My first was home was a small squat rack in the corner of my garage. Just because you have limited space, does not mean you should not get to have a home gym for yourself.
In this article, we are going to break down some great small garage gym ideas and tips that hopefully give you the inspiration to get started.
1. The Squat Rack Is Everything
If you are serious about lifting, Your home gym will need a squat rack no matter what. I would say that the squat rack you choose is the singular most important piece of equipment you will have.
Since it will take up the most space and get the most use, I would heavily consider all of my options. Obviously, you are going to need one that fits your floor space but I would be looking for a rack with plenty of holes and attachment capability.
If you get the right rack, it can serve as your pull up bar, and storage space, and be used for a number of other attachments. You are going to want to go for a rack that has bar holders, weight plate pegs, and plenty of holes for attachments.
With bar holders and pegs, that is your barbell and weight plate storage taken care of. If you have the right attachment capability, you can easily set up dip bars and cable attachments within your squat rack as well.
Just to say, I have plenty of garage gyms more or less completed with just a squat rack. The scenario where I would not get a power rack is if I did not have enough room. In this case, a squat stand could also work.
2. Prioritize What You Need
Whether you are limited by space or budget, the key to building a minimalist garage gym is to prioritize what you want.
As a general rule, I would secure a barbell, squat rack, and weight plates. Past that, any other exercise equipment you get is a bonus. If you are serious about cardiovascular health, then get some cardio equipment. If you are keen on variation and fixing imbalances, then get some dumbbells. If you just love preachers’ curls, then get a preacher curl machine.
That is the beauty of a home gym, you get the workout equipment that you want!
3. Do Some DIY Projects
When working with limited space, the common reality is that the pieces of equipment may not fit into your space or your budget.
An easy solution to this is to get your DIY on. I have seen everything from a wooden power rack to a deadlift platform made out of horse stall mats. These projects are often cheap, easy, and come with an endless amount of tutorials on youtube.
4. Combine Spaces
The reality of having a small home gym is that you will need to make some compromises. If it were me, I would take a look around my living space and look at what could be moved so that I could make space for a home gym.
I have seen home gyms in laundry rooms, bedrooms, dinner rooms, and even college dorms. You can really make any space work if you are willing to deal with some discomfort.
5. Look Into Compact Versions Of Equipment
These days, gym equipment manufacturers are aware that a portion of their customers is home gym owners. With that in mind, they have started to make more and more compact versions of traditional equipment.
For example, there are several versions of squat stands and power racks that are designed to be folded in between sessions. While potentially cumbersome to set up, it can be worth it for you.
Another unique product is adjustable dumbbells. These are great since a full set of dumbbells and a rack can easily take up an entire wall of space. Adjustable dumbbells tend to be a bit bulky at heavier weights but they are still great pieces of equipment.
6. Make The Space Feel Big As Possible
Even though your workout space will be small, you can do something to make it feel bigger. When I had a garage gym, I would make sure to always open the garage door during my workouts. The fresh air and sunlight would make the space feel less stuffy.
I would also recommend potentially moving your car out of the garage if you can for the duration of the workout.
If you are building a home gym within your actual home, I would suggest putting it near windows. This way you can at least get some sunlight while you work out.
7. Plan Ahead
If you work with limited workout space, you do not have the luxury of just getting whatever equipment you can get your hands on.
I would start measuring out how much space I have and planning around that. I would look at the square foot footprint that I want and go from there.
8. Add Things Over Time
Since you are going to be saving money on a commercial gym membership and gas, consider reinvesting some of that into your home gym.
You can just add small things that make your life better month by month. Or you can save up and get a certain piece of equipment that you really want, like a specialty bar.
You can build a home gym even if you limited space.
You just may need to spend some extra time planning things out and make some compromises with what equipment you can get.
However, all of this will be worth it for the improved fitness and gains to come.
Most gym equipment is durable enough to be fine in a garage. Just try to limit direct sunlight or water exposure.