[LifeHack] Build Your own Home Gym

home gym barbellIf you are like me and hate the thought of heading to the gym after work when you know it is going to be packed, then it may be time for you to start thinking about building a home gym like I did. This way you don’t get stuck sat on a shoulder press your entire “upper” workout.

My brothers and I worked out that building a home gym would save us money in the long run.  Instead of spending $50 a month each we all chipped in and have now accumulated enough equipment that I have friends that ask if they can come workout in my gym instead of going to their commercial gyms.

Starting out

We started off with a little bench press with a spinlock barbell and dumbbells that were positioned in the back of the living room. My mum got sick of us making a noise while she was trying to watch tv. So, after constant moaning we decided to upgrade the kit and move to another place.

I am fortunate enough to live on a farm and finding space wasn’t too much of an issue and there was an old beaten up portacabin that only needed a lick of paint and a bit of work to the floor then we had the perfect place.

It may not have the air conditioning like most commercial gyms and was a sweat box in the summer and you needed three hoodies on in the winter, but it was now home.

Now that we had plenty of free space we decided it was time to get serious and get some extra equipment. Firstly, we bought a power rack, new weight bench, Olympic Barbell set and Olympic dumbbells.

We also had a multi gym that my parents bought us one Christmas and it had all the standard features such as lat pulldown, chest press, chest fly, leg extension, shoulder press and leg raise attachment. It has served us well, but we accidentally broke it by adding too much extra weight.

After a few years of training away we reached a stage where our lifts were beginning to take their toll on the floor in the gym. So, we had to think of a way to make sure the bar wasn’t going to smash through the floor while deadlifting and take our feet with it.

The current setup

We decided that we needed a solid floor under our feet and converted an old horse stable into the new and improved gym. I work in construction and converting it was no problem. We just had to level up the floor and slap some plasterboard on the walls and give it a lick of paint.

home gym setup

As this new gym was even bigger and we had broken the multi gym we decided to splash out and invest in a cable crossover in form the of a Bodymax CF820. This is piece of kit is what has really taken our workouts to the next level.

Our complete collection of Home Gym Equipment

  • Bodymax cf375 power rack, recently upgraded to Bodymax CF475
  • Dips attachment for the Bodymax CF475
  • Bodymax CF510 Adjustable bench
  • 2 x Olympic bar bells
  • Over 250 kg Olympic weight plates
  • 2 x Olympic dumbells
  • E-z Olympic barbell
  • York multi gym (now broken, our fault)
  • Bodymax CF820 cable crossover
  • Calf raise step (I made from old scaffold planks)
  • Preacher curl (addon for bench)
  • Leg extension (addon for bench)
  • Rowing machine
  • Spinlock E-Z and dumbbells (I used to take to uni)
  • Sound system (essential)

With all this kit we can do the majority of exercises you would do in any commercial gym.

You can definitely build a good home gym for under $1500, which may still seem like quite a lot compared to the $50 a month membership you may be currently paying but just remember you still have the value of the gym kit if you decided to sell it.

If you are now considering building your own home gym here are my top tips to bear in mind.

What exercises do you want to do?

Depending on what exercises you plan to do will have an impact on what you actually need instead of what you want.

This may seem very obvious, but it is something that can often become forgotten about when you are watching the world’s strongest man and decide to buy a truck tire when all you actually want to do is lose a bit of your muffin top.


How much do you plan on lifting?

There is a huge range of gym equipment out there with different maximum capacities. If you plan on squatting very light then there is no need for a power rack capable of withstanding a world record lift.

However, if you are like me and your goal is to increase your strength that you may wish to spend a little more to save money in the long run. If I had thought about this from the beginning I wouldn’t have needed to buy a second power rack.


Where will you put the equipment? How much room do you have?

Obviously if you don’t have the free space from a cable crossover there isn’t much point in buying one. So, you need to think about how the layout of your gym will work with the kit you intend on filling it with.


What is the floor like in this space?

Firstly no matter what lifts you plan on doing your floor should be level.

Secondly it needs to be strong enough to take the kind of abuse it is likely to receive. If you plan on doing some heavy Olympic lifts it needs to be able to take some serious punishment.

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