Home gym in open-concept foyer.

Building A Home Gym: What You Need, What You Don’t And How To Do It All On A Budget

Erin Gobler6-minute read
August 25, 2022

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If you’re a fitness buff, then the idea of building a home gym probably sounds appealing. You can get your daily workout in and reach your health and wellness goals, all without having to pay for a gym membership or deal with traveling to the gym each day.

Two of the biggest concerns people have with building a home gym are how much it will cost and how much work it will be to set up. We’ll address those topics in this article to help you decide whether building a home gym is right for you.

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Is Building A Home Gym Worth It?

There are some major benefits to building a home gym that can make it more than worth it for many people.

First, because a home gym removes some of the hoops you have to jump through to do your daily workout, you may be less likely to skip it. It’s easy to talk yourself out of a workout when you only have an hour of free time and your gym is 15 minutes away. But if your gym is in your home, you’ll find it’s easier to stick to your fitness goals.

Finally, a home gym can save you money. It may not seem like a home gym would be more affordable, since there’s a large upfront cost required to buy all of your equipment. However, because you’ll be saving yourself years of monthly gym membership payments, it’s likely to be cheaper in the long run.

Whether a home gym is really worth it is something you’ll have to decide for yourself. But if you’ll use it regularly, it can be a valuable and convenient addition to your home.

How To Build A Home Gym

Building a home gym is actually easier than it sounds. Below, we’ll outline all of the steps to help you build your dream home gym. If you’re considering an addition on your home to add space for a gym, be sure to get quotes from addition and remodeling contractors through HomeAdvisor.

Determine And Measure The Space

The first step to creating your home gym is figuring out exactly what type of space you’re working with. Depending on your home, options for building your home gym could include your basement, outdoor space, garage or other spare rooms.

Once you know what area you’ll be using, you should measure the space for length, width and height. Based on those measurements, you can determine what gym equipment you can fit and how you’ll lay it out.

Consider Your Workout Goals

Everyone’s ideal home gym will look a bit different because everyone has different fitness needs. To help you decide what to include in your home gym, consider your fitness goals. For instance, if your focus is cardio, make sure you have enough room for a treadmill and other cardio machines. If weightlifting is your priority, you may use most of the space for a weight bench, kettlebells and various free weights.

Design Your Gym Setup

Once you’ve measured your space and determined what equipment you want to include, it’s time to design your gym setup. Start by drawing a floor plan and laying out any equipment you plan to purchase, as well as where you’ll put it.

Don’t forget to incorporate smaller equipment, such as resistance bands and BOSU balls. And if you do a lot of workout videos or free workouts, you may simply want most of the space to be open. Finally, don’t forget to add storage space and mirrors, and think about what lighting you’ll need.

Buy Your Equipment

The next step is to shop around for any gym equipment you’ll need in your home gym that you don’t already have, including a treadmill, elliptical, free weights, resistance bands, kettlebells and other cardio and weightlifting equipment. You may also invest in a mat, stability ball and pull-up ball.

When you’re shopping around for equipment, do your research. Read reviews and compare prices before you make any purchases. You can buy your equipment new, but you may also consider seeing what used equipment is available in your area as a way to save money. And if you are planning to buy new, look for coupon codes, sales and other ways to save.

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Add The Finishing Touches

Once you’ve ordered and installed your equipment, it’s time to put the finishing touches on your home gym. As we’ve mentioned, consider what storage you might want in the space. Shelves and cubbies can provide a space to store your jump ropes, kettlebells and other smaller items.

Next, consider what flooring you may want to add. Foam flooring can protect your equipment and provide optimal comfort, especially if you’ll be doing any floor workouts.

You may also want to consider adding a television. Not only can you quickly turn on workout videos, but you’ll also have easy access to entertainment while you’re doing your cardio.

The last step is personalizing the space. Consider including posters with motivational quotes or photos, decorations and any other furniture you want in the space to make it feel more comfortable.

Equipment Needed For A Home Gym

Not everyone will need the same equipment in their home gym. As we mentioned, what you’ll include in yours depends largely on your fitness goals. Someone who primarily does cardio may choose different equipment than someone who does weightlifting. In this section, we’ll share some of the most common items you’d expect to find in a home gym. From there, you can decide which items you want to include in yours.

The Essentials

There are a few essential pieces of gym equipment and accessories you could find in any home gym. Those items include kettlebells, free weights, jump ropes, a fitness ball, resistance bands and more. These pieces of equipment make it easy to squeeze in a quick workout without machines.

Barbells

If you do weightlifting, there’s a good chance your home gym will include barbells. There are several sizes and types of barbells to choose from. You might want either fixed-weight or load-adjustable barbells. There are also different sizes depending on your needs.

Depending on what exercises you do, you may not need both dumbbells and barbells. However, barbells are a great addition to your home gym if you’re working to build serious muscle.

Squat Rack With A Pull-Up Bar

A squat rack is the perfect tool to help you with your weightlifting goals. It provides flexibility, thanks to the many different types of workouts you can do with it. Many squat racks also come with pull-up bars, providing even more workout options.

Weight Plates

If you’re planning to add barbells to your home gym, then you’ll probably also want weight plates to increase the weight. Even if you aren’t using a barbell, weight plates can be used on their own or paired with dumbbells. Weight plates come in a wide variety of sizes and weights, so be sure to choose those that best fit your workout goals.

Flat Bench

A flat workout bench is a necessary addition to any home gym, especially if you’ll be doing any weightlifting. You can use a flat bench for bench presses, ab workouts and more. Some flat benches can only lay flat, while others can be adjusted to have an incline.

Cardio And Specialty Machines

Just about every home gym includes at least one piece of cardio equipment. A treadmill is probably the most common choice, allowing you to run or walk, either as a warmup or cooldown to your workout or as the entire workout.

That being said, a treadmill is just one of the many options available. Other popular cardio machines include stationary bikes, ellipticals, rowers and more.

Home Gym Ideas On A Budget

Budget is one of the biggest factors holding people back from building their home gym, but it doesn’t have to be expensive. First, start by figuring out exactly which equipment you’ll need and use. You may be dreaming about a home gym that includes every piece of equipment you can imagine. But you really only need to purchase those you know you’ll use.

Next, consider buying all of your equipment from one retailer. You’ll save on shipping costs by purchasing everything in one order, and you may even be eligible for a discount for a large order. Additionally, some retailers offer free shipping or installation when you spend more than a certain amount.

Finally, consider buying some of your equipment used. It’s easy to find gym equipment that’s still as good as new on sites like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. You can also visit local thrift stores or used sporting goods stores to see what they have available.

The Bottom Line On Building A Home Gym

If you’ve found it difficult to stick to a regular workout routine, a home gym may be an invaluable investment. You may be far more motivated to burn some calories when you know you don’t have to travel to do so. A home gym can be the answer to losing weight and keeping it off for good.

Once you’ve decided to go ahead with your home gym, you’ll have financing options to consider. Among homeowners who have built-up equity in their homes, cash-out refinances are one of the most popular financing options available, as they allow borrowers to leverage their equity for lower interest rates. So why not marry your fitness and finance goals together and start the process to get a cash-out-refinance today?

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Erin Gobler

Erin Gobler is a freelance personal finance expert and writer who has been publishing content online for nearly a decade. She specializes in financial topics like mortgages, investing, and credit cards. Erin's work has appeared in publications like Fox Business, NextAdvisor, Credit Karma, and more.