Building a Simple Home Gym

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While gym memberships can be relatively cheap, going to the gym does have its caveats. Sometimes all the treadmills are occupied, or gym-bros are curling in the squat rack; the buzz of a commercial gym sometimes just isn’t as appealing. During peak hours, it’s hard to get the machines you want, or maybe that yoga class you wanted to take is completely full. With a home gym, you can get all the benefits of exercising, without distractions. While building one can be daunting, they can be affordable and effective if done right.

Picking out the perfect room

The first thing that needs to be done is to choose a room that is ideal for your gym. Be sure this room has ample space and is away from the hustle of your home, giving you a break from any distractions. You’re going to want to include a full-length mirror to keep an eye on your form and for other safety reasons. It is critically important to use and maintain good form when exercising and prevent any injury.

What are your goals?

Once you have your room all set up, you need to ask yourself what you are training for. Identifying your long and short-term goals will help you ascertain what kind of equipment you will need. To ensure your home gym is balanced for any sort of fitness goals you have, you should at least have the following basic equipment:


  • Yoga Mat

Remember, when doing exercises on the ground, you always want to protect your back. A yoga mat is crucial when doing workouts like sit-ups, planks, and other floor exercises. During stretching, you should also utilize your yoga mat to protect the body.

  • Dumbbells

The bread and butter of any weight lifting routine, dumbbells should be present in any home gym. The different weights are up to you, but it might be a good idea to at least have a set of 5lb, 10lb, and 15 lb dumbbells to start, depending on your ability level. Another great option is to get adjustable dumbbells. While a little more expensive, they can add plates with just a click of the switch and can include anywhere from 2 lb to 50 lbs, without taking up too much space.

  • Resistance Bands

Resistance bands are super cheap and can be used for a wide range of exercises for all kinds of workouts. You should go with bands that have handles and door attachments, which allow you to do many of the exercises on expensive equipment you find in commercial gyms. This includes lat-pulldowns, standing chest presses, shoulder presses, and even assisted squats. Check out TRX, a comprehensive resistance band system that will expand your overall workout capability for a fraction of the cost.

  • Stability Ball

Ah, the classic stability ball, a staple in all gyms. While workouts using them may look silly, they are actually really great tools for getting in a solid isolation workout. Stability balls are the foundation for building a substantial core, and shouldn’t be overlooked when building your home gym.

  • Cardio

Here is where the big ticket items come into play. Typically, getting in your cardio involves machinery like a treadmill or bike. You can get a pretty decent stationary bike on Amazon for around $300; treadmills typically start at around $599. If you’re on a tight budget, this doesn’t have to be the case. A simple jump-rope can make for a really tough cardio session and costs less than $20. Alternating stationary exercises like butt-kicks and high-knees can also give you a good cardio. 

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