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How to DIY a Small Home Gym

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 can even help 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!

Having a home gym 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 small home gym — no matter how big or small your space is.

What Do You Need for a Small Home Gym?

If you already have an exercise routine, such as yoga or weightlifting, you probably have an idea of what equipment you’ll need in your new home gym. If not, do a little research to decide what exercises and workout routines interest you. Then choose gear that meets your fitness goals and your space requirements.


3 Steps to Start Your Home Gym

1. Establish your fitness goals. Do you want to gain strength and muscle? Increase cardiovascular health? Both? Your goals will determine what kind of space you need to create and how much room you’ll need.

2. Determine what kind of equipment you need. Once you’ve established your goals, make sure your equipment can help you get there! Do some research while shopping for your home workout equipment to ensure it’s safe and the right fit for you.

3. Establish a budget. The cost of creating your home gym will depend on what equipment you already have and what you need to buy. You’ll want to set a realistic price for what you’re willing to spend. Don’t forget — second-hand workout equipment can get you some great gear for a more affordable price than brand new. Don’t hesitate to go to thrift stores, check local listings or yard sales for certain machines, weight sets, etc. Just make sure everything is working before you buy. Keep in mind, no-equipment home workouts are super effective, too! And it’ll cost way less to put your gym together.

How to Measure for a Home Gym

When it comes to just how small your home gym can be, it depends on what equipment you have. According to the American Council on Exercise, free weights require 20 to 50 square feet of space to use properly, treadmills need about 30 square feet and a multi-station gym requires 50 to 200 square feet. But remember that you don’t want to fill your entire space with machines — you’ll want to include space for you to lay out and stretch or do some body-weight work.

Our advice? Keep it simple by selecting equipment with multiple functions or small gear you can tuck away into a basket when you’re finished working out!

Where to Put a Home Gym?

A home gym doesn’t require a lot of space. You can convert a garage or simply dedicate a small area in your home to your workout routine. What matters most is that it should be a space you feel inspired by and ready to sweat in!

Unused nook area. If you don’t have the option of dedicating a whole room to your fitness needs, your new gym could share space with another room in your home, like in a guest bedroom or home office.


Small area of your bedroom. You can make your room a space for rest and activity by dedicating a bit of floor space for regular workouts.


Basement. If you have the option, it’s best to place a home gym on the lowest floor of the house, such as a basement, to reduce noise and vibrations from exercise equipment. Plus, you can also easily install heavy gym equipment that might not be possible on an upper level.


Balcony or porch. Set yourself up for success by placing equipment on a covered outdoor area where you can exercise in the fresh air.


Home office or spare bedroom.Turning a spare room into your workout room is a popular option, as it maximizes space you already have without reducing the usable living space in your home. It’s a win-win!


What Is the Best Workout Equipment for Small Spaces?

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 floorspace 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 for 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.

Things to Consider for a Small Home Gym

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 outlets for all of your equipment, fans, music and TVs or DVDs.

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 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 motived 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 to build a homeowners or renters policy customized to your needs.

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