The Ultimate Guide to Building a Home Gym in 2022

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Why Build a Home Gym?

Well, these days there are more reasons to build your own home gym than ever.

For one thing we have a pandemic sweeping the country and according to recent information it's only going to get worse now with the Delta variant. A home gym is a fantastic way to still get your workouts in without having to go to the gym and risk your health.

Of course even before the pandemic there were a lot of great reasons to create your own home gym:

Home Gym Advantages:

  • No commute time
  • No waiting for the squat rack
  • Can curl in the squat rack without getting dirty looks
  • No distracting hot women (or men, depending on your preference)
  • Can rest as much as you want between sets
  • Can workout naked

Home Gym Disadvantages:

  • You need at least some space to have one
  • Higher upfront cost
  • Some people are not disciplined enough to work out at home
  • You lose the social aspect

How much space do you need to build a home gym?

This is the most common question that we have been asked so far. 

Until the pandemic struck the world, most people used to assume that home gyms were a luxury. But during the worldwide lockdown last year, we realized that a home gym is actually a basic necessity. Almost all of us bought some or other form of home gym products because gyms were closed and it was unsafe to go jogging or even for a walk. This one year of pandemic made us realize that it is safer to have your own workout space instead of paying a whopping amount of money on gym memberships. 

Don't have enough space? 

Don’t worry; you are not alone. 

Not many of us would be able to spare a room for building a home gym. Our garages and basements are often used for storing spare things. And not many home gym equipment are meant to be used outdoors. Further, a lot of people these days stay in apartments, where there is no scope of creating an extension. 

So, how is it possible to build a safe and fully-functional home gym? 

Well, that's challenging but doable. We have listed down some of the best small home gym ideas here. Do check them out because we are pretty sure they will help you build a small yet versatile workout space, even though you barely have a few square feet of space to spare. 

Where in your house to build a home gym?

A garage or a spare room are the obvious options you have. But, if these two are not available, you can even set up a home gym on the first or second floor of your home. 

Modern houses have a solid structure, which means they can handle more weight than what older homes used to hold. So, do not worry.

With careful planning, you will be able to create a fully functional home gym on any floor of your house. The upstairs gym wouldn’t be suitable for training with heavy weights though. 

This is the home gym that one of our members is setting up on the second floor of his home. 

A 2nd floor home gym
A 2nd floor home gym

You can even set up a small gym on your balcony, porch, or patio, which obviously means that you will have very limited space, limiting the variety of equipment that you can buy. If you have a garden, you can set up an open gym or cover it with a shed. But, please note that you won’t be able to leave most of your equipment there or else they won’t last long. 

Location Pros Cons
Garage Doesn’t take any space in the house.
Most garages have concrete floors, so no need to worry about damages. No need to worry about the safety of kids and pets. 
You will have to weather-proof it.You will have to make sure you don’t overlook it.You will have to spend money to make it look appealing. 
Spare room on the ground floor Already temperature controlled.Easy to access. You can do a quick workout even if you have just a few minutes.Already well-lit and well-decorated. Difficult to spare a room.Family will get disturbed.You will have to invest in a good-quality flooring solution. Make sure you keep it locked so kids can’t access it. 
Spare room upstairs  Same as above You have to be careful in selecting equipment that won’t damage the floor.You will have to sound-proof and vibration-proof it. 
Outdoors Best option if you don’t have spaceGet to work out in natural light and air, which helps boost mood.No need to worry about damaging the floor or disturbing family members You have very limited options as most equipment won’t last if left in open. You will have to mostly rely on bodyweight exercises. Or you may have to figure out how you will carry your equipment there and bring them back every day. 
Difficult to stay motivated. 

How much does it cost to build a home gym?

You can build your home gym for less than $100 or you can spend extravagantly and buy the best-in-class equipment, expensive audio system, etc. which could cost you more than $50,000. 

It all depends on your budget and how motivated you are. 

Budget is certainly the primary decision-making factor but we strongly suggest that you should evaluate your commitment level before spending your yearly savings (or even more) for upgrading your garage or spare room to something that will end up being a ‘rarely visited area’ of your home. 

There are a lot of affordable options

When you are trying to build a home gym, it is easy to get tempted and end up overspending on things that you may not genuinely need. For example; who wouldn't love to have a Rogue Echo Bar 2.0 barbell? It's a budget-entry from Rogue Fitness and comes with a high weight capacity, zinc coating, perfect knurling, etc. But, if you are just getting started, we suggest you should go with the Titan Fitness Economy Olympic Bar. That's because you don’t know how long and how much you are going to train with. 

What we are trying to say is, instead of buying the most expensive equipment that you can afford, go slow, and buy equipment that serve their basic purpose. 

No matter how committed you are, you will always get bored of your equipment. You can then sell them and buy something else. Plus, with a variety of equipment to use, you will definitely have something new to do every day. 

While deciding your budget, make sure you include the money you will have to spend for preparing the gym 

A lot of people overlook the money that goes into preparing the garage or room for being used for setting up the gym. 

If you are going to do even a basic level of weight training, you will have to take off your tiles and install high-quality rubber tiles or horse stall mats. You will have to soundproof the room by installing acoustic tiles on the walls so your family doesn’t get disturbed. You will have to install mirrors on the wall so you can check your form and posture while exercising. Plus, if you are building a garage gym, you will have to buy a portable air conditioner to keep yourself comfortable. 

Also, do not forget to include the cost of lights and decors that you may want to put in your gym. Very often, these small things end up costing a lot more than what your actual gym equipment would cost. 

How much money is enough though? 

These are home gym pieces of equipment
These are home gym pieces of equipment

Image source: Fixr

According to Fixr, the average cost of building a home gym ranges between $3,500 and $25000. The most expensive workout equipment are those that are meant for functional training. See the image below: 

cost of home gym pieces of equipment
cost of home gym pieces of equipment

As you can conclude from the above images, the price bracket is quite wide. Plus, almost all equipment in any price range claims to be the best in the industry. The overwhelming number of options could confuse you but make sure you always set your expectations correctly based on the price and overall customer feedback. 

