17 Home Gym Hacks (Simple DIY Tips From an Expert)

Christiana Mikesch, CPT
Published by Christiana Mikesch, CPT | Senior Coach
Last updated: November 27, 2023
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You can implement many gym hacks today to save more space in your home gym, make it more interesting, and optimize your workouts.

In my fitness career, I moved around a lot and had home gyms everywhere I went.

I discovered many home and commercial gym hacks over the years and hope to share some of them with you today.

This article will help you learn how to optimize and improve your home gym to get the best fitness results.

Quick Summary

  • Cutting tennis balls can be extremely useful for landmine exercises, and adjustable dumbbells to protect your equipment and gym floor.
  • One of the easiest hacks to avoid the bad smell of your knee sleeves or wrist wraps is to put them in the freezer.
  • Buying a phone magnet can be useful if you love using your phone during workouts and between sets.

17 Best Home Gym Hacks

A woman working out at her home gym

I tested all the top home gym hacks on the list in my home gym setups.

These seventeen hacks will save you time, cut potential costs, and optimize your daily workouts.

Some of these hacks can be implemented in both a home and a commercial gym.

"If you've got the space and a bit of a starter budget, you're in luck. Building a home gym isn't as hard or as intimidating as it might sound. When you're working out at home, you don't have to deal with the potential drawbacks of commercial gym fitness life."

- Alex Polish, Certified Personal Trainer. 

1. Use Workout Bands for Forearm Training

Workout bands are an excellent option for forearm training [1]. You can create your wrist-rolling tool with a barbell, band, and band peg.

You only need to attach the band to the band peg and then tie it off.

Wrap the band around your barbell, and you are ready to go. In addition, workout bands are excellent for performing rotator cuff exercises, including internal and external rotation.

Implementing these simple rotations with the workout band can reduce the risk of potential injury. 

You only need two sets for each rotation exercise before every workout.

2. Utilize 1-Inch Spacers

Have you ever faced attachment issues due to the width of your squat rack's holes?

If so, you can attach a 5/8" attachment with a bolt within a 1" rack to fix the problem.

You only need to slide them in the hole to secure your garage gym equipment.

3. Cut Tennis Balls for Landmine Work

A person holding a tennis ball to the camera

Cutting the tennis ball to perform landmine presses, rowing variations, and similar is an excellent option to protect your barbell and wall simultaneously.

In addition, using the tennis ball can make your barbell more stable and reduce the unnecessary sliding of your barbell.

You only need to cut the tennis ball in quarters and then slide it onto the end of your barbell.

You can place your barbell in the corner of your home gym or between two weight plates.

4. Make Your Fat Grips

Making fat grips is not hard, and you can save money by making them yourself.

All you need for making your fat grips are PVC pipe (about 2" diameter) and foam pipe insulation to fit a 1" pipe.

These diameters ensure that the internal diameter is perfect for a normal grip.

5. Implement Jack Shaft Garage Door Opener for Overhead Space

Close up shot of a garage door

Removing the typically tracked garage door opener installed in the ceiling can make more overhead space.

Most garage gyms have this problem, and removing garage doors makes your garage gym safer for exercising.

Remember that this isn't cheap, but it is worth it to free up space and make your garage gym safer for performing exercises like pull-ups and overhead presses.

6. Save Floor Space With S-Hooks

S-hooks are the perfect solution for storing resistance bands and heavy chains in your home gym.

Place it the whole of an upright and then use it to get the unnecessary gym equipment from your home gym floor.

When buying S-hooks, try to look for those built from steel since the regular or plastic ones will wear off or break quickly.

7. Freeze Your Knee Sleeves/Wrist Wraps

A woman taking off knee sleeves

If your knee sleeves or wrist wraps smell terrible after every workout, this hack comes in use.

Throwing them into the washer machine or soaking them in diluted water is also a solution, but these things create extra wear and tear.

I tried this hack multiple times, and the only downside is that the sleeves will be slightly frosty but won't smell bad.

It isn't the permanent solution but it provides a quick and easy fix.

That's why buying high-quality wrist wraps for your home gym is important.

8. Use Leg Rollers for Preacher Curls

Leg rollers can be a solution if you don't have extra cash to spend on a preacher curl bench.

Leg rollers are cheap, and you can use them to prepare yourself for an entire workout and perform preacher curls [2].

