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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.

barbell

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.

Other Important Articles

Weightlifting Shoes

26-adidas-crossfit-shoes

Professional lifters have been using weightlifting shoes for years, but only recently has it become popular for those who wants to seriuosly improve their lifting performance. Not only can they significantly enhance safety and performance but they reflect the best in modern style and comfort as well. We’re here to provide you with a comprehensive weightlifting shoes review and roundup of 2017.

Weight Benches

These are an important pieceof every home gym. The adjustable bench allows you to open a whole world of new free weight exercises. From dumbbell flys to skull crushers this is the go to place to sit your body when working out. Today’s top weight benches are compact marvels of engineering. They push the limits of materials and form with great design both for durability and appearance.

Bumper Plates

bumper plates reviews

It is more than just a weight plate for Olympic bars, bumper plate offers you the ideal level of protection, safety and functionality. They will make your home gym a safer environment to train in. Bumper plates will protect your gym floor if you drop them. Bumpers are also the way to go if you’re heading for competition.

Glute Ham Developers

glute ham developers

Known as GHD machine or Roman Chair, glute ham developer - as its name suggests, targets to train glutes and hamstrings. This will provide the power base to boost your strength while shaping your lower legs and core.

Pull Up Bars

Pull Up Bar

Simply an inexpensive bar that is used to be hung over a closet door or mounted to the wall to help with your training,  but pull up bars can do so many things for strength level improvisation on your back, biceps and forearms, as well as firm up your core. They give you kinds of exercises that you can perform almost anywhere and raise your fitness to new levels.

Kettlebells

Kettlebells

Kettlebells, either traditional or adjustable, are a must for your gym. With the ability to challenge your body in a way that just isn’t possible with regular barbells, with Kettlebells you will develop more strength, build up your stabilizer muscles/gripping power and achieve cardio fitness as well with these pieces of equipment.

Adjustable Dumbbells

adjustable-dumbbells

Adjustable dumbbells help you save money and space you because they let you select the desired weight from a base and simply lift off and start training. Adjustable dumbbells allow veteran lifters to maintain and add to their muscle building routine and help new weightlifters to lose weight and stay toned.

Olympic Weight Sets

Cheap Olympic Weight Sets

Do you know you can have great workout with just your Olympic weightlifting package? When you’re serious about lifting weight at home, you need a serious weightlifting set. That means getting an Olympic bar and plates. Olympic equipment will allow you to train with heavy duty, reliable plates and bars, without having to worry about bars bending or plates not fitting.

Squat Racks with Bench Press

Squat Rack with Bench Press reviews

Squat racks with built in bench press will pack mass onto your frame quicker than any others. Your home gym needs to be equipped with a hardy squat rack and a bench that will allow you to perform these two vital exercises safely and securely.

Fitness Trackers

Those wearable devices are the new ‘must have’ of the modern era. They will give you the instant training feedback you need to allow you to train smarter with the help of technology. The main goal of these fitness trackers are to make us healthier, more active people by motivating us to get up and move and tell us how we have progressed day by day.

Gymnastic Rings

rogue wooden gymnastic rings

Source: www.rogue.com

Gymnastic rings are the tool you need to get fit, strong and muscular at the same time. They’ll open your training to a whole new level of intensity with power body moves that will challenge you to the max. Gymnastic rings will get you stronger, adding muscle to your upper body faster than almost anything else.

Suspension Trainers

Suspension Trainer

It's time to discover the benefits of suspension trainers. This compact and inexpensive training set will provide you with more than 300 exercises that you simply can’t do with any other type of training gear.

Ab Machines

Are you looking for the right abdominal toning machines that really work? While some of them don't give you the results you want, yet there are actual ab machines that do the work when it comes to toning and strengthening the abdominals and core.

Stepping Machines

stepping machines

Stepping machines will add a great part to your cardio training session with much more benefits than you can imagine. Step machines target your glutes and quads, while ramping up the fat burn as well. They are also an ideal platform for doing HIIT workouts.

Small Workout Equipment

Small Workout Equipment

These are the solutions to workout at home when you don't have too much space for bulky equipment. Rounding up top quality workout gear into the confines of your small home gym space can be a challenge. Let us help you find the most compact and space-saving equipment that can serve any types of training.

