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How to Build a Home Gym in Your Garage (Do It The Right Way)

Michael Garrico
Published by Michael Garrico | Co-Founder & Marketing Director
Last updated: June 28, 2023

Building home garage gyms isn't easy, but the benefits outweigh all potential hazards. Many planning and design ideas are required before starting to build one.

However, as a fitness expert, I have already built a home gym in my garage, and I know all the necessary steps, tips, and tricks to help you along the way.

These pieces of advice will save you much time and headache and ensure you don't forget anything for your perfect garage gym setup.

Quick Summary

  • You should only choose the gym equipment that suits your desired type of training.
  • The most important step for planning garage gyms is space optimization and finding creative ways to place your equipment and free up the floor.
  • Picking a perfect central piece of equipment for your garage gym will save you space and cut costs.

What to Consider Before Building a Home Gym in the Garage?

how to build a home gym in your garage

Before building a home gym in the garage, consider everything from equipment, flooring options, optimum floor space, a perfect rig, gear, lights and music.

These garage gym ideas should guide all your layout and design decisions.

After carefully selecting everything, you can start the building process. In addition, you will know the optimum budget needed for the entire procedure [1].

Now, let's look at the most important garage gym ideas so that you don't make any mistakes and cut the prices as much as possible.

1. Equipment

The first question is what you should put in your home garage gym.

Essential home gym equipment should include the following:

  • Squat racks/power racks
  • Barbells
  • Flat bench/weight bench
  • Bumper plates/iron plates
  • Kettlebell
  • Dumbbells
  • Weight plate tree/weight storage rack

If you want to save space, the best option is to go with good adjustable kettlebells and dumbbells since they won't sacrifice any strength training options but will help you save floor space.

In addition, you can find some innovative adjustable curl bars and barbell bars on the market to further optimize space.

This fitness equipment will cover over 90% of everything you need for strength training at home.

All basic lifts and movements are covered. You may purchase some additional gear if you have other goals for your training other than building strength.

2. Flooring

Close up shot of gym flooring

Suitable gym flooring is the second most important aspect of building a perfect and functional home gym in the garage [2].

If you choose the bad flooring option, there will be potential problems such as noise, mess, and even injury.

Barbell work and Olympic lifting will require you to make your floor so that it can dump the weight.

Horse stall mats are necessary to crash your weights on the ground.

The standard size of these mats is three-quarter inch and will work for most people.

We need those mats to reduce your equipment's tear and wear and soften unplanned landings or falls. Lastly, these mats are excellent for decreasing barbell reverb flowing into your home.

Related: How To Install Home Gym Flooring

3. Optimum Floor Space

It would be best for all home gym owners to do everything possible to max out the floor space. Having your favorite spot for your portable gym allows you to work out comfortably and efficiently.

This can include dozens of things. You can effectively start by cleaning your garage junk and renting a storage pod for the unnecessary stuff.

In addition, parking a car in some other place than the garage is necessary too.

You can figure this out only by yourself, but it is crucial to try and squeeze as much space as possible.

Once you have optimized the space properly, you can start calculating how much flooring you need.

4. Rig Selection

Close up shot of Gym rigs in a home gym

The rig or a quality power rack will arguably be a centerpiece of your home garage gym. You must make your rig selection with great care.

There are options such as:

  • Collapse or retractable rack for space optimization
  • Wall mounted rack
  • A free-standing rig like a squat rack

This is subjective, and you need to choose the power rack according to your needs.

However, you should still have the space optimization step in mind while selecting the centerpiece of your home gym.

5. Gear Leveraging

Gear leveraging is about finding a creative way to put your existing equipment into "the double-duty." Double-duty means making one piece of equipment serve you with more exercises and workouts.

Also, aim to convert a piece of equipment you already have into something useful to you during workout sessions.

This is excellent for both saving space and money on unnecessary equipment.

“Anything in the space should be able to serve more than one purpose.”

- Whitney Cole, Personal Trainer, Pilates Instructor, & Nutrition Counselor

6. Storage Space Optimization

A home gym in a garage

The less equipment you have on the floor, the more space you have for working out.

