We put together this comprehensive guide to help you build the gym that’s going to work for you, your space, and your budget. In this master guide, we’ll be covering what to consider when building your gym, gear selection, personalization, and more.
This guide is a living document, meaning we’ll be adding more home gym building tips over time. So be sure to sign up for the newsletter to get the latest updates, new product launches, and in-stock updates delivered straight to your inbox.
There’s a lot that goes into building a home or garage gym you might not have thought about. In the following section, we’re going to cover the main considerations to make before building your gym.
ASSESS YOUR SPACE
The first step before building or buying anything is to do an initial assessment of the space you want to transform into your gym. Getting measurements of the length, width, and height will help ensure you can fit your equipment and anything else you might be using the space for (like a garage, office, or spare bedroom).
The next thing to consider is how much space are you willing to allocate for your gym. Do you want gear that can easily pack away, or do you want a more permanent setup?
For example, a lot of garage gym owners prefer equipment that saves space, like our folding squat rack and wall storage, so they can park their cars and have space for other things. But in a basement gym where you typically have more room, you can spread out a little with a larger power rack or functional trainer.
SPACE ASSESSMENT TIPS
How much area are you willing to allocate from your total space?
For garage installations, accommodating more for the width of your cars is usually easier than the length
How tall are your ceilings? With the garage door open/closed?
Do you want to mount anything to the ceiling, like a pullup bar or rings?
Are your studs or mounting points easy to find?
Can you drill into the concrete, if necessary?
What major appliances, equipment, furniture or other objects do you have to work around?
Do you need to spark some joy and declutter before starting your gym?
The next piece is a major foundation for any home gym - the flooring. A lot of folks who build home gyms are coming from some kind of training background and know the benefit of quality flooring.
Properly installed flooring protects your base floor and your gear while providing a stable platform to train. In winter climates, it can also provide some buffer from cold concrete. Although, frozen floors are a great motivator for faster burpees. Your call.
The major thing to note when looking at flooring is if your floors are at an angle. This affects garages more so than basements or other rooms, but is worth noting. A sloped floor will change how you arrange your gear because you never want to lift or put your squat rack sideways on an uneven slope.
Then, it’s all about finding the right flooring for your needs. There are a lot of options for flooring, including heavy duty stall mats, lightweight zip tiles, crash pads, and workout mats. Your type of training, flooring, and other factors like noise and parking your car in your gym will all affect which flooring is best for you.
When building a home gym, whether it’s in the garage, basement, or spare room, one of the biggest challenges is storage space for workout equipment. The best weapon you have in the fight for precious floor space are your walls, so use them!
The most important thing to consider when using wall space is utilize your studs for the sturdiest installation. Using a stud finder, preferably with a voltage detector to avoid dangerous shocks, is the best method.
Another great way to secure your wall installations is to use what’s called a stringer. A stringer is a piece of wood mounted horizontally across the studs to spread the weight of the installed load across multiple supports and is required for some equipment, like our PR-4100 folding rack.
ADDRESS POTENTIAL SAFETY ISSUES
Home gyms are as unique as the neighborhoods and houses that contain them. As you’re planning out your space, it’s important to be mindful of your surroundings and neighbors.
First, ensuring that your movements like snatches, overhead presses, or pullups don’t lead to damaging your ceiling, gear, yourself, or others. Also, because many garage gym floors are slanted, ensuring your barbells don’t run off is another safety consideration to make (flooring, drop pads, or a spare set of change plates help with this).
And for home gyms with a lot of traffic nearby, be cautious when making transitions from the gym to running or other movements outdoors. You don’t want to get blindsided by your neighbor’s Prius; it’s not pretty.
Another major consideration to make when exercising at home or garage are any utilities, pipes, fixtures, vehicles, or other things that could be damaged while training. Having an errant barbell knocking your water heater offline is a home disaster that can easily be avoided with some thoughtful planning.
GEAR SELECTION & INSTALLATION PLANNING
Arguably the most exciting part about building your home gym is the gear selection and planning where it will live in your space. But finding the right gear can be overwhelming, so we want to give you some approaches to make the task easier.
PICK THE RIGHT GEAR FOR YOUR TRAINING
When I opened my first gym back in 2012, outfitting it with the right gear was one of the biggest challenges. There are so many fun tools to suffer with, but not all of them have the same utility or value for the price. And depending on your setup, you might have limited space to keep your toys.
Having a solid understanding of the gear you use regularly, every-so-often, and rarely will help you prioritize your build and possibly save you some cash. Only you can determine what’s best for you, but keeping your training needs and goal at the forefront of your gear selection will steer you in the right direction.
PERSONALIZING YOUR HOME GYM
There’s a certain pride of ownership to having a home gym. Some folks prefer a spartan build, while others go all out with neon lighting and mirrors. Wherever you fall on that spectrum, your home gym is a reflection of you, your wants, and needs. The goal is to create a space you’re stoked on spending time in, whatever that looks like for you.
A lot of home gyms we’ve seen display flags, banners, posters, or trophies from past victories (keep crushing it!). This is one of the easiest and most cost effective ways to personalize your gym, but it’s also just the beginning...
PAINTING YOUR HOME GYM
The simplest ways to transform an ordinary garage or spare room is with a new coat of paint. The possibilities here are nearly limitless. Start first with color selection, which really comes down to personal preference.
However, the lighting of your gym, especially through sunlight, might also affect your color choice. Remember that lighter colors will reflect light and help keep a room cooler and easier to light. Darker colors absorb light and will keep a room warmer in direct sunlight.
Don’t be afraid to get funky with your paint job. Adding texture to your wall gives it a rugged look. You could also opt for an accent wall, which is leaving a wall unpainted or painting it a different color.
Or, do something completely unique with graffiti, contact paper, or facade. Just don’t skip the primer if you do decide to paint - it will last longer and look a whole lot better!
GET WITH THE PROGRAM
After choosing a swanky paint job and installing your new kit, it’s finally time to start using your home gym! This is hands down the most exciting part of building out your gym, but it’s also easy to get overwhelmed with options and fall off the training wagon.
That’s why we recommend following some sort of training or workout program to keep you motivated. One of our favorites is Street Parking, which specializes in creating workout programs for home gymmers (hey, that’s you now!) with different tracks depending on your gear and training needs. Don’t forget to check out our line of Street Parking workout packages to show your love. Whatever program you choose, it’s important to remain consistent and put that gym to good use!
CELEBRATE YOUR GYM LIFE
The best part of all the hard work of building your home gym is reaping the rewards. When you create a space for fitness you’re truly stoked to be in, it really goes a long way in keeping you motivated to work out. Think of every training session as honoring this sacred place you’ve built, own it, and be proud of it. The rest is up to you!
We hope you found this Ultimate Guide to Building a Home Gym to be helpful. Don’t forget to sign up for the newsletter to get more home gym building content and tips, new product launches, and in-stock updates. Have a home gym building tip we missed? Let us know in the comment sections or shoot us a note at email@example.com, and thanks for spreading the wealth!