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Building a home gym can be both a daunting and expensive task. I’ve had one now for nearly a decade and have taken pretty much all of my best advice and compiled it in this home gym guide. Whether you plan to build a garage gym, basement gym, spare bedroom gym, or even a backyard gym, this guide will help show you how a gym at home can not only be done on any budget, but it can also improve your health, wealth, and happiness.
The almighty Home Gym.
Seriously, home gym owners are a different breed of people.
These are folks dedicated to becoming fitter in the comfort of their home and there’s no bigger proponent of this movement than I.
I understand that training and accomplishing your physical goals can be difficult at times, but what if I were to tell you there was an easier way? A way that you no longer have to leave the comfort of your home to accomplish your goals. A way that is not only efficient but also economical.
I plan to show you the way to join tens of thousands of other who have decided to stop procrastinating and take the leap into creating their very own home gym.
I do have to warn you; this is a MASSIVE guide. I tried to provide as much value and information as possible, so feel free to bookmark it and come back if you’d rather not read it all in one sitting.
Let’s do it!
Why You NEED a Home Gym
Let’s first discuss why you need a home gym. Although I say need, it’s really more of a want. Nobody NEEDS a decked out gym in their home, but you also don’t need to save time, or lose weight, or do just about anything else.
Deciding to create a home gym, is less about need and more about wanting to optimize your life.
The goal for everyone reading this should be to achieve your best possible self. Anything and everything that helps you get closer to that goal should be explored. One of the greatest things I’ve found for myself and others I’ve helped is that starting a home gym does much more for you than simply give you a place to workout.
A home gym…
- increases your resolve by forcing you to often workout alone
- strengthens your body to take on tasks you previously could not
- improves the way you look, thus growing your self-esteem
- allows you to be closer to your family
- gives you more time to do the things you’d like to do, or simply train more
- will afford you more opportunities to workout, even if for just 15 minute
I seriously could go on and on about all the advantages of a home gym. Not only does it give back to you, but it also allows you to give back to others by allowing friends and family to train with you.
I’ve had some of the best training sessions grinding it out with people I hardly knew, but they had an interest in working out in my garage so I let them.
Want to increase your friendships? Get a home gym. Want to improve your relationship with your spouse? Get a home gym. Want to get bigger, stronger, and faster? Get a home gym.
Now, you may be thinking, a home gym sounds great and all, but can’t I get strong by spending less at a commercial gym?
Home Gym vs. Commercial Gym
Here’s what a typical trip to the gym looks like for most people:
- Change into clothes
- Pack up all of the stuff needed into agym bag including supplements and shakers
- Get in the car and drive to the gym
- Warm-up and wait for the guy doing curls to get out of the only squat rack in the gym
- Have the annoying guy who only goes to the gym to socialize come up and ask your opinion on the weightlifting shoes, like the Nike Romaleos 3 versus no shoe debate even though he doesn’t even lift
- Mix your protein shake
- Drive home after a 2-hour workout that could have taken 45 minutes
Does that sound familiar?
Not only did you waste an exorbitant amount of time, but you also had to do things you’d rather not, like talk to Mr. No-Lifty All-Talky guy.
Here’s how my typical training session goes:
- Throw on some shorts (I rarely wear a shirt)
- Head into the garage and warm-up how I want
- Turn my music up to 11 and start putting in work
- About an hour later I conclude my session, go inside, make a protein shake, and I’m done.
Not only am I able to work out how I want and when I want, but everything I need is right where I am; in my home.
Somedays my sessions will last upwards of 3 hours, and others will simply be 15-minute interval sessions. It doesn’t matter because I’m not wasting any time driving, waiting, or anything else. All of my effort and time is going directly into the goal of getting bigger, stronger, and faster.
Now, although I absolutely love training with the training partners I have, I also like getting in sessions on my own.
This is another advantage of a home gym, building mental toughness.
You see, many people train on their own. If you go into your local globo gym, you’ll find lots of people slaving away, BUT they’re training in the company of others.
When you’re in your home gym, you’re truly training alone. There’s no one you’re trying to impress, no one to motivate you, and no one to make sure you’re sticking to your goals. You are in control of your destiny.
For many, this is daunting and the reason they avoid having a home gym. But, if you stick with it for a couple months, you quickly realize you were missing out on one of the best reasons to train alone. Building the fortitude to train on your own takes time, but is one of thebest things I’ve gotten out of my home gym.
If you can force yourself to train alone when you don’t want to, you can do just about anything.
The next question that often comes up is, okay, having a home gym sounds ideal, but how can someone possibly afford it?
Cost of a Home Gym vs. Commercial Gym
A home gym can certainly be costly to start, but that doesn’t mean it has to be.
Many people start with the essential items, or just make what they need and buy as they go.
Before I detail the typical costs of a home gym, as well as what I spent on mine, I’d like to talk about the costs of a commercial gym.
Commercial Gym Cost
According to StatisticBrain.com, the average gym membership cost in America is $58/month (and that study was done in 2013.) That’s $58/month you’re shelling out to usesomething in which the only thing you get in return is a place to workout.
Sure, many commercial gyms have hot tubs filled with all sorts of diseases and cardio rooms in which more TV is watched than work done, but overall, what you get is a place to workout.
If you stop paying for the gym, you’re no longer able to use it. It’s as simple as that.
