How To Set Up A Home Gym: A Step By Step Guide
If you’ve recently found yourself tackling a HIIT workout in the middle of your living room rather than sweating it out at some commercial gym, you’re not alone. While a living room gym is suitable, a proper setup can help you get the results you want.
Creating a home gym is essential if you want to work out in your own space and still take your fitness routine to the next level. Without the proper setup or gym equipment, it’s difficult to get motivated, get in the zone, and get working toward your goals.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to set up a home gym, including finding the right space, stocking your gym, storing the gym equipment, and personalizing it to you.
Step 1: Find a Space
The basic idea is that your floor space must suit your fitness needs.1 If you’re planning on cycling through burpees, squat jumps, and mountain climbers on the regular, your home gym setup will look different from someone focusing on yoga and pilates.
You may also want to add machines, which take up more floor space than free weights and resistance bands. If you’re planning on doing a lot of jumping, consider investing in a mat or foam tiles. Your joints and the floor will thank you.2
Examples of common spaces for home gyms include3:
- An unused part of your living room or bedroom
- A backyard, balcony, or patio
- A garage or basement
- A spare bedroom or office
Working in a Small Space
If you’re short on space, you can still make that home gym happen. Try the following tips and tricks4:
- Keep it simple – A little planning can go a long way. If you know your go-to workouts, you can cut down on the potential fitness equipment you’ll need to fit into the space. Consider incorporating non-aerobic exercises such as squats, bicep curls, and planks, which take up less room.
- Find a convertible space – Think about putting your home gym in a multifunctional space. Rather than dedicating a whole room to fitness, clear out a corner of an existing space so that you can move freely. Set it up where you can easily push any furniture out of the way and, if necessary, rearrange it when you’re finished.
- Plan out your machines – Machines can take up precious space, so stick to the essentials. For example, it’s a good idea to invest in a bike if you know you’ll use it regularly, but maybe skip the rowing machine that’s nice to have but hardly used. Prioritization is especially important when it comes to bigger exercise equipment.
Step 2: Stock Your Gym
In thinking about how to create a home gym, the equipment might just be the best part. If you’re like us, you can’t help but get excited. You step into your spare room and already know where you’ll put your full set of weights and exercise balls in three different sizes.
But before you get ahead of yourself, remember that you can always add as you go. In fact, you don’t have to fully stock your home gym at the beginning.5 You’ll most likely find that you can’t get around to all the exercise equipment. So, stick to your tried and true equipment first, and your gym will progress as you progress.
The very basics include6:
- A yoga mat
- Resistance bands of varying strengths
- An exercise ball
- A bench or a box
- An ab wheel
Variety Is the Spice of Life
When planning out your home gym equipment, it’s important to keep variety in mind. Give yourself the tools you need to do a wide range of exercises. Ultimately, the distribution depends on your personalized fitness goals, but at a minimum, you should create designated areas in your home gym for:
- Cardio – Cardio equipment can include something as basic as a jump rope. You’ll also want to create some space to use for more stationary cardio activities such as jumping jacks, burpees, and walking lunges. You might also consider investing in machines, including treadmills, indoor bikes, ellipticals, or stair climbers.7
- Strength – If you want to keep it simple, throw in some kettlebells, rubber coated dumbbells, and resistance bands.8 You can also focus on bodyweight exercises to build muscle. As you get stronger, increase your collection for varying weights and sizes. Think about investing in a barbell and setting up a bench press as well.
- Recovery – It’s important to cool down after your workout, and a dedicated area for recovery means you’re more likely to do it. Keep a foam roller handy to knead out your muscles, and have a yoga mat where you can stretch.9
It’s tempting to throw your workout equipment in a single basket, especially if you don’t have much in the first place. But staying organized cuts down on the friction of beginning your workouts. It’s much harder to find the motivation to jump rope if your rope is stuck under all your weights. And creating designated areas from the get-go sets you up well for expanding your gym later.
Step 3: Nail Down a Storage Plan
A good storage plan is essential when planning how to set up your home gym equipment. Find a solution where you can easily reach what you need during workouts. Proper home gym storage can also help your workout equipment last longer and stay clean.