For example; we recently reviewed WEIDER Platinum Squat Rack, which is one of the top-selling products on amazon. After using it for a few weeks, we found that it is highly unstable and not suitable for even an average-sized person. 

What we want to say is, always buy products from well-known brands, maybe not the high-end ones, but the ones that have a proven track record. Never fall for the cheap Chinese products as we did for the Yalasga Olympic Barbell

Don’t worry; no matter how much your budget is, you should be able to buy something decent that suits your needs. The salesman at the store would obviously try his best to convince you to go with a high-end model but that’s his strategy to meet his targets. 

You can count on us for product recommendations that suit your budget

At Home Gym Strength, we strive hard to come up with product recommendations that suit your budget as well as your workout needs. We test every product thoroughly for weeks before recommending it to you so you get the most genuine advice and product review. 

We do not even hesitate to criticize top-rated products if we find them not worthy of their price and hype. For example; although xFyro ANC Pro Earbuds promotes itself as the best earbuds with AI-enabled noise cancellation technology, we didn’t find it as good as it claims to be. Therefore, we unhesitatingly gave it a 3-star rating. 

We will never misguide you, only make a small commission. You can count on us for honest advice. 

Home Gym Flooring

Home gym equipment requires a sizable investment, so if you are planning to create a workout area in your basement or garage, you might feel tempted to leave the floor preparation part, especially if you are not going to train with heavy weights (and not planning to drop them at all). 

But, we would advise you not to do so because bare cement provides absolutely no cushioning to your knees. Even though you will be wearing shoes, you will still need at least some cushioning and shock protection from the floor. 

Plus, cement floors are slippery. Your equipment may slide or move unless you bolt them down. This could lead to an accident. 

Another reason why we recommend covering the cement floor is because it gets pretty cold during the winter. 

For more information you can read our article on the Best Home Gym Flooring Options or read a quick summary of our thoughts below.

Home gym flooring options 

EVA foam tiles 

These are foam tiles
These are foam tiles

These are the least expensive home gym flooring options. You can buy them online or from your local home improvement Store. 

EVA foam tiles such as the BalanceFrom Puzzle Exercise Mat are good for cardio, bodyweight exercises, yoga, etc. You can also use them under your treadmill, elliptical, rowing machine, etc. to protect your floor and minimize vibration. 

But, foam tiles are not recommended for weight training. They get compressed easily and, very often, they leave permanent indentations. Plus, EVA foam tiles do not provide enough cushioning to protect your floor or your equipment when you use weights on them. 

If you want to build a commercial-grade workout space where you can train with whatever equipment or weight that you might want to use, you need tougher flooring options such as horse stall mats

Horse stall mats 

A lot of people do not want to use them due to their obnoxious, overpowering smell. Some of them also think they are toxic and shouldn’t be used at home, especially when you have kids and pets. 

Horse stall mats stink because they release Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC). 

As per American Lung Association, some (but not all) VOCs are harmful. In most cases, they cause minor issues such as runny nose, headache, itchy eyes, etc. Prolonged exposure can, however, cause severe health issues including cancer. 

Now, the catch here is that we have VOCs all around us including your deodorant to glass cleaner and disinfectant solutions. And, we have been using them for years. So, why blame just horse stall mats!

We conducted thorough research to find out if horse stall mats are as toxic as their smell makes us believe and we found that they actually aren’t that bad. Plus, you CAN get rid of that annoying smell of horse stall mats

Once the smell is gone, you can use them to cover the entire floor of your home gym or you can create a deadlift platform as well. Not in a mood to do DIY? You can buy readymade deadlift platforms

Here are some other popular home gym flooring options that we recommend. 

The Rack – The Most Important Piece of Equipment in your Home Gym

Links to our In Depth Guides

Best Squat Stands For Your Home Gym

Best Half Racks for Your Home Gym

Best Budget Squat Racks

Well, this isn’t really a surprise. Squatting is the most effective exercise for strengthening your lower body muscles and improving your athletic performance. It also helps improve your flexibility, induce fat loss, strengthen the lower back muscles, and improve your balance, mobility, and posture. 

Here are some more reasons why you should be squatting every day

What's the difference between a squat rack, a squat stand, and a power cage

This is probably the most common question that we come across, which is why we have created a whole article for it. Here is our article that explains the difference between squat stands, racks, and power cages

Squat stands are great for home gyms with very limited space 

These are squat stands
These are squat stands

Squat stands are basically independent posts with safety catches or spotter arms and j-cups. As obvious, you can adjust the width between the two posts as per your needs. You can only use them for squatting and bench work. When not in use, you can push them against the wall or store them in any corner of your room or inside a cabinet. 

They are great for compact spaces but they cannot be bolted down to the floor. Plus, they are not quite stable. However, they are still a safer option if you have very limited space in your home gym. 

Titan T-3 Series Independent Squat Stand and Rogue S-4 Squat Stand 2.0 are the top two products in this category. Both of them are great in terms of build quality and stability. Unless you want to lift really heavy, they can work for almost everyone. Here is a detailed comparison article on Rogue S-4 Squat Stand vs the Titan T3 Squat Stand. Plus, here are some of the best squat stands that we recommend. 

Due to excessive demand for home gym equipment during the pandemic, a lot of cheap Chinese products have cropped up on Amazon. Most of these products are useless and unsafe. 

For example; the F2C Adjustable Squat Stands is one of the top-rated but ridiculously cheap products on Amazon. You might get tempted to buy it instead of paying double its price for a Titan or Rogue squat stand. But, F2C squat stands and its likes are unstable and unsafe. Plus, they cannot hold anything beyond 150lbs. We don’t think anyone should even bother trying them. After all, why compromise with your safety. 