Over a years time, taking the 2013 average of $58/month, you would spend just shy of $700. Over a decade, you’d pay $6,960, and that doesn’teven factor in things like inflation and the rising costs of gym memberships. It also doesn’t factor in any opportunity costs spent by wasting time, as well as the cost of gas for your commute.
As you can see, you’re paying a lot of money that could be used elsewhere. But, not to go on too much of a rant, that’s typical of our society. Get a car payment, instead of saving. Finance that thing you want but don’t need just so you can have it now.
I have no statistics on this, but I would guess that Home Gym owners are typically much better with their money than those who spend $58/month at a gym.
Now, we also have the subject of CrossFit gyms/boxes.
This is an entirely different matter as the average cost for a CrossFit membership is $125/month and that once again was based on 2013 numbers.
So, that’s $1,500/year and over a decade, that CrossFit membership would cost you $15,000!!!
But I can somewhat understand it. You get programming, coaching, and an environment that pushes you. Granted you could simply find an online coach and online programming for much less than what you’re currently paying, but that’s a different matter.
RELATED: Best Online Workout Programs
Home Gym Cost
The cost of a home gym can vary so dramatically, it’s a bit difficult to show an average situation.
However, I’m going to pick the equipment that I view as essential. These are items that a majority of people training will want to start with and then grow from there.
Squat Rack with Pullup Bar – $445:Rogue SML-2 Squat Stand
Bumpers – $424:Fringe Sport 260 lb. Black Bumper Set
53 lb. Kettlebell – $63:Rogue Fitness 53 lb. Kettlebell
Gymnastic Rings – $40:Titan Fitness Gymnastic Rings
Jump Rope – $10: Survival and Cross Speed Rope
Two Horse Stall Mats – $80:Tractor Supply Horse Stall Mats
Now, granted you’ll have a little bit extra cost for shipping and tax, but this is about what you’ll pay.
This is for all of the items I think you NEED to start a home gym. These are the basics, but my goodness, the number of workouts you could do with just these items is out of this world. The only reason you would need more equipment is to provide some more variety in your training. Other than that, you don’t need much else.
These items are also all brand new. Much of the equipment in my garage is from resellers on Craigslist where you can find absolute steals!
You also need to keep in mind that these items are yours. You’re not renting the opportunity to use them like you do at the gym. You can do whatever you want with them including sell them for future upgrades.
What Equipment Should You Buy?
Trying to decide what equipment to buy for the place you will now spend more time in than any other in your house, AKA your home gym, can be a bit difficult at first.
What I suggest to most people is determining your fitness goals or the type of workouts you prefer and then basing the equipment around said goals/workouts. For instance, when I first started my home gym, I competed in CrossFit. Here is me doing an EMOM (Every Minute On The Minute) workout of clean and jerks and ring muscle-ups (yes, I did muscle-ups into my attic in my first garage gym.)
With all this said, a powerlifter (which is how I mostly train now) will use different equipment from someone who does CrossFit (lots of barbells and conditioning equipment) or Strongman (lots of DIY atlas stones and other gear) or Bodybuilding (lots of machines and ways to isolate various muscle groups.)
So, before you go and make a $10,000 order for equipment, decide your goals and training style.
Now that you’ve determined your training style, I’ll recommend some things that we see in most home gyms. Again, the best home gym equipment may vary by person, but it’s likely that some of these will find their way into your sanctum of strength.
We likely get sent more photos/videos of home gyms than anyone in the world thanks to our large social media following. I love seeing setups, all of the differences between them, and what things are similar. By far, the item that we see more than any other in a home gym is the almighty barbell and this is for a very good reason. As I stated in an article I wrote for Mark Rippetoe at Starting Strength titled, ‘The Barbell is King’, I said,
“The barbell is simple enough that anyone and everyone could benefit from its use, yet effective enough that even the most advanced trainee should use it.”
There are very few other pieces of fitness equipment that this same statement could work for. Now, as anyone who’s followed me knows, I’m a big fan of the barbell and invest a lot of money in them. As of this writing, I own well over 50 Olympic Barbells (not because I’m a hoarder, but because I review them and like to have them to contrast with newer offerings) and have an ever-increasing collection.
I use the barbell for all sorts of things, but here are a few you’ve definitely heard of:
- Bench Press
- Overhead Press
- Clean & Jerk
Here are a few exercises that you may have never heard of or considered, but I do often:
- Landmine lunges
- Pronated Barbell Rows
- JM Press
- Jefferson Deadlifts
The benefit of a barbell is that it’s relatively cheap to own (they’re cheaper today than at any time in history,) they’re incredibly versatile, and using incremental loading afforded by the combination of a barbell along with weight plates can get you incredibly strong and fit.
Best Barbell For Most People
This is the next generation of the 28.5MM Olympic bar that helped launch the revolution. Now fully machined and assembled at the Rogue factory in Columbus, Ohio, the Rogue Bar 2.0 represents the highest level of precision engineering with a wide range of new features—including stronger 190 PSI steel, durable composite bushings, and CNC-machined groove sleeves with customizable color bands, available hereLike the original flagship Rogue Bar, Version 2.0 still offers convenient dual knurl marks for both Olympic and powerlifting, with a black zinc coated shaft and bright zinc sleeves. The addition of a groove in the sleeve enables athletes and coaches to more easily identify and differentiate bars by changing out the bands. The bar comes standard with Rogue-branded bands, but you can swap them out with any of the additional color options available, or even use any custom, personalized band that matches the dimensions.The Rogue Bar 2.0 is among the first in our arsenal to use composite bushings—a self-lubricating material often found in hi-tech aerospace equipment and military vehicles. For intense, high-rep training, these bushings dramatically minimize friction to both provide a reliable spin and help extend the shelf life of the bar itself.The Rogue Bar helped us cement our reputation at the CrossFit Games and beyond, and we believe the Rogue Bar 2.0 is a worthy successor to that mantle.
