How to Build a Home Gym in a Basement

If you are looking for small home gym ideas, you have come to the right place. We have written numerous ‘how-to’ guides such as how to build a home gym on the second floor of the house, what color you should paint your home gym, how to have the best home gym lighting, and how to prevent your gym from smelling

In this article, we will share some of our tested and tried basement gym ideas so you can utilize this often-ignored space to create a workout haven that you will love and your neighbors will envy. 

So, let's get started! 

Clear the clutter out 

example of a gym in an unfinished basement

Image source: Lovely ETC

Sounds obvious but you will be surprised to know that not many people do that. They just stack the unwanted items in a corner and start placing their workout equipment randomly in the space available. Do you really want to exercise in a dark, creepy, cluttered, basement like the one you can see in the image above? 

To be honest, if you just want to have a treadmill or a rower that you could use whenever you feel like, it may work but if you want to build a home gym that you would be proud of, you will have to invest some time and money on it. 

The first step, therefore, is to declutter it and we are pretty sure you know how to do that. Remove as many things as you can so you have maximum floor space. The more space you will have, the more equipment you can buy. Plus, a clutter-free home gym not only looks good but also makes you stay safe by reducing the chances of tripping. 

Get rid of molds and waterproof your basement 

While deciding your budget for building a home gym in the basement, make sure you count this expenditure. 

Leaky foundations and condensations from your household appliances make the basement air humid, which is why molds are the most common issue there. Exercising in a stinky, moldy unfinished basement is not safe for your health. Plus, high levels of humidity can damage your equipment. 

Call an expert and get the molds removed. Also, hire an expert to waterproof your basement to prevent any future issues. Do not ignore this step even if you are building a simple unfinished basement gym for a short period. Your barbell will rust within just 5 days whereas your treadmill could break down within a few hours. Plus, humidity can cause electrical accidents. 

Ventilate your basement 

If you don’t have natural windows, this is probably going to be the most challenging part of building a home gym in the basement. 

You could hire someone to build the windows. But, make sure the windows are built at a place where they protect your basement from rain and snow. If that’s not possible, you could opt for mechanical ventilation which usually involves the use of an exhaust fan or an air conditioner such as the Black and Decker 14000 BTU portable AC. You can also go for a dehumidifier and a fan but that’s not going to help much. 

You should hire a professional and ask him to suggest the most feasible option according to the condition of your basement, the climatic conditions of the area you live in, and of course your budget. 

Prepare the floor 

damaged cemented floor in a basement gym

Image Source: Reddit

If you want to create a simple unfinished basement gym on a budget, you might feel tempted to leave the cement floor as it is but that’s not a good idea. Even if you are not planning to train with weights, you should still cover the cement floor with proper home gym flooring products that help provide adequate cushioning to your joints as well as keep your equipment safe and stable because cement is hard and slippery. 

Our article on the best home gym flooring options will help you understand which product will be most suitable for you as per your workout needs. 

If you are into weight training, you should seriously think about having a dedicated weightlifting platform that helps protect your equipment as well as minimize noise and shock. You can buy any of the readymade deadlift platforms that we have selected for you or maybe you can make your own weightlifting platform

Do not ignore the lighting 

This sounds easy because all you need to do is to add a few light bulbs here and there. 

But wait. It's not that simple. 

Your basement home gym has to be evenly lit so there are no shadows that block your view. Plus, the lighting should be enough to make you feel as if you are working in daylight. The bulbs shouldn’t be hanging from the ceiling or else you could accidentally hit them. 

There are numerous other things that you have to keep in mind while deciding how to light up your simple unfinished basement gym. That’s why we have created an extensive guide on ‘how to have the best home gym lighting’. It should help you but in case you still have a doubt, you can get in touch with us any time. 

Spruce up the walls

This is an optional step but, if you are looking for basement gym ideas that will help you stay motivated for a long time, you should spend some money getting the walls painted. You can’t just go for any color of your choice. Rather, you should choose colors that match the types of workouts you do. 

For example; if you are into hardcore cardio workouts such as the Insanity Cardio, Power, and Resistance program, getting your walls painted in pastel shades will not be a good idea. Pastel colors are relaxing and more suitable for yoga. Red will be a better option for you. Our article on ‘What Color Should You Paint a Home Gym’ will provide more in-depth, research-based information.   

Other than lighting, you can also decorate the walls with some motivational flags or home gym banners

Choose your equipment wisely 

Have you read our article on ‘How Much Space Do You Need for a Home Gym’? If not, then please do it because it will help you understand how much space each of the popular home gym equipments requires. It also lists some really cool small home gym ideas that can help you create classy workout spaces even if you have minimum possible floor space. 

If you are planning to buy a squat rack/power cage, make sure you check its height to ensure that it can fit well in your basement, leaving some room at the top for you to do bodyweight exercises such as pull-ups. For example; Titan T-2 Series Power Rack has a max height of 83” whereas the Titan T3 Series Squat Stand is available in a short version measuring just 72” tall. You can choose any of them that best suits your workout needs and available space. But, products like Rogue RML-3 Monster Lite Rack and Rep Fitness SR 4000 Rack may not be suitable for basement gyms because they are too tall. 

Similarly, if you have a decent amount of space in your simple unfinished basement gym, you could buy the Inspire Fitness 210 LB Rubber Dumbbell Set. But, if floor space is a scarcity, you should go with adjustable dumbbells instead, although they have a shorter life. 

All we want to say here is that you need to choose your workout equipment wisely. 

Wrap up 

That's all you need to do to come up with a simple but functional basement gym setup. 

If you have enough budget, you can add a TV for streaming your workouts. You can add a music system to listen to your favorite workout tracks or maybe you can buy xFyro ANC Pro Earbuds or something similar so your family doesn’t get disturbed. You can have mirrors on one of the walls, so you can check your form and position. Plus, you can spend money on soundproofing your basement gym for your family’s comfort. 

These are all optional things but they do help you stay motivated because then, even your simple unfinished basement home gym will look as appealing as your nearby commercial gym. 

We hope this article helps you. Before you go, do not forget to check out our ultimate guide on how to build a home gym to get tested and tried tips and genuine product recommendations.