What we want to say is, always stick to brands that have a good reputation and years of presence. 

Half racks have a compact footprint but they still need a dedicated space

This is a half-rack
This is a half-rack

Also known as squat racks, they are good for people who can manage to spare some space for creating a proper, dedicated weightlifting area. The posts are joined at the base. Many half racks can be bolted down to the floor or weighed with weight plates. They provide better stability than squat stands but you will not be able to add additional accessories such as a lat machine, a pullup bar, etc. 

We have tested and reviewed numerous half racks/squat racks on our website. Some of our top picks are: 

Other than these, we have also reviewed some products from lesser-known brands that are fairly well-built and work as expected. We have listed them in our article on ‘Best Half Racks for Your Home Gym’. 

Please note: Be aware of Weider Platinum Strength Squat Rack and other similar products. Although they have received good ratings on Amazon, they are just a waste of money. We have personally tried them before stating that. All our product reviews are based on our personal experience, so you can count on us.  

Full racks or power cages or squat cages are for large spaces 

This is a full rack
This is a full rack

They are exactly what they sound like. They have four posts connected together at the top and the bottom. They come with pullup bars and can be bolted down for extra stability. The four-post design helps provide maximum possible stability, so they are highly recommended for people who train with medium to heavy weights. 

Squat racks, however, have a large footprint and require a dedicated space. They are expensive too but worth their price. You can add a multitude of accessories and create a full-fledged setup. We have reviewed many top-rated squat racks/power cages on our website and we are testing many others. 

Here are our top recommendations: 

Best budget power cages 

  • Hulkfit Power Cage– Provides everything you can expect from a more expensive squat cage. Since it has 11-gauge steel frame, we recommend it for beginners as well as intermediate-level trainers. 
  • Fuel Pureformance Full Cage: suitable for compact spaces and low-ceiling areas. Great for beginners and casual trainers. 
  • Titan T-2 Series Power Rack– Available in short and tall versions. Suitable for compact spaces and meant for people who have no intention of training with heavy weights. 
  • Fitness Reality 810XLT squat cage– Comes with an optional LAT pulldown bar, so you can create a full set-up. Suitable for casual trainers. 

We have also reviewed some of the best Walmart squat racks and Best Budget Squat Racks. They aren’t great but good enough for people who are just getting started or do not have major strength training goals. 

We have created a tutorial on how to build the cheapest DIY folding squat rack but do not try DIYing unless that's the only option you think best suits you. DIY racks are not that safe. You can squat without a rack instead, until you are ready to buy one. Here is how you can squat without a rack

High-end squat racks

  • Rep Fitness PR-1100 Squat Rack– Free standing squat rack designed to hold over 500lbs weight. Comes with full-length safety arms. You can add LAT attachment and additional accessories. 
  • Valor Fitness BD-7 Power Rack– expensive but all-inclusive squat rack suitable for intermediate to advanced trainers. It comes with an inbuilt LAT machine that makes it possible for you to do 40 different types of workouts. 
  • TDS Power Rack– genuinely priced squat cage with excellent weight-bearing capacity. Suitable for intermediate to advanced trainers who do not want to spend a lot. 

If you don’t mind spending a ridiculous amount of money, then you can go with any of the Rogue power racks. The cheapest ones start at a $1000 price range. All of them are designed to cater to intermediate to advanced trainers and athletes. If you do not have that budget, here are some of the best squat racks besides Rogue’s.

Barbells

This is a barbell
This is a barbell

The next thing you would need in your home gym is a decent barbell. 

Now, the problem with barbells is that they are available in a price range of $75 to $2500 or more. Of course, ‘the pricier, the better’ rule is suitable for barbells but that doesn’t mean you have to buy the most expensive one that you can afford. Be a smart buyer and go with a barbell that serves its purpose and suits your budget too. 

To make it easier, we have already created three separate lists for weightlifting bars. 

  • Here is our list of Best Affordable Olympic Barbells (Under $200). Most of the bars listed here are meant for beginners and casual trainers but some of them can be used by intermediates as well. 
  • If you already own a starter barbell and want to upgrade to something better, our list of Best Mid Range $200-500 Olympic Barbells should help you. All the products listed here are suitable for intermediate to advanced trainers. 
  • For advanced trainers, athletes, bodybuilders, and fitness freaks (and those who have a ridiculously high budget for a home gym), we have created a list of Best High-End ($500+) Olympic Barbells. These products are meant exclusively for competition training and practice but if you train really heavy, you can go with them. 

Don’t have time to go through the lists? 

Here is our quick recommendation: 

Try safety barbells if you have or are recovering from upper body injuries

This is a safety squat bar
This is a safety squat bar

They are designed to minimize the strain associated with squatting. Typically, the safety squat bars have paddings at the center of the barbell and on the handles. They have cambered sleeves so the weight plates remain optimally balanced. 

Safety squat bars help improve your posture and reduce the chances of injuries and accidents. Here are some of the Best Safety Squat Bars that we recommend. 

Use trap bars if you love deadlifts 

This is a trap bar
This is a trap bar

These specialty barbells are exclusively meant for deadlifts and are highly recommended if you are suffering from lower back injuries or problems. They are designed to make the weights remain centered with the body (instead of the front as in case of standard barbells). This helps minimize the strain on your lumbar spine. 

Trap bars also help maintain correct posture.  Plus, a few studies have concluded that they help you lift more weight than what you can with a standard barbell. 

Here are some of the best trap bars that we recommend for serious deadlift sessions. 

Do not buy cheap Chinese barbells 

As we stated above, personal home gyms have become pretty common these days. A lot of newbie manufacturers with no experience and skills have started selling home gym products. We too have tried a few of them such as this Yalasga Olympic Barbell. These products are just a waste of money. Plus, they are unsafe for use.

Barbell Collars

These are barbell collars
These are barbell collars

These are also known as barbell clamps or clips. They are basically used to prevent the weight plates from sliding or wobbling. 

