Setting Up Your Own Home Gym
Setting up a home gym can definitely help you progress towards your health and fitness goals when you want the convenience of working out from the comfort of your own house.
So, are you a seasoned athlete looking to create a dedicated space for a home gym? Or just wondering what the best bang for your buck is when it comes to purchasing gym equipment? Or perhaps you’re just making a serious effort to move your body more, which is a great place to start!
Whatever your fitness goals, creating a home gym or personal workout area doesn’t have to take heaps of time or money, and you don’t need a lot of space or equipment. Instead, the most important thing is to ensure is that your home gym is set up to inspire, motivate, and allow you to get the most out of your workouts.
Here we break down what you need to consider including equipment essentials and some cost-effective options.
Your fitness goal will determine your equipment needs and space
The first thing you’ll need to think about is what type of exercise you’re planning to do and how often, as this will help you to determine how much space you’ll need and what type of equipment you’ll use most.
For example, if yoga is your thing and your goal is to practice more, your ideal solution might be a mat, a space to move on the mat, yoga blocks, straps and maybe a way to watch online yoga videos while you’re working out. Or, if your favourite exercise is a HIIT workout alternating between running sprints and weights, you’ll need to think about what weights you need and if you’ll run outside or on a treadmill.
Finding the right space
A spare bedroom, a garage, your backyard, driveway or even a small corner in the living room can all be converted into suitable sexercise paces. But ultimately, where you set up your home gym is going to vary based on what exercises you’re planning to do and how much equipment you have. It’s also worth thinking about whether you’ll need a mat or if you’ll need to put down foam tiles to protect your floors – and your joints, depending on your preferred choice of exercise!
What home gym equipment do you need?
Whatever type of exercise you plan to do – and whatever you can see yourself doing long-term – will determine what equipment you’ll need at the outset. For example, if you aren’t that fond of running, a treadmill probably isn’t the best investment. Or, if you’ve never done a bicep curl before, it might be better to start with a resistance band than to purchase some expensive new dumbbells.
But home gym equipment definitely doesn't need to break the bank!
- Source second-hand items. Visit your local op shop or online marketplaces for pre-owned equipment.
- Buying bundled items is often better value than buying equipment separately.
- Invest in versatile equipment. A little goes a long way when you select equipment that can be used in many ways, across different training styles. Dumbbells, resistance bands, and a bench are great examples of versatile pieces of equipment.
- You can also set up an effective home gym without equipment. For example. bodyweight exercises, mat Pilates, and at-home cardio can all easily be completed with no equipment necessary.
- Lastly, add equipment as you go! It’s often tempting to buy a whole lot of sophisticated equipment upfront when you’re feeling motivated, but it’s more prudent to add a little at a time, especially when you’re figuring out the space and how often you’re going to use your home gym. You certainly don't have to buy everything all at once. Instead, start off with a few things you know you’ll use right away and build from there.
Choosing home gym equipment to get started
Home gym equipment for cardio
For cardio workouts, there are several pieces of equipment you can choose to help maximise your workouts including:
- Yoga or fitness mat;
- Skipping rope;
- Ankle weights for extra resistance; and
- Resistance bands.
Home gym equipment for strength training
For strength training, you’ll need free weights to get the most out of your workouts, with options including:
- Barbell and racks;
- Fit balls; and
Home gym equipment for recovery
Incorporating these tools into your post-workout recovery can help enhance your stretch sessions:
- Yoga mat;
- Foam roller; and
- Trigger point ball.
Setting up your space
Once you know what equipment you’ll need, you’re ready to start setting up your home gym. If you have space, consider installing a full-length mirror. This can help you monitor your form – and ensure you’re performing exercises correctly. Also, ensure your space is clutter-free so that you have plenty of room to work out. The more comfortable you are, the more likely you’ll be motivated to train.
Next, you need to think about storage. If you’re only using small weights and a yoga mat, a storage cupboard can be a sufficient storage option. If you have larger items like a barbell and rack, you’ll need to find a permanent location for them in your home gym. Creating a dedicated storage space for your equipment means you’ll spend less time looking for missing pieces of equipment and more time on your workouts.
Last, but not least, make sure your workout space is somewhere you actually want to spend time. If your dark basement isn’t motivating you, consider sprucing it up with some shelves, mats or paint. If you’ve been working out in your garage but stopped because it was too cold, consider adding space heaters.
Put your Home Gym to Good Use
Now for the easy part: using your home gym! Invite friends and family to come and sweat with you, or just hit the treadmill and weights for a mind-clearing solo workout. Just like a real gym, you'll see the most benefits if you regularly visit it.