Creating a gym at home can become expensive really quickly. Yet, you don’t necessarily need to go and blow $10 000 to build a functional home gym setup. In fact, you can create a gym that will help you achieve your strength and fitness goals within a relatively tight budget.
At the same time, you might need to muster up some patience and time as you set up your home gym and search for all the pieces of equipment you need. But it’s entirely possible to build your dream home gym without breaking the bank.
So if you’re stuck wondering how to set up a home gym on a budget, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we go over what you might want to consider for a basic home gym, the cost of setting it up, setup ideas, and more.
What Do You Need For A Basic Home Gym?
Alright, so what should you grab for your home gym? What’s the most basic equipment you might want to consider? First off, you’ll probably want at least a 6×6 foot area to be able to use your equipment and store it. In terms of equipment you may want to include, here are a few ideas.
1. Gym Mats
A mat is necessary for any and all floor exercises. It protects your knees and your back from the hard floor, making core and other floor moves that much more comfortable. And it comes at a reasonable price between $20 and $60.
Plus, if you love variety when it comes to your workout, a mat offers just that. You can do yoga or Pilates on it. You can also look up YouTube home workouts you can do with just a mat (and there are so many options for this!).
On the other hand, you can use a towel or blanket. However, these simply won’t offer the same support or cushion for your body and your joints.
2. Barbell + Plates
The barbell is king when it comes to performing and progressing your squat, deadlift, press, and more. But a barbell without weight plates won’t exactly help you gain that much strength or muscle.
When it comes to plates, you can choose between iron plates or bumper plates. Generally, iron plates tend to come at a lower price point. Bumper plates, on the other hand, offer a quieter option that also won’t wreck your floor if that’s a concern.
Usually, you’ll want to get one barbell with a set of weight plates. A set allows you to switch up your weight and progress your exercises accordingly.
3. A Bench
The bench is one of the most basic pieces of gym equipment. The good news here is that you can also get benches for relatively low prices. You can even purchase brand new benches for under $300 or even $100, depending on what you’re after. Usually, these cheaper benches don’t offer incline or decline positions. Instead, they remain flat. Yet, this still offers many exercise options. We suggest determining what you want to use the bench for and go from there.
All in all, a bench is necessary for performing a bench press, some core exercises, some upper body exercises, split squats, and more.
Dumbbells are very versatile. You can use them for countless exercises. And you don’t need to necessarily purchase a whole rack of weights. There are various types of adjustable dumbbells, which can help you save money and space.
However, you may want to think about whether or not you’re going to find adjusting the dumbbell an annoyance during your workout or not. This really comes down to a personal preference. For the most part, you can find adjustable dumbbells for under $350 – or even less if you buy used.
While a mat, a barbell and plates, a bench, and dumbbells are the most basic pieces of equipment for a home gym, you may also want to consider stability balls, kettlebells, a cardio machine, and a squat rack. Although, this all comes down to your exact budget.
Realistically, you can do similar movements with dumbbells that you would do with kettlebells. However, you won’t be able to perform some moves, such as a kettlebell swing.
Stability balls also offer an additional challenge for some exercises. But yet again, they aren’t necessary. Further, you can add a cardio machine, such as a bike or treadmill, depending on what you prefer and your budget. On the other hand, you can perform cardio with no equipment at all, such as running on the spot or performing jumping jacks or other exercises. If you’re really set on having a piece of cardio equipment in your home, we recommend considering a stationary bike, since these tend to take up less room and also tend to cost less than treadmills or ellipticals.
A squat rack also allows you to use your barbell easier and more safely. Yet, this does depend on what types of exercises you intend on using it for and how much weight you intend on putting on the bar. Additionally, if you’re really tight on space, resistance bands provide an alternative to barbells, plates, and dumbbells. You can also always add equipment later on down the road if you so choose. Inevitably, there are a ton of options depending on your budget and the amount of space you have available.
How Much Does It Cost To Set Up A Home Gym On A Budget?
Typically, a home gym costs the average person between $1000 to $2000. Yet, you can build a gym for under $1000. On top of this, the average gym membership is around $50 to $60 per month. This means that within three years, your home gym could equate to how much you would spend on a local or a commercial gym membership. Plus, a home gym saves you commute time and you have all the equipment to yourself (no waiting!).
But how can you get all the equipment you want while sticking to your budget?
Building a Home Gym on a Budget
Creating a budget-friendly gym requires some research on your part. You can buy used or second-hand equipment. You can purchase new equipment at low prices. Or you can even build your own gym equipment, such as a bench or rack.
If you’re searching for used equipment, check out Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, Kijiji, or local garage sales in your area. On most of these sites, you can flag your search and receive a notification when new items that match your search pop up. This allows you to be first-in-line. However, be aware that this does require patience since all the equipment you desire might not be available second-hand right away.
When building any equipment, make sure you look up proper instructions on how to DIY it. If a shelf is holding weights, you want to ensure it’s sturdy enough to do so and withstand the amount of weight you aim to have it hold.
Then, there’s buying brand new equipment. This may require some price comparisons and it may take some time to read various product reviews. While cheap equipment is enticing, especially on a budget, you want to ensure the equipment is still safe to use which is usually indicated by previous consumers.
While planning out your home gym on a budget, create a spreadsheet of the items you desire. Then, use the column beside it to list the price options. From there, you can make a realistic estimation regarding how much your home gym may cost. This can help you determine your budget and whether or not you’ll be able to stick to it. If not, certain pieces of equipment may be best to buy further on down the road or you may want to consider getting them used or building them yourself.
Home Gym Setup Ideas
What about actually setting up your home gym? What should you take into account after your budget?
1. Location and Space
First and foremost (after your budget), determine where you want to situate your home gym. Many people put their setup in their basement, their garage, a corner in a big room, or a small bedroom. Ideally, you want enough space to move. As previously mentioned, this often means at least having a 6×6 foot space.
This area should also have good ventilation and lots of light to allow you to breathe easily and feel energized throughout your workout. After all, what’s the point of a home gym if you can’t use it comfortably?
2. The Equipment
Determine what pieces of equipment will fit in your space and help you achieve your goals. If you’re unsure what to include, check out the section above for some ideas. There are many space-saving and budget-savvy options that you can choose from.
3. The Flooring
The flooring matters if you’re going to be setting or dropping heavyweights on the ground. Ideally, you don’t want to be scratching expensive wood flooring. You may want to consider putting down foam gym flooring or setting up your gym in an area where you won’t be worried about the floor.
4. The Environment
Generally, you want to feel motivated to exercise. This may require a little extra on your part, such as putting up motivational posters or adding a Bluetooth speaker so you turn up that playlist that gets you in the zone.
5. Health and Safety
When setting up any pieces of equipment, you’ll want to double-check all the bolts and test for sturdiness before relying on it. In fact, not having a safe set-up may result in serious or even fatal injury. This isn’t to scare you, but we just want you to be aware of the risks involved and safety checks you should do.
Realistically, you should perform safety checks on your equipment at regular intervals. You should also ensure all the equipment is put away properly to avoid injury when not in use.
Use our tips above to setup your own budget-friendly home gym. Creating a cheap home gym is entirely achievable. There are so many options. Ultimately, it just comes down to what you need, your space, and what you can afford.
And the good news is that you can always add additional pieces later on. There’s also always the possibility to upgrade your equipment down the road and as your fitness journey progresses. So, do what you can for now and know that setting up your home gym will be a bit of a process. But it’s one that is so worth it and will save you plenty of money in the years to come.