This is a prerequisite for making your garage home gym more functional. Try to put as much gear on racks, high-quality adjustable weight bench, or some type of object suitable for that.

Having as much space as possible on the floor is important so you can move freely and execute more movements.

A great example is always to put your barbell on the squat rack. If you have one, never leave it standing vertically on the floor. If you have a treadmill, consider putting it in a separate room of your house.

If there is equipment you don't use as regularly as you thought, remove or dispose of the exercise equipment from your home gym.

Check out also this article about how to store workout equipment at home for more tips.

7. Lights & Music

Lights and music belong to the bonus garage gym ideas and are not necessary, but they play a significant role in the quality of your workouts and how enjoyable they can be [3].

Remember that this step is unnecessary and will depend on your situation.

To make your home gym more enjoyable, you must make it well-lit because that will make your workout much easier.

If you are a big music fan, do you plan to buy some quality speakers or just a Bluetooth JBL? Write all these things down and calculate how much the cost is before buying anything.

What Do I Need in a Garage Gym?

Close up shot of gym equipment in a home gym in a garage

In a garage gym, you need dumbbells, kettlebells, a pull-up bar, and an Olympic barbell set.

Consider adding a cable machine, a rower, and resistance bands to make your workouts more versatile.

If you are a fan of free weight training, you only need kettlebells, dumbbells, and a barbell with some weight plates.

This equipment will be enough to cover all muscle groups and types of movement.

However, if you plan to use your home gym for cardio exercises, consider buying cardio equipment such as a treadmill, elliptical, or rower.

If you only want to train with your body weight, the pull-up bar, gym rings, or TRX (Total Resistance Exercise) will do the job.

How Can I Make My Garage Gym Look Nice?

A gym in a garage with good decoration

To make your garage gym look nice, consider different wall colors, types of doors, and colorful flooring. In addition, it would help to keep your garage gym tidy all the time.

You can do plenty of things to make your home gym look nicer.

Here are some of them:

  • Create a multi-purpose space - The different combination of equipment, such as a rowing machine and a yoga mat, can make your garage gym look nicer and more versatile.
  • Open up the space with sliding doors - Bi-fold, sliding doors, or even a glass roof can make your home gym look brighter.
  • Combine a garage gym area with a utility area - You may consider not using all the extra space just for the home gym, but this needs to be taken into consideration too.
  • Implement colorful flooring options - Make your space look more exciting with a bit of investment in colorful flooring.
  • Use every inch of your space - Getting as much gear as possible while keeping your floor empty can add character to your home gym and make it an excellent option for full-body workouts.
  • Keep it tidy - Invest in ample storage to keep your garage gym clean and without unnecessary equipment.
  • Consider all-white design - It will brighten your gym and make it a more excellent place for working out.
  • Create a weight lifting station - It can save more space and make your gym look cleaner by putting all the weight for strength training in the same place.

Related: Josh Bridges' Garage Gym: Private Gym Tour


How Much Does It Cost to Turn Your Garage Into a Gym?

It costs from $500 to $20000 to turn your garage into a gym. The price will mainly depend on the type of equipment and flooring options.

Is a Garage Gym Worth It?

Yes, a garage gym is worth it. Building a garage gym will save you money on gym membership prices in the long run and enable you to avoid bad traffic and crowded gym days.

Do You Need Planning Permission to Convert a Garage Into a Gym?

No, you don't need planning permission to convert a garage into a gym. Permission isn't necessary to build your gym as long as the building structure remains the same.

How to Build a Perfect Home Gym in the Garage?

To build a perfect home gym in the garage, you must carefully plan every step, as shown above.

The most important thing to remember is space optimization. Choosing the proper equipment based on your fitness goals is also crucial.

Sometimes you will need to compromise based on your budget and use a single piece of equipment for multiple purposes.

If you are unsure what the central piece of your garage gym should be, read our guide on the 10 best compact machines for the home gym with multiple exercises and maximum space optimization options.

Let me know how you plan to build your first garage home gym.


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