A lot of people I work with think I’m crazy for giving advice on how to set up a CrossFit garage gym because they think I may be losing potential work. To be honest, I prefer to hear that people have invested in garage gym equipment rather than do no exercise at all though.
I’m a big fan of strength and endurance workouts, and I also know how many of my friends and family struggle to get motivated to go to the gym. That feeling sitting on the couch after a tough day at work, and the last thing you want to do is get back in your car and drive to the gym.
For my clients with limited time, I always recommend a CrossFit workout program; but the class times can be inconvenient, and they’re not cheap. If this sounds familiar to you, then you may be surprised at how quickly and cost-effectively you can set up with your own home CrossFit gym.
Let’s dive right in.
What Do You Need To Do CrossFit At Home?
To do CrossFit at home you will need to invest in a few pieces of equipment, including a barbell with bumper plates, kettlebells, dumbbells, jumping rope, medicine ball, weight bench, pull up bar, and a plyo box, to name the most important ones.
But before you go out and just randomly choose some equipment at a discount store, make sure you go through the following items to make sure that your garage gym won’t become a safety hazard.
1. Weight Lifting Barbell
From front squats to shoulder press and deadlift, it is one of the most versatile pieces of equipment you can invest in. If you have done some CrossFit classes for a while, you will probably have been introduced to some of the more advanced moves.
It might seem like an impossible move at first, but the Olympic style lifts don’t take that much practice.
With a reasonably low weight load, you can even get used to The Snatch in a few sessions. But to do these right, you have to consider looking at Olympic barbells, and the one I see in many gyms these days is the 20kg Rogue Olympic WL Bar.
At 7 feet long, and available with and without center knurl, it’s very suitable even for professional use. Starting with a good bar will make all the difference in your success.
2. Set Of Bumper Plates And Collars
For some people, just the basic barbell will be enough for a lot of exercises, but as your fitness and strength improve, you’ll quickly need to add some weights. Especially for moves like squats and deadlifts, you’ll probably need to add quite a bit of weight.
I would generally recommend that you invest in sets of bumper plates, and don’t underestimate the sizes you’ll need.
The good news is that the above barbell can be ordered with matching plates that range from 5 to 45 lbs. They are also available in just the bare metal or painted in different colors to make it easier to pick the right ones. And don’t forget to add some collars to the order as well. Safety always comes first.
3. Power Rack
One thing I always recommend is that you leave enough free space in your garage gym to have a rack installed.
As you get stronger, you’ll be able to pile on quite a bit of weight, and many squat movements will become difficult, even impossible, to do without having the ability to rest the barbell safely.
You don’t have to invest thousands of dollars, but for a few hundred bucks, you can have a wall mounted rack that can double function as a pull up bar.
Rogue Fitness has one of the largest selections available, so make sure you check out the ones in your budget range.
If you've got a pull-up bar at home, you've got everything you need for an epic workout! With just the bar and your bodyweight, you can work every single muscle in your body.
I’m a huge fan of kettlebells, and I always include them in exercise plans for clients. The great thing about them is that they maximize the number of muscle groups and range of motion in each individual move.
The result from this is your body works harder in a shorter space of time, and by targeting multiple muscle groups, you will also maximize growth hormone production. (1)
Basically, you will burn more body fat while at the same time conditioning more lean muscle mass. You get stronger and look a lot more ripped, all using the same amount of time, just a different piece of equipment.
One of the best selections of kettlebells is offered by Rogue where you can get everything from 9 lb to 203 lb (yes, that is more than the average person weighs). From customer reviews and my own use of them, I can tell you that they will take quite a beating without getting damaged.
If you’ve ever had problems with your back, then you know how difficult it can be to do many of the ab exercises. The problem is that doing CrossFit without doing a lot of ab work is not going to give you the full effect.
Before you think “I don’t have back problems, so I’ll just skip over this one,” I would strongly advise that you spend a few dollars to help you prevent lower back strain.
The product I generally recommend is the Athlos Fitness Ab Mat, mainly because it is durable and offers some padding for your buttocks as well. And looking at all the positive reviews online, it really is one of the top rated ones.
6. Jump Rope
If you’ve ever come to some of my fitness classes, then you’ll know that I always hand out jump ropes at the start. Rather than get people to get bored on the typical treadmill, cross trainer, or bike, I like to make things a bit more fun.
Using a jump rope is excellent for warm up and cardio routines, and it’s a load of fun. It also improves your overall health. (2)
It might take a few tries to get into the rhythm, but once you get the hang of it, you can easily increase the speed for more intense training sections.