The barbell we recommend most often for most people is the Rogue Bar 2.0.
The Rogue Bar 2.0 is one of the most popular barbells in the world. Combining Rogue Fitness’s attention to detail, outstanding customer service, and large manufacturing power, the Rogue Bar 2.0 can perform for nearly every movement or training style imaginable. Not too long ago a barbell featuring 190k PSI tensile strength steel, a bushing rotation system, and a high-quality knurl with a lifetime warranty would have cost you nearly $1,000.
Thankfully, due to the growth of home gym owners and the popularity of basic barbell training, there are now a seemingly endless amount of high-quality barbells for under $300. Although the Rogue Bar 2.0 is our current Top Pick for the best Olympic Barbellfor more people, there are many others worth considering.
Best Powerlifting Bar
Fully machined and assembled in Columbus, OH, the 29MM Rogue Ohio Power Bar features a 205,000 PSI steel shaft (200,000 PSI for Stainless), single powerlifting knurl marks, and center knurling. The bar’s knurl pattern is deep and coarse without being sharp or abrasive, and the 29MM shaft diameter and high tensile strength result in little to no flex or whip. This makes the Ohio Power Bar a perfectly honed workhorse for the bench, squat, and deadlift.The 45LB Ohio Power Bar includes bronze bushings, a snap ring design, and 16.25" of loadable sleeve length.When ordering, you can select from three finish options:Black Zinc shaft with Bright Zinc sleeves Stainless Steel shaft with Chrome sleeves Bare SteelRogue also manufactures a 20KG Ohio Power Bar, with friction-welded sleeves and 16.25" loadable sleeve space.The Ohio Power Bar’s 29MM diameter steel shaft boasts a tensile strength of 205,000 PSI (200,000 PSI for Stainless), delivering superior rigidity and virtually zero whip/flex. Machined and assembled in Columbus, Ohio, the bar also features a snap-ring design and quality bronze bushings for a smooth, consistent feel.The bar includes single powerlifting marks and a center knurl, each featuring a deep, coarse pattern that produces a reliable grip / stick without being sharp or abrasive. Perfecting this knurl pattern is both a science and an art. Every bar shaft is machined in Columbus on new Haas machines (built in the USA) and fine-tuned and personally tested by the Rogue team.Depending on the look and feel you prefer, there is a version of the Ohio Power Bar right in your wheelhouse. The Zinc option (black shaft, bright sleeves) provides excellent corrosion resistance, the Bare Steel creates a classic look and natural feel, and the new Stainless Steel variation (with Chrome sleeves) strikes a balance between the two.The Ohio Power Bar’s quality construction is backed by Rogue’s Lifetime Warranty against bending. This is a barbell equipped for high intensity, everyday use. Please Note: The warranty does not cover damage due to negligent or faulty use, alteration, maintenance, storage or handling by the user, i.e., dropping the bar on a box, bench, spotter arms or pins in a power rack, excessive dropping with insufficient or damaged bumpers, or excessive dropping with iron plates, and similar usage. Any specific issues regarding a Rogue product with which a customer is not satisfied will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
If you want a bar primarily for powerlifting, we again, recommend a Rogue bar that is the general favorite among the community due to its price to features ratio called the Rogue Ohio Power Bar.
The Rogue Ohio Power Bar, also known as the Rogue OPB, has been the go-to power bar for most people for some time. Rogue has combined its large manufacturing power, attention to detail, and ability to create industry-leading products at great prices to create, in our opinion, the best power bar for any strength level. Whether you’re a beginner learning the squat, deadlift, and bench or an experienced lifter, the Rogue Ohio Power Bar can handle whatever you throw at it. It is our top pick for the Best Powerlifting Barbellfor most people.
Best Budget Barbell
CAP Barbell is pleased to offer a series of special custom coated colored weightlifting bars in anticipation of its 30th year in business. We have taken one of the best selling bars available and added unique/ proprietary coatings to create a one of a kind product available exclusively from CAP Barbell. As the world's largest provider of weightlifting products and accessories, CAP works diligently toward offering new quality products that can withstand any environment in which they are used.CAP's Customized Beast Bar utilizes the same specs as the standard Beast bar, but goes one step further by adding Accu-Coat specialty coatings. Make no mistake, this is not just a painted bar. Each of CAP's Customized Beast Bars is coated in the USA by Accu-Coat, Inc. utilizing their proprietary coating processes and specialty finishes. These coatings are high performance, exceptionally durable and rust resistant with proper use and care. They are easy to clean and manufactured to last for years. Feel confident in using these bars in your box, home gym or any institutional/professional setting.Accomodates 2-Inch Olympic plates 1000-Pound weight capacity Black oxide finish with polished steel sleeves Medium-depth diamond knurl
If you just want a cheap barbell that will get the job done, it is easy to order (thank you Amazon) and really doesn’t break the bank then we recommend the CAP Beast Bar. It does have a low tensile strength of 110K PSI, but we’ve been using one for over five years as a beater bar for things like rack pulls and landmine work and it’s still as straight as the day we got it. If you’re squatting over 500 LB, we probably wouldn’t recommend it, but for most people it would work just fine.
