One of the reasons people build a home gym is so that can have their own personalized setup. This sounds great in principle but once you get started, it can be very easy to get overwhelmed by all choices you have to make.
Here at FitDominum, we have picked up a few things through our many years of garage gym ownership. We have also noted some of the best tips we have received from our readers as well. In this guide, we will lay out some great garage gym ideas to inspire and guide you as you build your own home gym
1. Look For Used Equipment
Many people are deterred from a home because they go on Amazon and see that a squat rack and barbell are already going to cost them north of 1000 dollars in most cases.
I am willing to say this is a worthwhile investment, but I understand why many people would be put off. Thankfully, you do have other options.
For my first home gym, I got all of my equipment locally using sites like Facebook Marketplace, OfferUp, and Craiglist. Sure, the power rack I got had some wear and tear and my dumbbell set wasn’t perfect, but it got the job done.
I think I only spent around $500 for a barbell, squat rack, and weight plates. Be resourceful. After all, the gym does not have to look perfect it just has to be functional for you!
2. Pick A Theme
From what I see online, all the best home gyms start with a clear goal in mind in terms of their theme.
Lots of guys like to go for the “grungy” theme. I think this looks really cool. All you really need to pull it off is some black paint, some cool posters, and maybe some metal plates.
Similarly, I have also seen lots of white-out style gyms where everything is painted white, including the walls. I think that the white really helps liven the place up. Whichever theme you go with, just have fun with it and make it your own.
3. Get Family and Friends Involved
One of the few things I miss about a commercial gym is the social aspect of it. No matter which time I went, I could always count on running into a few of my friends in the gym.
Just because you now have a garage gym, does not mean you should not continue working out with your friends. Invite them over so you can get a workout in. I am sure they will compliment you on your gym and be eager to come again.
Also, if you have a family that lives with you, encourage them to also get involved and work out with you. Who knows, with enough encouragement you can turn your children or spouses into avid weightlifters.
4. Garage Gym Floor Ideas
One of the most highly debated topics in the garage gym realm is what type of flooring you should get. Since you will likely be dropping weight plates and barbells, you will need some type of protection to prevent damage.
The easiest and perhaps most common solution is to get rubber mats and place them everywhere. Or if you are shorter on budget, you can just place them under each piece of equipment you have.
The more premium option is lay plywood across your floor space. While more expensive, it provides more protection and allows you to drill your squat rack into place without damaging your floor.
5. Do Some DIY Projects
If you are short on a budget or just like building things, building DIY garage gym equipment can save you money and provide you with cool, custom equipment.
There are endless tutorials on youtube for DIY weight plates, barbells, squat racks, storage, and much more. I have seen everything from wooden squat racks to deadlift platforms made out of horse stall mats.
6. Look On Social Media For Inspiration
If you go on Instagram or Facebook, there is a giant community of people with garage gyms sharing their garage gym setup. Chances are if you check out the #homegym or #garagegym hashtags, you will find someone with a similar space as yours.
For me at least, it really helped seeing how other people with similar space constraints set up their home gym equipment.
Also, consider joining Facebook groups or engaging with home gym Instagram pages. If you have some cool home gym ideas, feel free to share them with the community.
7. Get A Quality Sound System
One of my personal favorite home gym perks is getting to play my own music as loud as I want.
When you are just starting out, any Bluetooth speaker can work just fine. But getting a really nice stereo will really take things up a level.
I personally like using a soundbar. I know these are usually used for TVs but it is the perfect sound system solution for garage gyms. It is thin, easy to hide, and provides amazing surround sound
8. Setup Mirrors and Lighting
While this may seem vain, there is a reason we all like to work out in front of mirrors. I find that it really helps me with my mind-muscle connection and allows me to see how tight I am staying on my form.
You can also add some basic lighting fixtures to get you some proper posing lighting.
9. Get A Leafblower
You never really realize how dirty a garage can get until you start working out in one every day. One of the personal essentials I recommend for all garage gyms is a leafblower.
