Building a home gym is a significant investment that is for sure. When you think about building a home gym, you probably don’t know where to start. Tossing up the cost, effort and convenience versus hitting your local commercial gym. Wading through the hundreds of options, articles, YouTube clips and gym equipment providers out there. It’s enough to make your head spin.
With this article, we will aim to answer some very common questions and perhaps answer a few you didn’t think of yet. We will take a look at some core equipment suitable in building up your home gym. We’ll take a look at the must haves, and the optional gear too. Your training style and goals will dictate most of this. We will also dive into the costs involved from a starter gym to an epic fully blown home gym! We will also look to see why a home gym can stack up against your local commercial gym.
So….you want to build a home gym? Do you have an idea of where you want to put it? Most home gyms are relegated to the garage, which is often an excellent choice. Others may need to look towards a different solution as that option is not available. A typical bedroom, usually about 3×3 metres sq. may well do the trick! This space will allow for the necessary width for items like a squat rack and free weights. You will still have enough width to load and unload weight plates from a bar away from the walls.
If your plan is to have a cardio piece or two, then a 3×3 metres sq. space works too. Depending on your choice most items like exercise bikes,ski trainers or treadmills will fit nicely next to a rack and bench. If your cardio equipment requires a power outlet, you might want to factor that into the layout too. If you are blessed with a bigger space than your average bedroom, obviously there is more room to spread out. The more room, means you have the capacity to evolve your workout routine to include a greater depth of exercises. Additionally, a larger space for more gym gear! At the end of the day, make sure the space is right for you. Be excited and enthusiastic about getting into it. For some, natural light is key, for others, a pounding sound system. Whatever works for you, make your gym your space!
Floors, a very important part of your workout space! Firstly, make sure you give the area a good clean before you begin. Dust and dirt (and random household junk) be gone!
Measure the space your home gym will occupy. Get the corresponding rubber gym mats for the space. You do not need to fill your entire garage with rubber flooring. You can consider having mats under and around your main rack or bench . Further to this, an excellent option to level up to, or if your main focus is the deadlift, or jerks, then Olympic Flooring can be a great inclusion. At the end of the day, don’t overlook your gym floor. At the end of the day you don’t want to see a lot of cracking after you drop your weight a lot on the concrete floor. Heavy Duty Rubber Mats will protect your equipment from dropping and moving. It will also give you a better experience when you do deadlift and all other exercises you need to contract from the floor, such as the lunge, bench press etc.
Depending on what sort of training you are getting into will probably dictate the importance of a high ceiling. Doing clean and jerks and your 6ft 4, then you may want some decent overhead clearance. Most of our racks and all in one machines do not exceed 2.4mtrs in height, so any room with a ceiling under that height (which would be rare) will be a squeeze. If your looking to do medicine ball tosses, well then your may well need a room with some height. At the end of the day, consider your height and type of exercises you are likely to do, and progress to. Just make sure you are not punching out your ceiling (or lights) with some wild workout move or slam ball toss!
Lighting can do a lot for an internal space. Make sure your gym is well lit. There is little motivation for exercise to be found in a dimly lit space. The better lit your space is, the more enthusiasm you will have to be in it and it also ensures that your workouts are safe. No point in tripping over gear because you cant see it properly. If your home gym is in your garage, you may have the benefits of opening the garage door that will assist with lighting and encourage natural air flow.
Mirrors along one wall of your gym are an important inclusion, sometimes overlooked by the home gym newbie. No…they are not just there so you can focus on how hot you are, mirrors are about making sure your form is on point! Great for improving your exercises and maintaining good technique. Additionally, mirrors can help you see which muscles are going to work during particular exercises. Form is by far one of the most important aspects of a successful gym workout routine. So don’t forget your mirrors!
It’s all well and good to have a cache of gym gear, but where do you put it? Having a variety of weight plates, barbells, dumbbells and resistance bands scattered across your gym floor is not good for anyone – or the gear for that matter! It is important to store your dumbbells and weight plates away from your workout space. There are many storage solutions available for your home gym.
You can hold weight plates and barbells on your rack if need be, but having something like a wall mounted barbell holder can be a real space saver. Further to this, consider some shelving, storage box or baskets. An additional solution can be to hang your various gym paraphernalia on the wall – much similar to the way you might store garden tools in your shed. Remember function trumps fashion when it comes to organising your gear. There still are plenty of ways to do it with style though!
