How to build an affordable home gym


As you know, I am a big advocate for working out at home! I think it is a great way to get exercise in and 1. save money, 2. save time, and 3. feel comfortable. How to build an affordable home gym is a questions I get asked frequently, so I wanted to give you a resource to use if you plan to build a home gym!

I am, by no means, talking about a full garage gym with a squat rack and barbells (although that is awesome too). I am talking about just a small space you can set up that gives you the option to get in a great workout at home, without worrying about if it is going to be effective. Because for 1. any workout is better than no workout and 2. you can get a great workout in without any equipment(like this at home hiit workout), but sometimes that can get monotonous.

Here are my tips on how to build an affordable home gym, must have pieces of equipment and brands I trust!

Affordable Home gym

Building a home gym on a budget can be done, and quiet simply actually!

#1: Find a space

This seems very obvious, but also can be tricky! For one, you want to pick a room/space that doesn’t get much traffic! It is much easier to be able to set your gym up and leave it after use rather than getting all your stuff out everyday and then stuffing it back into a closet. Yes, I understand not everyone is going to have the ability to use an empty room as a home gym; so at that point picking a space that has the least amount of traffic is ideal. That way you don’t feel like you are constantly in the way. Unless you workout home alone, then by all means take up the whole house! You can use anything from a spare bedroom, basement, garage, patio/deck, dining room, literally anywhere that you have enough space to move around and feel comfortable!

#2: Create the perfect setup

No one is going to be excited to workout if their space feels like a mess, or a hassle. So find a setup that is going to work for you! An ideal space is going to be somewhere that jumping or being loud is not going to disrupt anyone. I also love having a window for some natural light and fresh air. Ideally, you will have a space for a mirror! In my opinion, working out without a mirror sucks. I don’t like not being able to correct/watch my form, not to mention I want to SEE the muscles working and SEE all my hard work paying off! You also want to make sure it is organized. If you are someone who just brings their stuff out of the closet during workouts and then puts it back this isn’t going to apply to you. But if you do have an extra space to deem a workout area, keep it organized! Maybe that is getting a rack for your dumbbells, or baskets for your bands. You can also get a mat and leave it set up so you don’t have to always unroll it! I also love the idea of hanging bands on the walls with hooks! This makes them easily accessible without them tangling up!

#3: Keep Updating It

Who doesn’t love new things?! Maybe it’s just me, but I am always SO EXCITED to workout after I get a new pair of leggings or shoes! Anyone else?! Well, the same goes for a new piece of equipment! Maybe you have been using towels for sliders and are finally ready to invest in some shiny sliders! Or maybe you have been using the same set of dumbbells for everything and you are finally feeling strong enough to get a  heavier pair…whatever it is, it can definitely increase the motivation! I also feel like just changing the space, or re-arranging can also spark some new fun. When I was a kid I LOVED re-arranging my room. It always ended up being a way bigger task than expected, but once you do it it’s like a whole new room you can’t wait to spend time in. Not to mention, adding new quotes or decor to the walls is also a sure way to freshen up the place.

affordable home gym

Best equipment for home gym

As I said before, I know not everyone is going to have a deemed “exercise room” where they can spread out and take over, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a few solid pieces of equipment that can be used for several different things! Small space, no space, small budget, no budget…best equipment for a home gym include:

Equipment to purchase:

» Dumbbells: you don’t have to have 5 pairs of them, but even just having a lighter pair and a heavier pair is going to be perfect! You can buy dumbbells basically anywhere, I would likely buy them in store so you don’t have to pay for shipping! These are a MUST HAVE for any at-home gym.

» Mini Bands: great for any muscle group and are so small they fit anywhere! It is actually amazing what you can do with a set of mini bands, and they are very cheap. I wouldn’t buy the cheapest you can find (if you can help it) because they tend to stretch out. Getting a set somewhere between $12-$20 is probably your best option. And these things are so small you can stuff them in a suitcase, purse, sock and take them with you anywhere! I wouldn’t put these at the top of the must have list right away, but they are definitely a NEED at some point! These are a great brand on Amazon.

