Garage Gym Ideas 2017 – Ultimate Home Gym Design

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Introduction to Garage Gyms - Getting Ready to Gym at Home

What do weather, crowds, travel, and time all have in common? They are all things that get in the way of you getting down to your local gym and getting a solid workout in.

There are so many people out there that would like to begin getting in shape but are completely overwhelmed with other priorities in their life that trekking all the way down to their local gym genuinely seems impossible. To those people I would like to propose a solution! Build your very own gym, right in your home. The cost can start right around the same price you'd be paying for your gym membership and time saved is invaluable.

Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.

Once you've set up your personal garage gym to your standards the cost gets eliminated. Building a home gym set is actually surprisingly easy and if you are intimidated by the process we are here to hold your hand as you figure out exactly what type of equipment you are going to need depending on whatever goals you are attempting to achieve.

Through out this website we are going to break down exactly what you need to know about setting up a home gym that will suit your exercising needs. Whether you are building out your gym to gain strength, lean muscle, or simply cut out some of the fat you may have accidentally acquired during the holidays. Whatever your goals are you are going to have one of the garage gyms that people are going to be jealous of!

Garage Gym Equipment - Deciding on the Best Workout Equipment for You

The first thing you need to do when building a gym in your home is to figure out exactly what your goals are. Eventually, to have a well rounded garage gym you are going to want to move towards having three main categories of equipment. These three categories of equipment are the meat and potatoes of any multi station home gym - cardiovascular, compound exercise equipment (movements that use multiple muscle groups), and free weights.

Cardiovascular training equipment:

rowing machine

If you're number one priority is to lose weight and improve your cardiovascular health then without question you should purchase some type of aerobic equipment first. I personally recommend a rowing machine over a treadmill, exercise bike, or elliptical machine simply because it will also help you to build strength while doing aerobic exercise.

Another option that is much cheaper, but has a larger learning curve is to buy a high speed jump rope. Jumping rope is a great way to burn fat but must be done at a high intensity. It also is not recommended to those with knee issues. You can usually find a high speed rope at Walmart or your local sporting goods store.​

Squat Rack / Power Rack

The BEST compound exercise equipment

power rack

This is without a doubt the best choice to buy first if you are looking to gain massive strength in all areas of your body. Investing in a squat rack is an investment that nobody ever regrets (unless you don't use it!). The number one benefit of purchasing a squat rack for your home/garage is the fact that you can hit every single power lift at one station. Bench press, squat, dead lift, overhead press, and barbell rows all at the same station, and most power racks even come with a built in garage pull up bar. This makes doing the Strong Lifts workout, arguably the best workout routine for gaining strength, incredibly simple. If you are looking to build something more geared towards a Crossfit workout this is also the best choice as you can do all of the Olympic lifts.

free weights

Free Weights and other Weight Room Equipment:

If you can't afford to immediately start off with a power rack or some type of cardiovascular equipment for your garage, the best purchase you can make are free weights. Starting with a barbell and bumper plates are a great start if you are trying to gain strength, or burn calories. Crossfit workouts with your barbell work great for burning calories and you will be able to do all of the power lifts, although it will be much more difficult and dangerous to lift heavy without the safety net and easy setup of the squat rack.

If you are really strapped for cash you can also start off with a dumbbells for relatively cheap. The workout options you have with these are pretty limited, and I would recommend holding off until you can purchase the barbell. However, if you just can't wait to get some type of weight equipment in your home, check out our recommendations.

Click here to read our recommendations for the best free weights to start off with

These are the three main components of any multi station gym. While these will get you started they are by no means the end of your journey. Things like a weight bench, kettle bells, medicine ball, and plyometric box should all become members of your household eventually. We have put together a complete checklist for any small home gym which you can find here.

Home Gym Equipment Ideas for Beginners

Have no weight lifting experience? If you can afford it, the smith machine is a great machine for beginners to practice proper form on. A smith machine is basically a power rack, but It has a safety system set up with a chain that provides great resistance while also having a fail safe. You can see our most highly recommended smith machine models here.


If the smith machine is out of your price range, simply starting off with an Olympic barbell is a good place to start. The weight is very low, you can practice proper form, and it will be very hard to injure yourself as long as you don't overdo it (this shouldn't be a problem since you're a beginner).

