5 Steps to Building Your Dream Home Gym

Stuck in a rut building your home gym? Here are five easy, actionable steps to get you started!

Building out a home gym can be intimidating and you may not know where to start. However, if you break it down step-by-step, it’s not as difficult or expensive as it originally might seem.

Here are five simple steps to jumpstart your home gym. It’s extremely important to point out, these do not need to happen all at once, but can gradually happen over time.

1. Dedicate Some Space

The more room the better, but the first step is to find a spot and clear a space for working out. This can be in the garage, basement, or anywhere else in the house. The most important point to this step is that you only use it for this purpose! It can be easy to quickly fill it up with storage and before you know it, the space is gone.

If you struggle to find any room at all, try to clear a space with 4 x 8 feet. This is about the size of a standard deadlift platform and all the space needed to get started. Here, you’ll be able to do hundreds of different exercises. As you continue to grow, work to keep as much “open space” as you can and make sure that there is always room to move freely within your gym.

2. Buy Your First Piece of Equipment

Get your first piece of equipment based on your goals. For many, this would be a barbell. The barbell is the centerpiece of any gym. You’ll also want to add some plates (bumpers or iron). Yes, that’s two pieces of equipment, but these go hand-in-hand. Hundreds of workouts can be performed with this combination of equipment, and both strength and endurance workouts can be completed.

If you need to save some money, there are usually options available on Craigslist or other used marketplaces, and the price of these items continue to go down as more companies begin to produce these items. A decent barbell and plates are much more affordable compared to what they were even just 5 years ago.

[Need some help on your barbell conquest? Check out the best ranked barbells for 2019!]

Should I get Iron or Bumper Plates?

Bumper plates are needed if you want to train Olympic lifts. They are made almost entirely with dense rubber, so they are not going to be as loud or as harmful to the floor when dropping them. Bumper plates are pricier than their counterparts, but offer more flexibility because they can be used for all barbell lifts in a safer way.

Iron plates are the way to go if all you plan on doing is lifts like the squat, bench, deadlift, and other lifts where you are not dropping the weights from above the waist. Most iron plates are durable, and you can actually buy them on the used marketplace for around $o.50 a pound. In general, they are much cheaper than bumper plates. Nevertheless, if you go the iron plate route, then you’ll probably want to get some sort of flooring added.

3. Add Flooring

Traditional gym flooring is quite pricey, but there are alternative options. Horse stall mats from a company like Tractor Supply are going to provide safety for your floor and a comfortable spot if you need to get on the ground (for burpees, push-ups, etc.). It can also help to reduce some of the noise a barbell makes when dropping to the ground.

This is something that I personally waited too long to do in my home gym, and didn’t realize the difference it would make until years into my garage gym journey. With good flooring, you can perform any exercise anywhere in the gym, making it much more versatile than only being able to do limited movements in various spots.

4. Buy the Second Goal-Oriented Piece of Equipment

Get the second most important piece of workout equipment for you based on your goals. This will probably be a squat rack, which will add a completely new element to your home setup.

You won’t even have to go to the gym for leg day! A pull-up bar or piece of cardio equipment would also be solid options. These can also be picked up and bought from used marketplaces.

5. Dedicate A Little Time

My advice, dedicate at least one or two workouts a week in the home gym with what you currently have. You’ll save time and learn what you want to add next. This is also a great time to learn if you even want to expand. You may learn that you only want to workout at home a few times a week and there is no need to build a bigger, better gym.

In the end, a home gym should be built out one step at a time. These first five steps do not have to happen all at once. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Once you get the foundation down and know that you want to grow the gym, then the fun items can be added. A home gym setup will be one of the best investments you can make, even if you love going to your traditional gym. Easy access to fitness is something that everyone can benefit from.

Feature image from @garagegymexperiment Instagram page. 

Jake Jaworski

Jake Jaworski

Jake is the founder of Garage Gym Experiment, which is a platform dedicated to home gym owners. The goal of the website is to connect all who train at home so they can collaborate on best practices, promote the lifestyle, and inspire each other. Jake started GGE in July of 2017, works in marketing analytics at a software company, and is a proud family man. He uses his morning garage workouts as the fuel for his busy day and would be lost without the easy access to the gym.

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