When mapping out your gym equipment storage, it’s important to consider:
- Your space layout – If there’s barely any room to walk but a lot of blank space on the walls, think about using a 3 tier dumbbell rack and hooks to store some of your home workout equipment, especially lighter gear like resistance bands. On the other hand, you may have space on the floor for a tray of dumbbells that you can inconspicuously slide under a bed or table.
- Existing furniture and storage – Get crafty and make use of any shelves or drawers you already have. Among the many dumbbell storage ideas, a shoe rack can double as a storage area for lighter dumbbells, and you can use multiple bins to categorize workout gear. You can also find bundles that include storage along with the equipment, like this neoprene dumbbell set with a free rack.
- Specialized storage options – If you’re ready to take your workout to the next level, you’re going to need heavier equipment and more specialized storage to keep it organized. Think about getting a durable horizontal plate rack to line up your weight plates so you can easily find the weights you need for your next set.
Step 4: Personalize It
When all is said and done, what makes your home gym uniquely yours is a personal touch, so don’t forget to add a bit of you. Create a welcoming space that motivates you to reach your fitness goals with lighting, decoration, and temperature customizations.
Getting in the zone means more than just having high-quality equipment. Think about the ambiance of your space, especially how lighting sets the mood for your home workout.10
While you can complete your workout with a single basement light hanging over your head, you might find the process more enjoyable if you optimize your environment. You’ll also be more likely to come back the next day.
Practice these tips and tricks for better lighting:11
- Set up your equipment by a window for natural light.
- Use dimmable, warm to cool LEDs that you can adjust for your workout and cool down.
- Combine overhead lights and floor or table lamps so you can see clearly.
Motivation is key when you’re working out, so don’t hold back on the posters and quotes you need to keep going. Put your sources of inspiration on the wall where you can see them when you’re grinding out that last set.12
A sound system or television to stream online classes can make your space more inviting and get you in the zone, too. When you step into your home gym, you can leave the day behind and be fully engaged in the workout experience.13-14
Lastly, consider investing in a mirror setup. Beyond just the practical purpose of being able to watch your form, a mirror can help you see improvement and muscle growth over time. There’s nothing more encouraging than actual results.
If your garage gym turns into a frigid cave in the winter, the chances of you returning for the next workout are low. Make sure to adjust for seasonal changes, so you’re pounding out those reps in a comfortable environment.15
Depending on how climate-controlled your space is, a heating or air conditioning unit can be a worthy investment. At a basic level, a fan or space heater can also do the trick.
Tru Grit: Crush Every Workout
You refuse to quit, and we’re here to supply you with the gear you need. From barbells, dumbbells, and kettlebells in multiple sizes to all your cardio favorites, our team at Tru Grit specializes in durable, long-lasting equipment that helps you reach your fitness goals.
Whether you’re just starting or are a seasoned professional, our diverse line of fitness products will meet you where you’re at.
We can’t wait to help you set up that home gym or designated workout space. We’re happiest when you’re crushing it.
Cleveland Clinic. How to Create a Home Gym You’ll Actually Use. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/how-to-create-a-home-gym-youll-actually-use/
Shape. How to Set Up a Home Gym You'll Actually Want to Workout in. https://www.shape.com/fitness/workouts/how-build-perfect-home-gym
Storables. 10 Home Gym Hacks For Small Spaces. https://storables.com/storage-ideas/home-storage/10-home-gym-hacks-for-small-spaces/
Pop Sugar. 7 Unlikely Ways to Store Your Gym Equipment. https://www.popsugar.com/fitness/How-Store-Gym-Equipment-Home-26949845?stream_view=1#photo-26949863
CNN. How to set up a home gym space that works for you. https://www.cnn.com/2020/11/28/health/home-gym-ideas-fitness-coach-wellness/index.html
Philips Hue. How to get the best home gym lighting. https://www.philips-hue.com/en-us/explore-hue/blog/best-home-gym-lighting