Until last year, a lot of people believed that the idea of having a home gym is fancy and luxurious. But, during the worldwide lockdown we realized that a home gym is probably one of the best things that we can build for ourselves and our family members.
Sure, the initial investments are going to be high, but it will still be cheaper than your annual gym membership cost. Plus, it is much safer than exercising in crowded commercial gyms where the treadmills and weights are full of everyone's sweat.
Having your own personal 24X7 workout space is definitely going to motivate you to get moving at any time and for any duration. Whether you want to go for a quick jogging session on your treadmill or do some bench work during your work breaks, there is nothing like having your own home gym at any corner in any area of your home.
Wondering how much space do you need for a home gym?
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Surprisingly, you can create a classy home gym even when you live in a small apartment. With a bit of planning and carefully understanding your workout needs, you will be able to utilize whatever space you have.
We know space is an issue with most homes these days, which is why we have created this article to share some small home gym ideas that have worked for us and numerous other people who sought our help.
Let’s get started!
Small home gym ideas that work for most people
Figure out the best spot that you can use to keep your workout equipment
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You can use a spare room or a small part of the room that is not used too much.
If you have the budget and if you have the permission, get your home remodeled or extended to cover the open space and create a workout area. For more great info on home improvement and remodeling for a home gym check out Porch.
Garage and garden outbuildings conversions are the most popular and safest small home gym ideas. Readymade kits are sold online, so you don’t have to do a lot of guesswork.
If you have a really small home and can’t spare a dedicated room or garage, you need to maximize the floor space. Here is what you can do:
Maximize your floor space
- Get rid of the floor lamps and install overhead lighting. It will not only clear up the floor space but also the electrical outlets that you will need to connect your exercise equipment.
- Standing cabinets and shelving units occupy a lot of floor space. Unless you live in an old building where walls aren’t strong enough to hold heavy objects, you can use floating shelves to free up a lot of floor space.
- Clear out the items that you don’t genuinely need. We have many of them in our house. A lot of them are just meant for decorative purposes. You can get rid of them to create a clutter-free workout space.
Once you have done these, you will get an idea of how much space you have for a home gym. The next thing you need to do is to select the workout equipment that you can fit in the available space.
Thoughtfully select your workout equipment
Home gym dimensions for treadmill
Image source: Sunny Health and Fitness
If you want to use a treadmill you will probably require 3 square meters of space. The dimensions of your treadmill would be between 1.5 to 2 square meters or maybe a bit more if you are buying a treadmill for running. You will need an extra one square meter of space to create a clutter-free workout space, which helps prevent injuries.
Thankfully, most of the treadmills made for home use come with a compact, foldable design. So when they are not in use you can fold them up and prevent your kids from accessing them. Check out our list of best treadmills for your home gym for budget-friendly options.
Space you need for a home gym consisting of an elliptical or rowing machine
Ellipticals and rowing machines typically require two square meters of space. Just like treadmills, they too are available in foldable versions. This article on best rowing machines for your home gym lists the ones that have a compact footprint and yet provide the best value for money.
If you don’t have at least 2 square meters of space, you can go with mini ellipticals or underdesk ellipticals and treadmills. They are quite compact and can be stored under your couch or bed when not in use. The best mini ellipticals that we recommend are listed here.
Small home gym dimensions for exercise bikes
Stationary bikes require the least amount of space. So, if you could spare anything between 1 to 1.5 square meters of space, you should opt for them. Recumbent bikes might require a bit larger area.
How much space do you need for a home gym for weight/strength training
The most common things used for weightlifting or strength training are barbells, weight plates, squat stands or power racks, and a bench. All of them required a decent amount of space.
Garage or Home gym dimensions for power racks or squat stands
Image source: Rogue Fitness
Power racks typically measure 40-50″ deep, 46-52″ wide, and usually just over 80″ tall. Smaller ones are available too, but we don't recommend them because they limit your range of motion. If you are looking for affordable squat racks or power cages we would recommend the Hulkfit Half Rack, Sunny Health & Fitness Power Zone Squat Stand, and the ever-popular Cap Barbell Power Rack. If you have a decent budget and space, you can go with any product from The Rogue Fitness SML (Monster Light) Series.
If you don't have enough space to accommodate a power rack, you can go with squat stands instead. They are independent uprights. So, when they are not in use, you can push them against the wall or store them inside a cabinet.
Space you need to accommodate a workout bench
The standard dimensions of an exercise bench are 41 by 11 by 17.9 inches. The dimensions do vary widely, so make sure you read the product description carefully before ordering. There is no point buying a bench without a power rack or a stand unless you want to use free weights.
Free weights and weight plates do not require much space, as they can be stacked in a weight rack.
Things that we recommend for really small home gyms
- Adjustable dumbbells– They are budget-friendly and space-saver options for small spaces where you can’t have too many of them lying randomly on the floor. These types of free weights also help you make smaller weight increments.
- Adjustable kettlebells: Just like adjustable dumbbells, the adjustable kettlebells also occupy very little space, and yet, they can help you do a wide range of exercises and make a gradual progress without requiring any upgrades.
- Kettlebell/dumbbell handles: If you already have weight plates, you don’t need to buy a kettlebell separately. These handles can accommodate the plates to make them function like kettlebells or dumbbells.
- Resistance bands and loop bands: If you have a bare minimum exercise space or if you want to exercise in your living room, you can use these. Of course, they are not enough but you can mix them with cardio, HIIT, yoga, or outdoor jogging.
- Pullup bars: They require absolutely no floor space and yet they are one of the best things that you can use for calisthenic workouts.
- Cable pulley system: all you need to set up a pulley system is some weight plates and a hook or doorway or a pullup bar to hang it. If you live in a small home or apartment, stop bothering about how much space you need for a home gym and grab a cable pulley system. You won’t be disappointed.
Things to keep in mind while creating a small home gym or garage gym
If you live in an apartment or if you want to set up your gym above the ground floor, you will have to soundproof the floor. Common home gym equipment such as treadmills, ellipticals, and rowing machines generate enough noise and vibration to disturb others. This article lists down some of the best home gym flooring options that we recommend.
If you are planning to use your gym in the morning when most of your family members are asleep, choose a spot that is far away from the bedroom.
Warning: This is a very disturbing video
Baby proofing your home gym is easy. You can install any of the safety locks that you have or maybe set up a baby safety gate to keep your little ones from getting close to your equipment.
But, if you have a 5-7 year old or a preteen, it is going to be a big challenge. Even if you firmly ask them to not try using your dumbbells or TRX bands, they will. Recently, Peloton had to recall all its treadmills after 72 cases of people, pets or objects being pulled under the rear of the treadmill were reported. A 2020 study has concluded that treadmills are the most dangerous home gym equipment for kids and pets. Further, weights can crush the fingers of kids and worse leave them with severe lifelong injuries.
While deciding upon your home gym size, it is important to select an area or a room that is inaccessible to kids. If you don’t have any such space, go with safer workout options such as yoga, resistance band training, HIIT, etc.
Creating your ideal at-home gym requires a lot of brainstorming, especially because space is a very genuine issue with most homes. So, make sure you declutter your home and select your equipment wisely. You can keep changing your workout equipment after a few months when you get bored of the existing ones. It will keep you motivated as well.
If you like this article, please let us know by leaving a comment. Keep reading our fresh content to stay updated with more tips and tricks on how to create a great home gym and what equipment you should buy.