Although you definitely need a barbell, in order to maximize the effectiveness of said barbell, you’re going to need some Olympic Weight Plates to slide onto the sleeves.
Weight plates come in two basic varieties:
- Iron Plates
- Bumper Plates
Iron plates are most often made of cast iron, but are sometimes machined out of steel if your goal is to have a perfectly calibrated set of plates. For most people, we suggest iron. The reason being? Iron plates are much cheaper than bumper plates.
Bumper plates are most often made out of virgin rubber and as with iron plates, there are a lot of varieties. If you want to see our full thoughts on the best bumper platesto buy, check out my guide here. In addition to rubber, bumper plates are made out of urethane or even plastic for really light and really cheap plates.
Regardless of whether you choose iron or bumper plates, we suggest checking Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist before buying new. Although we don’t necessarily believe with the argument that “weight = weight” because there are a lot of nuances between plates including durability, we do think that most home gym owners could get away just fine with buying what’s available on the second-hand market.
Despite our recommendation, if you’d like to buy new plates, here are a few we suggest:
Cheapest Iron Plates
Increase the intensity of your workout with the CAP Barbell Olympic Grip Weights. These Olympic weights make an exceptional addition to weight lifting routines. Each CAP weight is made of solid cast iron and features over-sized holes. This allows the user to safely lift and load the weight onto the bar and other equipment. Additionally, it has a semi-gloss finish and convenient grips for added control. Each sold individually.
For those that simply want a cheap plate,the CAP Barbell 2-Inch Olympic Grip Plate is a best seller on Amazon with 500+ ratings and 4.5/5 stars. I have quite a few of these plates that I use on my Reverse Hyper and weight sleds just because they’re cheap. They are a bit smaller than typical IPF approved weight plates, but not enough for it to matter in most garage gyms.
Best Budget Iron Plates
Our highest quality iron Olympic plate, with extreme attention to detail. Colors available are black or dark gray hammertone. Save some money and purchase in either a 255 lb or 275 lb set!*Formerly known as the "Rep Hex Plates"Features:Machine drilled center hole (not cast) for tight fit on bar. Sand blasted and machined for smooth surface. All surfaces rounded, no sharp edges. Sandblast before painting to ensure no surface rust is painted over. Powdercoated and baked for 1 hour for superior toughness and resistance to chipping. Symmetrical grip holes for easy lifting off the ground, and for using individual plates in exercises. Weight tolerance guaranteed within 2% "X" centered in between grip holes on 45, 35, and 25, as pictured on main image.255 lb set includes: (1) Pair of 45, 35, 25, 10, 2.5 lb plates. (2) Pairs of 5 lb plates.275 lb set includes: (2) Pair of 45, 5 lb plates.(1) Pair of 25, 10, 2.5 lb plates.Plate Dimensions (width/diameter)2.5lb - 0.5"/6.25" 5lb - 0.75"/8" 10lb - 0.75"/9" 25lb - 1.5"/12.25" 35lb - 1.5"/14.25" 45lb - 1.5"/17.7"
If you want to upgrade from a basic CAP Barbell plate, we suggest the REP Fitness Equalizer Iron Olympic Plates. We did a full review on the Equalizer Plates and we were honestly surprised how accurate and nice the finish was despite the low price. They’re not as nice as some higher-priced plates like the Rogue 6-Shooter Olympic Grip Plates, but for the price, I think most people would enjoy having the lower-priced plates so they can spend more money elsewhere.
Best Bumper Plates
You'll love our bumper plates because they're going to make you suffer like you never have before. Fringe Sport bumper plates make Sisyphus blush. Like eternally rolling a boulder uphill, our bumper plates will outlast you, laboring for a lifetime. They're durable, so they'll absorb all the punishment you dish out, thin so you can add bigger loads to the bar and super weight accurate. Better yet, unlearn everything you've ever learned about 10 lb bumpers, and drop these at will. Yes, you read that right. Drop the 10s. They won't crumble. After the boulder rolled downhill, did Sisyphus ever find it broken?Think about epic heroes like Luke Skywalker or the Karate Kid. You too are called to training that will involve pain and suffering. We're here to be your Yoda. We invite you to embark your hero's journey. Accept the challenge, and our bumper plates will be the burden that makes you a champion.Step Up to the PlateHere's why Fringe Sport bumpers will lift you up:Steel Insert- Outperforms most bumpers with a higher threshold for abuse without malformation, while machined to exact tolerances to fit all high-quality Olympic bars. Low Bounce with High Durability- Careful rubber formulation softens bounce making for safe use in tight spaces and prevents chipping and falling apart due to brittleness. Boasts years of use in a garage or affiliate. Stability- 10 and 15 lb bumpers feature expertly designed "hooked" steel insert, that remains firmly seated. Offers high durability, making them more stable than most that suffer from fragility and thinness. Thinner- Virgin rubber and higher density slims the plate so you can load more weight on your bar! Standard diameter- Universal matching diameter so you can mix and match to load your bar.
