If you are looking want an incredibly convenient way to exercise at any hour, on any day you feel like, I will show you how to build a home gym that you can depend on 24/7/365.
Whether you are building your home gym on a budget or not, there’s equipment that you can strategically buy to use for different workouts.
I have a gym membership but prefer working out in my home gym because I don’t have to worry about wiping someone else’s sweat off a machine or having to wait for equipment to be free before I can use it.
Home gym vs gym membership
Another thing that you will come to appreciate about building your home gym is the flexibility that it offers you. You won’t have to build your life around a gym’s trading hours, you get to workout whenever you want.
As we know, life can get quite unpredictable. Things requiring your urgent attention will suddenly pop up at a time when you need to be at the gym, and leave you skipping the workout entirely.
You probably know lots of people who have a gym membership but don’t make use of it because they are always busy or simply intimidated by the gym environment.
Others can’t just afford gym membership fees that are often tied to hard-to get-out-of, terms, and conditions.
Whatever your reasons for building a home gym, your home gym will allow you to exercise in your own space, at your own pace, without worrying about the gym’s working hours, clashing with your unexpected responsibilities.
An extra bonus about building a home gym is that you will have the freedom to exercise in your underwear or cotton socks only if you wish to (and if you can pull it off).
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How to build a home gym so that you can workout in your underwear
Essential equipment for a friendly home gym
Before we get into it, you must remember that it requires discipline to workout consistently from home.
I know you are itching to know how to build a home gym on a tight budget, but I would like to also give you a few very important tips that will ensure that your home gym equipment doesn’t end up just collecting dust in your house.
Home gym tips
Having clear cut reasons and goals of what and why you want to achieve anything in life is key to success. You have heard this before I know.
I am here to tell you that even with fitness and working out from the comfort of your home, your goals should be clearly defined.
What is your fitness goal?
Before you splurge on any equipment follow these home gym tips and figure out what your ultimate goal to training will be. That will determine what sort of fitness tools you should have in your gym.
If you want to build muscle, then you will need a stack of dumbbells, weight plates and barbells.
If your focus is cardio, then stuff like jump ropes, kettlebells, treadmill etc., is what you should spend your money on.
What is your budget?
Building a home gym on a budget doesn’t need a lot of money, but, you will still need some money to set up your gym.
How much are you willing to spend to get started? You may not afford to buy all the equipment at once, depending on the cash flow but, allocating a budget to building the home gym within a specific period, will help you get there faster.
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Home gym tip- How much space do you have?
I have seen some home gym setup ideas that make use of very little space. My first ever home gym set up a few years back was a small area in my living room. In that space, I had 3 sets of dumbbells, resistance bands, a kettlebell and a jump rope.
At this point, I should say that I lost over 44 pounds and I honestly feel that that is one of the best home gym equipment that you can start with whatever amount of space you have.
You can check how I lost weight here
My home gym looks different today. I have moved from how to build a home gym to set up a garage gym. The photo below is how my garage gym looks like now.
But, I digress. What I am saying to you is that taking note of how much space you have available, is a great way to help you figure out the size of home gym equipment you should be eyeing.
How to build a home gym on a budget
If you are struggling to find the motivation to workout, read this post for some of that fitspiration.
Best home gym equipment that won’t break the bank
1. Resistance bands
Resistance bands are a must-have for any home gym because not only are they affordable, they are also very portable and great for a full body strength workout.
There are lots of exercises that you can do with resistance bands, and depending on your fitness level you can switch bands to suit the level of resistance you want.
Be careful not to buy resistance bands made out of cheap material that may eventually snap in your face. I have had this happen to me.
I recommend the anti-snap Bodylastics Stackable max tension resistance bands which are of high quality.
2. A jump rope- cheap exercise equipment that works
A skipping or jump rope is the most affordable body conditioning tool that you will ever buy and invest in your home gym.