Gym Design Software
Gym design software is a really great tool to assist in visualising the end product. Even more so, it is great in making sure all the bits of equipment you are keen on, fit in your space without having to knock a wall out.
You may like to check out our Gym Planner and see how you go with the layout. You can measure the space you have for your gym and map it in the software really easily. From here, it is a matter of placing the relevant bits of equipment you would like from our catalogue. It will then place them in your room to scale. Great if you want to shift things around or add a few items that you may want to consider purchasing at a later date. Once you like your design, check it out in 2D and 3D, move the camera around, you can even animate a fly through if you want to go that far. All for free!
Let’s get started decking out your gym with some equipment. We’ll list the items your should consider, and those you can potentially hold off on. We’ll take a look at a variety of go to gym gear and give you a brief summary of what they are and how they are best used.
The following image highlights the importance of various gym equipment you may well be considering as part of your Home Gym setup.
Definitely the most crucial equipment in your home gym if your looking to gain muscle, strength, bulk up or lose weight. The Power Rack is a versatile and important bit of equipment for any home gym.
Since there are thousands of types of a power racks, let’s take a look at the two main types of the Power Racks. From here you can select the one that suits your workout requirements for your home gym. The two main types are the Multifunction Training Rack, and the Simple Squat Rack/Cage.
Multifunction Training Rack
Immensely popular in the market as many home gyms are constrained by space. The benefits are in the name – Multifunction! There are many functions available on one machine, so you can save space and do a lot of different exercises with one machine. But with more functionality, the possibility of a malfunction increases. So please don’t pick the one that has a million parts to it. Pick the one suits your needs and budget. Avoid a machine that needs you to make many setup changes to perform a different movement and exercise.
Simple squat rack/cage
No multifunction racks will function purely as a squat rack and general free weight training. So, most of the time, the basic squat rack can bring you a better training experience for the big three workouts. Squatting, bench press and shoulder presses. The extra support it offers your workouts are awesome. At the end of the day, you can have bulky and exquisitely crafted muscle by using your free weights with your rack. You may need twenty different fixed track machines to achieve the same result. Buy a decent quality squat rack that will take the strain of repeated use for many years. Do not buy a very cheap poorly made rack.
Bumper Plate vs Regular Plate
There are dozens of weight plates available, but from a functionality perspective, there are only two types of a weight plates: The Bumper Plate and regular Weight Plates.
The main difference between bumper plates and the normal plates is the diameter, thickness and bouncing rate.
In fact, if you are not doing a heavy deadlift (≥100kg) or clean jerk, you don’t really need bumper plates.
The bumper plate makes your joint less impact and feels better when you drop the weight on the ground. If part of your exercise routine includes the clean & jerk, you would know why you need a set of bumper plates. You don’t want to make a hole in your floor, right?
If you are not planning to do the deadlift then the regular plates will do. They are usually cheaper, thinner and easier to grab. If you go to the gym, you will see they put the regular plates around the machine area and bench press area but put the bumper plates at the free weight area.
Don’t buy a standard size barbell, please. You will get rid of it very soon. Nowadays probably only lower quality chain retailers sell that. More than 90% of equipment is using the sizing based on Olympic size plates.
Initially, you only need an Olympic barbell to do the free weight. Our cheapest barbell would do the job just fine! It has a 700LB loading rate! If you have a limited budget, this is one area you can save money. An expensive barbell will have better maximum loading and bouncing rate. But it’s a limited improvement for your performance.
Also, there are a lot of popular variations in barbells like the Hex Barbell, Swiss Bar etc. They designed for a specialised exercises. Consider these when your training dictates certain exercises.
We recommend getting a bench that has a variety of positions you can put it in. The FID bench is a good choice over a simple adjustable bench due to it’s versatility. Even the FID bench cannot go more than -30% degree, but it still better than a basic bench for doing declined exercises. Ideally, if you have space for an adjustable bench and a decline bench, that would be the best option. But normally, you will only have one bench in your home gym.
The difference between a quality bench and a cheap bench is mainly the comfort level and base structure. There is no great benefit in spending a thousands of dollars on a bench since it will not increase your bench press performance compared with a $499 bench. The bench is an integral part of your home gym and will enable you to develop a comprehensive workout.