If you’re looking for bumper plates, we suggest our top pick for the best bumper plates this year which are the Fringe Sport Bumper Plates. The Fringe Sport Bumper Plates are some of the best bang-for-the-buck bumper plates on the market. They come in a variety of styles, kilograms or pounds, have a high Shore A Durometer Rating which means a dead bounce, come with a 3-year warranty, and are priced, when shipping is considered, as well or better than just about everyone else. Universally, Fringe Sport is one of the companies least complained about by our readers for customer service and product expectations being met.
Once you have your barbell and plates, you’re going to need a place to use them. Most often, the place that trainees spend most of their time in is the squat rack.
Squat racks range from small, independent squat racks all the way up to the six post, 108” tall monster power rack that currently occupies my garage. We’ve created a guide on how to pick a squat rack that readers have found helpful as well as our guide to the best squat racks (there’s a lot of them.)
There are quite a few different types of squat racks, but the things we feel are most needed in a rack for home use is standard hole size and upright dimensions, a high weight capacity, and the ability to add accessories like pull-up bars.
We prefer the power rack due to the increased safety that comes from being enclosed in a squat cage as well as there being more uprights and holes to fill with attachments.
Rogue Fitness is generally making the best squat racks for most people, although they are definitely more expensive than the competition who are importing steel and racks. Rogue has three different lines of racks, the Infinity, Monster Lite, and Monster Series. Although we used to suggest the Infinity Line for most home gym owners, Rogue hasn’t put as much time creating accessories and providing support for the line as of late, so we’ve since started suggesting the Monster Lite series of racks.
Best Budget Rogue Rack
The Rogue RML-390 Flat Foot Monster Lite Rack is a useful addition to any home gym. Its smaller design allows it to be fit into tighter spaces. The self-stabilizing base feature also means it doesn’t need to be bolted to the floor like a standard rack. Its square base of 48-by-49 inches allows for all around stability and still leaves 30 inches of inside depth. This is available as either a unit that stands alone, or you can convert your SML-2 or SML-3 into this. The Rogue RML-390 Flat Foot Monster Lite Rack includes Westside Hole Spacing for more incremental adjustments in the bench area. This product is also compatible with all Monster Lite attachments such as pull-up bars, spotter, safeties, and lever arms. This product includes a pull-up bar that can be upgraded. It also includes Monster Lite J-Cups and pipe safeties that can be upgraded to straps. The Rogue RML-390 Flat Foot Monster Lite Rack is made in the USA.
The Rogue RML-390F is one of Rogue’s best selling racks due to it featuring all of the great things that come with the Monster Lite line but instead of having to be bolted into concrete or a weightlifting platform, it is free-standing. This rack is extremely heavy-duty, made in the USA, and comes in any color you want so long as that color is black (I’ve pleaded with Rogue to start offering it in different colorways but they’ve refused thus far.)
Folding Rogue Rack
The Rogue Custom Color Fold Back Rack includes all the features of our original retractable Monster Lite RML-3W Power Rack, with the added ability to select your own color finish for the unit's 90.375" uprights.The central design challenge with the Fold Back Rack was to come up with a wall-mount unit that could be folded inward or outward for optimal space efficiency, yet still offer the sturdiness of our standard Monster Lite power racks. To achieve this, our engineering team developed a unique hinge-and-pin system that is both easy to install and rock solid. In use as a squat stand, pull up rig, or power rack, the feel is miles beyond lighter fold-back setups that use thinner steel.The RML-3WC Fold-Back Rack is manufactured in Columbus, Ohio, and includes two laser-cut, 3x3" 11 gauge steel uprights, with Westside hole spacing through the bench/pull area and 2"-on-center spacing above and below. All steel is powder coated in the Rogue factory for a durable finish, with 11 custom color options to choose from.Stringers Included StandardFor optimal support, we're including a pair of stringers with any Custom Color Fold Back Rack order. Made from laser-cut and formed 3x3" 11 gauge steel, these stringers measure 59" long x 10.125" tall, and extend 0.8125" off the mounting surface when installed. One stringer is used to mount the top hinge brackets and the other for the bottom hinge brackets.
If you’re short on space, then we suggest theRogue RML-3WC which is a folding squat rack that allows you to still park in the garage even if it’s filled with gym equipment (this is sure to make your significant other happy.) This is yet another highly rated rack with a super high weight capacity, but with the addition of a wide range of colors and accessories.