However, if you want to use it for the latter, you need a leg roller that is solid and doesn't have any spikes on it.

If you choose the one with spikes, you can hurt your hands while performing the exercise.

Foam rollers are one of the best solutions, and they are the cheapest.

Related: Best Leg Press Machines for Home Gym: Reviews

9. Place Flex Tape on Your J-Cups

A person holding flex tape to his face

You need J-cups if you want to protect your barbell. Remember never to spend money on J-cups with plastic covering because they won't last.

Always choose the ones with the metal covering since they are more durable.

If you can only afford cheap J-cups, you can cover them in flex tape to prevent metal-on-metal wear.

Always place it on the inside of your J-cup.

10. Use Tennis Balls for Adjustable Dumbbells

Cutting and placing the tennis ball on your adjustable dumbbells can further protect your gym equipment.

Also, adding the tennis ball to your adjustable dumbbells will protect your thighs if you ever rest your dumbbells on them between sets.

To cut the tennis ball correctly, quarter and place them at the end of your adjustable dumbbells. 

If you don't have horse stall mats, this can protect your floor if you perform man-makers or burpees with dumbbells.

11. Try a Phone Magnet

A person putting a phone magnet on a phone

If you love chilling on your phone between the sets or need it due to the nature of your job, then phone magnets are a must.

You can stick your phone magnet on your a quality power rack.

This can also protect your phone from getting hit by weight plates and other gym equipment; you will always know where you left your phone.

Also, a phone magnet can be an excellent solution if you like to play music over the phone in your home gym.

It can serve as a little station where you can always come back to play another of your favorite songs [3].

12. Store Equipment With Metal Pegboard

With a metal pegboard, you can store 90% of your gym equipment and free up the floor space to move freely and perform exercises without worrying about getting injured.

You can store everything from weight plates to handles and random equipment attachments.

They are affordable, so always look to buy the ones built from steel since they are the most durable.

13. Get some Garage Door Lights

Close up shot of a garage door with lights

These lights come in use if you hate when the lights above your garage door get blocked out by your garage door.

Install some strip lighting in the door, which you can turn on when the garage door is up.

It will add some awesome light to your home garage gym.

14. Check Secondhand Marketplaces for Equipment

Secondhand marketplaces offer solutions if you are on a tight budget and need to buy a lot of fitness equipment for your garage gym.

Most of this equipment is in good condition, and you can cut costs in half by purchasing them.

However, always check for potential issues, especially when buying cardio machines like treadmills or ellipticals. Dumbbells, kettlebells, and similar are almost always without any damage.

15. Bring Your Barbell Inside in the Winter

I learned this hard, especially when my working out regime included morning workouts.

Every home gym owner knows how annoying it is to exercise with an ice-cold barbell, and that's why you should always bring it with you and somewhere where it is not cold.

16. Put a Fridge in Your Gym

A couple buying a fridge for a home gym

Putting a fridge in your home gym can be extremely useful if you are a big fan of drinking cold water and having cold protein shakes available.

This can be useful if you are working out in the basement or the garage and need more time to get to your drink and food.

If you have a specialized home locker room, put it there to save space in your main room for exercising.

17. Build a Boxing Bag From Tires

You can save a lot of money if you have old tires, which can easily be turned into a great boxing bag.

All you need to do is bolt the heavy tires together and hang them on your home gym ceiling.

Remember that heavy tires can easily injure you if you hit them without proper boxing bandages and high-quality gloves.

Related post: Best Weight Bench for Home Gyms: Review

FAQs

How Can I Make My Home Gym Look Better?

You can make your home gym look better by implementing rubber flooring, bright colors, and mirrors. In addition, you can optimize your home gym floor space by purchasing foldable and adjustable compact equipment to make it even nicer.

What Are the Best Colors for Home Gyms?

The best colors for the home gym are white, red, blue, and orange. White will make the room brighter, red and orange more energetic, and blue will evoke calmness and make your home gym look cleaner.

How Can I Maximize My Home Gym Space?

You should purchase foldable and adjustable equipment to maximize your home gym space. Adjustable dumbbells will free up unnecessary space from your floor, and foldable equipment can easily be stored further to free up space in your home gym.


References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6383082/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6465761/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8167645/
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