How to Make an Awesome Home Gym at Any Budget
Go big and stay home with your own at home gym! It may sound like a great idea. But isn’t it cost prohibitive? Or wouldn’t it just take up too much space in your place? Actually, making an awesome home gym may be a lot easier (and cheaper) than you thought!
What Are Your Goals?
Whether you build an at home gym or not may depend on your fitness goals. Are you just trying to get in a little extra cardio and avoid inclement weather? Are you training for a fitness competition? Do you just need a space for some stretching and yoga? Or, do you want to throw some weights around in the privacy of your own home? Whatever your goals, you’ll want to take those into consideration when planning your home gym.
Location, Location, Location
One of the first things you’ll want to determine is where you should locate your gym. Do you have a spare room that can comfortably hold equipment? Will your gym be housed in the garage? Or will it be in the corner of your family room?
Things to take into consideration when determining where to set up your home gym:
- Will it be inside your home, in a garage, or in a detached building?
- If it’s in a detached building, does that building have electricity?
- If it’s in a detached building or garage, does it have climate control?
- Can you lock the building/room?
- How far away from your physical home is the gym going to be?
- If your gym is upstairs, can you get equipment up there (e.g., will it fit through the stairwell)?
- Does your floor have the necessary strut support for the additional weight of exercise equipment (for example, treadmills can be extraordinarily heavy and may need to be located on a basement or ground floor level).
- Do you have the proper electrical outlets available for the equipment you choose? Some pieces have special power requirements and may require an electrician’s assistance to get them properly hooked up.
- Noise levels—is your home gym going to be right next to your roommate’s bedroom or above an apartment where the noise of an exercise machine, music, or television might be
What Equipment Should You Put in Your Home Gym?
Depending on the available space, you’ll probably want a few staples, equipment-wise. It’s important to make sure you cover all the bases so you don’t neglect working certain body parts just because you don’t have the necessary equipment. You’ll want to ensure you can exercise your chest, shoulders, triceps, back, biceps, legs (both quads and hamstrings), calves, and abs. You may also want to get a piece that helps you work the glutes.
Much of the equipment you may be considering can work multiple body parts and are thus a good investment. If you’re trying to stay on the more cost-effective side of things, then choose equipment with multiple uses. If you have a lot of space and a not-so-limited budget, then by all means, pick some of your favorite pieces of equipment that work specific body parts. No matter what your goals, however, you really can put together a pretty awesome workout space on a dime.
1. Dumbbells—these versatile weights can offer you a spectacular workout all on their own. The exercise possibilities are truly endless. Not only can you work all the muscles in your body effectively with dumbbells, but you can use them for high-intensity-interval-training sessions and work on your balancing moves. The versatility is really amazing. Typically purchased by the pound, dumbbells are a good investment. And, if you don’t have the space or budget for a full rack of dumbbells, consider adjusted dumbbells like PowerBlocks®, Bowflex® SelectTech, or Core Fitness Adjustable Dumbbells.
2. Adjustable Bench—having a bench is crucial and will give you all kinds of versatility when it comes to your workouts. Not only can you use a bench for your typical bench press chest workout, you can use it for incline movements, decline movements, abdominal workouts, interval training, and more. If there is one piece of equipment that is a must, in my opinion, this is it.
3. Pull-Up bar—this is a very handy (and cost-effective) piece of equipment. Since you can work most of your body fairly easily with just your bodyweight, bands, or dumbbells, having a pull-up bar can really complete the circle, allowing you to focus on those all-important back muscles that can be hard to reach without certain equipment.
4. Universal machine—consider getting a piece of equipment that can serve several purposes. These can range anywhere from several hundred dollars to several thousand dollars depending on the quality and exercise diversity. For example, you may find a universal machine that allows you to do leg extensions for quadriceps as well as hamstring curls, but getting the equipment into position for these different exercises is a hassle. Finding a good balance between price and your hassle-factor is where the sweet spot lies. If you don’t have the time to mess with adjusting and reconfiguring equipment, a little more money may be worth it. For a bit less money, there are other options like the Total Gym® that offer a variety of exercise options.
5. Cardio equipment—while many folks opt for a simple bike, consider a treadmill, elliptical, or spin bike. Quality does matter here, but a good piece of equipment can set you back a bit with some high-end cardio equipment going for between $3,000 and $10,000. Don’t forget, you can always walk, run, or bike outside; run up and down the stairs; invest in a great jump rope; bounce on a rebounder; invest in a trainer for your bicycle; or follow along with group fitness classes on television. So, coughing up a bunch of cash is not necessary.