Gymnasiums are one of the best places to build your dream body, and they have been for quite some time. But there are multiple downsides to going to the gym -- you have to deal with other people, the machine or weights you need are taken, it costs money monthly, etc.
For the last few years, creating your own at-home gym has become a more and more popular route. With your personal gym open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and catered to your specific needs, there’s nothing stopping you from achieving your ideal physique and superior athletic prowess.
In this complete overview, we’ll go over the benefits of building a home gym, what to consider when building your own, how to best construct your gym and where, as well as what workouts work best in the comforts of your own home.
If you’re looking to build the ultimate home gym, you’ve come to the right place.
Creating your at-home gym is loaded with terrific advantages, including:
While many of the benefits are social-based, some are also fitness-based. Therefore, it makes a lot of sense to build your own at-home gym.
How much does it cost to build a home gym? In the long run, it’ll be cheaper than shelling out money to a commercial gym. Here’s how…
Well, let’s start with how much a commercial gym costs. Over the span of ten years, the average cost of a gym membership is about $7,000-$9,000. Not only that, but the commute (which means there and back) also totals 20-30 minutes.
Now, a home gym -- which includes equipment, accessories, and anything else you need for your workouts -- averages about $1500 in cost. Plus, you cut down your commute to exactly zero minutes.
You get more exercise opportunities, you cut your time down to almost half, and it costs about a quarter of the price of a commercial gym membership. And the quality? It’s exactly the same. In fact, it might even be better, considering you don’t have to wait for others to finish using machines and getting their sweat all over the equipment.
Your budget should reflect A) how much you actuallyhave to spend on a home gym, and B) include the equipment you want in your personal gym. If you were to go with, say, only a functional trainer, it could cost anywhere between $600 and $3000. If you were to mix and match benches, squat racks, bars, and bumper plates, it will also leap into the thousands.
If you’re looking to build a gym that looks similar to a commercial gym, then you’ll be grabbing a squat rack with a pull-up bar up top, a barbell, bumper plates, maybe some gymnastic rings, a kettlebell or two, a jump rope, and some mats to put underneath your rack. That will come to around $1500 for a quality home gym.
You can always add stuff or remove some things from this list to get it to the way you want, at the price you want. Remember, it’s yourgym, so you can spend as much or as little as you deem “fit.”
The best way to build a home gym is -- carefully.
You want to think long and hard before deciding which equipment is right for you. Once that’s figured out, you still should conduct thorough research on what the top brands are for that equipment. Look at customer reviews, figure out what materials they use to determine durability, double-check your budget to see whether you can get a quality version of that piece.
What equipment should you get?
That’s the first question, and the most crucial. There are so many machines, accessories, and pieces you can go for. Here are the most effective pieces of equipment you should be looking for, and what we at Strength Warehouse consider to be must haves!
This is what we would call the starter kit. With these, you’ll be able to build muscle, lose body fat, and create a well-developed physique over time. (Side note: Your squat rack should definitely include a pull-up bar at the top.)
For more cardiovascular equipment and conditioning gear, we suggest having these on your radar:
You don’t need all of these, just one or two will give you enough opportunities to work cardio into your weight routine or do full cardio workouts!
Here are some other accessories to keep in mind:
There are so many things you can add to your home gym. Start with the starter kit, then find out what else you need for your workouts.
These are essentially cable crossover machines you see in many commercial gyms. We say, if you have space for one, it’s worth the investment. Functional trainers are a lot of these pieces jam-packed into one machine. They’re a suitable replacement for barbells and dumbbells, which means you don’t need bumper plates or squat racks. You’d still want an adjustable bench and some conditioning equipment, though.
It all depends on your training goals. Do you want to gain absurd amounts of muscle? Then stick with the traditional squat rack, barbell, and dumbbells. Want to have an all-around athletic physique? You can get away with a functional trainer, a jump rope, a bench, and a kettlebell.
Figure out what your goals are and you’ll come up with the answer. To read more on the topic, check out our Ultimate Guide to Functional Trainers!
The versatility of functional trainers is a serious thing to consider for your space.
There are benefits to both using free weights and machines. As we said before, using only free weights will give you a slow and steady path to tons of muscle. However, this involves moving an object through a plane, not your body, which are two completely different types of fitness.
Machines like all-in-one systems (single stack gyms, multi-stack gyms, etc.) provide a slew of exercises in a single piece of equipment. This is most likely the more cost-friendly option and is safer as well. You’ll be moving objects through a plane, but you can also perform calisthenics that moves your body as well.
Machines, with the exception of cable columns and gym systems, lack versatility and take up a ton of space. They usually only allow for 1 or 2 specific movements. So if space is a main concern of yours, you will need to be ultra-selective on what machines come into your gym!
What about a combination of the two? This would cover all bases, but it might be a bit overkill. If your budget allows for it, hey, go crazy. It’ll give you the most options when it comes to exercise choice. But if you need to choose one, we’d go with all-in-one systems based on cost, variety, and safety.
You want to get devices and equipment that can do more than a single exercise. This is why functional trainers are great for home gyms. Other versatile items include kettlebells, barbells, dumbbells, and resistance bands.
Items that are not versatile -- air bikes, rowing machines, pegboards, jump ropes -- are great at developing overall fitness but are a little more one-trick-pony than other options. Begin with the versatile stuff, then move on to unique, specialized equipment.
If you’re working out in your garage or basement, you want to keep your floors safe from heavy weights falling. Make sure to grab some thick matting that can be interlocked to form a pad for your squat rack, bench, barbell, and dumbbells.
Rubber matting or foam matting will be your best bet.
What about putting all of this away when you’re not working out? You can get a weight storage rack or bar storage pegs to attach to one of your walls. That way it stays off the ground and out of the way, which increases the lifetime of the barbell and plates.
The same goes for your dumbbells. Find storage bins or display racks to keep them ready and neat for the next workout.
With that in mind, there are only a couple of areas in your home that functions as a fantastic home gym space:
The sky’s the limit when it comes to at-home workouts. You provide even more variety with every piece of equipment you get your hands on.
We’ll give you two sample home gym workouts: One is a no-equipment calisthenics full-body workout; the second workout involves at-home gym equipment that mimics what your gym might look like.
Perform as a circuit, three to four times. Rest for one minute in-between circuits.
This is a classic 5x5 workout with all of the fan-favorite exercises. This requires a squat rack, a barbell, bumper plates, and an adjustable bench… that’s it.
Having a home gym is a really great way to develop your overall fitness and physique. It’s cost-effective, allows you to work out whenever, and gets the same job done as a commercial gym (without those prying eyes).
Find out what equipment you’d want for your home gym, set up a budget based on those pieces and current prices for quality equipment, and start constructing it one piece at a time.
While you’re in the process of building your home gym, perform the Workout #1 three or four times a week. Once you have most of the pieces, do Workout #2 and incorporate other exercises with whatever specialized equipment you purchase.
Trust us, you’ll love having your own gym that you can go barefoot in (if you want). Enjoy!
Here's a list of other resources mentioned in this article:
Here are some of our favorite videos about why you need a home gym of your own!