Cable and Pulley Machines

Cable and Pulley

Cable and Pulley machines are the types of machines that let you perform the types of resistance exercises that are mostly offered at commercial gyms. However it is not easy to find the right cable pulley machines with high quality for your home gym if you don't have much experience.

Dipping Bars

Dip Machine

Pull up dip stations or power tower stations are an essential training set for stronger chest and triceps. Because you are hanging from the ground, you need a quality dip bar tower that is sturdy, stable and rigid to avoid risks of injury.

Agility Ladders

Agility ladder

Agility ladders are the way to go when you want to improve your cardio fitness as well as boosting your speed and agility. This simple, compact training device is cheap, portable and infinitely versatile. Agility ladders can simply can be used on any flat surface and allow you to change position quickly and be able to control your body in mid flight.

Wrist Wraps/Straps

Wrist wraps/straps

For weight trainers, you need to protect your wrists and forearms. The strain of heavy poundage makes your muscles tire out and they can also lead to permanent damage. Too often the wrists fail before the actual working muscle does, cutting your set frustratingly short. Wrist wraps with secure grip that won’t break will relieve the strain off your wrists.

Plyometrics Box

Plyometrics box

Plyometrics is a fantastic way to stay in shape, burn calories and improving sports performance. Exercises with plyo boxes include burpees, power jumps, ladder drills, reach jumps etc. However you need to choose the right plyometrics box  or else you can risk serious ankle and knee injury.

Deadlift Jack

deadlift jack

A deadlift jack can be a lifesaver when you have to load and unload the weight plates onto the probe deadlift bar. Deadlift jacks let you raise the bar with ease and hold it securely while you change the weight.

Workout Chains

‘Why use chains when lifting?’ Exercising with workout chains is not only the ultimate in badass training, it is a highly functional method of lifting. Workout chains provide you with a fluctuating, variable resistance that gives your muscles a unique workout experience and improve your stability and allowing you to power through a sticking point.

Climbing Ropes

climbing rope

The CrossFit craze has brought rope climbing out into the open. People have discovered how rope climbing can make them stronger, more agile and even help them to lose weight. Adding a climbing rope to your home gym will give you a fantastic whole body training aid as there is no better measure of a person’s upper body strength and overall endurance than rope climbing.

Weighted Vests

weighted vest

When you are ready to take your strength to the next level, a weighted vest will provide you with the extra poundage that you need. Using a weighted vest on dips, pull ups, or when doing your cardio, hardcore weight exercise such as power cleans or running on the treadmill, a weighted jacket pushes you harder to make you better

Dip Belts

Dips are a bodyweight exercise that beef up your chest as well as maxing out your upper body strength. When your body weight can no longer be enough to challenge you then you need a dip belt. A quality dip belt will allow you to add weight to your dips in order to push your dip training to the limit.

Strongman Training Equipment

strongman

Training for Strongman competition is challenging. You never really know what you are going to be up against. Fortunately, there is a fantastic range of strong man equipment on the market designed to prepare the strongman athlete for whatever comes his way.

Fitness Floss

Fitness Floss Bands

Fitness floss bands are an essential training aid for serious weightlifters. Fitness floss bands allow you to move more freely by compressing the tissues in the joint and constricting blood flow. If your goal is to train harder, with increased range and flexibility, then you need to include a floss band in your gym bag.

Foam Rollers

foam rollers

When you need relief from muscle ache, a foam roller is worth its weight in gold. Being able to reach for your foam cylinder and put it to work for a few minutes will bring instant relief, allowing you to get on with your day.

Resistance Bands

resistance band

Resistance band training is a cost effective, portable and functionally effective way to get a great workout anywhere, anytime. Resistance bands are also a great supplement for any home gym. A lot of bands on the market, however, are cheap and nasty.

Grip Strengtheners

For many weight trainers, their grip is their weak link. It doesn’t matter how strong their back, chest or biceps are, if their grip is weak, their workout will be a failure. Don’t let your grip let you down. Adding grip strengthener training to your program will allow you to push harder one every single workout.

