Instead of going to the gym, make the gym come to you using these great ideas on how to set up a home gym at your place.
Public gym vs. Home gym
For many of us, going to the gym to build up our physique is a logical thing to do. Gyms have all the equipment we need plus treadmills, elliptical machine, spin bike, and lots of other good stuff. But it’s not only that.
A lot of people find the process of going to a public gym as just another way to socialize. You don’t go to a restaurant because you want to eat – well, not in the first place. You go there to have company, to spend a great time, and sometimes even for fun. If the food was your main objective, you’d probably stay home and cook something.
We are humans after all and sometimes it’s ok to excuse ourselves for the irrational, emotional behavior.
But what if I told you that you could set up a gym at your own place and still be able to do all the exercises you usually do? Sounds interesting, but rather unbelievable, huh? Well, it’s all quite possible if you do it right and for the right reasons.
Speaking about the reasons, it’s very important to note that setting up a home gym might not be a great idea for everyone. You have to realize that this is just one of possible shortcuts to the optimal training process, and training process is always individual.
Let’s compare the public gym and home gym to see how they stack up against each other.
|– Has all the equipment
– Great motivational atmosphere – people, music
– Membership price is mostly acceptable
|– Takes A LOT OF unnecessary time:
– Working hours are not always comfortable
– Too many people during the season (especially newbies)
|– It’s yours! You can train:
– Saves a lot of time while giving almost the same results
– Will save you money in the long run
– Easy to set up and maintain (basically, one-time investment)
|– Takes up a considerable amount of one-time investment
– Doesn’t quite have those “motivational” and “competitive” aspects of a public gym
– Requires a certain minimum amount of space at your place
If you look at the table, you can clearly see that a home gym requires a few things from its future owner. Read on to ask yourself several very important questions and see if you qualify for the home gym at your place.
The most important thing is that lack of motivation – the motivation you get at a public gym.
I would love to believe that everyone goes to the gym realizing that it’s the only way to become and stay healthy, beautiful, and strong (along with proper diet, of course). With no intention to quit after a few months (weeks or even, dare I say, days). But not everyone works that way.
Some people do need to have that stimulus, those inspiring examples in front of them – you know who I’m talking about. Muscle-bound men with six-packs and lean tanned ladies with perfectly shaped buttocks. Seeing them just instinctively makes you want to become the same, if not better! As long as it keeps you going, it might be a good thing.
So, if you feel motivated enough to be on your own with a clear picture of your perfect self in mind, you definitely qualify for the home gym.
Another nasty obstacle is the space. Not everyone lives in a mansion (yet, I guess?:)) so it’s crucial to have the required minimum amount of space.
Most athletes agree that if you have at least 2.5 square meters (around 30 square feet) of space, you’re ok. Oh, and the ceiling height should be no less than 3 meters (10 feet) high.
Take a measuring tape and find out what your supposed home gym room dimensions are.
Last, but no least. It’s no secret that any home gym will require a one-time investment from you equivalent to a few 1-year memberships at your local public gym.
There are various speculations on what the minimum budget should be. I would say that you should be prepared to cough up at least $500 in the beginning and spend up to $2,000 more in the next two or three years to set up a great home gym at your place.
Please mind that it’s just an approximation – the actual costs may be different (higher or lower) depending on your needs, conditions, and location.
Also, don’t forget to count the time and effort you’ll spend on building that home gym of yours. Not that it requires some special skills, but it will still take up some time of yours.
So, if you’re ready to overcome all three obstacles listed above, you’re probably:
- a highly motivated person
- own a room big enough to set up a home gym
- have some money available
My congratulations! We’ll proceed to the ideas to set up a home gym in just a few seconds. Before that, I wanted to mention something really important.
Consider the money and time you’ll be spending on your home gym as an investment. In your perfectly strong body and health. Yes, you’ll spend more in the beginning, but you will eventually earn more in the long run – this is the rule of any business.
Remember that once you have your home gym all set up, you won’t have to spend any more money – other than for upgrades or parts replacement. Now, try to remember how much you pay for your gym membership monthly. Then yearly. How many years have you been going to the gym? Adds up, doesn’t it?
Average monthly gym membership is around $50, which makes it $600 yearly. Chances are that your investment will break even in four years and you’ll be all the way in the green zone after that.
Sounds cool enough? Then let’s proceed to the ideas themselves. I’ll break them down in a few steps to make them easier for you to follow.
a. Decide on the location for the home gym
Run an inventory on your property and find the best place to set up a home gym. Whether it’s a basement, garage, or even a room, it doesn’t matter.
