DIY Garage Gym Ideas
Why Set Up A 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.
Throughout 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!
Deciding on the Best Workout Equipment for Your Gym
The first thing you need to do when building a gym in your home is to figure out exactly what your goals are and find a design for your gym that will suit that. 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
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.
If you’d like to learn more about why we think the rowing machine is the best cardio machine check out our rowing machine reviews.
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 for those with knee issues. You can usually find a high-speed rope at Walmart or your local sporting goods store.
Squat Rack or Power Rack
This is without a doubt the best choice to buy first for your garage gym 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, deadlift, 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 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 gym, 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 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.
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, kettlebells, medicine ball, and the plyometric box should all become members of your garage gym eventually. We have put together a complete checklist for any small home gym which you can find here.
A Few 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, but it can be a bit expensive as the first item for your garage gym. 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).
Consider Finding a Personal Trainer
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 (especially if you’re working out alone in your garage). 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 a 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 have 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.
More Gear To 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 powerlifting 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 they are marinated in the gym. If you want to take your flat stomach to the next level check out some of these innovative and inexpensive ab workout machines.