How to Make a Home Gym: The Basics and What You’ll Need
If you’ve landed here we’ll take an educated guess that you’ve grown tired of the crowding, noise and sweaty surroundings of the public gym; are we right? You’re not alone, a lot of people seek advice on how to build a home gym when it becomes too inconvenient to visit the commercial one. Whether you struggle to get there in time to make your session worthwhile, you find the environment intimidating or you’re simply sick of paying extortionate membership fees, there are many reasons why a home gym might be a better alternative for some.
Here we’ll run you through the basics of how to make a home gym and what you’ll need to consider in order to make it work for you. Let’s start with a few of these key considerations before we get into the nitty gritty of home gym training equipment and setup.
Is a Home Gym Right for You?
Before you get carried away with buying equipment and setting up your gym, take a moment to figure out if it really is the right thing for you. Convenient as a home gym might be, some people find that their motivation decreases when the reality of training alone hits them. If you’re the sort of person who draws motivation from group activity, expert classes and social interactions, the home gym scenario might not be for you as it lacks all of these social elements.
You should also consider your home life. If you have young children, having a home gym will mean you can return home earlier and potentially spend more time with your family. On the flip side, however, a home gym workout needs to be completely free from distractions and disruption in order to be effective, so be aware that this can cause divisive issues.
And, last but not least, do you have the space? An exercise bike in the corner of the kitchen does not make a home gym. Make sure you have an area you can dedicate entirely to your workouts and training equipment before you start thinking about building a home gym.
If you’ve considered all of the above and you still think a home gym would be the right path for you, let’s get started.
How Much Might it Cost?
The first thing many people want to know is: How much will a home gym cost? The short answer is, it varies. If you’re serious about creating a permanent home workout space, there’s no reason why you can’t create a perfectly functioning home gym for between £1000 and £2000, or even less if you stick to the absolute basics.
However, it is far too easy to get pulled into the mistake of spending a fortune on unnecessary cardio equipment and ‘fad’ machines that aren’t entirely useful in a home gym environment. While most home gym training equipment is a very sound investment, you should start with the basics and gradually build up your collection as and when your finances allow; don’t try and buy everything all at once. You should see your home gym as a long-term project, which will grow and evolve in line with your budget.
Creating the Right Atmosphere
A few pieces of equipment in a plain, drab room is hardly a motivating environment. Exercise needs to be enjoyable if it’s ever going to be sustainable, and this is especially important for a home gym where it’s all too easy to give up and go back to the sofa. You can have fun creating a pleasant, motivating space that reflects your personality and your goals.
Try and fill the room with as much natural light and a healthy flow of air as possible (nobody wants to descend into a dank, dark cellar to do exercise) and fill it with decor that will help keep you motivated. If you make a home gym that is enjoyable to be in, you’ll find you’re much more likely to keep up the exercise.
What Equipment Will I Need for My Home Gym?
To start with you should fill your home gym with a few core basics that we all know work well and that have stood the test of time. Here are our top recommendations for essential pieces of home gym training equipment to get you started:
- Barbells & Plates
- Workout Bench
- Foam Flooring
Barbells & Weight Plates
This incredibly cost-efficient and versatile piece of equipment hits the very top of our essentials list for building a home gym. This deceptively simple piece of home training equipment will form the basis of most of your workouts, which will target everything from your legs and arms to your back, shoulders and chest. Barbells and weight plates will help you add extra resistance to classic core exercises including lunges, squats, deadlifts, bicep curls and bench presses. Make sure you invest in a true Olympic bar so you know it is of good quality, and team it up with a set of rubber-coated bumper plates, which are a lot easier on your floor should you drop the bar.
Barbell for home gym
To complete your barbell exercise equipment lineup you should also look into getting a workout bench. These can easily be found second hand if your budget is limited, but make sure you invest in a good quality bench which is sturdy enough to cope with heavy use. Benches can be used as a core piece of equipment for a wide range of exercises, both with weights and without, making them a key feature of any home gym.
To create a truly safe and professional home gym environment we would advise you invest in some foam flooring to protect your floors, absorb sound and keep your equipment in top condition for longer. You can find commercial grade foam flooring for very affordable prices, and it usually comes in easy-to-assemble interlocking squares, so you can tailor your flooring to the amount of space you need to cover.
Foam flooring for home gym
Dumbells are the perfect basic investment if you’re looking to start with the bare essentials (though there’s no reason why you can’t have both!). You can use dumbells to add extra resistance to a huge range of exercises including squats, lunges and star jumps, or simply use them to perform classic weight training moves including bicep and tricep curls. What’s more, they’re not too bulky so won’t take up much extra space in your home gym. A set of neoprene dumbells is a good place to start, as the neoprene provides a great level of grip and comfort for beginners.
Dumbells for home gym
And a few optional extras:
Now you’ve got the basics set up, you can begin upgrading and adding new pieces depending on your budget and your workout goals. Here are a few of our favourite pieces of home gym equipment to help you make a home gym even more varied:
If you’re looking for a varied workout that packs a punch, a home punch bag is a great upgrade for your home gym. Available to buy in freestanding or bracket-hanging varieties, punch bags are low-maintenance, stress-busting pieces of equipment that are surprisingly affordable. Make sure you have enough space in your home gym area to allow enough room in every direction, otherwise you won’t be able to work the bag to its full potential. And don’t forget you’ll need a good quality pair of boxing gloves to use with your punch bag; these are also incredibly affordable.
Punch bag for home gym
If you’re looking to target your abs and core but you’re tired of the same old routines, try adding an abs wheel to your home gym training equipment collection. These will take up next to no space in your workout area and create entirely new challenges for your abs routines.
Abs wheel for home gym
Push Up Bars & Pull Up Bars
Push ups and pull ups are classic core exercises to help build strength and fitness, so we’d recommend a pair of push up bars and a pull up bar to help you along the way. Push ups can, of course, be performed without any equipment at all, however many people struggle with wrist pain during exercise sessions. This is where push up bars come in, as they place your wrists at a more natural angle, relieving pressure on the joint and helping you work out for longer.
Push up bars for home gym
Pull up bars can be mounted on the floor or wall depending on the style of exercise you want to do. If mounted on the wall you can use these bars to perform classic pull up exercises, and if mounted on the floor you can use the same piece of equipment to perform dips, making this piece of equipment a great basic investment for versatility.
You may have noticed that our essential equipment list has been devoid of cardio equipment. This is purely because the strength and bodyweight exercises enabled by the equipment above can be adapted to create cardio workouts without the need for expensive, bulky treadmills and cross trainers. If, however, you’re a big fan of cardio but don’t fancy going into the great outdoors to find it, we would recommend you invest in a spin bike. These are much more compact than other cardio machines and are easy to combine with watching your favourite TV programmes or listening to music.
This is by no means an essential item, but many people find mirrors prove highly effective in helping to maintain proper form, especially during weight lifting or yoga-based workouts. Mirrors are also aesthetically attractive, making even small spaces seem brighter and bigger.
Now you know how to make a home gym, we want to see the finished results! Share your home gym snaps with us on our social media pages and show off your handiwork.