If you have a passion for fitness, you likely spend a lot of time at the gym. You pay a monthly fee to go to a gym, and you take extra time to drive to and from it. If you have disposable income and a passion for fitness, it can be worth it to build a half-garage home gym.
However, you must be ready for a lengthy endeavor, as it can take several weeks to purchase, ship, and install your equipment.
Planning Your Home Gym
Whether you plan to build a half-garage home gym or a home gym in your backyard, it is crucial to prepare. A home gym isn’t something you can throw together without planning. You should have a good idea of the layout of your home gym before you start putting it together.
Measure the Layout
The first thing you must do is measure the layout of your gym space. Unless you are super rich, in which case you likely have someone to build the gym for you, you have limited space to build your home gym. So, you cannot purchase every machine you might want.
You need to prioritize certain equipment within your limited space. However, before you can pick machines, you must measure your gym space.
The average garage is 22 feet long by 22 feet wide. If you keep your car in your garage, you should have roughly a 22×11 space to build your home gym. Furthermore, you must consider that you will need room to move around. You probably want an open space for lifting dumbbells and doing box jumps. So, you must consider all of these things before picking machines.
If you are building your gym outside, you likely have extra space. So, you have the luxury of bringing in more equipment. However, it is still smart to have a segmented area for your outdoor gym so you don’t take up the entire backyard.
Install Gym Flooring
Before you can move in your machines, you must get your floor ready for heavy equipment. It is not smart to use heavy machines and weights on concrete floors. Not only is it dangerous, but dropping dumbbells on concrete can damage them. So, you should install rubber matting or high-quality foam on the floor.
Fortunately, it is not very expensive and can get installed by professionals. Alternatively, you can install it yourself without much difficulty.
If you are setting up your gym on grass, it is still dangerous. Grass is uneven, which is not ideal for working out. Your equipment will not be able to rest evenly on the ground. As a result, you will need to dig up much of the grass, lay down concrete or other floorings, and place foam flooring above the new flat ground.
Get Mirrors Installed
Another crucial thing to install is mirrors around your garage or outdoor workout space. If you have ever been to a gym, you know that they have mirrors everywhere. Mirrors are in place so you can watch yourself lift weights and see your form. You can see if you are favoring one side or lifting with bad form. As a result, you can make adjustments to how you are lifting.
Choose Equipment Based on Your Fitness Goals
Once you have the basics of your home gym measured, planned, and installed, you are ready to start bringing in exercise equipment. This step can be challenging for some people because of how many options are available to them.
Is your priority to build muscle mass? If that is the case, you should focus on weights and heavy exercise equipment. If you want to improve your cardio, it is crucial to get machines like a treadmill and an exercise bike.
Important Weightlifting Equipment
If your focus is on weightlifting and building raw strength, there are several exercise machines for you to purchase. However, before you spend time looking at exercise machines, you should buy a large set of dumbbells. Also known as free weights, you can use dumbbells for all kinds of exercises. You can use them to work almost every muscle in your body. They are so versatile that you could do a workout with them and no heavy machinery.
While you might be tempted to only get heavy weights, it is crucial to have light ones too. Some workouts, like shoulder raises, are very challenging even with light weights, so having a wide range of weights is essential.
We also recommend getting a bench with a bar and several plates. Benches are adjustable and usable with your free weights and barbell. Like with free weights, we recommend getting a wide range of plate weights.
As for heavy exercise machines, what you get is up to you. You likely will not get every machine on the market, so you must prioritize the equipment you want to use the most.
If you want to spend time building cardio, we recommend getting at least one cardio machine. A treadmill is always a safe option, but not necessary. If you want to run, you can always run two miles outside as a warmup before returning to your home gym to lift weights. You can also do long runs outdoors.
So, we recommend purchasing an exercise bike. Exercise bikes are great for building cardio, and biking is more forgiving to beginners than running.
Finally, it is always a good idea to purchase some calisthenic equipment like a plyometric box. You can use one of these boxes for box jumps, planks, and lunges. It can be helpful to have a few boxes in different sizes.
Building an outdoor gym or a half-garage home gym is a big undertaking. Regardless of the type of gym you want to build, you must plan extensively. You must measure the area, plan the layout with the equipment you want to purchase, and get everything installed.
From the moment you start planning your home gym, it will take a few weeks to a month before it is fully operational. It can take even longer, depending on shipping times and other factors.