The one I hand out at my classes is the Fitness Factor Adjustable Jump Rope. It’s very affordable, durable, and you can easily adjust it to your height. If you’re above or below the average height, then that will be worth a lot. If you have the budget, then get yourself a quality pair of Rogue Speed Rope as it will last you years.
Here's a 5-min jump rope workout vid that you can follow to get you started in your CrossFit training.
7. Medicine Ball Or Slam Ball
Like kettlebells, you can create some amazing moves that target your legs, core, arms, and back for a routine that will have you out of breath in a matter of seconds.
If you really enjoy pounding one of these into a wall or the floor, then I would suggest the TRX Training Slam Ball.
I’ve seen these in loads of gyms, the online reviews are pretty good, and you’ll struggle to make any dent in it.
8. Weight Bench
Whatever you do, don’t just grab a spare kitchen or workshop bench and put some towels on it.
Not only will they not stand up to the weight, they can do some serious harm to your back and joints.
A well-designed weight bench will be padded and adjustable to your height so that you can easily perform your moves while giving you full support and comfort.
A lot of the dumbbell exercises that I love to use one of these benches, and you’ll be surprised how easily they can be adapted for dozens of different moves.
The one I have been using and recommending most is the Rogue Flat Utility Bench. It’s more stable than any others that I’ve had at home and at the gym and is available with a convenient storage hanger.
Dumbbells are probably as important as a barbell, and even though they don’t give you as much flexibility in the moves as kettlebells, for really targeted muscle work, they just can’t be beaten.
You’ll find that dozens of different CrossFit routines will use them, and having a good selection of them will be important.
I would recommend that you don’t go for an adjustable set, as it can take too long to switch them around.
The ones I like the most are the Rogue Dumbbells. Not just because they are very solid and hard wearing, but the hexagonal shape means they won’t roll around and can even be used as push-up bars.
10. Plyometric Box
You won’t get far in CrossFit without a plyometric box and under no circumstances should you try and DIY something out of stuff you have at home. I did this once, and it almost ended in disaster.
I was lucky to just have a few scratches as the storage box I was using collapsed; the damage to my ego was a lot bigger though, and thank god there were no cameras around.
Jump training is a lot of fun, and a plyo box will help you to create some tougher moves that will drain you a lot quicker.
If you look up some YouTube videos of the CrossFit games, then you might be able to spot some of the Rogue boxes which are available in quite a few sizes. They are sturdy and angled perfectly to avoid toppling over.
11. Glute Ham Developer
This is not your typical garage gym equipment, but if you want to have the widest range of routines form a typical CrossFit program, then it’s something you should seriously consider.
By simply using your own body weight to create strain on your glutes and hamstrings, you can achieve some rather effective results.
The moves you do are also a lot easier on your shoulders and back compared to squats and deadlifts, which target the same areas. So, if you have had trouble with these areas, then try out a GHD.
The one that has received the largest amount of positive reviews is the Rogue Abram GHD 2.0. What most people point out as it’s best feature is how quickly you can adjust it for different exercises, meaning no waiting around while you should be working out.
Hamstring raises on the glute-ham developer (GHD) might be one of the best exercises you are not doing. They build powerful hamstrings that might improve sprinting speed and jumping ability. And they provide a great way to focus on the posterior chain without loading the back as in good mornings and deadlifts.
12. Rope Climbing Kit
This can be a tough one for a garage gym as you will need a bit of height in your garage to make it worth your while. It’s not one of my favorite exercises because I’m not the biggest fan of heights.
But, as far as effectiveness goes, it’s up there with using a pull up bar as it targets a load of different muscle groups at the same time.
When it comes to these kits, you definitely don’t want to scrimp and buy the cheapest thing you can find. Again, the company Rogue has a great option that is available in different lengths, and I would generally suggest only getting one if you have a 10’ high ceiling.
13. Battle Rope
These have quickly become a very popular tool for CrossFit classes, and if you have tried it out, then you know how quickly it will bring you to the burn.
The concept is really simple in that you attach a heavy rope to a wall, and you have to create some waves by lifting the ends.
It absolutely kills your arms and shoulders, and it’s very easy to engage your core as well. It also improves overall performance in sports or any types of workout. (3)
You will find that even the cheaper ones available are pretty good and perfectly suitable for home use.
The price generally goes up depending on weight and length, but a good one to start with is the Titan Poly Battle Rope, which I’ve had at home for a few years now.
Here are some tips on how to use battle ropes like a pro!
14. Gymnastic Rings
Similar to a climbing rope, these rings only make sense if you have a good bit of ground clearance in your garage gym.
Basically, the sets usually include two rings that attach to the end of a nylon strap or rope.
They need to be securely attached to a ceiling point, and you can use them for a load of different suspension moves.
It’ll be a while before you look anything like an Olympian, and if you’ve never used them before, then they are probably not the highest priority.
