guide to building your home gym

No Budget or Space is Too Small: The Ultimate Guide to Building Your Home Gym

Having your very own home gym has numerous advantages. But many of us are hesitant to even consider this option because of various doubts and prejudices: Isn’t my home too small to accommodate a good home gym? Can I build a home gym with a limited budget? 

Today we’re going to convince you that no space or budget is too small for building your own, fully functional, and perfectly efficient home gym.

Why Should You Consider Building Your Home Gym?

If you enjoy improving your fitness and agility, building your muscles, and enhancing your physical strength, having your own home gym is a logical next step on your journey. 

Still in doubt if this is something you should seriously consider? Here are just some of the many good reasons to do it:

Exercise whenever you want to

Obviously, having the freedom to exercise whenever you decide to is one of the biggest incentives for building your own home gym. If you’re busy, have an unpredictable schedule, or small kids, finding time to attend a public gym can be complicated. Having your own gym will allow you to exercise ad hoc whenever you find a spare hour.

Maximize the effect of the time spend in the gym

As you certainly know, spending one hour in a gym rarely means exercising intensively for the full hour. Changing your clothes, engaging in small talk with others, or even just waiting for the availability of your favorite machine can steal a large portion of the time you spend in the gym with no real benefits to your fitness. A home gym helps you maximize the effectiveness of the time you spent exercising.

home exercising

Save on entry and membership fees

Building your home gym can be quite an investment. Nevertheless, once it’s ready, it’s all yours for good. On the opposite, public gyms can cost hundreds of dollars on admissions and membership fees without providing you with anything that is truly yours. People often quit their fitness routine for financial reasons. This won’t happen to you with a gym of your own.    

Eliminate (undesirable) social contact

Public gyms gradually became important and busy meeting points. While it can surely be nice to meet new people and engage in interesting conversations, it’s definitely not for everyone.

Whether you’re embarrassed to exercise in front of strangers, or you just want to sweat in complete silence and peace, your home gym will always be just yours. Of course, at these unprecedented times, eliminating social contacts can have numerous health and safety benefits too.

Read our full guide on how to find the best Dumbbells for your needs.

So, How Do I Start Planning My Home Gym?

Once you’ve settled with the idea of having your very own home gym, there’s usually no way back. But how do you turn this dream into reality? 

Basically, there are two different approaches towards this project: building your gym gradually according to your actual needs and possibilities, OR planning the project thoroughly upfront and getting things done in one haul. 

Of course, the main factor at play throughout this project is going to be your budget. But before we focus on that, let’s first discuss the practical aspects of fitting the gym in the space you have available. 

How to Build a Home Gym in a Small Space

We firmly believe that no space is too small for building your own efficient and fully functional home gym. Of course, this might involve lots of invention and some give-and-takes if your space is particularly tiny. 

Whether it’s a studio, bedroom in a shared house or apartment, or your garage, here are some practical tips for pulling it off:

Focus on portable and foldable equipment

portable and foldable equipment gym

This can be a foldable bench, a doorway pull bar, a small footprint treadmill, or a rowing machine that fits under your bed. Just make sure that you’re getting good quality and durability since foldable equipment can be more prone to damage.

Our Recommendations:

Use one multifunctional tower instead of numerous separate machines

Even the tiniest space can usually accommodate at least one exercise machine. If you choose a multifunctional home gym tower, it will give you everything you need to keep all muscle groups fit in one compact product.

Our Recommendations:

Adjustable dumbbells are small and very efficient 

portable and foldable equipment gym

If your space is extremely limited, you might be forced to settle with the only viable option – compact adjustable dumbbells that can easily fit under your bed, desk, or in your closet. Fortunately, these tiny friends can be extremely helpful, if you know how to use them correctly and efficiently. 

We recommend: 

How to Build a Home Gym with Tight Budget

Now we finally get to the most common deal-breaker when it comes to home gyms. How to pull this task off on a budget? 

If you have only limited resources, scrolling through the online stores with fitness equipment can be frustrating. It seems like you must spend thousands to build an efficient gym at home. But don’t get fooled – there are many budget-friendly solutions that can perfectly substitute their more expensive counterparts. You just have to know what to look for and where. 

If you skipped all previous paragraphs of this article and jumped right on the ‘Tight Budget’ section, scroll up, please, and read our recommendations for home gyms in small spaces.

home gym tight space

Basically, everything we recommend for those with limited space (compact equipment, multifunctional machines, adjustable dumbbells) is perfectly applicable to tight budgets too. 

To give you a better idea of all the options you have, here are some tips for building your home gym according to your actual budget. Whether you decide to follow them closely or treat them as inspiration only, keep in mind that any home gym should, by rule, tackle both cardio and muscle strength exercises. 

In the end, we will also throw in some extra tips for getting the most out of your home exercise without any additional investment.  

How to Build a Home Gym with $500 

If you look at the professional gym equipment, it’s obvious that $500 won’t get you very far. Nevertheless, we’ll show you that nothing is impossible. The very first question people usually ask before buying some exercise equipment is: “How good and expensive should it be? Do I really need the professional-grade machines, or can I buy cheaper stuff from, say, Amazon?”

The truth is somewhere in the middle. No, you certainly don’t need heavy-duty machines designed to endure hours and hours of exercise every day in a public gym.

On the other hand, you’re not going to get too far with machines that don’t work as they should or break too soon. So, what should you trade your $500 for to get the home gym you want?

