Nowadays, there are so many reasons to want a garage gym. Commercial/chain gyms have become overcrowded due to a surge in popularity. You’ll often spend half your workout waiting for equipment to free up, and sometimes you’ll have to change your workout because of this.
The overcrowding in public gyms is also an issue for anyone who has a problem with gym anxiety. This is especially common amongst beginners, who often feel that more experienced lifters are judging their form or how they look.
If you’re a personal trainer, rates to train your clients in public gyms are often extortionate. A garage gym is definitely a worthwhile investment.
You can still get a very effective workout in from your garage. It’s simple to create a focused space with all the equipment you need. If you want to maximise your training, here’s how to build an impressive home gym.
Converting your Garage into a Gym
Before you even think about filling your garage with your favourite gym equipment, you’re going to need to do some prep work. This means clearing out all the junk and putting it into another storage space or selling/recycling it. Once your garage is empty, it’s time to get to work.
To protect your floor from weights, you’ll need some rubber floor tiles. Measure around the perimeter of your garage and work out how many tiles you’ll need. Most can be easily cut to size with a Stanley knife if necessary.
Before you lay your floor tiles down, you’ll need to sweep out as much dust as you can from the garage floor. This will stop dust from coming up between the floor tiles and making your home gym dirty.
Painting the walls is one of the easiest ways to make your garage feel more like a gym. Black is a common colour for home gyms. It helps to create a focused atmosphere and masks dirt and dust. If you’re thinking about a different colour for your home gym, try a neutral colour like white or grey.
Mirrors are essential in any gym. They help you to see your form and can also help to make a small space feel bigger. You can buy acrylic mirrors for next to nothing, but they’re often warped, so don’t give an accurate reflection. Your best bet is to invest in a few good quality glass mirrors and place them around your gym.
Good lighting will make your workouts much more enjoyable. You’ll get an enhanced view of your pump and take better progress pics. What’s not to like?
The most flattering lighting is called down-lighting. This means the light is directly above you and shines down on you. This creates shadows which accentuate your muscles. You likely already have a lightbulb in your garage, which you can easily swap out for a white bulb. You can also get LED strip lighting for cheap, which you can stick around the ceiling of your garage.
If you want to go all out, some LED spotlights would do a great job. You’ll need to have them hard wired in by an electrician.
Garage Gym Equipment
Now your gym is fully decorated, you can start to move in your equipment. Here’s a list of equipment to fully kit-out your garage gym.
An adjustable bench will be a central focus for almost all of your workouts. You can use an adjustable bench to train any body part. It can also be used in conjunction with other equipment like dumbbells, a barbell, a power rack, and more. For ideas on what to do with your adjustable bench, have a read of this guide on How to Use an Adjustable Bench.
Dumbbells and Dumbbell Rack
Dumbbells will work great with your adjustable bench. For an effective workout, you’ll want three pairs of dumbbells. One light pair, one medium weight pair, and one heavy pair. If you’re struggling for space, a pair of adjustable dumbbells might be the solution for you. Check out this guide called What Weight Dumbbells should I Buy for more help.
If you’re planning on getting multiple pairs of dumbbells, a dumbbell rack is a great addition. Not only does a dumbbell rack save space to store your dumbbells, it also shows them off and brings a premium feel to any garage gym.
Another staple for a great home gym, and worth considering if you have space in your garage gym. A power rack unlocks hundreds of exercises, making your workouts more effective and enjoyable. You can use a power rack with an adjustable bench, for the main compound lifts, and also for accessory movements like pull-ups and dips. Some racks even come with cable pulleys. If your rack doesn’t come with a cable pulley, try attaching a resistance band to the rack to simulate these movements. If you’re stuck on whether to add a power rack to your garage gym, have a look at this guide called Do I Need a Power Rack?.
Olympic Barbell and Weight Plates
An Olympic barbell can be used with your power rack to progressively overload on heavy, compound exercises. You can also use an Olympic barbell for accessory movements like rows, curls, and skullcrushers. Bear in mind that an Olympic barbell is 7ft long, so make sure you have space before you get one.
You’ll also need some weight plates to go on your barbell. If you want to deadlift in your home gym, bumper plates are your best option. They’re thick and covered in rubber to protect your floor. If you’re looking at other types of plates, don’t worry. Your rubber floor tiles should do a decent job of protecting your floor anyway.
Resistance bands are hands down the best value for money bit of gym equipment you can get. For a small price, you get a compact, yet versatile and effective training stimulus. Attach a resistance band to your rack to do tricep pushdowns, bicep curls, lat pullovers, the list goes on.
At this stage, your garage gym will be pretty packed. You’ve got everything you need for building strength and size. Now it’s time to think about cardio.
A treadmill is debatably the best cardio machine money can buy. If you’ve got space for one, it’s definitely a worthwhile investment. You can use it for a warmup before every session, as well as HIIT, LISS, sprints, and more. Check out this article called What is the Most Effective Cardio Machine in the Gym? if you need more help.
How to Set Up a Garage Gym: Checklist
Decorating your Garage Gym
Equipping your Garage Gym
- Adjustable bench.
- Dumbbells and dumbbells rack.
- Power rack.
- Olympic Barbell.
- Weight Plates.
- Resistance bands.
- Gym Mat.