Best Rep Fitness Rack
The PR-4000 is a heavy-duty, 1,000 lb rated commercial-grade power rack featuring 3x3” 11 gauge steel with 1” hole spacing through the bench zone and 5/8” pin holes. If you're looking for a "never need to upgrade" home gym power rack, or a centerpiece for your commercial facility weight room, this is it.The PR-4000 re-defines customizability: You're no longer stuck with a pre-configured power rack and overpaying for options. Choose the components you want from our large selection of stock inventory, and have them delivered to your door in about a week or less! Multiple color, height, and depth options combine with an ever-expanding list of accessories and attachments to create the only power rack system you'll ever need.Every rack comes with our top rear logo cross-member which serves as a convenient anchor point for future attachments you may want to add, and from there the rest of the rack is up to you.Our new painting process specially prepares your rack with the most high-end surface prep and care possible, including sandblasting to ensure superior paint adhesion, and a baked on powder coating that will last for years.47" outside-to-outside width allows plenty of room to rack the bar without plates hitting the sides of the uprights, which is a common problem on competitors' 3x3" racks.This color is achieved by using a specially prepared steel combined with a metal grinder and a clear powder coat to give it a raw brushed steel look, while maintaining the rust-resistance of a powdercoat. In addition, the rack shows less wear over time due to the finish and clearcoat making it difficult to notice any imperfections.Standard 3x3" uprights with 5/8" holes ensures compatibility with REP attachments as well as most others on the market. 1" hole spacing through bench zone, and 2" spacing everywhere else.Front Foot extension for working outside the rack without bolting down. Allows you to add spotter arms off the front of the rack and have dedicated setups for benching and squatting without changing j-cup or safety height.Uniquely shaped base stabilizer removes the need to bolt down a 48" depth rack, and also serves as an anchor point for the pulley system and low row foot plate.
Rogue is certainly not the only company making great squat racks, however. A very similar option to the Rogue Monster Lite series is the Rep Fitness PR-4000 Power Rack series which is very similar, except it’s imported from overseas which drops the price pretty dramatically.
RELATED: Best home gyms
The PR-4000 combines excellent features, unlimited expandability, great quality, lots of customizability, and best of all, a great value. It looks and performs nearly as well as any rack on the market at a price that years ago would seem unfathomable.
Budget Titan Rack
The T-2 Series power rack by Titan will help you work out safely and efficiently while performing squats, military press, bench press, curls, shrugs, and more.Featuring a wide walk-in design, it offers plenty of side-to-side movement for a variety of total body exercises. In addition, the rack offers a total of 28 positions, helping it accommodate different heights and exercises.Features: - Capacity: 700 lbs - Weight holders for storage and increased stability - Heavy duty steel J-hooks included - 2" steel uprights - Chin up bar: 1 1/4" diameter
If you just want something that’s going to hold weight or you’re a beginner trying to determine if you really want to workout at home, than the Titan Fitness T-2 Power Rack is worth looking into. It’s not going to have the weight capacity of our other recommendations (700 LB weight limit) but it’s available in both a tall and short version that’s great for basement home gyms and it has Prime Shipping available on Amazon.
If the T-2 isn’t a low enough price, then the absolute bottom of the barrel that we would recommend buying for safety reasons is the Fitness Reality 810XLT Super Max Power Cage.It’s priced extremely low and does have a lat pulldown attachment that is a good option for those that would like one.
Now that you’ve got your barbell, plates, and a squat rack, the next logical choice is going to be a weight bench. The bench press is one of, if not, THE best upper body lift there is (although we actually prefer the overhead press) and although you could get away with doing floor presses, a bench makes it so much more comfortable and versatile.
Due to their price and ease of manufacturing, everyone and their mother is now making and selling benches. For most, a flat bench is good enough. Adjustable benches get expensive quick and there are many ways to turn your flat bench into a do-it-yourself incline bench.
We’ve gone into much more detail in our Best Weight Bench Guide, but here are some quick suggestions.
Cheapest Weight Bench
Enhance your home gym with the AmazonBasics Flat Weight Bench. Whether you’re just getting started or you’re a seasoned trainer ready to take it up a notch, the versatile workout bench functions as a phenomenal foundation for any at-home fitness routine. Burn fat and build muscle with help from the AmazonBasics Flat Weight Bench.The flat weight bench measures 41 by 11 by 17.9 inches (LxWxH) and weighs 24 pounds.Use the workout bench for anything from bicep curls with dumbbells while seated to chest presses and flys with dumbbells while flat on your back. The sturdy equipment also works well for bench presses with a barbell or simple bodyweight exercises like tricep dips off the side or floor-to-bench plank and push-up routines. Easily achieve an intense full-body workout in a small amount of space with the AmazonBasics Flat Weight Bench.Made of high-quality materials, including a heavy-duty steel tube frame, the sturdy equipment stands up to the most rigorous of hard-core workouts. The weight bench provides a smooth PVC top surface for optimal comfort and support, making it easier to keep the focus on your form.The flat weight-lifting workout bench assembles quickly and easily. Weighing 24 pounds, the bench can be moved from basement to backyard or garage or from one apartment to another for flexibility when setting up your home gym. Once in place, the bench offers reliable stability thanks to its upside-down T-shaped legs and feet.
If you just want a flat bench to get by, the AmazonBasics Flat Bench is surprisingly good for the price.We actually tested and reviewed the AmazonBasics Bench to a much higher weight capacity than they suggested and still found it to hold up extremely well. It’s under $50 with Prime Shipping, has a good height, average weight capacity for most users, and assembles quickly.
