If you are anything like me, you dislike training at a commercial gym. Gritty training environments are hard to come by, and you just want to get into a training environment that is simple and helps you get the job done. For me, getting my home gym set up was both part personal, and part business. However, getting it set up was again, both frightening and exhilarating at the same time.
I am going to break down the steps I took to get my home gym set up. Hopefully, they will get you moving in the right direction as you walk into your training environment.
Finding your space, Choosing your floor, deciding what tools you need, physically buying your equipment, and then finally putting all of it together. These are the steps you are going to take on your way to finally having a training space you can call your own.
Finding Your Home Gym Space
I first want to take the time to congratulate you; you are making the plunge into getting your training environment started. It can be both exciting and frightening at the same time. I know I was there. It is a significant commitment, and you're probably going to upset somebody around the house!
Now getting right into it you are going to need to find where your home gym is going to live. Many people choose the garage or the basement, both excellent choices. However, your home gym can be anywhere you want it to be.
My First Home Gym
My very first home gym started in my apartment. I was living in a three bedroom apartment on the first floor, I had a dining room that no one ever used, and I convinced those living in the house that I needed my training area, and it is going to be right in that same dining room. I tell this story because where you home gym lives is not that important as you make the final decision.
Here are a few recommendations I can make that will help you on your way. Make sure that the area is at least 10' by 10' this will give you enough space for some of the more significant pieces of equipment and allow for a little bit of moving area as well. If you have a spot more significant than this then this, then more power to you!
Access to a window or sunlight is a bonus. This will allow you to get some fresh air in the room when you are getting the work done as well as some much needed Vitamin D from time to time.
Access to WiFi and or electricity is not a necessity but if you want to have some music or the use of some of the excellent fitness applications you are going to need to use the WiFi, and a sound system will require some electricity. Other than that, once you have found your space you can get right into deciding what floor will be in your area.
Choosing Your Flooring
Now that you have your area picked out it is time to start outfitting it. You are going to want to start with the flooring of your gym. When I was deciding on a floor, I needed to ensure that it was sound absorbing and did not make load thuds whenever weight was dropped on it. I had neighbors, so I needed to keep them in mind when making my choice.
There some different options out there to choose from. And they will depend on a few things. One being your budget. Soundproof rubber flooring is expensive, but if you feel you need it, then you are going to need to consider getting it.
However, if you do not need to worry about your neighbors, then you will probably be thinking of the typical 3/4 inch rubber mats you get from any fitness retailer. They are great and get the job done as well. I will remind you though that these do give off a smell and should not be put in unventilated areas.
The other option for flooring would be putting in a platform. If you are an Olympic lifter or a powerlifter, then this may be an option for you even though the rubber mats do offer a stable footing. Olympic platforms can be homemade and I will get into that in an article in the future.
Once you have made your choice on flooring, we can now get into what to put in the gym itself.
Deciding The Tools You'll Need
You have your space, and you have your floor. Now it is time to decide what you need to put in your gym. See people are going to say you need a bar, a rack, dumbbells, a bike, and some weight plates.
Get those and you are on your way to fitness. I would say yes, but as I have matured as a coach and an athlete my self, I am not naive enough to say there aren't other ways you can train.
This Is Personal
This is a very personal experience, and when you are dealing with such a small area, you are going to want to nail down what you put in it before it just becomes a storage unit.
I am speaking from experience. With my first home gym, I started out with the basics. I got a nice rack, the best bar I could find, and a whole lot of weight plates. I was right to go as far as I was concerned.
The only issue was kettlebells became a love of mine, so I bought a bunch of them. It rounded out the gym nicely, so it did not matter much. Then I wanted to get a trap bar so that I could vary my training and my athlete's training. Then thinking along those same lines, I wanted a squat safety bar, so I got one of those as well.
Long story short it wasn't long until I didn't have much room to get a work out done correctly. I will give you three basic guidelines to go by if you are dealing with a small home gym.
Functional Set Up
Basic Set Up
Boxing Set up
Speed Bag Platform
Stationary Bike or Rower
Buying Your Equipment
Ok, you have decided what you want actually to go to your gym, now you have to go and buy it. There are a couple of things to keep in mind when doing so.
Name brand does not always mean the best. There are a few smaller companies on the market that make equipment just as good as any of the more prominent name manufacturers but at a significantly lower cost.
If you want to get all the best stuff from all the "best" manufacturers, then go ahead no one is going to give you flack for that. However you can get some good stuff from your local fitness retailer.
When I am talking about saving pennies here and there, i am also not talking about going and just finding the cheapest stuff and using that. The quality may be in question, and when you are talking about fitness equipment, you don't want to have something break on you in the middle of you doing it. That could lead to significant injury.
Another great option is to buy things you need from a previous owner. I have done that many times, and it works out perfectly. If you know you want or need a particular piece of equipment, going on Kijiji or craigslist could be your ticket to saving some dough as well as getting an excellent piece of equipment all at the same time.
Again, if you want everything to be brand new then, by all means, I am not going to give you hell for it. Just keep in mind that there are many options out there for fitness equipment.
Putting It All Together
Alright, you have everything you need. This may be a little late, but I hope you have some idea as to where everything is going. If not that is ok, I will give you a hand. This will be for those who got themselves a power rack.
The gym needs to be built off of that. Since it takes up the most amount of space and the barbell will be sitting on it. Before I even get into the placement of things make sure your floor is down, that is important.
You are going to want to have the good foot or two away from either end of the barbell when it is on the rack. So make sure that the rack is a reasonable distance away from any walls on the sides.
Other then that where you put the rest of your equipment will be extremely personal. Do it how you want it. Since you are the one training in there every day, make it yours, and get it done!
Again I want to congratulate you on deciding to leave the commercial gym life and jump into creating your home gym. I know that it was the best decision I made. I hope it is for you as well. Training in the comfort of your area not having to answer to anyone but yourself.
You can work as hard as you want, sweat as much as you want, use as much chalk as you want, and even grunt as much as you want.
All you need is a space, a floor, and some equipment. I hope this article has helped you get your new sanctuary set up. All the best in your training!