It can be the cheapest one at home depot, but it will really help and cleaning up the space. Just open up the garage doors and blow out all of the leaves, dirt, and dust.
10. You Can Do Some Weird Exercises
I am sure you have always wanted to try out a new or trending exercise but felt weird doing it simply because there were lots of people around watching.
I know that when I first started doing neck curls or floor presses, I got some weird looks in the gym even though these are perfectly valid exercises. I don’t really care but having privacy in my garage gym to do whatever I want is a nice feeling.
11. Get Speciality Bars
There are so many cool bars out there, that everyone could benefit from trying. My personal favorites include the swiss bar and the safety squat bar.
These can be hard to find at a commercial gym but are really invaluable. Whether it be for injury prevention or just variation, make sure to get some specialty bars.
12. Use The Time You Save On Commutes Wisley
I think it is fair to say that the average commercial gym goer wastes around 1 hour in driving time to and from their gym. Since you were already using this time for fitness, it makes sense to continue investing this time in fitness but in a different way.
Maybe you finally have time to do that mobility work you said you were going to do. Or you can hop on the treadmill and burn and few extra calories.
13. Continue Investing In Your Home Gym
Since you are going to be saving a considerable amount of money on gas and your expired gym membership, you should consider reinvesting some of this cash into your home gym setup.
Month by month, just take some of the money you saved and add something you want to your gym. A band here or a chain there, and before you know it, you will have a pretty stacked garage home gym.
14. Measure How Much Space You Have
If I was starting out, I would take measure how much space I have to build out my garage gym. If you are lucky enough to be working with an empty garage or room then great. But many people only have a half-garage gym to work with.
Limited space is fine, you should just have an idea from the beginning how much real estate has so you can pick your workout equipment accordingly.
15. Do Not Just Stick To One Brand
Unlike other industries, the fitness equipment industry is extremely competitive. There are many top manufacturers that make premium equipment and offer great perks.
As a customer, you should shop around and look for the best deals and quality.
16. Take Advantage Of The Kitchen Close By
Since you are going to be working out at home, there is really no excuse to not have a top-tier pre and post-workout meal.
Either has something cooking while you work out or just slam a shake after but a home gym really does make it easier to stick to your meal plan.
17. Use Your Gym For Thing Besides Working Out
You would be surprised, workout equipment can be used for things other than lifting. You could easily get a wooden board and put it in your squat rack and have a desk in no time.
Or just use it as a private place to relax and decompress.
18. Let Some Light In Or Workout Outside
If you have a garage gym, feel free to open up the garage door and let some sunlight in. Take advantage of the beautiful weather when you can.
Also, for your lighter equipment, use it outside if you can. If you have an open garage door, you can take advantage of this by doing your lunges or curls outside in the sun.
19. Start A Personal Training Business
I know many personal trainers who have built out a home gym for the purpose of training clients in it.
Nowadays, most commercial gyms have strict personal training rules. You are often not allowed to train clients unless you work for the gym itself.
Do not let this stop you. With your own gym, you can train clients whenever you want and have them come to you. Furthermore, I have noted that beginners prefer the privacy of a home gym.
20. Get Some Cardio Equipment
When it comes to exercise equipment, cardio equipment is often the ugly ducking of the group. But cardio machines are often very cheap and compact.
Getting one is a no-brainer for a home gym. You can get your steps in the rain or shine and get whichever machine you like.
21. Record Yourself
There are many benefits to recording yourself lifting weights. You can be critical of your form, send it to trainers, and identify potential weaknesses. The problem is that many gyms don’t allow recording. Even if they do, many people feel awkward about recording themselves in the gym.
All of these obstacles go away with a home gym. Just get a tripod and start recording!
What should I put in my garage gym?
This depends on your goals, but you will likely need a squat rack, barbell, and some weight plates at the bare minimum.
Are garage gyms worth it?
If you are willing to pay the upfront cost, then garage gyms can save you money overtime in gas costs and membership fees.
Is gym equipment OK in a garage?
Yes, gym equipment will be fine in a garage. Just make sure to keep it dry and clean.