If you are just getting started with weight training, you might want to skip out these ones. But, we don’t recommend that. Without clamps, the plates could wobble or shift or worse fall off. All these could throw off your balance. Plus, wobbling could even distract you and make you feel less confident while doing your reps. 

Barbell collars are pretty inexpensive. The cheaper ones are usually made of ABS plastic. If you are not training really heavy, you can go with them. They don’t break so easily and work as expected. But, if you don’t mind spending a few extra dollars, you can buy metal ones such as Top Souls Quick Release Barbell Collars

We have done the research work for you and have come up with a list of best barbell collars so you don’t have to brainstorm a lot. 

Benches

These are benches
These are benches

Image source: T3

As you can guess from the image above, there are two types of workout benches; the flat ones and the adjustable ones. 

Adjustable ones obviously help you add more versatility to your workouts but they come with a high price tag. Plus, they are not as durable as the flat benches because they have moving parts that can wear out with use. 

Nevertheless, they are totally worth their price as the inclinations help you engage more muscles and add an extra level of challenge to your workouts. We have tested more than 30 products and selected these Best Affordable Adjustable Weight Benches for you. Out of these Fitness Reality 1000 Weight Bench is our top choice because it offers best value for money. 

If you would rather stick with flat benches; great choice! A lot of people assume flat benches are just for bench presses and dumbbell fly but you can actually do a lot more. Watch the video below for more exercise ideas using a flat bench. 

Do check out our list of Best Flat Benches that we have selected after thoroughly testing them for weeks. 

Safety pins/spotter arms/safety latches

Weight training is dangerous. One misstep and you will end up in a hospital. 

Spotter arms, pins, or latches are designed to help you avoid such incidents. They will catch the barbell when you miss a rep, preventing it from falling directly on you. 

Spotter arms are included with most squat racks and half racks. But, you may have to replace them if they are too short. Further, you may want to add a pair of safety latches additionally to create a safer setup. 

Here are a few things to keep in mind while buying spotters arms or safety latches: 

  • Make sure they are really long enough to catch the barbell. Shorter ones such as Yes4All Safety Bars/Spotter Arms for 2×2 Squat Racks simply fail to serve their purpose. 
  • Each spotter arm has a specific weight-bearing capacity. Choose the one that suits your training needs. 
  • Go with spotter arms that have plastic lining on their surface. This plastic lining helps protect your barbell against scratches. Plus, it also helps absorb the immense amount of shock and vibration that is created when a loaded barbell falls on it. Cheaper ones usually do not have this. 

J-hooks

Just like spotter arms, squat racks and stands also come with a pair of j-hooks or j-cups. These are basically meant to hold your barbell and, when used decently, they could last for a couple of years, after which you will have to replace them. Some cheaper squat racks come with smaller j cups, which are not that user-friendly and need to be replaced. 

Here are some of the Best Replacement J-Hooks that we recommend.

Yes4All Replacement/Add-On J-Hooks is one of our favorites because it is made of 6mm steel and has a very high weight capacity. It is also coated with an 8mm rubber pad to reduce noise and vibration. 

Weights

These are weight plates
These are weight plates

Image Source: Origin Fitness

They are of two types; standard plates and olympic plates. The standard plates have 1” hole diameter whereas the Olympic ones have a 2” hole. You can buy any of them depending on what type of barbell you have. 

For home gyms, we recommend standard plates and standard barbell unless you are training for a competition. They are cheaper but they are enough for most of us. 

Both these plates are available in cast iron/steel as well as in rubber, which are known as bumper plates. 

These are weight plates
These are weight plates

Image source: Fringe Sport 

Metal plates 

As mentioned above, they are made of cast iron or steel. Some are also made of chrome but iron remains the top choice because of its low price. 

Metal plates are much cheaper than bumper plates. They are also thinner, so you can add more plates to the barbell and make incremental weight changes. Although they are more susceptible to rust, with good care, metal plates could actually be passed down from generation to generation. 

However, they are not meant for home gyms, even if you have thicker horse stall mats installed on your floor. Just a single miss and you could end up paying a whopping amount to get your floor repaired. Plus, they are noisy. 

Due to their smaller diameter, they are not ideal for deadlifts unless you use blocks to hold them at the right position. 

Bumper plates 

These types of weight plates are expensive but highly recommended for home gyms. 

They are metal plates but they have a thick outer layer of rubber or urethane. The rubber coating makes them suitable for dropping from a height, which is why they are frequently used by weightlifters and crossfitters.  

As obvious, bumper plates will protect your floor as well as the barbell from the impact of dropping, making them suitable for home gyms. Further, the rubber coating helps absorb the shock and vibration, making it even more suitable for home gyms upstairs. 

All bumper plates are of the same diameter, unlike metal plates whose diameter increases with weight. So, bumper plates are less likely to crack or get disbalanced when placed on the floor. And, they are color-coded to help you easily identify their weight. 

This article lists some of the best bumper plates that we recommend for home gyms.

Have you heard of fractional plates?

Also known as change plates, these types of weight plates let you make micro-increments so you don’t have to push yourself really hard to reach the next level. 

The standard weight plates are available in 2.5 lbs, 5lbs, 10ls, and 25 lbs, 35lbs, etc. By using these combinations of plates, you can increase or decrease your loaded weight by at least 5lbs.  

A 5lb increment can be too much for a beginner. Plus, the next increment could be by 10lbs. Now, a 5 or 10lbs increment every week could leave you sore and maxed out too soon. Moreover, many of us would not be able to adjust with such a heavy increment. This is where fractional plates come in. 

Change plates are sold as sets of lighter plates that let you do micro-loading instead of increasing it by 5 or 10 lbs. A typical set of plates such as the Microgainz Fractional Weight Plates has 2 plates of 0.25lbs, 2 of 0.5 lbs, 2 of 0.75lbs, and then finally a pair of 1lbs plates. 