Knee Sleeves

Top Knee Sleeves Reviews

Your knees can take a pounding under the heavy iron. Knee sleeves provide you with the support to push more weight for more reps. To find the best leg protection, you’ve got to check the stitching, compression, and heat insulation to ensure they meet all the quality.

Massage Balls

massage ball

A post workout massage used to be the privilege of elite athletes and the wealthy. With the advent of massage balls, however, the rest of us are now able to benefit from deep tissue massage anytime we need it. Massage balls are low cost, portable and easy to use.

Battle Ropes

Battle ropes provide an undulating resistance workout. The effect is that you’ll get fitter, stronger and leaner faster. Having a battle rope in your home gym will create dual force dynamic effects, combining the force of gravity with the rope to maximize results.

Kinesiology Tape

Kinesiology Tape for knees Reviews

“What is KT tape” and “does kinesiology tape work”? Kinesiology tape is used to increase the beneficial effects of manual therapies between sessions. The benefits of kinesio tape are especially noticeable for rehab, for alignment, and to kinesiology tape knee pain.

Reformer Pilates Machines

good cheap Reformer Pilates

Pilates is a hugely popular form of exercise which can help you to lose weight, get stronger, improve your cardiovascular fitness, enhance your flexibility and boost your mental fitness. Sooner or later, most pilates converts end up looking for the pilates equipment for home.

EZ Curl Bars

top rated EZ Curl Bar Reviews

The barbell curl is the most commonly performed exercise in gyms. That’s because everyone wants bigger biceps. Using an ez curl bar, standard or olympic bar formats, makes the ez curl bar more effective, allowing you to target the biceps more directly. It also takes pressure off your wrists and forearms.

Wall Balls

Best Crossfit Wall Balls Review 2016

Functional exercise that involves throwing a heavy crossfit ball, called a wall ball, against a wall and then catching it again is very popular recently. This deceptively simple exercise works your back, legs, shoulder and arms, while giving a great cardio workout.

Powerlifting Belt

how to buy Weightlifting Belts

When you are serious about lifting weights, it’s time to invest in a weightlifting belt. Not only will the right belt allow you to lift more weight, it will provide your spine with a lot of support, to make it more stable under heavy weight. With a proper weightlifting belt you’ll be able to squat, deadlift and perform overhead power moves more safely.

Crossfit Grips

Best Gymnastic Hand Grips / Crossfit Gloves for Pull Ups

Hand grips will do the job more effectively during your Crossfit training. Typical hand protectors Hand grips consist of a leather or synthetic leather covering for the palm. They are used mainly for bar based exercises, like pull ups, muscle ups, and basically any Crossfit WOD.

Lat Pulldown Machines

Alternative Cable Lat Pulldown Machines

A high pulley cable machine opens a new world of resistance exercise in your home gym. Not only will you be able to blast your back with lat pulldowns, but tricep pushdowns, cable curls, upright rows and a whole host of other constant tension moves will be within your grasp.

Leg Extension Machines

top 10 Leg Extension Machines Review

When you’re after full, defined quads, leg extensions are your go to move. Their benefits are that they will isolate your quads, allowing you to apply 100% tension to the working muscle. Only a stand alone leg extension unit can give you the range of motion and versatility that your legs deserve.

Leg Curl Machines

Leg Curl Machine at home guide

The hamstrings are probably the most neglected body part to train, making them the weak link for many trainers. Having a leg curl machine in your gym will provide you with the leg curl benefits of isolating, strengthening and defining not only your hamstrings, but your entire posterior chain.

Preacher Curl Benches

Preacher Curl Bench benefits and Reviews

Everyone wants huge biceps. The key to outstanding upper arm development is the peak on the biceps muscle. An outstanding exercise to develop it is the preacher bench curl. Home gym preacher curl benefits are that it will allow you to blast your guns in total isolation, so that you can force growth from the most stubborn fibers.

Leg Press Machines

cheap Leg Press Machines

After the squat, the leg press is the best thing you can do to build thigh strength and size. The leg press benefits over the squat are that it drastically reduces stress on your lower back and allows you to lift a lot more weight.