A jump rope also happens to be one of the very effective when it comes to torching calories. Depending on your skipping pace, you can set your own level of intensity ranging from low to medium to high.
I have a very basic jump rope and it cost me less than $5 but it does what I need it to do, and so will yours.
You can always buy the fancy ones available on the market if you are so inclined. The King Athletic Jump Rope is long-lasting and can be adjusted to the desired length.
My favourite moves to do with a kettlebell are the kettlebell swings. The exercise, when properly done, hits the glutes, hamstrings, abs, shoulders and quads – while building strength and muscles as well as burning fat.
The secret to getting all the benefits out of training with kettlebells is to do all the moves such as the Turkish get-ups, the swings, or the goblet squats, with correct form.
I would highly suggest that you start with very a lightweight kettlebell if you have never worked with kettlebells before, and practice, practice, practice, until you get the grips and moves right.
Once your form is perfected you can then move to something heavier.
Quick tip for how to buy kettlebells: shop for the ones with smooth handles, that aren’t painted or made from plastic, like this kettlebell.
4. Adjustable dumbbells
Instead of regular dumbbells, I am recommending the adjustable dumbbells because depending on the type of exercise you are doing, you may require different weights, and that is where adjustable dumbbells beat the regular dumbbells.
If you decide to go the regular dumbbells route, you may have to buy multiple weights, whereas the adjustable ones come in one stack.
You just pick the weight you want to work with and off you go. Although adjustable dumbbells are more expensive than the everyday ones, they will save you loads of money and space if you wisely select a set or two that fits your current and future strength training goals.
If right now the adjustable dumbbells either don’t fit your budget or you would just rather have regular ones, then my recommendation is that you buy these rubber encased hex dumbbells chrome handle.
Building a home gym on a budget
5. Battle rope
If you have enough space to accommodate the length of a battle rope, (widths and lengths vary for battle ropes), then go for it and get yourself one.
I would suggest getting yourself a battle rope if you want to include High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) into your routine.
Battle rope training is effective for hitting the shoulders, abs, legs and back muscles. Great moves to do with a battle rope include the double or alternating waves.
6. A foam roller
I wrote this article a few months ago, explaining how to recover from gym muscle soreness. You will need a foam roller for an amazing but painful relief from pain (If you do not understand what I just said, try foam rolling when your muscles are still sore).
Foam rolling will improve your muscle recovery time, increase muscle blood flow and also improve your flexibility.
7. Yoga mat
A yoga mat comes in handy when you have to do floor work such as donkey kicks, planks and a lot of abs and core routines.
If you can afford more than just a yoga mat, then buy a larger floor mat which can cover your entire workout space. Gaiam makes premium print yoga mats which come highly recommended.
8. A mirror
Not what you were expecting to see on the list I assume, but a wall mirror should be up on the list you need to complete your home gym.
Because you will probably be working out alone, you shouldn’t go in blindly. A well-positioned mirror will help you check and correct your posture and movements during exercise. Plus, if you enjoy self-admiration, this is a great excuse to stock up on a really large wall mirror.
Other essential equipment you may need to build a home gym in a small space
The above items are the essential equipment for building a home gym on a budget.
Once you have these items and have mastered how to build a home gym without breaking the bank, you may then consider adding barbells and plates, an adjustable bench and a power rack
You may need this sturdy Marcy Flat Utility weight bench for weight training and Abs workouts.
Once your gym is in place, consider putting up a workout plan that you can change up every 6-8 weeks. If you do not know where to start, check out these free weight training programs for beginners.
Susan Chanda is a professional content writer/journalist with over 20 years’ experience. She holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing management from University of South Africa and a diploma in Journalism and Public relations.
Susan has been writing evidence based fitness and health articles since 2016 for Fitness Chat, and is a certified fitness trainer, and diet and nutrition coach.
Fitness Chat is one of the several other websites that Susan owns, or co-owns with her children.
You can read more about Susan here.