If you’ve ever tried to get a home gym set up in your place, you don’t need us to tell you that it’s A LOT more difficult than it looks. For many people, the issue isn’t so much cost, but space. Most of us who have tried this have had the experience of looking around our house thinking “where the heck am I gonna put all this stuff?”.
Fortunately, when it comes to which room you’re going to designate as your workout space, there is one in almost everyone’s house (regardless of how small) that constantly gets overlooked - and it’s perfect for a gym.
Today we’re going to be talking all about the garage gym, and how you can get one started (even if your house is tiny).
Check out our favorite brands for strength equipment: Inspire Fitness, Gronk Fitness, BodyCraft and Body Solid.
Why should you have a Garage Gym?
We already touched on the first reason you should use the garage - the space issue. For many, this is the one room in the house where it’s feasible to do something like this.
There’s also the aesthetics of it. As much as we love working out, we have to admit that filling up your guest room with exercise equipment doesn’t exactly add to the overall look we’re going for.
The garage, however, is perfect. It’s not only spacious, it’s a place that actually makes sense to fill up with barbells and plates.
What do you need for a garage gym?
Before we dive into our list of recommended gear, there are a few considerations to keep in mind.
The first is climate. If you live somewhere like the Northeast, unfortunately the brutal winters are going to rule out a lot of electronic cardio equipment.
The other is the type of workout you plan on doing.
Those of you who like cardio-heavy routines may be put off of the garage gym idea due to climate restrictions - but that doesn’t mean you can’t get creative. That’s why we’ve included a few pieces of unconventional equipment you may not have considered so you can get set up AND get your blood pumping.
With that said, let’s get into the list.
1. A Good Barbell
As one of the oldest pieces of strength training equipment, the barbell has earned its place in any gym (garage or otherwise). Used correctly, this simple piece of metal will produce a TON or strength, power and coordination.
It’s also one of the most versatile pieces of equipment imaginable. While most people think squats, deadlifts and presses when they think of a barbell, it can also be used to perform any number of modified exercises. Rows, curls, raises - if you can name it, the barbell can probably do it.
And the best part about barbell training? All you need is the bar and some plates, which can easily be tucked away in your garage when you’re finished with them.
2. A Power Rack
While you definitely can go spartan and train with just a barbell, if you really want to advance your training game, you should definitely think about investing in something to hold that thing up.
The power rack is a great option for a few reasons. It’s a simple, adjustable piece of equipment that holds up your barbell, effectively changing the starting position of a loaded bar for any given exercise. This allows you to perform a number of movements (squats, overhead presses, etc) without having to hoist a heavy weight from the floor.
But a good power rack also has a number of other features built into it - our Power Rack comes with a multi-grip chin-up bar (perfect for bodyweight enthusiasts) as well as a build-in adjustable spotter rack for safety.
And while it does take up space, it’s still small enough that it will work for a lot of homes.
3. A Bench
A staple of any gym, a good quality bench is the perfect companion to a power rack. Apart from the obvious benefit of allowing you to bench press, it also allows you to modify a number of standard movements (seated presses and curls, for example).
Not only does this provide you with more options, it’s also great for trainees with lower back issues, since the seated/laying position takes a lot of the pressure off of this part of your body.
Look, we get it - not everybody has the cash or space for a full-on rack and barbell setup.
So if you’re in that situation, you may want to consider going with a dumbbell rack or adjustable dumbbells instead. It’ll take up a whole lot less room, cost less money, and when combined with a bench, you’ll still be able to complete a modified version of most barbell exercises.
Plus, dumbbell workouts are just plain awesome, and can be used for everything from strength to cardio.
If you haven’t already started incorporating kettlebells into your routine, you’re doing yourself a major disservice.
This super old school, super versatile piece of equipment has experienced something of a renaissance over the last few years, and it seems like every gym in the country now comes with a kettlebell section.
While your options with this tool are almost endless, most kettlebell workouts focus on rapid swinging motions, combining strength and agility with speed and cardiovascular conditioning - perfect for anyone who’s strapped for space and time, and wants to get a kickass cardio workout in at home.
6. TRX Home Suspension Trainer Kit.
Last but not least, we have the most compact option on our list - the TRX Home Suspension Trainer Kit.
This isn’t just great for a garage gym, it’s a perfect option anywhere, and has been designed to be as compact as possible. The kit allows you to increase the difficulty on bodyweight exercises, providing endless options for either an all-bodyweight workout or as a supplement to a solid lifting routine.
It also allows you to perform a number of different workouts, and even comes with a workout guide showing you exactly how to put your whole body on blast in under 30 minutes. Check out Getting started with TRX.
Be sure to protect your equipment investment, and your concrete! Good flooring like Shok-Lok™ helps alleviate the problem of noise and vibration in your garage gym. Shok-Lok utilizes a special design which significantly reduces the amount of vibration and noise that is transferred from the fitness equipment to the floor. This is a great addition to any facility and can be used even on existing floor systems to reduce noise and vibration.
The Shok-Lok system 4' x 8' equipment mat is large enough to accommodate almost any cardio unit on the market and has a beveled edge all the way around to minimize trip hazards within your facility. The tiles are interlocking and require no adhesion for installation. They are also available with beveled corners and borders to eliminate the need for transition strips in non wall to wall installations.
Another major consideration on flooring is the health benefit of quality flooring. Humane flooring is anti-microbial and anti-fungal. Since it is vulcanized and non-porous, it will not absorb sweat like some other, less expensive options. Because, let's face it, nobody wants mold and mushrooms growing in their gym.
Are you ready to build your garage gym? The G&G experts are ready to help. Find an expert near you, use the chat feature below, or visit a store near you today! We'll even come to your home for a consultation.