Click here to see which Olympic Barbell we recommend

personal trainer

Personal Trainers:

If you are just starting off your fitness journey and have no prior weight lifting training I highly suggest hiring a personal trainer for a few sessions before you try and lift on your own. Hiring a personal trainer for a few sessions has so many benefits it's impossible to list them all. The main thing you should keep in mind is that lifting heavy with bad form is the quickest way to seriously injure yourself. The biggest mistake you will see people make in the gym is attempting to lift a weight they are not ready for. Proper form with lower weight will always be better than bad form with high weight. What's the point of purchasing all of your weight room equipment if you only get to use it once or twice?

If you can't afford a personal trainer there are hundreds of youtube videos out there that can help you practice proper lifting form for all of the main exercises. One of my favorite channels that has personally helped me a lot is the Buff Dudes youtube channel. They have a lot of great content on lifting with good form. Another great resource you can use to make sure that you are lifting properly is the form check subreddit on reddit. Take 5 seconds to create an account and submit a video of you lifting. Most likely someone will comment and give you some advice.

Accessories and other equipment you should consider

  • Ice/Cooling Vests: A cooling vest is a really interesting, yet effective way to lose weight while working out or sitting around. Basically, the vest cools your body down making your body work harder to stay warm. Increasing your metabolic weight.
  • Complete home gyms: A complete home gym is a great way to save money. By purchasing an entire home gym system you can buy vital pieces of equipment all in one machine. The Joe Weider home gym is a great example. Note: These complete home gyms lack many power lifting pieces.
  • Home gym flooring: You really don't want to mess up your floor. Especially with all the weight you'll be lifting. Investing in some flooring will save you a ton of money in remodeling costs in the long run.
  • Large Mirrors: It's important to admire yourself while working out, you need to make sure that your gains are keeping up with your self esteem - All jokes aside mirrors are great for watching and correcting form. Definitely something you should consider.
  • Ab Machines: Abs are cooked in the kitchen but their marinated in the gym. If you want to take your flat stomach to the next level check out some of these innovative an inexpensive ab workout machines.

Reliable Vendors for Your Garage Gym Store

Rogue Fitness

When building a gym in your garage you will inevitably come across rogue fitness. Rogue fitness is the number one home weight room equipment store out there right now. They have basically everything you are going to need when starting a gym in your home and the prices aren't half bad either. The quality of their products is top notch and their customer service is great as well.​

Click here to check out Rogue's products.

Rogue is famous for having some of the best power racks on the market. You can check our complete review of Rogue's power racks here.

Vulcan Strength

Vulcan strength is another option for important equipment like the Squat rack and barbell. The difference between Vulcan strength and Rogue Fitness is minimal. Vulcan Strength typically will be more affordable than Rogue Fitness but with fewer models/options and a less established brand. If you're not someone who cares much about brands or brand history Vulcan is probably the best choice for you.​

Click here to check out Vulcan's products.

Emerge Fitness USA

Emerge Fitness is one of the top crossfit equipment companies out there. They constantly produce top quality products at a super affordable price.

Click here to check out Emerge Fitness


Finally, we have our non-specialty stores. You can order basically anything online at Amazon and typically for a much better price than the specialty stores. The benefit of purchasing through Amazon is simply the selection that they have. You can basically get any model or brand of any type of equipment through them.

Click here to check out Amazon

There are other options but these are the big guys, and typically they will have the best combination of affordable prices and quality. I will go more into detail about the other vendors and commercial gym equipment brands in some of the more specific equipment guides. Certain parts of your gym will require products that the above vendors may not sell or specialize in.

We also asked 45 different fitness experts what their favorite equipment is. You can see that article here

I hope you enjoyed this article and would love to know if it helped in any way. Leave a comment with any questions or general criticism/out of date information. Please share the article on any social network if you enjoyed it what so ever. Good luck on your future workout cave!

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1 Comment on "Garage Gym Ideas 2017 – Ultimate Home Gym Design"

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Kien Quoc

Thank you for this article. I’ve been working out for a long time but suddenly just can’t find to the time to go to the gym. I have little equipment here and there at home to start. I work out almost everyday. But it’s not the same atmosphere as when you’re at the actual gym. Motivation is what I need it.