbell on your shoulders. A squat stand helps to lift the weight from a comfy position. The rack prevents the bars from rolling and falling down. Thus, you may protect the floor from dropped equipment with a squat rack.
Squat racks are beneficial to lower body training. Such exercises improve overall strength and a functional lift. A squat rack is a go-to thing for any home gym and garage. It’s quite versatile in use. Apart from lifting, you could perform rack pulls. Consider adding a dip station with a multi-grip pull-up bar to the squat rack. It’s for leg raises and pull-ups. And a lat pulldown will help you improve your back.
A squat stand can be an integral part of your workout area. One rack provides a range of exercises to be done. However, such a machine requires lots of space.
4. Power Rack
Instead of squat racks, you may be interested in a power rack. The stand can be used to store barbells and weight plates. A power rack usually comes with 4 posts (like a cage). While the squat rack has only 2.
With even hole spacing all along with the posts, you’re able to adjust the bar height to perform a range of exercises. Power racks withstand more workload than squat racks. The 4-post design provides more safety. That’s why professional powerlifters are recommended to use this type of rack.
The common exercises with a power cage include squats, rack pulls, military press, bench press, etc. While being super-efficient, this piece needs lots of space!
5. Jump Rope
When it comes to cardio, a jumping rope will come in handy. It’s lightweight and requires little space. This gear could replace a bunch of bulky exercise machines. It’s a great piece to warm up your body. 10 mins with a skipping rope are enough to burn up to 600 calories!
If you crave intensive training and have no space for ellipticals and treadmills, a jump rope is everything you need. Spice up your workouts with such efficient equipment. The rope is worth considering if you’re building a home gym on a budget.
For spacious home gyms and garage gyms, a treadmill is a level-up for cardio workouts. The machine helps you to track your heart rate when exercising. It provides low-impact training suitable for most people. It’s highly efficient with no need to lift heavy weights. Just set an angle and pace, and here you go!
A treadmill can be added to any fitness plan. Exercise for 30 min before or after a workout. Or use the gear for the full-time cardio. People claim regular cardio on a treadmill affects the overall health state.
Modern treadmills come with extra features like radio, touch screen, Bluetooth / Wi-Fi connection, and more. The machine may worth a penny that you should keep in mind.
Building a Home Gym on a Budget
Beginner sportsmen may consider a budget home gym. It should include all the bare essentials with minimum cost. So you can set it up fast and start reaching your fitness goals.
Here’s a list of home gym equipment that won’t break your budget:
- Exercise mat
- Adjustable dumbbells
- Resistance bands
- Pull-up bar
- Jump rope
Building a home gym with these items will be as efficient as exercising at a commercial gym. But in this case, you’ll save some bucks on a membership fee. Besides, you manage the equipment to create a top-notch home gym design.
Buying Second-Hand Gym Equipment
Another tip that could help you arrange a budget home gym is considering used gear. You could save thousands of dollars with second-hand gym equipment. But you have to be careful about what you’re going to purchase.
Here are useful tips on buying used gym equipment:
- Test the gear before purchasing. Make sure it works properly, all the items are in their places. Inspect for damages, cracks, scratches, excessive wear, and any other defects. If some parts need replacement, make sure they are still available on the market.
- Check the equipment for safety. As you don’t know how much the product has been used, make sure it’s still safe. Check for loose bolts, faulty wiring, excessive wear, and other damages. In case of issues, they shouldn’t be critical. Otherwise, you don’t have to use such damaged gear.
- Look for trusted brands. It’s better to choose equipment made by a quality brand. This will add some credibility the gear is safe to use. Non-trusted brands are likely to produce poor-quality products that aren’t worth considering.
- Check the warranty. It’s a great bonus if the equipment is still under warranty. If no, ask the manufacturer about an extended warranty option. It could be nice to be serviced by the manufacturer’s representative.
The Bottom Line on Building a Home Gym
A home gym is a tremendous idea that is getting popular worldwide. Check this comprehensive guide that explains how to build a home gym. Depending on what fitness goals you want to achieve, a range of equipment is needed. We described all the bare essentials suitable for beginners and pros.
Apart from exercising equipment, you may consider adding some extra features. On the like of a TV, posters, decorative figures, and other trinkets. All of these may help you get motivated and step on the right track. Proper lighting and regular ventilation also affect your well-being. Don’t forget to clean your gym and remove all dirt and dust.
An ace home gym is not only about equipment. You should consider an ideal area too. Look for a comfy spot where you can exercise well with no disturbance. Think of solid flooring and soundproofing to prevent noise from coming out of the gym.
Image Source: shutterstock.com, slimgym.co.