If you do decide to buy them, then make sure you get ones with a good grip, and I would suggest considering the REEHUT Gymnastic Rings with Adjustable Straps. We’ve used these at my gym for quite a while, and the online reviews match my experience with them.
15. Rowing Machine or Air Bike
When it comes to these, I generally say that you don’t need both, but one of them should be in your CrossFit garage gym.
Between warm-up routines and some high-intensity work to really get you into those upper heart rate zones, these are machines that won’t be gathering dust.
I generally find they both work very well, just in slightly different ways.
Find out for yourself which one you prefer and then consider one of the following Rogue Fitness options.
For a rower, you simply cannot go wrong with the Concept 2. It’s heavy-duty and comes with easy to set adjustments to switch intensity. Just make sure you also get one of the mats to stop it from slipping.
The Echo Bike is one of my personal favorites, and it’s very likely you’ve spotted one of these at your local gym. Given the size and how sturdy it is, you’ll be surprised how easy it is to move around.
Bonus Tip: CrossFit Starter Package
At this stage, you’re probably wondering how much all this will end up costing you. I’ll cover this in a bit more detail below, but there is one excellent option that will help you save a ton of money.
Rogue Fitness offers a CrossFit Box Starter Kit which is ideal for a home and garage gym setup.
It contains the majority of the must-have items, including:
The only thing you would really need to consider getting is a weight bench, a pull-up bar, and possibly some extra bumper plates. I know quite a few people who have bought this, and they are very happy with it.
Why Should You Set Up A CrossFit Gym At Home?
The main reasons why you should set up a CrossFit gym at home is that it can provide significant cost savings, gives you more flexibility around when you can exercise, and you can tailor your training routines around what you enjoy the most.
Let’s look at these in a bit more detail.
1. Serious Long-Term Savings
While I do have to say that CrossFit gyms offer very good services, they come at quite a steep price.
2. Exercise When It Suits You
By having a garage gym with the right equipment, you can do all your training when the time suits you best. You don’t have to figure out when it’s not as busy at the gym, and if you have family or a hectic job, then having the gym at home will mean the difference between going or becoming lazy on the couch.
The last thing you want after a long commute home is to face into another commute to your nearest CrossFit gym.
3. Focus On The Exercises You Enjoy
When you join CrossFit classes, it can be difficult to skip over certain exercises, and you can end up waiting around for equipment to free up. With your own personal setup, you can focus on getting everything you need for your favorite routines.
And there will be absolutely no waiting around either.
With constantly varied, high-intensity functional movements, CrossFit is a training philosophy that coaches people of all shapes and sizes to improve their physical well-being and cardiovascular fitness in a hardcore yet accepting and encouraging environment.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can I do CrossFit at home?
Yes, you can do CrossFit at home as long as you have the right equipment in your garage gym. As long as you know how to do all the different moves and exercises, there is no reason why you shouldn’t get set up at home.
2. How much does it cost to build a home CrossFit gym?
It costs about $2,500 to $3,000 to build a home CrossFit gym with the minimum amount of equipment. Once you are set up with the basics, you can then gradually add more gear to allow you to vary the routines.
3. How much does CrossFit membership cost?
CrossFit membership costs on average $150 per month dependent on the city you live in and the size of the gym. This is why so many people are creating their own gyms at home.
4. Is CrossFit worth the money?
Yes, CrossFit is worth the money, whether you pay for membership or you set up your own gym at home. The style of training and mix of varying intensity levels provides amazing results for weight loss and muscle building.
5. Can children do crossfit?
Yes, your little ones can do crossfit. It's a great way for them to get fit and healthy when they're young. Check out our guide on the recommended crossfit equipment for kids gear.
As long as you have enough space to set up a CrossFit garage gym, not just to get all your gear in, but also enough space to be able to move around during your workouts, then there are significant advantages to this kind of setup.
You can train when it suits you without waiting for machines to free up, and you can really set yourself up for those routines you enjoy the most.
Add to that the cost savings in the long run, and it really is a simple decision.
I highly recommend checking out the starter pack from Rogue to save a load of money in the process.
1. Budnar RG Jr, Duplanty AA, Hill DW, McFarlin BK, Vingren JL., The acute hormonal response to the kettlebell swing exercise., retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24714543
2. Chen CC, Lin SY., The impact of rope jumping exercise on physical fitness of visually impaired students., retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20869201
3. Chen WH, Yang WW, Lee YH, Wu HJ, Huang CF, Liu C., Acute Effects of Battle Rope Exercise on Performance, Blood Lactate Levels, Perceived Exertion, and Muscle Soreness in Collegiate Basketball Players., retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30024481