How To Build A Home Gym (Even With A Small Space)
Staying healthy and active has never been easier. While fitness once relied on a pricey gym membership and crowded, restrictive fitness classes, the concept of working out at home is now more popular than ever before.
Building an awesome home gym isn’t as difficult as you may think. With only a few pieces of basic equipment, creative storage solutions, and the help of live and on-Demand classes, you’ll be able to set up a perfect home gym space that caters to your health and wellness goals.
There’s work to be done and S.M.A.R.T. fitness goals to reach, so let’s cut the chit-chat and get straight to the point. Here’s everything you need to know about how to build your own home gym, even if you have limited space:
When it comes to creating your dedicated fitness sanctuary, the first step is to assess how much space you have. For those with larger homes, garages, or basements, this should be an easy decision. But if you live in the city in an apartment or condo, you’ll need to think more creatively about your home gym.
Focus on two main factors when choosing a location for your home gym:
- Privacy - If you live with family or roommates, privacy is something you’ll want to consider. To avoid disruptions or discomfort when working out at home, choose a space where alone time is attainable. For example, your bedroom or home office may be preferable to the living room in this situation.
- Space - Space should also be accounted for when planning your home gym. Keep in mind that certain exercises—particularly dance, yoga, and functional strength training—may have you contorting your body into some interesting positions. Rather than restricting your movement, it’s best to find an area that offers ample space. Choose the least furnished room in your house as the home gym, or furniture that can easily be moved.
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While everyone’s fitness goals are different, these essentials are designed to give you a full range of workouts without going overboard. For a fully functional home gym that won’t take up too much space, here’s what you can buy:
Weight lifting is great for any gym routine. Whether you’re looking to burn fat quickly or build muscle, strength training activates your muscles, increases your heart rate, makes you stronger for daily activities, and increases your metabolism.
Free weights, or dumbbells, are a wonderful addition to any home gym for condo dwellers, as they’re small and easy to store without the need for a dumbbell rack. Remember to keep your form in mind, and only lift what you’re capable of to avoid injury and increase progress. With MIRROR’s smart digital dumbbells, you’ll get form tips and technique adjustments in real-time, so you can perfect your lifts and work the right muscles.
With this said, there are ways to do strength training at home without equipment.
Ankle weights are an instant way to make bodyweight exercises more challenging. You can wear them while doing exercises like leg lifts and donkey kicks to sculpt and tone the leg and glute muscles, or even add them to your next Pilates workout for an added burn. For an immersive experience, opt for connected ankle weights, which pair seamlessly to MIRROR to offer technique fixes in real-time.
Resistance bands are going to play a slightly different role in your workout routine.
They’re used to create variable resistance between body parts, such as the legs or the arms. Bands rely on gravity, elasticity, and bodily force to create resistance, which allows them to be much smaller, more lightweight, and perfect for your home gym setup.
Yoga is a great workout on its own, and it also makes a perfect warm-up and cool-down for other exercises. Whether you practice yoga frequently—or fit some light stretching in once in a while—a yoga mat is a must-have for any home gym setup.
This lightweight, affordable piece of equipment also provides necessary padding for floor work. A yoga mat will take up little space in your home and prove to be useful in a number of different ways.
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Jump rope or speed rope
If you want to raise your heart rate with little exercise equipment, look no further than your standard jump rope. Jumping rope can burn up to 10 calories per minute, and 300 calories in a half-hour workout. The best part about using a jump rope for cardio exercise? It’s going to cost a fraction of the price compared to a treadmill or stationary bike. A jump rope will be ideal for home gyms with limited workout space.
If you have a separate room or garage and are a heavy weight lifter, consider the following:
A squat stand, while a larger piece of equipment, is still basic enough to fit into a smaller room. It contains only a tower with holes, in which you can attach brackets to hold a barbell and bumper plates.
A squat rack is similar to a squat stand, however, has a wider base and top bars on the front and back for extra support. It also allows for more customization with rack accessories.
This is the Full Monty. A power rack has adjustable horizontal bars to accommodate your height, safety bars in case you drop your weight, and a pull up bar and dip bars attached.
These will all require bumper plates and barbells for proper use. Because these are larger and pricier pieces of equipment, consider purchasing used equipment on places like Facebook Marketplace if you’re just starting out.
If you’ll be adding bench press, chest press or even tricep dips to your routine, consider an adjustable bench, which allows you to change the angle of the seat all the way from flat to act as a dip station to upright at 90 degrees. If you have a small workout or fitness space, a chair is a great alternative to a bench.
No equipment? No Problem
MIRROR is designed to fit seamlessly in your home—and that may mean the living room or bedroom where storing gym equipment may not be realistic. Many workouts can be done without equipment, such as Pilates, Yoga, and Dance Cardio so you can get your sweat on immediately. If you do have a small collection of gym equipment at home, you can input any items you have, as well as any injuries, limitations or workout preferences to get customized workout suggestions tailored to your needs.
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A commercial gym doesn’t have to worry about storing their equipment. Your house or apartment, on the other hand, may become a bit crowded when you start building your own home gym.
This is why proper storage is going to be crucial for your at-home workout equipment. Try using these simple storage solutions to keep your body and home in tip-top shape:
- Ottoman storage – If the living room is your preferred workout area, an ottoman can act as both equipment storage and a stylish furniture piece. Look for an ottoman with a removable top, and keep lightweight equipment inside. This is an ideal spot for small weights, cables, and bands. Anything that’s larger or heavier, however, is going to require more room.
- Under the bed storage – For a slightly more expansive setup, the area under your bed is a great place for storing at-home gym equipment. Heavier weights can be stored here without the risk of breaking furniture, and you’ll also have plenty of space for yoga mats and other equipment. If you want to keep things tidy, look for a compact organizer that fits between your bed frame and the floor.
- Shoe rack – For light equipment and workout attire, an over-the-door shoe rack is an easy way to keep your gym gear organized and off the floor. Fill each slot with sneakers, resistance bands, and any other equipment that falls under the rack’s maximum weight limit. While a fabric or plastic rack may be cheaper, a sturdy metal one can offer better storage for your weights and bands.
- Cabinet – A stylish cabinet can be used as a spacious storage unit that fits in any room. Find a furniture piece with several slots and opaque doors if you want to keep your equipment out of sight. This option can also double as a TV stand or bookshelf for a more seamless look that won’t disrupt your decor.
- Separate room – When it comes to larger equipment, a separate room is going to be the best option for storage. A bench or squat rack can be kept in the garage, basement, or a guest room, and larger dumbbells may be better off here too.
Home gyms don’t have to be strictly utilitarian. In small spaces like apartments or condos, you’ll want your home gym to blend in with the rest of your home. This is a chance to get creative and develop a comfortable, personalized, and stylish space. Consider your space and equipment, and come up with a home gym layout that works for you. Consider adding plants, motivational quotes, and soft lighting to really make this space your sanctuary.
If you want to keep your home gym setup sophisticated and minimal, MIRROR offers a sleek design. The elegant, full-length mirror opens up your space and acts as a virtual personal trainer and fitness studio. Its simple design fits beautifully into any home setup and compact exercise classes give you the freedom to work out in your bedroom, living room, dining room, and more.
MIRROR: A New Way to Workout
Now that you’ve planned out your home gym, it’s time to get fit with MIRROR. You’ll be able to get an intense workout every day, with no waitlists, no crowded parking lots, and all within the privacy of your home.
If you’re truly passionate about building the ultimate home gym, MIRROR is your perfect partner.
Try MIRROR at home for 30 days risk-free and get access to unlimited live and on-demand workouts for as low as $0 down and 0% APR.