home gym and office

How to Build a Home Gym

It’s been a couple of months since I set out to build my own home gym. Most of the work belonged to my husband who spent countless hours finishing the space in our basement, drywalling, painting and installing the floor. I focused on the components of the gym, including the equipment I wanted and how I wanted to lay it out. Now, it’s a reality and I am sharing it with you in case you can take some tips from my own experience.

One of the first challenges I faced was the lack of availability of basic equipment due to COVID-19. It seemed no matter where I searched, weights and things were out of stock. In many cases this is still true but if you persist and continue looking, you will find it! Some of the places to check include Amazon, Target, WalMart and Facebook Marketplace. You also can search the big fitness spots, such as Rogue and Giant Lifting, if you have the funds. I also spent a lot of time googling the various components and found some obscure websites that had them in stock.

And this brings me to my next point. Be careful where you are ordering from! One site I used had a New York City address but it actually shipped from a distribution warehouse in Europe, a fact I only learned when the shipping took much longer than I expected. Some sites are faster than others. The original source for my bumper plates was Fitness Armory in California, with a 10 to 12 week wait time. As of this writing, it’s been 11 weeks and they are only up to the 11K order numbers; mine was in the 14s. I ended up canceling that order after rolling the dice and ordering from Giant Lifting. They sent me plates in about four weeks, although one is missing in action and I’m still waiting to hear that outcome! It’s not easy ordering all this stuff from all these places and you definitely have to pay attention!

In terms of what I chose to purchase, it was based on my personal workout regimen with some consideration given to my husband in case he wants to also workout at home. Some of the equipment was already on hand, as well, including yoga mats, kettlebells, EZ curl bar and various dumbbells and weights. Below is a list of what I bought with a link to where I purchased the item:

Olympic bar
Pad for bar
Squat rack
Hex bar
Adjustable dumbbells
1” plates – 5s (2) and 10s (3)
Bumper plates – 45s, 35s, 25s (2), 10s (2), 5s and 2.5s (2)
Stability ball
Hip thruster
Pull-up bar
Resistance bands
Booty bands/resistance loops
Resistance bands with handles (makeshift cable system)
Ankle weights (medium and light)

The grand total spent was $2,270, which doesn’t include the room finishing. Below are photos of the gym, along with a bit of explanation as to why I chose that piece of equipment or what it does.

My hex bar is a 55lb bar that I perform deadlifts with. It’s much easier on my back! In the background are bumper plates. I purchased a pair of 45lb, 25lb and two pairs of 10lb weights, all based on the weight I need in a typical workout.
My stability ball sits nicely inside my Hip Thruster Lite from Bret Contreras. I use bands across my waist for this one and can also situate my bar to do the thrusts. I also use the back pad for Bulgarian split squats.
This corner has my foam roller and Pilates balls, as well as a cabinet for odds and ends. Things you’ll find inside the drawers include workout gloves, wrist bands, ankle straps, towels, headphones, extra pair of sneakers, components to inflate the exercise ball and BOSU and pull-up resistance bands not in use.
Here is an assortment of dumbbells, kettlebells and plates. I have 5, 8 and 10lb dumbbells and an adjustable set that goes from 5 to 27.5lbs. The plates are 5 and 10lbs and they fit the EZ curl bar.
This is my makeshift cable system. My husband purchased handles from Home Depot that hold up to 225lbs. I add the resistance bands at the appropriate level to create the cable exercises at home.
The BOSU is used for a variety of exercises for core, pushups, balancing and more. I also have an accent wall that is a blackboard with magnetization, as well. I write my workouts up there to refer to easily!
This says it all! The rack below the mantra includes my yoga mats, resistance bands and booty bands.
The lightweight workout bench moves around so I can use it to bench press or move it so I can squat or deadlift. The bench inclines and declines, as well.

As far as some other extras, my family purchased the large clock for my birthday and it has seconds on it to help with timing for certain circuits. I also have a small Bluetooth speaker to play my tunes from. In the future I do want to add a mirror on the wall behind the squat rack to help monitor form, etc.

By the way, in the background in the same room as the gym is my home office where I work for the time being due to COVID-19. I spend about 12 hours a day in this space now but I’m not mad about it! It’s a great spot and things are exactly as I want them. It’s amazing how much time we now spend at home and it’s so important to have things set up nicely to feel like you have a space for each activity and not have to use the living room!

That being said, this is a pretty full gym. If you have less space in your home and still want to set up a gym for yourself, you can still get a lot of these items and create great workouts. Resistance bands can attach to doors, for example, and dumbbells don’t take up a lot of space. So, don’t despair if you can’t add all this stuff to your home gym.

Have questions or want advice for your future home gym? Hit me up in the comments!

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