Workout Tips

3 Pointers for Building Your Own Home Gym

No gym membership? No problem. You can build a weightlifting haven if you plan accordingly.

Build Your Own Home Gym

A big misconception is that you need to be at a gym in order to fully develop your body. The fact of the matter is that you can build a safe and effective home gym right in your house that will get you great results—possibly even faster than joining a gym.

Training at home has many benefits. Sometimes working out at a gym can be very distracting. People talk to you, machines are taken up and people are slamming weights. When you train at home, you get no distractions. Plus, you have the benefit of setting up your gym however you like. Just make sure you answer these questions before you start building. 

No. 1: How Much Space Do I Need to Set Up a Home Gym?

Space is the major determining factor in your home gym. Ideally a garage, basement or spare bedroom will make for a perfect workout room. You want enough room to fit your basic equipment; at a minimum, you should be able to fit an Olympic barbell.

You also want to be aware of the flooring. If you live in an apartment building, it may not be wise to set up an area for deadlifts (unless you live on the bottom level).

Be wary of any windows; make sure they’re not in the way of where you will be setting up your equipment. Make sure the room has proper ventilation to keep you cool in the summer and warm in the winter (although portable heaters and fans can be used).  An example of a bad space would be a hallway or walkway of any kind.

No. 2: How Much Will it Cost to Set Up a Home Gym?

It can get pricey if you let it. Remember: It’s an investment at first, but using it every day will quickly make it a bargain compared to any gym membership. On top of avoiding the enhancement fees and some gyms charge, you’re saving on the cost of transporting yourself to the gym.

Give yourself a budget. You can have a great home gym for under a couple of hundred bucks. First, determine what equipment you need and want. Here are my essentials:

  • Olympic barbell and weight plates
  • Squat stand with adjustable set up
  • Adjustable dumbbell
  • Adjustable bench that goes decline, incline and flat
  • Cardio equipment (elliptical, treadmill, bike or even something as simple as a jump rope)

The equipment you purchase will be based on how much available space you have and how much your budget allows for. If you have a two-car garage and a big budget you can build an insane gym. By the same token if you have a small room and a small budget you can still construct a gym that will give you awesome results.

Once you determine what equipment you need, bargain shop. Utilize sites like Craigslist where you can find great equipment for pennies on the dollar. Have patience when shopping for equipment and wait for a bargain.

No. 3: What Routine Should I Do In My New Gym?

You do not need a ton of variety in your training program in order to get results. If you purchased a basic squat stand with an adjustable bench and an Olympic barbell, you can do pretty much any routine. The basic lifts that you should be using are squats, deadlifts, bench press, rows, overhead press, pull-ups and curls. Back in the ‘70s guys would train with all basic free weights and get insane results. The key is to be creative and use basic compound movements in every workout.

A sample workout for someone with a basic home gym set up can look like:

Day 1: Push

  • Barbell Bench Press - 4 sets x 8-12 reps
  • Incline Barbell Bench Press - 4 sets x 8-12 reps
  • Standing Overhead Press - 4 sets x 8-12 reps
  • Close-grip Bench Press - 4 sets x 8-12 reps
  • Dips (or pushups) between 2 chairs - 3 sets x to failure
  • Lying Leg Raises - 5 sets x 12 reps
  • Run (outside) - 30 minutes 

Day 2: Legs

  • Squats - 5 sets x 12 reps
  • Deadlifts – 5 sets x 5 reps
  • Front Squats - 4 sets x 10-12 reps
  • Stiff Legged Deadlifts - 4 sets x 10-12 reps
  • Standing Calve Raises w/ Barbell - 5 sets x 15 reps
  • Crunches - 5 sets x 12 reps

Day 3: Pull

  • Pullups (using a doorway pull-up bar or a barbell set high on a squat rack) - 3 x to failure
  • Barbell Rows - 4 sets x 8-12 reps
  • T-Bar Rows - 5 sets 8-12 reps
  • Chin-ups (using a doorway pull-up bar or a barbell set high on a squat rack) - 3 sets x to failure
  • Barbell Bicep Curl - 8 sets x 8-12 reps
  • Side Lying Planks - 30 seconds each side for 3 sets total
  • Jump rope - 20 minutes

Day 4: Off

For access to exclusive fitness advice, interviews, and more, subscribe on YouTube!