Ever since the Coronavirus outbreak, I have slowly been building my home gym. Over this time, I have learned a lot about gym equipment, what is necessary and how not to break the bank while trying to make some gains. This is the ultimate guide on how to build an affordable home gym and why it is most definitely worth it.
The number one thing every home gym needs are dumbbells. There are a countless number of workouts and exercises that can be constructed around dumbbells. On a tight budget, this may be all you need.
There are so many options to choose from. You could go for traditional dumbbells(buying them in a set will be cheaper). You could also go for adjustable dumbbells if you want to save some space (these are traditionally going to be more expensive).
The latest addition to my home gym is a cardio machine, and I am loving it. Cardio machines are great especially if you do not have the time to go outside everyday. Personally, I would recommend getting something like an elliptical or exercise bike. To me, a treadmill seems unreasonable due to the price and how the same action could be done in a house. Another major thing to consider is your living situation. For example if you live in an upstairs apartment, getting something like an exercise bike would be better than a treadmill due to the noise. Same goes if your gym is on a higher floor in your house. If you are building your gym in your garage, you should have no problems.
If your goal is to become stronger and gain muscle, I would recommend starting off by buying dumbbells. If your goal is to simply lose weight as fast and as healthily as you can, I would recommend starting off by buying a cardio machine. It’s not like using dumbbells is not going to help you lose weight, but overall you will burn more calories with a cardio machine.
There are three main types of pull-up bars you can install in your house. The first type is one that hooks onto your door. This is the one I have. It’s convenient because you can take it on and off with ease and store it when not in use. One major disadvantage to this type of pull-up bar is that if you have low doors, your legs will touch the ground when using it. Another type of pull-up bar are ones that screw into your wall. The main advantage to this is stability and one disadvantage is that you can’t easy take it off and store it. The third main type of pull-up bar are freestanding ones. These take up a lot more space but some may prefer these to something attached to a wall.
Pull-up bars are amazing if your trying to target your back, bicep and core muscles. It is great to build up upper body strength.
A bench is a non-essential essential. It is an amazing piece of equipment to have during workouts. I use it basically everyday, but I could craft my workouts without it, whereas without something like dumbbells, I wouldn’t be able to conduct my workouts.
A bench, like a lot of other gym equipment, varies in price immensely. A bench could also come with extra features which entails extra costs. Those features could be an attached leg extension machine or a rack for a barbell. I would definitely recommend getting this extra feature if you own or are planning to own a barbell and some plates.
Barbell + Plates
I wanted to put this as an essential but I feel like dumbbells can replace them to a certain point. But, using a barbell and plates helps isolate muscles better. Exercises like benching, deadlifts and rows become a lot more effective with barbell and plates.
One major reason people shy away from buying a barbell and plates is due to the price. They often skyrocket when production is down, so you have to wait for the deals to come. It could take a while, but the wait is worth it. You also want to buy the barbell and plates in a set, it is often cheaper.
The are two types of barbell and plates. There is a one inch version and a two inch version. I would recommend the two inch version, but it is a little more pricey compared to the one inch version.
We’re now getting into the true non-essentials. An ab roller is an excellent way to strengthen your core. It is essentially a wheel with handles which you roll out, then pull back in. You can find it for anywhere around 5-20 dollars.
Massage Gun & Foam Roller
A massage gun and foam roller are amazing ways to recover from a workout. They help to relieve muscle soreness, tightness and inflammation. Their benefits also include things such as increasing the range of motion of your joints and helping during the warm up and cool down of a workout.
Some may say that a yoga mat is essential, but a yoga mat is not a necessity compared to the other pieces of equipment shown. A yoga mat may be essential if you don’t have a carpeted place to exercise, but if you do it’s a non-essential.
There are a few things you have to know before building a home gym. Gym Equipment can be very overpriced. For example, when I was searched for a barbell weight set, I saw the same product at $1000 and $300. The $300 one was always out of stock, but after checking the website everyday for two week, I eventually managed to snag one. You need to know what the product is worth.
Patience is everything. Do not buy all your equipment in one go. Slowly built up your home gym because your needs might change over time. You might start off wanted to only weight lift, but overtime you might get more into cardio or vise-versa. Building up your gym overtime is also a lot more exciting because getting a new piece of equipment every few months it a lot more exciting than buying it all at once. It gives you something to look forward to.
You need to know what you want. Know your goals. Do you want to become faster? Do you want to become stronger? Do you want to be more flexible? You will want to buy your equipment accordingly.
Evaluating the Worth
In my opinion a home gym is definitely worth it. It is much easier for me to work out because I can simply walk out of my home and into my gym. The entirety of my home gym costs around 1300 dollars. The average annual gym membership is 507 dollars. The home gym essentially costs the same as 3 years of an average gym membership. The convenience and accessibility of a home gym is simply unrivaled.
However, building a home gym is only worth it if you are willing to put in the work. Without actually using your home gym, you will only be wasting space and money.
My Home Gym
Spanning around 105 square feet it contains:
- Bench with a built in leg extension machine
- 45 pound barbell
- 255 pounds of weight plates
- 200 pounds of dumbbells
- Exercise Bike
- Foam flooring
- Doorway pull-up bar (not-pictured)
- Ab-roller (not-pictured)
- Foam roller (not-pictured)
- Yoga mat (not-pictured)