Setting Up a Home Gym on a Budget

By: Alex Michaels 

Why Set Up a Home Gym?

Does your day look like this?  Pop out of bed, chug some water like the hydration champ you are (waterboy, who?), face the outdoor elements with puffy sleepy eyes, clean off your car if it snowed or if a gaggle of geese shat all over it overnight whilst you were getting your beauty sleep, get in your car, drive to the gym, wake up halfway through your workout (before you even realize you’ve done 30 burpees already), drive back home, get ready for the day, make breakfast, get back in your car, go to work.

A home gym eliminates 90% of those inconveniences.  The friction of getting to the gym is gone. No more sweaty bro’s curling it out in the squat rack.  No more waiting for equipment. No more questionable bacteria lurking in God knows what areas.  

A home gym is convenient, saves time, can be customized to your liking and is a valid option for maintaining an exercise routine if you do not have or want a gym membership. Building a home gym does not have to be elaborate or expensive. 

The Top Benefits of Having a Home Gym:

Saves Time

Traveling to a gym can add anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes to your time depending on the location of gyms in your area.  This could potentially be a huge time suck in your packed schedule, leaving you feeling rushed and unmotivated to get your workout in for the day. 

Working out in your home gym would eliminate that traveling time, give you more quality minutes to spend on your workout, and allow you to feel less rushed.  

Saves Money

Gym memberships can be very costly depending on which facility you join.  If it’s not affordable for you at the moment or you simply would rather put that money towards something else, a home gym is a great option.  Yes, you would need to purchase a few items initially for your home gym. However, it’s a one time purchase and you would not have to get everything up front all at once.  This way you are still able to include exercise in your daily routine, but not feel strapped due to financial reasons. 

Accessibility

Depending on where you live, there may not be a gym nearby.  Or, perhaps there is a local facility, but you do not have a car and there is no public transportation that can get you to your destination.  Safety could also be a factor. You may not feel safe walking or traveling to the gym depending on the time of day, location, and if you are traveling alone.  Setting up a home gym allows you eliminate many of the accessibility issues mentioned above. 

Schedule and Routine

Daily schedules are filled with work, family, commuting, appointments, preparing meals, etc. This can pose a challenge for finding time to squeeze in your workout.  Your daily exercise habit will be more consistent if you make it easy to do! So having a dedicated space at home to complete an efficient workout will help you to check off your exercise routine for the day. 


The Most Efficient Equipment for Your Home Gym

You have decided you will set up a home gym space and now you need some equipment to get you started!  It is best to start out with items that will not take up a lot of space, will give you a great bang for your buck, and will be useful for multiple exercises.  

Let’s breakdown:

  • the most beneficial items

  • estimated price ranges

  • where you can find the items

  • a few exercises you can do using the items

Padded Mat

  • A padded mat is extremely helpful if you have hard surfaces at home and it can also be used if you decide to take your workout outside. 

  • Depending on if you purchase a yoga mat or thicker mat, the prices could range anywhere from $5 to $30.  

  • Local retail stores often sell yoga mats for a relatively low price.  Amazon also carries a large variety. 

  • Mats can be used for stretching, laying on during exercises, and provide cushioning for your knees.  They also provide a soft surface for weights rather than placing them directly on the floor. 

Resistance Bands Kit

  • Resistance bands kits off a huge advantage because many include multiple bands with a variety of resistance from light to heavy.  Many also come with ankle attachments and door anchors so they are perfect for using at home. 

  • Some local sporting goods stores carry band kits, however Amazon has a large variety for a much lower cost. 

  • The prices range anywhere from $15 to $70. 

  • The kits typically come with a small booklet that gives instruction for several exercises that can be done with the bands. 

  • Upper body exercises like band rows, shoulder presses, bicep curls, and tricep extensions can be done. 

  • Lower body exercises like band squats, leg abductions, and leg extensions can be done.

  • If the bands come with hooks, you can double or triple bands and increase the resistance by a ton. 

Sliders

  • Sliders are a small, lightweight piece of equipment that you can use on multiple surfaces.  They are also easy to travel with so you can use them in a hotel room and stay on track with your exercise routine even while you’re away. 

  • They can be found at stores like Five Below and other retail store, as well as online.

  • Sliders range between $5 to $15.

  • Exercises for the core like bodysaws, plank jack sliders, and mountain climbers are great with the sliders.  You can use them for a variety of lower body exercises like lateral lunges, reverse lunges, in-and-outs, etc. 

Dumbbells

  • Dumbbells are a phenomenal option for a home gym and will allow you to perform dozens of strength training isolation and compound movements. 

  • They can be purchased at sporting goods stores and some retail shops.  They can also be found online. 

  • Individual dumbbells can become expensive once the weight goes beyond 25 lbs.  For small size dumbbells, they are usually priced around a dollar for each pound.  So a three pound dumbbell will cost around three dollars.  

  • Another option that will save space and money is to purchase a set of adjustable dumbbells.  These range in price from $140 to $400 for most sets.  

  • There are tons of dumbbell exercises you can do.  A few common compound exercises would be goblet squats, romanian deadlifts, chest press, bent over rows, and shoulder press. 

TRX Suspension Trainer

  • The TRX suspension trainer can be used at home or outside, is lightweight, and easy to store and transport.  It focuses on total body resistance training and is great for all fitness levels.  

  • The TRX trainer can be purchased at sporting goods stores or online through the TRX website.  Amazon has also has the TRX suspension trainer. 

  • The prices vary from $150 to $200.  The basic TRX Strong is perfect for at home use. 

  • There are dozens of exercises for lower body, upper body, and core.  A few common ones are low row, chest press, single leg squats, reverse suspended lunges, and rollouts.  


Getting Started with a Home Gym Routine

Now that you are aware of five super beneficial items to start your home gym, think about the space you have, what you are able to afford, and what makes sense for your goals and fitness level.  

All of the items mentioned above can also be used outdoors as well.  Take advantage of the nice weather, trails, or just your own backyard for your workout.  It will help add variety and fun as you work on keeping up with your exercise goals.