Hack Squat Machines

top Hack Squat Machines Review

The back squat may be the best overall thigh developer, but it is also the toughest on your spine and knees. Having a hack squat machine in your home gym allows you to squat without the pain. The hack squat machine benefits are that they will relieve pressure on your lumbar region while allowing you to target specific areas of the thigh.

Peck Deck Machines

Peck Deck and Chest Fly Reviews

The Peck Deck is one of those exercises that marks a good home gym from a great one. Most peck decks are a joke - they don’t provide nearly enough range of movement. Finding the right one makes all the difference. Peck Deck machine benefits include isolating and stretching the inner pecs and giving a great pump to the chest.

Exercise Balls/Stability Balls

Best Exercise Balls Review

Exercise balls come in all shapes and sizes. From Swiss balls to medicine balls, each serves a definite fitness purpose. The benefits of bouncing on an exercise ball include improved coordination, balance, core isolation and the ability to work hard to get to stabilizer muscles. Using your exercise ball as a workout bench will make every exercise you do more effective.

Lifting Straps

Best Weightlifting and Deadlift Straps

Lifting straps are essential for anyone involved in regular heaving weight training and deadlifting. The benefits of lifting straps are that they will provide much needed support and strength to your wrists. This allows you to take the focus off your forearms and wrists, and onto the target muscle group.

Calf Compression Sleeves

Compression Sleeves review

Compression sleeves bring you relief and allow you to keep going when your calves and shins tell you to stop. They work on the basis of graduated compression, so that there is more compression at the ankle and a loosening up as it moves up the leg. Calf compression sleeves help to resist the effect of gravity and is great for shin splints, calf cramps and achilles tendonitis.

Weightlifting Gloves

top Weight Lifting Gloves Review

The quality of your grip can make or break your workout. Unless you’ve got a secure, slip free hold on the bar, you are likely to stop your set short of target muscle failure. Weightlifting gloves help strengthen your grip, increase your comfort level and stop you from ripping up your palms.

Tennis Elbow Braces

top Tennis Elbow Braces

An elbow brace can bring immediate and ongoing relief from tennis elbow, which, is a painful condition caused by overuse of the elbow and forearm. The symptoms of tennis elbow are inflammation of the tendons joining the muscles of your forearm to the outer elbow.

Workout Gloves/WOD Grips

WOD Gloves CrossFit/Gymnastics reviews

Your CrossFit workout succeeds or fails on the strength of your grip. When your hands give out, your WOD is over, leaving you feeling short changed and frustrated. The right WOD gloves will give you the strength of grip and comfort to take your workout to the next level.

Workout Supplements

Workout Supplements

Your diet is very important if you want to get the results that your efforts deserve in the gym. Workout supplementation is a vital part of the nutritional equation. Knowing the supplements that actually work for pre and post workout, fat loss and muscle building are key to maximum performance and results.

Ankle Weights

Best Ankle Weights Review 2017

Ankle weights are for ramping up the intensity of your workouts. These convenient, weighted, velcro fastened bands can be used for virtually any exercise. With ankle weights and without doing any more work, you’ll be able to burn more calories, increase your resistance, get stronger and improve your cardiovascular fitness.

Knee Wraps

Best Knee Wraps Review 2017

When you train heavy in the gym your knees bear the brunt of the pressure - and nothing taxes you more than the squat rack. The great thing about knee wraps is that they’ll not only give you that support, they will actually allow you to lift more weight. The elastic rebound effect can add up to 10% on your lift.

Ankle Braces

Best Ankle Brace review

Your ankles take a lot of pounding in the gym and ankle injuries are commonplace . Whether you’re on the treadmill, in the squat rack or doing box jumps, they endure a whole lot of pressure and lateral force. An ankle brace can give you extra strength and support you need for your ankles.

Compression Socks

Best Compression Socks

Compression socks are meant to provide relief to your joints, including the lower back if you are sitting or standing for a long period of time. Moreover, the increased circulation and compression will help with running and workout performance. Their major benefit of compression socks is with recovery from training, because the graduated compression boosts circulation return.

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. Read my reviews of Emerge Fitness products here.

Click here to check out Emerge Fitness Website

Amazon

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!


Kien Quoc - February 12, 2016

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.

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