Best Weight Bench
The Rep Fitness Competition Flat Bench is designed to handle the heaviest weights, and has compatibility with the Rep Fitness Wide Pad or the Thompson Fat Pad (with 4-bolt mounting pattern, please check yours) for those seeking an extra-wide pad.A heavy-duty bench for big lifts.Why a 3-Post Flat Bench? Nothing in the way of your feet, at powerlifting competition spec height, and rated to 1,000 lbs at an incredible price.Dims: 17" high (top of pad), 48" long (pad), 12" wide (pad), 62 lbs. 4" thick pad. Designed to meet IPF specs of height, width, and length Heavy-duty 3x3" 11 gauge steel frame with even thicker connecting plates. Durable vinyl upholstery with 4" thick pad with plywood base. Connects with 4 bolts. 2 extra bolt holes on frame for future pad compatibility. 17" height from floor to top of pad. Our bench height allows athletes to use proper positioning of the feet, and arch the back to push up serious weight with proper form. Height stays the same when using the Rep Fitness Wide Pad. If swapping our pad for the Thompson pad (must be 4-bolt mount pattern), total bench height will increase 1/2 inch, and you will need to purchase (4) 3/8"(dia)x1"(length) bolts. 3-foot design for ease of leveling, and to ensure front support does not get in the way of foot positioning. *Please note* Front foot DOES NOT need to be perfectly flat in order to be stable while you're laying down on the bench. Similar to a tripod--lay down and let all 3 points support you, not just the front foot. Welded metal endcaps Handle and wheels for easy transport. Easy assembly, 15 minutes with a wrench.
If you bench above 300 LB on the regular, we would suggest something more substantial (although it doesn’t cost that much more) and that is theRep FB-5000 Competition Flat Bench.We’ve talked about the FB-5000 to anyone who would listen everywhere we have a voice because it’s just that good of a value. When you factor in the number of great features and detailed thought that went into to the FB-5000 and compare it to the price point as well as the price point of the competition, it’s no wonder that this bench received over 80% of votes when we asked the Garage Gym Community what the “best flat bench for most people” was.
Best Adjustable Bench
The REP AB-3000 FID Adjustable Bench is a great addition to a home gym for its versatility. FID stands for flat, incline, and decline. This bench allows you to hit multiple muscle groups in one compact design. It offers a thick, firm, 2.5-inch pad finished with textured vinyl for added comfort.The REP AB-3000 FID features a seat with a ladder and pin design. It has five adjustable positions, and, unlike other seats, this offers a wide, non-tapered base for more comfort and stability.The back of the bench features seven position options ranging from a negative 20-degree decline to an 85-degree incline. The ladder design on the bench is made with bare steel for durability and helps prevent paint chipping.This bench has a minimal gap at 1.75 inches between the seat and back which is beneficial when using it for flat benching. It has a 1000-pound weight limit for maximum weight tolerance. It is also a 15-minute easy assembly with video instructions.
If you do want to spend the money on an adjustable bench, we would suggest avoiding many of the really cheap options and going for something more substantial like the Rep AB-3000 FID Adjustable Bench. Rep is on the bench list quite often because frankly, they’re making the best overall value benches currently available. It’s obvious that the people behind Rep actually workout as their new product offerings are offering great features at a price point many others aren’t able to hit.
You’ve pretty much got everything you need for a home gym besides some miscellaneous items. Some decide to include cardio equipment in their home gym because they prefer it to doing long runs, bodyweight movements, or sprints outside.
If you’re going to add cardio equipment to your home gym and you want it to be a “budget home gym” than we suggest avoiding a treadmill and either going with an air bike like the Rogue Echo Bike or the best rowing machine like the Concept 2 Model D Rower.
Best Air Bike
The Rogue Echo Bike is durable due to its heavy-duty steel, high quality engineering, and customization that drives it to be stronger than the average fan bike. It is under warranty for up to two years from the date of purchase, assuming that the product is used under normal conditions per the User Guide. Since it is overbuilt, it creates a smoother ride. The Rogue Echo Bike is 127 pounds and has a 350-pound weight limit, which allows it to provide a sturdy foundation for max-outs and outbursts. The Echo Bike is quiet yet consistent due to its belt-driven steel fan blade. It is easily portable and has a battery powered LCD console that lets athletes track everything from distance to calories burned. Due to its weight, the Echo Bike stands sturdy and is not prone to wobbling. Its construct lends itself to balance even when pushed to max output bursts. To add to the stability, there are rubber leveling feet under each base tube that adapt to the ground and create balance even if the floor is not level. The 6.375-inch by 6.37-inch LCD console provides the athlete with a variety of modes. These include different types of intervals, target, and heart rate tracking. The crystal clear console uses two AA batteries, which come with the purchase of the bike. The Echo Bike is finished in a black powdercoat and the steel tubing is 2-by-3 inches, 1.25-by-3 inches, and 1.625-by-3.12 inches. The seat is easily adjustable and padded. It locks into eight different heights and five different front-to-back settings. The grip handles, which are made of rubber and are 1.5 inches in diameter, are a part of the bike’s arms. There is a plate that is provided along with 4.5 inches long rating foot pegs and pedals. You do have to assemble the Echo Bike, but the tools you need are included with your order and align with easy to follow instructions. The fully constructed bike may sound overbearing, but Rouge has included a 1-inch wide set of wheels at the front of the unit, which allows it to easily be rolled around the gym.
The Rogue Echo Bike is by far our favorite exercise bike to be found in garage gyms. Check out my in-depth Rogue Echo Bike review via video and multiple articles because we like it that much. For most of our readers, this is the bike we suggest due to its durability, warranty, availability, and ease of use. If you want to be absolutely smoked at the end of a workout without having to learn a lot of technique or put a lot of thought into it, the Echo Bike is king.
