How to Set Up Your Own Home Gym

Updated August 3, 2021 . AmFam Team

Having a hard time making it to the gym? Make it easier on yourself by creating a home gym! Learn more about where to put a home gym and what equipment you may need.

Regular exercise is one of the best things you can do for your physical and mental health. Just a few hours of moderate activity every week can help your body feel healthier, boost brain health and  make you feel happier and more confident!

But it’s not always easy finding the time — or the right place — to work out. That’s where the home gym comes in!

Creating a home gym just steps from your couch makes it so much easier to work out! It’s a convenient, time-efficient, and easy way to stay active and feel healthy. Best of all, a home gym can be built or designed in any size space!

Here’s everything you need to know to create a home gym — no matter how big or small your space is.

How to Create a Home Gym

When you start doing the research for the type of equipment you’d like in your home gym, you’ll find out fast that this is one daunting task! There are many options for home gym equipment, and it all just depends on what’s best for you, and most importantly: what will fit in your designated workout space!

The size of the area you’ve decided to use for your home gym will dictate the type of equipment you have to choose from. For example, if you’re new gym is on the small side, you’ll want to do plenty of research on treadmills to ensure you have the room. Remember, too, that the height of your ceilings is crucial to know. An elliptical machine might fit inside your gym area, but can you get on it without your head touching the ceiling?

But worry not, here is a brief list to get you started on your path toward home gym domination!

How to Measure for a Home Gym

How small (or large) your home gym can be depends on the size of your equipment and the amount of square footage dedicated to housing it. According to the American Council on Exercise, free weights require 20-to-50 square feet of space for proper use. Treadmills need approximately 30 square feet of space, and a multi-station gym requires 50-to-200 square feet of space. When taking these dimensions into consideration, don’t forget to factor in enough space to move about freely, allowing you ample room for stretching, as well as some body-weight work. Your best bet is to keep it simple by selecting multi-function equipment and small gear that can be tucked away somewhere when you’re done with your workout.

What Gym Equipment Do I Need for a Home Gym?

When selecting the best equipment for working out in small spaces, your best bet is to stick to basic fitness gear that can fit into any small home gym. Here’s a list of ideas to get you started:

Jump rope. Jumping rope increases your heart rate while working your arms, shoulders, legs and core. Plus, it’s small and lightweight, making it a small home gym superstar! Who knew something so small can be so perfect for a home gym? Is your ceiling not tall enough? No problem! This is an easy piece of equipment to carry to a different room or outside for a quick blast to your heart rate! Then head back to your home gym to finish your workout.

Resistance bands. These versatile pieces mimic most machine-based strength moves to work your entire body. Light or medium bands are great for arm exercises, and medium or heavy bands can be used for most lower-body exercises. You can either hang them on a hook or put them in a basket once you’re done, optimizing your home gym space!

Dumbbells. Build muscular endurance with low-weight, high-rep exercises. Or increase strength with heavier weights and fewer reps. You could even invest in adjustable dumbbells, the all-in-one solution that gives you multiple weights in one compact piece of equipment.

Yoga mat. Even if you’re not a yogi, this mat is a must! A basic mat that rolls up for easy storage is essential for any workouts on the floor (get those abs burning!) or post-exercise stretching.

A pull-up bar. These can be easily attached to a door frame to free up floor space for other equipment. Just make sure to test it out with caution to ensure it won’t damage your door frame.

Fitness games. Thanks to fitness video games, your gaming station can even become your home gym! Gaming systems can be a surprising source of exercise ideas! Games make exercise fun without adding extra gear to your small space. Plus, they go beyond running or cycling with fun workouts like dance routines and virtual boxing classes. Some offer interactive games that help you power through a tough routine, such as planking.

How to Set Up a Home Gym: Items to Consider

Before you start to invest in your home gym, make sure the area you’ll be using is equipped with the essentials for a great workout.

Power. Make sure you have enough electrical outlets for all your equipment, fans, music and TVs.

Flooring. Not everyone can install gym-quality floors, but it’s easy to add removable shock-absorbing gym flooring. These come in full mats or tiles that can be put down and pulled up as needed. The non-slip surfaces can help prevent injuries, and the padded material will cushion your body on hard floors.

Lighting. Lighting will help keep you motivated and safe with the right amount of visibility. Overhead pendants or wall lights offer great ambient lighting without being too bright. Consider using dimmable lights if you plan to use your home gym for relaxation or yoga. Add spotlights where you need brighter lighting, such as over your weights.

Mirror. A floor-length mirror can help you monitor your form to keep your positioning in check and ensure you’re exercising properly.

Fan. Adding a box fan or installing a ceiling fan will circulate the air and keep the room comfortable. Plus, it’ll help air out the room once you’re done with your sweat session.

AV equipment. To keep your workout space clutter- and hazard-free, mount audio-visual equipment, such as TVs, DVD players and stereo systems, on a swiveling ceiling bracket or in a niche in the wall. Position the TV at a height that’s comfortable to view — but high or low enough to not pose a hazard — when you’re on a raised piece of equipment like a bicycle or elliptical machine.

Storage. If you’re using small gear, add a basket or bin to hold your equipment after you’re done exercising. Or, if you have space, consider using a modular gym with storage to store and organize everything neatly.

No matter where you decided to locate your small home gym, you’ll be able to create a lifestyle of health and wellness. With a bit of thoughtful planning, you can create a space to make your biggest fitness dreams come true — now let’s get sweating!

Looking for more resources to become the healthiest and happiest version of yourself? Check out these self-enhancing resources to help you reach your health goals and dreams.

Protect Yourself and Your New Home Gym

You’ve worked hard to set up a home gym that keeps you motivated and healthy. Now make sure you protect it. Whether you rent or own, homeowners insurance or renters insurance can help cover the new addition. Reach out to your American Family Insurance agent (Opens in a new tab) to build a homeowners or renters policy customized to your needs.

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