By making micro-addition, you will be able to make slow, safe, and responsible progress. You won’t feel exhausted and overstrained. This article will provide you more details on what micro-fractional plates are and why they are necessary

If you are interested in them, here are some of the Best Fractional Weight Plates that we recommend for home gyms. 

Dumbbells

This is a dumbbell
This is a dumbbell

Who doesn’t love dumbbells!

They are low cost options for strength training. Plus, they are extremely versatile in use. 

For home gyms, we recommend adjustable dumbbells. They are basically a set of weight plates. You can add or remove the weights as and when needed, eliminating the need of having a bunch of them lying around your home gym floor. 

Adjustable dumbbells are more expensive than the standard ones. Plus, they are bulkier, so you need to use them carefully. Since they have breakable parts, you need to use them carefully and must not throw them. 

We have reviewed a number of adjustable dumbbells on our website. They are listed in our article on Best Adjustable Dumbbells. All of them are good products and decently priced too. 

We highly recommend FLYBIRD Adjustable Dumbbell for beginners and intermediate level trainers because it can be adjusted up to 55lbs. If you are already training with 30-40 lbs weight, you should rather go with Bowflex 1090 Dumbbells. They are significantly expensive but BowFlex is afterall BlowFlex. Plus, you get free access to the BlowFlex Training app. 

A major problem with BowFlex adjustable dumbbells is that they have an elongated shape. If you are not comfortable with that, you can go with Powerblock Elite Dumbbells instead and make sure you buy the Powerblock Compact Weight Stand, so you can keep them back safely. 

Adjustable dumbbells are always sold as a single piece 

We don’t know why but all of them are sold as single units. That's strange because dumbbells are meant to be used as pairs. 

The price you see on Amazon or any other shop is for just one piece! A lot of buyers do not actually bother to read the whole product description and end up buying one piece instead of one pair. 

They are bulkier than standard dumbbells 

That’s their design and you can’t do much about it. You will take time to get used to their unusual shape and you may sometimes feel restricted, specifically while doing dumbbell presses. But, if you have a small gym, you will have to bear with these minor issues. 

Kettlebells

Just like dumbbells, kettlebells too provide fun and versatile workouts. You can use them to add strength training to your cardio workouts, which can help you achieve faster, better results. 

Watch this video to understand why kettlebell is such an important piece of home gym equipment. 

One thing that we don’t like about kettlebells is that they are quite pricey. But, they are meant for rough use and can last for a lifetime. 

If you are looking for affordable kettlebells, Walmart can be a good place to buy them. We have already tested a lot of popular products sold there and have created this list of best Walmart kettlebells

We recently came across this unique-looking Star Wars theme kettlebell

this is a star wars theme kettlebell
This is a star wars theme kettlebell

Isn’t it splendid? You can proudly display it in your living room and become a role model for your guests. But, make your kids don’t have access to it. 

Adjustable kettlebells are great for small home gyms 

Which means, they are suitable for most of us. Most adjustable kettlebells have weight plates inside a hard plastic shell. You can add or remove weight by turning a knob, which makes it easy and really quick. 

Here is what you need to know about them:

Just like adjustable dumbbells, adjustable kettlebells too are oddly shaped. 

Most of them have an elongated height, so short-heighted people may not be able to use them comfortably. You will have to be very careful not to hit the floor. 

For example; check out this Bowflex Adjustable Kettlebell. It is huge and ridiculously expensive. Yet, it is a top-selling product on Amazon because it provides instant weight change. Plus, it comes with trainer-led workout videos, so you don’t have to worry about how to use them. 

If its elongated shape bothers you, do check out Titan and Peakform Adjustable Kettlebells. They are also bulky but their height is only a bit larger than the standard kettlebells. Plus, they are much cheaper than BowFlex products. 

The weight plates inside the cage rattle, no matter which one you buy. 

But, don’t worry, the plates won’t fly off. Just make sure they are locked properly. 

Adjustable kettlebells are not as durable as the standard ones. 

That’s because they have breakable parts. Plus, the locking mechanism could also fail. Nevertheless, when used with care, you could still expect them to last a good number of years.

Here are the 7 Best Adjustable Kettlebells that we recommend. 

If you want to train heavy, buy kettlebell handles instead. 

Most adjustable kettlebells have a max weight of 40 lbs. A few of them could go up to 50lbs. If you want to train with heavier weights than these, you should buy NewMe Fitness Adjustable Kettlebell Handle or other similar products. 

These are fairly simple products. You need to add metal weight plates of your choice to create a kettlebell of any weight you want. These handles can go up to 600lbs, depending on the make and model. Plus, they are very inexpensive because they are just handles. You need to use your own weight plates that you use on your barbell. Perfect for small home gyms.

A major problem with these handles is that changing the weight requires a lot of work. 

By the way, did you know they were first used about 350 years ago? Here is a brief and interesting history of kettlebells that every fitness enthusiast should know.

Elliptical machines

These are one of the most popular cardio machines in gyms and home gyms. Since elliptical machines provide joint-friendly workouts, they are suitable for every member of your family. 

But, being joint-friendly doesn’t make them less effective or less challenging. Various studies have concluded that elliptical workouts are as effective as any other form of cardio workouts

If you want to buy an elliptical for your home, here are a few things that you should know: 

Buy an elliptical machine that uses magnetic resistance (unless you live alone) 

That’s because air resistance machines are too noisy to be used at home or in apartments. Magnetic resistance machines are expensive but they are worth their price. 

If you can afford, buy an elliptical machine that has its flywheel located at its rear-end. 

Rear-drive flywheels are expensive but they provide smooth motion. 

Choose a machine that has a longer stride length 

The cheaper ones have a stride length of 14”, which could be too short. 18” is ideal for most people but if you are taller than 6ft, you should go with elliptical machines that have a 20” or 22” stride length.  

