Let’s give you a straight answer first.
Yes, you can build an outdoor gym but you should go for it only when that's the only option you have. That’s because there are very limited outdoor gym equipment available as of now. Plus, the weather doesn’t remain favorable all around the year. Building a shed gym is a better option
People want to build an outdoor home gym for two reasons; first is the lack of indoor space and the second one is because there is nothing like exercising outdoors enjoying the cool morning breeze.
Here is a very basic but fully-functional backyard gym idea that a Reddit user has built for himself. We don’t know how long the equipment will last because rain and humidity will obviously leave them rusted sooner or later.
Image Source: Reddit
Nevertheless, if you are living in a city where the weather remains more or less favorable all around the year, you could still explore some backyard gym ideas, provided you are ready to make the below-mentioned compromises.
Why is building an outdoor gym not a good idea?
You won’t be able to use equipment that work on electricity or battery
This is pretty obvious but we thought we should mention it so you know what to expect from an outdoor home gym.
Basic home gym equipment such as treadmills, ellipticals, rowing machines, and spin bikes are meant for indoor use. They have electrical components, so even the slightest exposure to water or humidity may make them malfunction.
Many home gym equipment such as the fitness decks, adjustable kettlebells, and adjustable dumbbells do not have any electrical components but they have plastic and rubber parts that will crack when exposed to sunlight or heat for a long period.
If you want to use them in your outdoor gym, you will have to create a shed for them and you will have to store them inside it when you are done.
Do you think you will be able to do that every day? Don’t you think it is better to use them inside the shed that you will build for storing them? That's why we believe a shed gym is a better option.
You will have to buy rust-proof, UV rays-proof equipment, which are quite expensive
Image Source: Fitness Baddies
Affordable squat racks such as Hulkfit Power Cage, Ultimate Rep Fitness PR-1100 Squat Rack, and the budget-friendly squat racks sold by Walmart are sturdy and durable enough for most of us but they are not water-resistant. If left outdoors, they could rust within a year. Even if you spray them with rust-proof coating regularly, you won’t be able to protect them for long.
Expensive power racks such as Rogue RML Monster lite racks or the ones sold by Eleiko may last longer than the affordable ones but then, you will have to spend three or four times more.
Similarly, you will have to go for a high-end barbell instead of the budget barbells.
You will have to go for metal plates because the rubber coating of the bumper plates may start cracking if you leave them outdoors for a long period.
What we want to say here is that setting up an outdoor gym is quite expensive. Plus, it requires more maintenance in the long run.
You have to make sure not to disturb your neighbors (especially the kids)
If you stream your workouts or if you love to listen to your favorite tracks, you will have to keep the volume really low or maybe you will have to use earpods with noise cancellation technology such as the xFyro ANC Pro Earbuds.
Further, you will have to make sure not to drop the weights, as the loud noise and high level of vibration may scare the kids (and pets) in your neighborhood. You may also have to exercise during the day because your neighbors would mind if you bother them during odd hours.
Products like Yes4All Silencer Drop Pads may help you minimize the noise but the metal pieces in your home gym equipment will still make enough noise to bother your neighbors.
An outdoor home gym needs frequent cleaning
Image Source: Box Junkies
You will have to clear off the twigs and dry leaves every other day or else they may damage your equipment or make you lose your balance if you step on them. To get rid of the dust and dirt, you may use a heavy-duty vacuum cleaner such as Ridgid Shop Vac.
These things are doable but the major challenge is to protect your outdoor gym floor from getting muddy and dirty, especially during the rainy season. If you choose to build a backyard home gym, be prepared to scrub the floor and wipe it with a damp cloth every other day.
Weather will decide when (or if) you will use your outdoor gym
You obviously won’t be able to exercise outdoors during harsh weather conditions. Plus, you won’t be able to exercise there during the day when the temperature is high or when it is raining. You will have to schedule your workouts only during the morning or evening hours.
This means you will have to miss your workouts frequently. So, it makes no sense to spend a whopping amount of money on building a home gym that you won’t be able to use at your own will.
You will have to protect your equipment from getting stolen
If you are going on a vacation, you will have to move all your stuff indoors or into a shed. This could be quite a tedious task. Plus, small things such as a yoga mat or a dumbbell can get stolen any time!
How can you still build an outdoor gym?
If you are fine with the above issues, here are some backyard gym ideas that should help you convert a small part of your garden or lawn to the gym of your dreams.
Add a roof to your outdoor gym
A roof above will protect your equipment from direct sunlight and rain. You will be able to exercise comfortably even during the day or when it’s raining. Plus, you will be able to mount some of your things on the roof; especially the lights.
Having a roof will help you remain more consistent, so it’s totally worth the investment. Plus, you can use a swamp cooler such as the Hessaire Portable Evaporative Cooler to keep your cool during hot weather.
Worried about winters? The American College of Sports Medicine says that it is never too cold to exercise outdoors unless you live in Artic-like conditions.
Choose your equipment wisely
Outdoor home gyms are more suited for bodyweight exercises and cardio than for weight training. If you want to create a space for yoga or bodyweight cardio training such as Insanity cardio, power, and resistance programs, an open gym would be the most soothing option.
But, if you want to train with weights, you can still do that. Instead of a full-size squat rack, you can use squat stands. These are two independent posts, so you can easily carry them inside or into a shed during bad weather.
You can buy an adjustable workout bench and some dumbbells for upper body workouts. Pushup bars and pushup handles, resistance bands, and loop bands are highly affordable home gym equipment that you wouldn’t mind leaving outdoors in your backyard gym. Add a pair of gymnastic rings and your neighbors will start envying you.
All we want to say here is that if building an outdoor gym is the only option you have, don’t worry. Just make sure you choose your workout options and equipment correctly.
We hope this article helps you understand the pros and cons of having an outdoor home gym. If you go ahead and build one, please do not forget to share a picture with us so together, we will encourage others. If you have changed your mind, maybe you should think about building a shed gym. You can buy a readymade, insulated shed and have it placed at any convenient location in your backyard.
We have also created detailed guides on how to build a home gym in a basement and how to set up a home gym on the second floor of your home, just in case you are interested.