Essentials to Building a Home Gym

Building a home gym is something many aspire to do. The primary reasons for this are gyms can be overcrowded (especially during prime times), they can be expensive, and it can be tough finding time to actually go to the gym.

I’m going to provide a list of everything needed to build your own home gym. First let’s talk about the benefits of building a home gym.

Benefits to Building Your Own Gym

There are a few frustrations you eliminate in having a home gym. Here’s a some reason’s many consider this option:

〉No gym crowd. This is especially relevant during peak hours, such as after 5PM.

〉No waiting for machines. Even if there’s only  few people in the gym, there’s still a chance you may have to wait for the equipment you want to be free.

〉No excuse not to workout. This is a big one. Time is the most common reason why people don’t go to the gym. Much of this is due to the time it takes to drive there and back, and the preparations that have to be made prior. You eliminate this reason with a home gym.


Space for Your Home Gym

When building a home gym, the first thing you want to assess is space. Do you have a spare bedroom or room in your garage for a home gym? A covered patio may be an option as well, although some gym equipment isn’t made to be in the elements.

Here’s a list of ideas for space for your home gym:

  • Spare bedroom
  • Garage
  • Loft or extra living room
  • Shed
  • Covered patio

Basic Home Gym Equipment

The space you have available for your home gym will determine how much equipment and machines you can have. Of course your budget will probably rule over this more than anything.

Home gym equipment can be expensive. Especially if you’re planning to buy everything new. Unless you have unlimited funds, I would say try garage sales, EBAY, and local listings for gym equipment. The obvious downfall to used gym equipment is 1) It may be difficult to find equipment in good, usable condition and 2) The time and effort it takes to find specific machines you’re looking for.

Here’s a list of basic gym equipment you may want to consider to start with:

Weights: I know, I know; this one’s obvious. But the first thing you want are the raw basics and that’s a barbell, some dumbbells, and the weights. I personally prefer going with the olympic style weights. The idea here is to get your home gym as close to a normal gym as possible.

Power rack or squat rack: This setup will allow you to do an array of exercises. It’s perfect for squats and overhead military presses. And you can also roll a bench in and do all of your chest exercises. Plus it will serve as a place to put the bar for easy access to exercises like deadlifts or barbell rows. Aside from the weights themselves and the bar, this is a key piece of equipment for your home gym.

Bench: You’ll at least need one adjustable bench. Something simple that allows you to lay down flat and that has an option for an incline is perfect. This will allow you to do all of your chest exercises and several more. If you have room and your budget allows it, I would opt for separate benches (ex: one flat, one incline, and one decline). This would make your workouts more convenient.

Advanced Gym Equipment

The above equipment I listed is a great start. But I also want to point out some other key machines and equipment if your budget allows. This section is with the intent on making your home gym into a true replica of a regular gym.

Leg Press: If it were me, the leg press would be at the top of my list for advanced gym equipment. I say ‘advanced’ but I probably should say expensive. Plate loaded leg press machines are not cheap. But in addition to squats, leg press will help you develop full and muscular legs.

Cable Crossover with Lat Pulldown and Seated Row Machines: This is a major setup but if you have the means, it will be well worth it. You could also get these separately but it’s probably more feasible to get this altogether. This machine will allow you to perform endless types of exercises for all body parts. I should also note that the cable crossover with lat pulldown and seated row machines take up a lot of space, so make sure you have the room for it.

Leg Curl Machine: Any type of leg curl machine would do (you can get seated, standing, and lying leg curl machines). I would try to at least get one. The only other exercise you can really do for hamstrings without a leg curl machine is stiff-leg deadlifts (with a barbell, which is included in my above basic home gym equipment section).

Hammer Strength Machines: If your budget is unlimited and you really want a full gym at home, definitely pick up some Hammer Strength machines. There are some phenomenal Hammer Strength machines for chest and back exercises. Hammer Strength also makes a lot of the plate-loaded machines for other muscles that you see in the gym.

Cardio Machines: From stationary bikes, to elliptical, to treadmills, there’s several types of cardio machines you can get for your home gym.


Creating a Gym Environment

The environment you workout in is almost as important as the equipment you get. When you walk into a real gym there’s music pumping, pictures of bodybuilders and fitness athletes, and mirrors everywhere.

The goal here is to create an environment of motivation for yourself. You can have the best gym equipment setup but if you walk into that room and it’s just bland with no mirrors or music, you’re probably not going to get the best workout. Now you may be one that can throw on some headphones an block everything out. Thats’ fine. But why not throw in a stereo system in there?

Mirrors are sometimes an afterthought for people building their own home gym. But this is one of the key elements to a gym that makes people workout harder and longer. It’s encouraging and fuels you when you can see your muscles working and see the pump from your workouts. Throwing up some posters can hep motivate you as well.

Build Your Own Home Gym

I hope this article provided some helpful insight into building a home gym. From a personal perspective, I’ve had this thought for years and aspire to do it someday (we currently do not have the room). A home gym would eliminate a lot of frustrations such as travel time, gym crowds, etc.

Train with Passion,




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