We have selected these 5 Best Elliptical Machines for Your Home Gym. Do check them out and also read the article thoroughly to learn more about how to buy a good elliptical machine. 

Use a mini elliptical at work or under your desk!

this is a mini elliptical machine
This is a mini elliptical machine

These machines were initially designed for people who have limited mobility and balance. But, soon a lot of people started using them in their office while working. 

Mini ellipticals are compact and the good quality ones are almost quiet. You can slide them under your desk and keep using them as and when needed. They are fantastic for people who work for long hours. 

Interested? Who wouldn’t? Check out these best mini ellipticals that we have selected for you. 

Treadmills

For more detailed and helpful treadmill buying tips do read our article on Best Treadmills for Your Home Gym, which also lists some of our top recommendations. 

Spin Bikes

these are spin bikes
These are spin bikes

Who doesn’t love cycling! It offers low-impact, high-intensity cardio workouts. Cycling is suitable for people of all ages, so why not have a spin bike in your home gym! 

Unlike treadmills and ellipticals, spin bikes do not fold up for compact storage. Rather, they require a dedicated space but they are good for improving your stamina and strength. 

Spin bikes too are available in a wide price range. The cheaper ones could cost you as low as $300. Some rare-to-find ones like the Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Exercise Bike costs less than $200 but they are only good for casual sessions. If you are looking for serious spinning sessions, we highly recommend that you go with a good quality product that comes with preset workouts and magnetic-resistance technology. 

Our article on Best Spin Bikes for your Home Gym lists down some of the top-rated products that provide high value for money. We have selected inexpensive as well as high-end models so the list equally caters for everyone. 

Rowing Machines

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In our article on best rowing machines for home gym, we have explained the numerous benefits of rowing. We have also created a detailed rowing machine buying guide so you know how to buy the one that best suits your budget as well as your exercise needs. 

Basically, rowing is a horizontal version of deadlift. Although it looks simple, rowing is a rather challenging cardio workout that engages almost all major muscle groups of the body. Products such as the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5639 Full Motion Rowing Machine with full pivoting arms will make you feel as if you are rowing a boat. 

Some rowing machines are foldable, so you can tuck them in the corner of a room. Most of them are not noisy. They come with transportation wheels so you can exercise at different spots. Fantastic for apartments and people who do not have a dedicated area for creating a home gym. 

LAT machines and bars

These machines have a very specific use but they are highly recommended for people who want to build their upper body strength and get that V-taper. 

Most squat racks come with additional LAT attachments. If you order them together, you will get a good deal. If you don’t want a full LAT machine setup, you order a DYNASQUARE LAT Pulldown Bar and a home pulley system. Set them up on the pullup bar of your power cage, add a bench inside, and, bingo! 

People who are crazy about building their 6 pack abs and strong ‘Arnold Schwarzenegger’ type arms should rather invest in a full-fledged LAT machine setup like the ones that we have listed in our article on ‘Best Stand Alone LAT pulldown machines’. 

Cable Pulley Systems

These are cable pulley systems
These are cable pulley systems

If you live in a small home or an apartment, setting up a power cage with a LAT machine won’t be possible for you. That's why cable pulley systems were invented. 

These are the simplest possible home gym equipment that do not require any floor space. You can hang them from your doorway pullup bar or power cage or even from the ceiling hook. Just add your own weight plates and you are ready to do a wide variety of upper body strength training workouts. 

Cable pulleys are very inexpensive, so even if you are not too committed, you can still have them in your home gym for occasional use. 

Here are some best home pulley systems that we recommend for performing face pulls, Lat pulls and more. 

Among them, SYL Fitness Cable Pulley System is our favorite because its build quality is as good as the Rogue cable pulley but it costs significantly less than that. If you are a beginner or a casual trainer, you may go with the PELLOR Forearm Wrist Trainer and Cable Pulley System, which is inexpensive but serves its purpose. 

Forearm Wrist Rollers

this is a forearm wrist rollers
This is a forearm wrist rollers

Bulging biceps are not enough; you need strong forearms and an excellent grip too, which is why forearm wrist rollers are a good addition to home gyms. They are inexpensive and do not need almost any floor space. We have selected 10 Best Forearm Wrist Rollers, to help you quickly select something good for you. 

Power Towers

this is a power tower
This is a power tower

These are not quite popular home gym equipment like treadmills and spin bikes. That's because power towers are not meant for everyone. We recommend them only for people who love calisthenic exercises and are strong enough to go beyond doing a bunch of pullups. 

A power tower might seem like a flimsy set of horizontal and vertical bars and handles but when used correctly, it can help you build and strengthen almost all major muscle groups of your body. 

In case you are wondering how to use a power tower, the video below will give you an idea. 

Interested? We have reviewed a couple of them on our website. Here are the links: 

Weightlifting Belts

this is a weightlifting belt
This is a weightlifting belt

These are also not meant for beginners or even intermediate level weight trainers. 

As we have mentioned in our Gymreapers 7MM Weight Lifting Belt Review, weightlifting belts are only meant for people who lift a significant amount of weight. Beginners and intermediate level weight trainers should not use them. Rather, they should let their muscles handle all the pressure. 

Once you have moved beyond the intermediate level, you should get a weightlifting belt for yourself. If you need recommendations, we have selected these 8 best weightlifting belts for you other than the Gymreapers weight lifting belt that we mentioned above. Out of these, Element 26 Self-locking Weight Lifting Belt is an interesting piece because it eliminates all guesswork and lets you tighten it precisely.  

Weight Lifting Straps

Just like weightlifting belts, the straps too are meant for people who lift really heavy. They basically help a lifter get a good grip over the heavily loaded barbell and lift more weight without risking an injury. Watch the video above to see how and why to use a weightlifting strap. 