» Kettlebell: these are incredibly versatile and you can do basically anything with them! Whenever I have clients buying equipment for gyms, I tell them if they can only buy one set of dumbbells, I would get a lighter pair and then a heavy kettlebell. You can do almost any exercise that includes big muscle groups with a kettlebell, and you can use the dumbbells to target smaller muscles. Kettlebells are also great because you can just buy one, and they are small enough to just fit in a corner somewhere! Not a need-t0-have starting out, but a great tool for heavier movements without taking up a lot of space! Here is a great brand!

» Floor mats: perfect if you get to set up shop and leave it, not so perfect if you have to take down after every workout! But, nonetheless I think they are worth mentioning! First off, it is not ideal to workout on carpeting. For one, the sweat is going to start to make things smell bad. And for 2 it can cause a lot of issues with balance and injury because you don’t have a stable surface! I would recommend getting some kind of rubber flooring if you have either concrete or hardwoods, because it is going to allow you to absorb more force, and not wreck your floors (or you face if you fall). If you do have to take down after every workout, I would still recommend some kind of mat because 1. sweat and 2. it is just a better surface for some movements! This is a great rubber floor option and this is a great mat option!

» Resistance bands: There are several different kinds of resistance bands you can get/use! You can get just the loops (which can be used in more ways than you think when you include wrapping around doors/chairs), you can use handled bands, you can use the regular thera-bands you see in physical therapy clinics…the possibilities are endless. I do think these are another MUST HAVE because they can be used for so many different exercises and can add great resistance! The product I am going to link below I think is the best bang for your buck! You get multiple different resistance bands, a door anchor as well as ankle straps (which you can of course hook to wrists too). This is going to give you SO MANY options and at a pretty decent price, check it out!

» Bench/Box/Stool: another MUST HAVE in any home gym. Now, this can definitely mean using a dining chair or a step stool as well. You just need something you can stop up on to, sit onto, or even place your hands on! You also want it to be sturdy enough for some extra weight if you do decide to add some jumps! If you have the ability to spend a little extra, and the space, I would go for a bench. This will allow you to lay down, step up, jump, rotate, and even be able to prop and end up on something to change the incline/decline. It is going to be a bit pricier, but again is going to be beneficial for you in the long run. If you are just starting out and want to save a few bucks, then for sure being able to use just a simple chair or stool will be fine! Here is a great weight bench, and you can find a small stool or step just about anywhere!

at home gym equipment

Another great option is building your own gym equipment. Seems like a lot of work, but if you want to create a home gym setup that is dynamic, you must try these out!

Equipment to make:

» Carry Bag: This is a genius idea and I am very proud of it! If you want a heavier weight (although cans,, gallons of water and jugs work) you can simply make a carry bag! Just get some rice or salt bags and put them inside a duffle bag! This is going to give you something heavy to work with whether that be for carries, squats or even explosive work! You can also make smaller ones for swings and drags with rice/salt and a billow case!

» Sand/Water Ball: this is also a very smart piece of equipment you can make! Simply buy a ball (one that says anti-burst) and fill it with either sad or water. This is going to give you a ball that you can slam and toss and throw without paying a bunch of money for it! This can also take place of a medicine ball, you know how much stuff you can do with a medicine ball! Not to mention the water option in the ball is going to help with balance, and the sand option is going to allow you to make it much heavier! Here is a ball you can purchase for this.

Benefits of a home gym

Building a home gym on a budget can be a difficult task, but think about all the money you will save! A monthly membership fee is anywhere from $10-$40 a month, depending. That means by creating a home gym setup you could save up to $500 a year! Not only that but having a home gym is also going to save you time. You won’t have to think about the commute to and from the gym, getting ready, setting up or anything of the sort. You can just change your clothes and walk the 20 steps into your own gym. Which again, is a great perk. IT’S YOURS! You can do with it whatever you want. No sharing equipment, no smelly people, no wiping down equipment before and after use. It is literally a dream to be able to workout without distractions. Not to mention, I know a lot of people don’t even have access to a gym or feel uneasy stepping foot in one. Just because the nearest gym is 30 minutes away or because you feel like you would be judged doesn’t mean you shouldn’t workout at all. Creating your own safe space in your gym is the perfect idea for getting in a workout, without the judgement!

Haley Rowe September 8, 2018