Fixed weight Dumbbells vs Adjustable Dumbbells. Fixed weight dumbbells are absolutely best when you are training. But the defect is obviously as well, it’s pricy and takes space.
If you have enough budget and space, go with the fixed weight dumbbells coupled with a decent dumbbell storage rack. Adversely, if you are limited for space and constrained by budget, find a good quality adjustable dumbbell! There are far too many poor adjustable dumbbells on the market, breaking or sticking after a few uses. Check out our adjustable dumbbells if your on the hunt for quality ones.
The dumbbell is an essential piece of equipment for your home gym workout.
A cable machine will take your home gym to the next level. Whether it’s a single pulley or a dual pulley, it will allow you to do hundreds of movements. If you have a limited budget, best get a pulley attached to your power rack. If you have a good budget, a functional trainer orcable cross over would be a great option to level up your gym.
Aerobic exercise is really good for your cardiopulmonary function. In other words, it’s good for your overall health. As part of a regular fitness workout, it will add another level to your general fitness which will benefit your end goals.
The treadmill is the most popular item for a lot of home gyms. What is most important is that you choose the machine that you know how to use. Other cardio equipment such as a rowing machine, ski trainer, gym bike and elliptical trainer are good choices. They have one common benefit, less negative impact on your knees. Choose he right cardio gear for your space and that you are comfortable using.
There are are tons of different types gym equipment available and significant differences in quality across all brands and retailers. You don’t need to pick the most popular one. You need to pick the one that fits best for you. If you have a previous back injury, get a hex barbell. If you like training your legs, get a leg press machine. If you like to to look hot on the beach then an AB machine is for you! At the end of the day, get started with the basics. Should you have the budget for bigger machines as part of your home gym setup do not buy the cheapest. Buy quality over quantity to make sure your gym gear will last for many years to come.
Some of you may be well into your fitness routine and know exactly what you are looking for from your home gym. Others may be beginners with a whole world of enthusiasm to make some changes in their lives. The nature of your goals, should dictate the exercises you perform with your home gym equipment. Some of you may have a personal trainer or have had some experience already. Perhaps YouTube and Instagram has been your coach, or inspiration. Whoever you are, what ever your goals, there are endless exercises you can perform within your home gym!
The Key: Start slowly – but be consistent!
A lot of beginners don’t really know how to do the big three workouts. These are squats, bench press and the deadlift. If you truly want to build a home gym and build muscles, these are key to your success. To be able to perform these three exercises there are some key bits of home gym equipment that you need to grab.
Must have – Barbell, Weight Plates, Squat Rack.
Added bonus equipment – Smith Machine, Weight Lifting Belt.
Bench Press: Must have – Barbell, Weight Plates, Bench.
Added bonus equipment – Smith Machine, FID Bench.
Must have – Barbell, Weight Plates.
Added bonus equipment – Weight Lifting Platform, Weight Lifting Belt.
Further to the top three, the exercises and gear will depend on your style of training. Following are some of the core training styles you may like to gear your home gym up for.
You can start your home gym with a few hundred dollars of investment. All in one gym packages are often a great start along with some dumbbells. Add some plates to suit your needs and you are well on your way to a pretty awesome home gym setup!
Consider that you may well spend in the vicinity of $1800 or more on the latest iPhone (maybe every year) and then have a think about the value of your home gym to you and your family and friends (if you let them use it).
Some home gyms can push well into the thousands depending on the extent of the equipment purchased. Remember, much like fashion sometimes you are buying a brand, a name, not necessarily quality. Do your research.
Also you should weigh up the costs of a commercial gym membership and pros and cons of both your home gym a commercial gym and potentially personal training on top of that.
A home gym is a great option for many. Think about what you want from your workouts. Don’t pick the most popular items. Pick the equipment that suits you, your training style and your goals. Have a clear goals in regards to the outcome you want. This should help dictate the types of gym gear you need. Building your home gym can evolve with you. Start somewhere and aim to build the best you can afford and stick at it. The rewards will show.
If you have any questions about what we talked about in this article or other questions about the best gym equipment for you, please do reach out on 03 9548 9205 or send us a message via our contact page.