If you are already lifting a decent amount of weight without a strap, it's time to get a pair for yourself. We recommend Element 26 Padded Figure 8 Lifting Straps and Rip Toned Lifting Straps

Fat Gripz and other Thick Grips Type Products

this is a fat gripz
This is a fat gripz

These are also not mandatory but if you want to take your weight training to the next level, you can add an extra layer of grip to your dumbbells, barbells, etc.

Our article on Best Thick Grips Products (Including Fat Gripz) will provide you with more details about them and why they might be helpful. It also lists down some of our recommendations. 

Weightlifting Shoes

difference between weightlifting shoes and running shoes
Difference between weightlifting shoes and running shoes

Image source: Run Repeat

These shoes have a firm sole and a raised heel.  Most of them also have midfoot straps that help you get a secure fit. They are strictly meant for weightlifting, not for running or walking. 

Weightlifting shoes are designed to be that way so they can help you ‘push through the floor’ and help you lift weight with greater force. The non-compressible soles of these shoes also help you feel more grounded and stable. This helps minimize the chances of injuries. 

We have created a list of best weightlifting shoes that are suitable for intermediates to advanced trainers. The latest model of Nike’ weightlifting shoes, the Romaleos 3 XD Shoes is worth trying. With a 20mm raised heel, it is perfect for deep squats. If you are on a budget, you can check out Reebok Men’s Lifter Pr Cross-trainer Shoe, which is meant for beginners and casual trainers. 

Do check out Dr. Motion Graduated Compression Socks that will pair well with any weightlifting shoes to give you better cushioning and grip.

Smith Machines

So, we actually do not recommend Smith machines for home gyms. However if you just love them or happen to have a use case for them then we do have an article on What Is the Best Smith Machine for a Home Gym?

Equipment that we recommend for people who have very limited workout space 

Many of us live in small homes and apartments, so we cannot have a designated area for creating our home gym setup. 

But, don’t worry. You still have a lot of options available. And, they can help you get a killer workout right in your living room or balcony. Plus, they will not ruin the aesthetics of your apartment because most of them could be stored inside a cabinet or under the sofa, etc. 

Here is our list of home gym equipment for small spaces. 

Gymnastic Rings

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vI wEQx jogc

Calisthenic workouts are highly recommended for small spaces and gymnastic rings can add a whole new dimension to them. They can make your bodyweight workouts as challenging as you want and you will probably never be able to outgrow them. 

As we have mentioned in our article on ‘Best Gymnastic Rings’, they can help you build the ‘Greek-God’ upper body. Gymnastic rings are great for building upper body muscles but, by adding a bit of twist, you will be able to do a lot of full-body strength-training workouts. They help you achieve stabilization, balance, flexibility, and an immense amount of strength.  

You can hang them from the ceiling or take them out to your nearby park and hang them from a monkey bar, etc. 

Vulken Wooden Gymnastic Rings are quite popular on Amazon these days because the manufacturer has come up with a double strap design that eliminates the guesswork and lets you adjust the rings precisely at the same height. Other options are listed in our article on the best gymnastic rings

push-up bars and handles

push-up bars and handles
push-up bars and handles

These simple and inexpensive home gym accessories are meant to intensify your regular pushups and make them more and more challenging. 

There are two types of pushup bars and handles; one is stationary and the other one is rotating. The rotating one has a stable base but rotating bar that requires you to use more muscles and more energy to stabilize yourself. 

We have listed a few products from both these varieties in our article on best pushups bars and pushup handles. Do check them out. 

Pullup Bars

 

This is a pullup bar
This is a pullup bar

This is an obvious entry to our list of home gym equipment for compact spaces. 

Pullup bars are available in various types such as wall-mounted ones, free-standing ones, ceiling-mounted ones, the ones meant to be added to power cages, etc. 

We love doorway, screwless ones because they neither affect the aesthetics nor do they require drilling for installation. Highly suitable for people who live in rented accommodation. Check out these top 13 Doorway Pull-Up Bars That Don’t Require Screws. Also, check out this Ikon Fitness Pull-Up Bar that we reviewed long after we had created that list, so we couldn’t include it there. 

Cable Pulley Systems

 

We have already shared our list of Best Home Pulley Systems above. You can attach them to the pullup bars that we have listed below. Cable pulley systems are inexpensive and can be stored in a drawer or cabinet when not in use. Perfect for a wide variety of upper body workouts. 

Resistance Bands

These are resistance bands
These are resistance bands

Don’t underestimate these flimsy-looking, lightweight, inexpensive home gym equipment. Various studies have proven that they offer similar benefits as of kettlebells and dumbbells

They are basically used to let your muscles overcome a certain resistance, which requires a lot of strength, stamina, and muscle power. They are available in various resistance levels; from light to medium and strong, so you can buy whichever suits you the best or maybe you can buy the entire set. 

Resistance bands do not require any space plus you can use them anywhere, even in your balcony, or lawn, or bedroom. Here are the 7 Best Resistance Bands That We Recommend For a Full-Body Workout at Home

Need workout ideas? Watch this video below. 

Loop Bands

These are loop bands
These are loop bands

These are meant to be used for leg workouts but can be used otherwise. Fitness experts claim that these latex bands help activate the ‘sleeping’ leg muscles, especially the smaller ones, thereby strengthening them and improving the overall balance.  

The cheaper resistance loop bands are made of latex. They are not very durable nor do they provide enough resistance for advanced trainers. But, they are great for beginners and intermediate-level trainers. Advanced trainers can go with fabric ones. 

We have selected a few top-rated ones from both varieties and have listed them in our article on Best Resistance Loop Bands

Under the Desk and Folding Cardio Machines

This is an Under the Desk and Folding Cardio Machine
This is an Under the Desk and Folding Cardio Machine

These are not as strong and durable as the standard treadmills but they still serve their purpose. Most of them are completely foldable, so you can store them under your sofa or bed.  