First, invest in a great set of adjustable dumbbells. The wider range of weights you get, the better, as this will give you many options to tackle all muscles in a precise and challenging way. (Of course, you can leave out extra light weights if you don’t plan to do pilates or extra heavy weights if you’re skipping on serious bodybuilding). 

adjustable barbell dumbbell set

A decent set of adjustable dumbbells with bars and plates doesn’t have to be overly expensive. Expect it to cost around $150-$180.

We recommend: BOSWELL adjustable dumbbells set (44lbs.)

When you have your dumbbells ready, it’s time to get a good bench. It looks like a straightforward and undemanding piece of equipment, but you shouldn’t compromise its safety and stability. How about a multifunctional adjustable bench with various resistance training features? Decent budget-friendly options start at approximately $100.

We recommend: Avitafit adjustable weight bench 

Now, when you have your muscle strength training covered, get yourself some cardio-focused equipment to add a little heat and sweat to your exercise routine. If you’re on a budget, your best option is probably a good elliptical trainer which targets your whole body and costs less than a treadmill. It runs around $150-$200.

We recommend: Sunny Health & Fitness elliptical machine cross trainer 

Your budget is now almost dry, but if you still have a few bucks to spend, we suggest spending it on a good fitness mat – learn how to use your body weight and improve your mobility, stability, and agility effectively without any machines. A portable doorway pull-up bar is a great idea too.

How to Build a Home Gym with $1,000 

So, you have $1000, and you’re ready to turn it into a good home gym? If you proceed smartly, it’s very much possible. Thousand dollars can certainly get you some very good equipment for your gym, but you still have to make some tough decisions and trade-offs. The key to success lies in understanding which investments are really worth it.

home gym under $1000

Again, let’s start with a good set of adjustable dumbbells, the essential part of every gym. This time your budget allows you to think bigger, so you should consider getting yourself a real quality. The main difference will come in preciseness, durability, comfort of a grip, and versatility. Expect to pay around $400-$500 for a good set.

We recommend: Bowflex SelectTech 552 (52.5 lbs.)

A mid-range bench can provide you with higher load capacity, more comfortable padding, better durability, and even some extra features. You can definitely get it under $200.

We recommend: Flybird adjustable weight bench

Power station is another great addition to your mid-range home gym. It’s simple, relatively inexpensive, and very efficient when it comes to improving your strength. A reliable and multifunctional power tower doesn’t have to cost more than $120-$150

We recommend: BangTong&Li power tower station

Finally, don’t forget about your cardio. Again, the machine of your choice doesn’t have to be expensive. The point is to keep you sweating. You can get a good exercise bike for under $150.

We recommend: XTERRA fitness folding exercise bike

How to Build a Home Gym with $2,000 

An average garage/home gym in the U.S. costs around $2000, so this is the last category we’re going to discuss in this guide. Of course, if your budget allows it, you can invest thousands in your gym and make it the best gym ever, but we’ll keep our tips on how to build a home gym if you’re a millionaire for some other day. 

So, is $2000 a lot or a little when it comes to home gyms? Well, this budget can certainly get you everything you need if you buy your stuff thoughtfully. Invest in quality where it’s crucial, save a bit on the less critical equipment. You should be able to get yourself a gym you can be really proud of.

home gym under $2000

Once again, dumbbells deserve to be your top priority and biggest investment. If you’re ready to put your hands on some of the best adjustable sets on the market, it might cost you around $800. They usually have a super-safe auto locking system, a huge range of weight loads with smart loading mechanisms, and professional-grade durability. 

We recommend: PowerBlock Elite EXP adjustable dumbbells set

If you have enough resources to buy advanced equipment, we suggest going for an Olympic-style bench with racks and J-shaped hooks for barbell press training. It can cost you $230-$300.

We recommend: Marcy Olympic weight bench 

Get yourself a good power station that will easily withstand higher loads and provide you with many options to target the exact muscles you need to. Prepare around $200 on this purchase.

We recommend: Sportsroyal power tower station (400lbs)

Running remains the most popular cardio exercise around the world. Get a quality treadmill and you will have everything you need to stay fit, lean, without stepping out your door. Although the best treadmills can cost thousands of dollars, you can get a decent piece for approximately $600-$700.

We recommend: NordicTrack T-Series treadmill

Extra Tips For Getting More Out Of Your Budget Home Gym

What else can you do to make your home gym efficient and enjoyable without exceeding your budget? Here are a few extra tips:

Buy Second-Hand Stuff  

When it comes to exercise equipment, there’s certainly no shame in buying second-hand stuff. It can be the only way to get everything you really need, or it can help you get your hands on top brands (and quality) you couldn’t afford to buy in a standard store. 

Get used to no-equipment cardio

With cardio-style exercise, it’s really all about keeping your heart rate up. To achieve that, you certainly don’t need any fancy machines or equipment. Simply get used to outdoors jogging or buy a cheap jump rope (there’s a cordless alternative for small spaces too!).  

Use your body weight effectively

If you know how to use it right, your own body weight can be extremely effective equipment. Look for fun and challenging bodyweight routines and stick to them. If they start to feel a bit too easy, just increase reps, shorten your rest times, and extend time under tension.

Conclusion

We hope this article convinced you that building your home gym doesn’t have to cost you a fortune, neither you have to own a huge mansion to fit in everything you need. If you know what to prioritize, you can pull this task off elegantly and efficiently even with various limits.

Have you already built your own home gym? Were you able to squeeze into your budget or limited space comfortably? We’d love to hear more about your experience!

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