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August 5, 2019 | Written by Brad Russell

The Complete Guide to Creating Your Own Home Gym

Own home gymAlthough many people like the concept of exercising at a gym, the reality of working out in a crowded facility after a tiring commute means that it is easy to fall short of gym-attendance goals.

In fact, the inconvenience of driving back and forth to the gym as well as the expense of membership fees are two of the biggest drawbacks from working out at a commercial location.

To demonstrate this point, a Business Insider report found that eight out of 10 people who resolve to commit to a commercial workout plan stop attending regularly within a month. At the same time, a study by the U.S. News and World Report found that the long-term costs of gym registration and membership fees can cost a person up to $15,000 within a single decade. For these reasons, the potential convenience and cost-effectiveness make designing your own gym worth the effort.

There are practical health benefits to owning a home gym as well. According to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP), exercising at home is among the most effective and low-risk physical activities. You can also customise your home gym to meet your fitness goals (eliminating equipment that you never use while using space more efficiently for your workouts).

Some of the most compelling reasons for designing your own home gym include the following:

  • Train at home without having to worry about work or school irregularities
  • Save time on commute to commercial gym
  • Save money on gym membership fees as well as cost of commute itself
  • Convenient access to your own shower
  • Hygienic; less exposure to outside germs or illnesses
  • Customise workouts to fit your goals
  • Provide space for the entire family to get fit together
  • Blast music as loudly as you want

Even if you have a gym membership, maintaining a home gym area is a good backup resource for those who prioritise fitness.


Building a home gym is one of the best options for those working on a budget. You can buy many gym products secondhand without worrying about a decline in quality. Good examples of secondhand products easily found on sale include weight plates, dumbbells, and even a high-quality commercial bench designed to handle wear and tear.

Some of the easiest ways to find high-quality used gym equipment include the following:

  • Facebook Marketplace
  • Craigslist
  • Estate Sales
  • Yard Sales and Garage Sales
  • Closeout Sales/Bankruptcy Sales
  • eBay

By browsing alternative marketplaces and vendors, you can also avoid gimmicks and infomercial fitness products that may not be as effective.

Home Gym Essentials:

Woman in gymAdjustable Bench

A padded, adjustable bench is a must-have for anyone serious about home workouts. It allows you to do both seated isolation exercises as well as all flat barbell presses.

The bench is a staple for the weight-lifting area of any commercial gym. In addition, having around-the-clock access to your own means that you can comfortably perform flat or incline exercises without ever having to worry about another person’s sweat.

Power Rack

A power rack is a sturdy metal frame that safely holds a barbell to enable single-person weightlifting. Also known as a squat rack, it allows you to do exercises such as chin-ups, pull-ups, squats, and bench presses.

Barbell and Weight Plates

The barbell is the quintessential tool for weight training and body sculpting. It allows you to weight plates of various sizes and monitor your progress as you move up in fitness levels.
Examples of Exercises Available With a Barbell and Weight-Plate Set:

  • Arms – Bicep Curls, Close-Grip Bench Press
  • Back – Barbell Rows, Upright Rows
  • Chest – Bench Press (with or without incline)
  • Legs – Lunges, Deadlifts, Squats
  • Shoulders – Bench Press, Behind-the-Neck Press

Dumbbells or Free Weights

Dumbbells and free weights allow you to experiment with different types of arm curls or even add resistance during aerobics workouts. You can also opt for adjustable dumbbells that allow you to select different weight sizes while using the same handle.

Floor Tiles

Gym floor tiles are rubber or foam squares that are approximately two inches thick. These squares interlock to create a protective layer for your flooring. With floor tiles, you can instantly and inexpensively attain the professional look missing from a lot of home gyms. Even more importantly, floor tiles protect your property for the inevitable dropping or slamming of dumbbells, barbells, or weight plates during workouts.

Exercise Bike

Mature woman on exercise bike watching television at homeAn exercise bike is one of the most highly recommended indoor workout machines.

Research conducted at PubMed has shown that exercise bikes are low-impact and do not interfere with strength-training workouts. Other benefits of using an exercise bike include the following:

  • Research has shown that it is one of the more calorie-burning indoor workouts
  • Cycling has an easier recovery process than running
  • An exercise bike is space-efficient, allowing you to add more equipment to your workout space
  • Cycling is an excellent isolation workout for the lower body

Yoga Mat

As the name suggests, this gym staple is a given for safely doing yoga or Pilates workouts. However, it is also an important resource to have for stretching before or after workouts, and it can serve as a shock-absorbent during certain balancing workout routines.

Pull Down Machine

This type of machine is an excellent back workout. A staple in school or apartment gymnasiums, it allows you to use your body weight in a pull up motion to strengthen your shoulders and the length of your back. The machine is also popular because it is an effective workout that does not require a power outlet or additional electricity.

Rowing Machine

Rowing is a low-impact, full-body workout that can burn an extensive number of calories. The rowing machine is a favorite for home gyms because it targets legs and arms simultaneously.

woman on trainerTreadmill or Elliptical Machine

If you are willing to purchase and install it, a treadmill or elliptical machine is a classic way to complete your home gym.

Features to look for in a treadmill or elliptical include noiseless settings (some treadmill belts are poorly constructed and unbearably loud), emergency power button, and heart rate or distance monitors.

Full-Length Mirror

A full-length mirror provides visual feedback and allows you to monitor form as you workout. Using proper form can also help lower the risk of injury during exercise.

White Paint

If you are able, experts recommend painting the walls an upbeat color to keep you energised and alert during a workout. Too often, people attempt to set up a treadmill or home gym as an afterthought in drab or dark spaces.

Spending time in warm-hued spaces can actually have a somnolent effect and make you feel tired. Instead, paint the walls bright to elevate your mood and keep yourself motivated. Ultra-white walls are all the rage in modern interior design, but you can also try eggshell, sky blue, or light yellow to create cheerful surroundings.

Smartphone App

Even though your home gym is bound to have everything you need, there is nothing wrong with addition guidance as you navigate through workouts. Downloading an exercise app can provide sample workouts and videos if you ever feel stumped or need to mix things up a bit. Try a personal fitness app like Fitness Buddy or You Are Your Own Gym for help during your exercise routine.

Obstacle Course

If you have a large backyard, consider an outdoor portion of your home gym in the form of an obstacle course. Equipment like cones, jumping obstacles, and balance beams can provide a fun and effective workout that resembles basic training. Keep in mind that natural landmarks (such as hill or water sources) can serve as obstacles within the course as well.


Woman drinking protein shake in living roomHaving convenient access to your own supplies and kitchen also comes in handy when it comes with pre-workout supplements and post-workout recovery.

Use your own prep area to properly plan the intake of supplements or protein shakes. You can also use your own blender to create effective smoothies without falling into the expense trap of visiting the gym’s juice or supplement shop after a workout.

Key Takeaways

  • Creating your own home gym can be a convenient, cost-effective, and time-saving way to commit to your exercise routine
  • With the right creativity and planning, it is one of the best ways to achieve a well-rounded workout


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