Under desk treadmills are only suitable for walking. They have a smaller motor, which isn’t powerful enough to let you run. Plus, they often do not come with fancy features such as heart rate monitoring, preset workouts, etc. 

But, look at their benefits! Just take them out on your balcony and walk while enjoying the evening breeze or slide them under your desk and work while you walk. 

Check out this REDLIRO  JK1608E Under Desk Treadmill to get an idea of how these foldable treadmills work and what you can expect from them.

Under desk/mini ellipticals

We have already explained them above. 

Just in case you missed that section, mini ellipticals are meant to be used while seated and can be stored under a table. You can use them while working or watching TV or playing games with your family. They do not offer a full body workout but if you are hard-pressed for both time and space, you can use them to get at least some basic level of workout. 

Do check out our list of Best Mini Elliptical Machines for more details and recommendations. 

Adjustable free weights

As we have already stated above, the adjustable dumbbells and kettlebells can replace at least 6 to 8 standard weights, making them a great option for small homes where it is not possible to accommodate a rack full of free weights. 

We have already mentioned our recommendations above but, just in case you missed that part, here are 7 Best Adjustable Kettlebells and 6 Best Adjustable Dumbbells that, we believe, offer best value for money.  

Tools for post-workout recovery 

Most people assume that they just need workout equipment to grow stronger and fitter. What they don’t realize is that they will also need some basic massage tools that will help them recover faster and better for the next sessions. 

Rest days are important but you also need to actively promote blood flow to the desired areas and clear the lactic acid buildup. 

There is nothing like getting a massage from a professional therapist but that could cost you a lot of money. Plus, you may not have enough time to visit your therapist. This is why you need some post-recovery tools that you can use at your convenience. 

We have reviewed numerous top-rated massagers on our website. Here are the quick links to their detailed reviews: 

Massage Guns

We have also written a detailed article on how you can make your own massage gun in less than $125

Trigger Point Massage Tools

This is a trigger point massage tool
This is a trigger point massage tool

Rollers and massage balls

These are rollers and massage balls
These are rollers and massage balls

Tools that are specifically meant for back and neck massage

Stretchers and trainers 

This is a stretch trainer
This is a stretch trainer

Warning

Never ever use a sander polisher as a massage tool. We don’t why so many people, including some celebrities and reputable sources, are claiming that these tools are great for massaging your body. We found them to be ridiculously unsafe for human use. Our thoughts and findings are summed up in the article titled ‘Is a Black and Decker Polisher the Ultimate Cheap Self Massage Tool?’. 

Home Gym Heating and Cooling

Desert coolers 

This is a Desert cooler
This is a Desert cooler

Also known as swamp coolers, they are a great option for people who do not want to spend luxuriously on a portable AC unit. 

We have reviewed the Hessaire Portable Evaporative Cooler, which is a top-rated product on Amazon. We used it for a few hours and we weren't impressed. That's because swamp coolers, no matter which one you buy, are not effective enough for dealing with humidity. But, most manufacturers do not mention this information in their product descriptions. Rather, they often claim that these products are suitable for almost all weather conditions.

Swamp coolers or desert coolers are, however, highly effective for dry climates with low levels of humidity. 

Did you know you can restore your rusted barbell? 

Garage gyms often have a high level of humidity, which can make your barbell, power racks, etc. rust. 

Rusting can severely impact the durability of any product but if the product hasn’t rusted too much, you can safely restore it. Here is how you can easily remove rust stains from barbells and other equipment. 

Portable AC units 

This is a Portable AC
This is a Portable AC

As we mentioned above, swamp coolers are not effective for dealing with humidity. But, air conditioners are. ACs, however, consume a lot of electricity and they might not be effective enough for a garage gym that is already in use for storing cars. 

For example; we recently tried this Black and Decker 14000 BTU portable AC, which is also one of the best in class products. Thousands of buyers have rated it 4-stars and above and yet, it didn’t work for us! That's because our garage is in active use. If yours is fully insulated and not used for parking your vehicle, go for it and you won’t be disappointed. 

Also, please note that this AC unit, just like numerous others, comes with heating mode for winter. 

Portable fans or floor fans 

Products such as Commercial Electric 16 Inch Turbo Floor Fan are affordable options for cooling your garage gym. They are just fans, so you shouldn't expect more from them. Although they provide a decent amount of airflow and ventilation, these floor fans won’t be enough during extreme weather. 

Did you know it is absolutely safe to workout outdoors and in garage gyms during winters? 

That's what numerous reliable sources including the American College of Sports Medicine claim. 

It states that unless you are living in Arctic-like conditions, you can safely exercise outdoors or in freezing cold garage gyms provided you are not suffering from breathing problems such as asthma and other health issues that worsen during cold weather.  

Various studies have also concluded that exercising outdoors during winter can actually help boost your immunity and protect you against seasonal diseases. We have listed all such important findings in our article on ‘what temperature is too cold to workout in your garage or garage gym’. If you have been treating winter as an excuse to not exercise, this article will clear your myths. 

Apparel

 

This is an athleisure t-shirt
This is an athleisure t-shirt

The demand of athleisure apparel has seen a surge in the past few years and a lot of companies have started manufacturing them without even understanding what they are meant for. This is why most of the so-called ‘athleisure’ t-shirts and pants are just slightly blended versions of regular products. They do not provide enough sweat absorption. Plus, they do not help you stay cool. 

We suggest that you should go with brands that specifically manufacture sportswear such as Under Armour. Check out our review of Under Armour Men’s Sportstyle Left Chest Short Sleeve T-shirt for more details about the brand and its product quality. 

Glossary

Things you will need to keep your gym clean and odor-free 

Things you would need to stay motivated in your home gym 

Things you would need to record your videos just in case you want to become a vlogger 

Things you need to listen to music while working out in your home gym 

Useful articles related to weight or strength training  

History of your favorite home gym equipment

FAQs on home gym equipment 

We will continue to add more information here, so do keep reading this article and others too!

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