Best Rowing Machine
The Concept 2 Model D Rower is perhaps the most popular rowing machine on the market, found in commercial gyms and home gyms around the world. It provides a low-impact, full-body workout and uses air resistance generated by a fanned flywheel. The Model D has an adjustable damper setting from 1 to 10 allowing you to move with ease or with more resistance and intensity.The Model D comes with adjustable foot-rests, a 14-inch seat height with an aluminum l-beam monorail and stainless steel track for a smooth back-and-forth slide. This is a light cardio machine with wheels, which means you can move it with ease around your space. Also, for storage, the rower can be easily broken down into two segments, hung on a wall with a Rogue wall hanger, or simply tilted upright and stored vertically. The PM5 Performance Monitor gives instant feedback on pace, watts, calories, distance, and rpms. The monitor is easily adjustable, Bluetooth-compatible, and can easily connect to a heart rate monitor or the ErgData app.
The Concept 2 Model D Rower is made in the USA, is considered the gold standard by practically everyone who’s used one, and can be seen in nearly every quality gym in the world. The Model D Rower is perfect for athletes at all training levels as well. There are a ton of rowing machines on the market today (Concept 2 actually created the first rower) yet the Model D is still the best rowing machine ever created…at any price point. Yes, we don’t believe there is a better rower at a price above or below. We also think the Model D is a great value for those in a home gym. If you decide you don’t like it, you can always sell it for practically what you paid for it minus shipping, it’s that sought after.
Best Weight Sled
The Rogue Slice Sled is a dual-capability push/pull weight sled that combines quality steel construction and durability with fold-flat, stackable storage.The Slice Sled is Rogue's first steel speed sled with dual push/drag capability AND a convenient fold-down weight post. The unit comes standard with two 40" upright push handles–the same as found on our popular Dog Sled and the fold-flat weight post is carried over from our Fat Boy, and E Sleds. With a laser-cut hole, sled strap, and carabiner also included, the Slice Sled has few rivals for versatility, and makes a great option for gyms serving multiple athletes of varying skill levels.Each sled weighs 65LB unloaded, and includes a 14" bolt-on center post with a load capacity of well over 300LB depending on the types of plates used. Customers also have the option to add a set of 0.5" thick UHMW plastic skis to their order. When bolted to the underside of the Slice Sled, these skis can greatly reduce the risk of damage to your gym flooring when using the sled indoors.
If you want something minimalist that also has a strength training component then we suggest a sled/prowler like the Rogue Slice Sled that doubles as a push and pull sled, is made from a single piece of steel, and is made to last. Your neighbors probably won’t love you for having one of these, but your legs will (after a few days of the DOMs setting in.)
DIY Home Gym Equipment
I love Do-It-Yourself Projects. There’s just something about working with your hands to create equipment that is going to in turn reshape your body.
There are quite a few different pieces of equipment you can make on your own, but here are a few tutorials that I’ve put together to help you on your journey.
The Climbing Pegboard is the ultimate upper body muscle builder. Forget curls, forget rows, forget isolation. What you need is a healthy dose of pegboard.
If your primary focus is Olympic Weightlifting, you’re going to need a platform.
There’s no better way to stretch and mobilize than with a set of Stall Bars. Enjoy this quick DIY guide.
Build your own slamball that weighs up to 100 lbs. for less than $20.
Buying Used Equipment
One of the easiest ways to save money is through Craigslist.
The majority of items I’ve purchased for my personal garage gym were through Craigslist. Granted you may have to wait a while for the item you want to show up, but often the wait is worth it.
I’d suggest spending no more than 75% of retail, and for a lot of the items that have been used pretty heavily, quite a bit less than that.
If you’re willing to have patience, you can without a doubt come a way a winner.
Where to Put the Home Gym
This is often the next question.
“Coop, all of this equipment looks great, and I know I could save money, but where do I put it?
This can be difficult to answer because unfortunately, not everyone lives in an area where they can have a two-car garage like me:
Although a garage is the ideal place for a home gym, there’s no reason you can’t put it elsewhere, especially if you don’t plan on dropping weights.
There are all sorts of places you could put your home gym; it’s really only limited to your imagination.
One option is to turn a storage unit into a gym. This is has been written on pretty extensively, but if you split the cost of the unit with friends, you could get an awesome, secured space for next to nothing.
One easy way to get inspiration is to follow Garage Gym Reviews on Instagram.
Every week, I post a #GarageGymoftheWeek that one of my followers has sent in. There’s no better way to see all the types of gyms than like this. Here’s one of my favorites:
What to Do Next
If I haven’t convinced you by now that you not only should have a home gym but that it’s also achievable, then I don’t think I ever will.
If you need more inspiration check out the interview I did with Jujimufu here on his apartment gym as well as this detailed write-up on Navy Seal Vet Jocko Willink’s garage gym.
Now, although I’ve discussed in great detail all of the equipment that you should purchase, you could actually just get started with nothing.
Bodyweight training is some of the most practical training styles there is. If you can’t move your own body, what’s the point in moving other objects like barbells and adjustable dumbbells? Although I’m not a huge fan of the program, P90x has gotten lots of people to lose weight and gain some muscle without having to pay a gym membership. If that’s your only option, then do it!
One thing I would suggest is to sign up for our newsletter. This is where I release new articles, deals on equipment, as well as giveaways… and it’s completely free.
So stop making excuses and start making changes. Not only will you not regret making the transition
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