Creating a Home Gym

I never liked working out at home. Part of the draw for me has always been actually driving someplace to workout and “getting away from it all!” I also require so many different types of equipment for all the various types of lifting I like to do. All that aside, I never had room for a home gym either. Everything has changed in the last several weeks. For one thing, COVID-19 closed the gyms in my state and they have yet to reopen. When they do, it’s likely it will be difficult to get into them with all the restrictions on numbers of people and spacing, etc. My family also relocated and our home is much larger. There actually is a place to build a home gym! Now that I’ve gotten kind of used to workout at home I can totally see myself building something amazing. But, it’s been a challenge to figure out what equipment I truly need and finding it!

Home equipment isn’t cheap. It can be thousands of dollars, if you’re trying to get major pieces. Not only that, most of what I am interested in is out of stock or backordered. Seems I’m not the only one with the idea to build a home workout setup. So, I’ve had to really think about what items are necessary. Below is my list so far and the reason behind each choice:

  1. Stair climber, elliptical, treadmill or exercise bicycle – at least one piece of cardio equipment is necessary. The weather won’t always be great for my daily walks. This is the order in which I would like them. Stair climber is my absolute fave but it’s also most pricey!
  2. Bench (incline/decline) – a bench is super important for so many exercises but it must be able to incline and decline, as well. Pairing a bench with a squat rack is an easy way to create a bench press without having to buy a special set-up.
  3. Barbell – I have a ez curl bar but not a straight one, which is necessary for squats, deadlifts, bench press and more.
  4. Bumper plates – these are safer on the floor then the traditional weights plus the size helps me with deadlifts. I’ve narrowed down to the following weight increments: 10lbs (4); 25lbs (2) and 45lbs (2). This gives me up to 180lbs which is nowhere near my max. I can always order more if I ever get stronger!
  5. Adjustable dumbbells – to save space and money I have my eye on the adjustable version of dumbbells, which allow you to change the weight using the same set, rather than needing an entire rack of dumbbells. Plus, I already have 5lbs, 8lbs and 10lbs. These were pricier than I thought and I may have to settle for lower weights at first.
  6. Stability ball – this would be super helpful for crunches, stability work, back extensions and more. I totally had one of these and sold it in a garage sale because I never used it!
  7. Rubber flooring – my space will need rubber flooring for all the deadlifts I’ll do. Plus it will save my feet from pounding on concrete.
  8. Squat rack – this is key for all the lower body work but also to create a bench press. Plus, I would order one with arms to create a deadlift rack, too.
  9. Pull up bar – I have already ordered one of these but it’s coming from Europe! It was the only one I could find in stock. But, it’s important for upper body work for sure. I got the kind that goes in the doorway.
  10. Resistance bands – I have a set but I ordered an additional set with handles. I am finding I need handles for some of the exercises I am doing, plus I was in need of a band that was a bit lighter. Mine start at 15lbs and I could use a 10lb one for some of my work.

These are all the items I need to get or are in the process of getting. I already have ankle weights, booty bands, hip thruster, one set of resistance bands, the dumbbells I mentioned earlier, an 8lb and 10lb kettlebell, a light barbell and a barbell curl bar with a few plates on it. I feel like I could easily do everything I need to do.

Estimating the Cost 

As I mentioned earlier, the cost of a home gym is pretty steep. I was paying $15 a month for a gym membership before, which is only $180 a year. It’s going to take me a while to recoup the startup costs from this home setup. But, it’s worth it for me to get back to the heavy lifting I’m used to. Below is the cost for each of the items on my list above based on what I found and/or ordered online:

$3,000 – Stair climber, elliptical, treadmill or exercise bicycle

$190 – Bench (incline/decline) (purchased)

$80 – Barbell (purchased)

$275 – Bumper plates (purchased)

$110 – Adjustable dumbbells (purchased)

$20 – Stability ball (purchased)

$75 – Rubber flooring (purchased)

$200 – Squat rack – with arms for deadlift rack, too (purchased)

$40 – Pull up bar (purchased)

$30 – Resistance bands (purchased)

$350 – Wall mirror

Grand total – $4,370 ($960 without the cardio and mirror)

The good news is this is doable within the next three months. The longest backorder delay is on the bumper plates (up to 10 weeks!). The cardio equipment can wait since it’s summer and the wall mirror isn’t totally necessary right now.

Setting it all Up

My new favorite thing is to troll the hashtag #homegym on Instagram, as well as search through Pinterest for inspiration. The space in my basement isn’t huge but it’s large enough for what we’ll need. I feel like once it’s all put together even my husband may be inspired to work-out again. I can’t wait to add finishing touches like a place for towels, Bluetooth speaker, fridge for water and more!

It really is sad that we need to think about home gyms rather than going out to gyms but in a way, it will save time for me each day, which is a good thing since I’m starting a new job that is likely to be a lot busier than my old one. I’m excited to start to receive all my new equipment in the coming weeks! I’ll post pictures as I get my new pieces and look forward to finishing off the space. While I’m a little sad that I won’t be going to a gym anymore, I am kind of happy to have my own space and think it will really turn out nicely in the end. Plus, going forward it’s easy to add things as you go. It’s this first round of acquisition that is the hardest!

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