While training at large commercial and local gyms has its advantages, building a gym at home is more convenient, saves money over time, and gives you complete control over your own training.
Before you build your home gym, there are several things to consider such as the location you’re building your home gym, your budget, the equipment you plan on buying, the materials needed, and the supplies required for the building process.
Garage vs. Shed vs. Spare Room
First, you need to decide where the home gym is going to be built. The section of your house that you are using for your home gym is important.
If you are building your home gym in a garage, for example, you will likely need to buy mats or some form of padding for the floor in order to prevent damage to the foundation.
If you are building your home gym in a spare room, conversely, you will need to consider the amount of weight you are going to be working out with as well as the overall structure of your home.
Overall, the best suited location for a home gym is a guest house, however not everyone has that option. If you have a garage available then that is also a great place for a gym. A spare bedroom can work as well if your house has the support for the equipment and weight being put in that room.
The location of your home gym should correlate with your budget, since more equipment will require more space. As long as you can do the exercises you need to train and can fit in the equipment you plan on using, the space will most likely work.
Necessary Equipment, Supplies, and Materials
Once you have selected the location for your home gym, you need to decide upon the equipment, supplies, and materials that are going to purchased.
First, to make a home gym, you need the exercise equipment itself.
These are all the pieces of equipment that may be important to your training and should be purchased for a home gym. Not all of these items are necessary, but you will need at least a few of these items in order to train.
- Multi-purpose squat rack
- Flat bench
- Resistance bands, chains, ab rollers, and other bodyweight training accessories
- Dumbbells, plates, and kettlebells
- Barbells, hex bars, and EZ or straight bars
- Barbell collars
- T-bar attachment
- Cable machine
At minimum, you should have dumbbells, resistance bands, or some other type of weight. It is also ideal to have a bench in order to do movements like bench press, dumbbell press, seated shoulder press, chest supported rows, chest fly’s, and other core push and pull exercises.
For a basic home gym, 1 set of dumbbells and a bench will allow you to effectively hit every muscle group. A firsthand set of dumbbells will usually cost $300-$800 and a good bench will cost around $80-$600. If you are just using a spare room in your house to build a gym, then you could easily create a minimalist home gym for under $1,000 with only these 2 pieces of equipment.
While you do not need to spend all your savings on a bench or dumbbells, inexpensive exercise equipment is less likely to last as long, so as a long term strategy, high quality items are a better investment.
If you do have a larger budget and want more versatility to your training, other good items to include are a squat rack, weighted plates, and a barbell.
Since squats are one of the best exercises to build your legs, having a means to squat is crucial for weightlifters. There are many options for squat equipment, from multi-purpose squat racks to smith machines. Squat racks are generally the best option and many multi-purpose squat racks come with other features such as pull-up bars, a bench press station, and other add-ons.
A cable machine is also a good addition to any gym but will be costly so it should be considered after you already have budgeted for other equipment like dumbbells, a bench, and squat rack.
To construct a home gym, you will also need supplies. These are the supplies that you are most likely to need when constructing your home gym and assembling exercise equipment. Since you already own a home, you likely already own most of these tools as well but if not, this is a general list of supplies that will make the building process easier.
- Screwdriver and/ or power drill
- Hammer and/or nail gun
- Handsaw and/or circular saw
Thirdly, these are the materials that should be added to your home gym so that it functions as a gym. Of course, not all these materials are needed but they each can help create a better lifting setting.
- Lifting platform
- Wall hooks
- Air conditioning
What Is a Realistic Budget For Your Home Gym?
Now that you might have an idea of the space you are going to use as well as the equipment, supplies, and materials that you will include in your budget, you should be able to estimate a realistic home gym budget.
While a minimal home gym could be made with as little as $200, a fully fledged commercial-style home gym could require a budget of more than $50,000.
The realistic budget for your home gym depends on the space you are building your home gym in, the equipment you are purchasing, and the materials needed to complete the gym.
If you are only planning on buying a few small pieces of equipment, you could even budget under $100, but that would hardly constitute as a full gym. For a full home gym, the least amount of money you should expect to spend is around $500.
This table lays out 5 different tiers of budgeting along with the space that will likely be required and the equipment that should be looked at.
|$500||Shed, spare room, small garage||Resistance bands|
|$1,000||Shed, spare room, small garage||Resistance bands|
EZ or straight bar(s)
|$5,000||Shed, garage, guest house||Dumbbell set|
EZ or straight bars
|$20,000||Large shed, garage, guest house||Dumbbell set|
EZ or straight bars
Multi-purpose squat rack
Small cable machine
|$50,000+||Garage, guest house||Dumbbell set|
EZ or straight bars
Multi-purpose squat rack
(Battle ropes, punching bag)
Summarizing, before building your home gym, you will need to choose a location based on your budget and the equipment you want to own. After selecting the location, you should consider different combination of equipments and materials, as laid out in the table above for how you want your home gym to look and function.
A minimal home gym really only needs resistance bands, dumbbells, and a bench but if you can afford additional equipment and material, that will make your training more diversified and help achieve a smaller, more convenient replica of what you’d have from a local training facility.