What matters is that the location should have:
- clean and flat surface (to eliminate any risks of damaging the equipment and, of course, hurting yourself)
- good ventilation/heating/air conditioning (you want to be absolutely safe and comfortable while training)
- enough space (area of 30 square feet minimum, ceiling height at least 10 feet)
b. Allocate the funds for initial home gym budget
You don’t need to come with thousands of dollars at once. Usually, it’s a gradual process where you buy equipment piece by piece as you go.
However, a minimum budget of $500 is strongly recommended – this will help you purchase the basic equipment and start working out right away.
c. Decide on the equipment
This might actually be the most difficult step of all. The first decision you’ll have to make is what kind of home gym you want to have. Basically, there are two options:
- all-in-one home gym exercise machine
- a set of regular gym items:
- barbell with weights
- set of dumbbells
- power rack for squats and shoulder presses (optionally – with a lat bar)
- other optional stuff – EZ curl bar, dip station etc.
Let’s take a closer look at those two options.
All-in-one home gym
They’ve been around for ages but started to get worldwide recognition only recently. Basically, this type of home gym is a multi-exercise machine that allows you to train all major muscle groups – chest, back, arms, shoulders, legs, and abs.
Home gyms are usually built on a frame with all the elements on/around it, including the bench and power rack. Keep in mind that they come to you in parts so you’ll need to assemble them first before using – quite a painful process for many.
Home gyms vary greatly in price – starting from around $200 for a simple set and leading up to $2,000 for the most sophisticated pieces of high-tech sports equipment. You should be able to find a decent home gym with reasonable price/features/quality ratio for anywhere from $500 to $800.
One main advantage of all-in-one home gyms is that, once you have them, you’re almost set. They take up not much space and the only problem you may have is buying more weights, upgrades, and accessories.
One huge bummer with most of these home gyms – no free weights. For those of you who are used to work out mostly with free weights, home gyms will do no good.
Another rather disappointing thing about home gyms is that they’re not that cheap really. $700-800 for a decent new home gym doesn’t mean that’s it. You’ll have to buy weights, bars, accessories, and stuff.
Set of regular gym items
Now this is hardcore – no fancy stuff, no modern gimmicks. For your home gym, you’ll need to have at least an Olympic-size barbell, a set of weights and a bench. This is where it all starts, it’s a minimum required amount of equipment.
With a barbell set, you can do almost all the basic exercises, including:
- deadlift, front and back squats for your legs
- barbell and upright rows for your back
- military press and behind-the-neck press fro your shoulders
- classic bench press (flat/incline/decline) for your chest
- bicep curls for your biceps
- close grip bench press and skull crushers for your triceps
Of course, many of you would say that it’s not enough for a well-rounded workout. If it so, feel free to add the following elements to your home gym, as you go:
- power rack (probably, your second purchase and most definitely the most expensive one)
- a pair of dumbbells (you already have the weights so you’ll need just the bare dumbbells)
- lat pulley mechanism with a lat bar
- chin-up bar
- treadmill or stationary bike for cardio
Nothing too outrageous here – just make sure you put a rubber mat or similar type of floor cover to avoid slipping and ensure safe workout environment.
If you love doing ab crunches or extensive stretches, you may also consider bringing in a sports mat.
The mirror is very important because it allows you to control your body movements and ensure the right technique for difficult exercises. Remember, there won’t be any spotters around so you’ll have to look after yourself.
Not any mirror will do – choose only the large ones, which reflect your full body while working out.
Additional read: The Best Tonal Home Gym Alternatives
#6. Add some entertainment
Working out in silence can be awfully boring. Remember – there are no people around at all.
Your best way to break the silence and pump up the volume would be to set up a simple audio system to blast out your personal workout soundtrack while you pump iron.
Another option is to put a TV on the wall – less exciting than music, but still a good choice. Just make sure you don’t watch the news while working out:).
#7. Add some motivational pieces
Just by the look of your home gym room, you should feel pumped. Therefore, anything that will put you in the right workout mood is acceptable. A flag on the wall? No problem. A bunch of posters with your bodybuilding heroes? Sure thing.
Whatever makes you comfortable. It’s YOUR home gym anyways – you’re the boss!
This is the end of our “7 great ideas setting up a home gym” article. I hope you’ll find it useful in building your own home gym and getting closer to that dream of yours.
Stay strong, stay hungry for success! Good luck.