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26 Experts Share Tips On Setting Up The Perfect Home Gym

Are you thinking of getting some workout equipment and setting up a home gym?

Whether you live in a small apartment or a large single family home, there’s a good chance that you need a bit of help with the details here.

To help you out, we’ve enlisted some home fitness and home gym experts with experience on this very topic.

Prepare to stop paying those monthly gym memberships and outfit the perfect home gym right inside your own home.

Check out these tips from our the experts we consulted.

nice home gym

1. Know Your Fitness Goals

In setting up a home gym, one should decide on their fitness goals.

If someone wants to build strength, they will need real weights or resistance bands because 4 lb. dumbbells will not do the trick.

Similarly, if one is going to do yoga or stretching, they will want to have a comfortable mat, a soothing décor, and perhaps a good music system.

Also, one should set things up to protect the safety of themselves, others in the house, the house and the equipment.

This could include things such as heavy duty mats, making sure the floor is sturdy, ensuring there is enough space, and sound absorbing walls and floors.

— Robert Herbst, W8LifterUSA

The first thing to consider is what your goals are – do you want to focus on building strength and/or size, or are you looking to improve your cardiovascular conditioning or body composition?

This helps you properly dedicate the available space you have, which for home gyms is normally the problem people encounter the most.

— Thomas Kanze, Nomadific

2. Prevent Windows From Heating Up The Room

If you have a window in your chosen exercise room, consider switching out normal glass panes for windows with metalized or dual-reflective window film. The microscopic pieces of metal in the window film reflect UV light and heat similar to a mirror.

This reduces interior heat gain and glare and creates a better view of the outside.

Enhanced privacy is another potential benefit since passersby are more likely to see their reflection than the contents of your home. These can reflect outdoor heat away and shield you from sunlight, while you admire the view during your workout.

Some coatings also protect your privacy, making it difficult for passers-by to see into your workout room.

— Matt Price, ATVA Online

3. Get The Right Equipment

Avoid equipment that can only be used for one workout and will seemingly be a waste of space in the long run.

— Alex Thomas, Get Vegan

Setting up a home gym is only worth it if you will use it. Don’t buy a fancy indoor bike if you hate cycling. Create a home gym that you know you’ll actually make use of.

My favorite home gym setup is actually very inexpensive and versatile. Exercise tubing, booty bands, hand weights, stability balls, and gliders can give you a full-body workout on a budget.

You can also use a table, sofa, counter, broom, suitcase, kitty litter container, staircase, and other household items.

–Helen M Ryan, Real World Weight Loss

Focus on equipment that gives you a full body workout instead of having a bunch of pieces that only target one or two areas. I recommend a rowing machine as one of your main piece of equipment since it gives you a great workout.

And pretty much anyone can get fit on a rowing machine. If you are limited on space, then look for a model that folds up when not in use.

— Petra Amara, Rowing Crazy

Take your time before filling up a room with equipment that you may not actually want or need.

Jog outside at first instead of buying a treadmill to see if you really enjoy running.

You may not need a full rack of weights if you’re not weight lifting regularly so just buy a few to get started.

— Mark Wilcox, Camping Forge

My advice is to think twice before investing in a costly machine for workout.

Not only do machines take a lot of room but they are generally expensive and serve one or two movements.

For example, instead of buying a treadmill, you can invest in a jumping rope.

You also don’t need a bench for ab workout, a yoga mat to make abs on the floor is as effective.

— Ludovic Chung-Sao, Zen Soundproof

The best tip I have is invest in equipment you can use in multiple ways. It’s saved me loads of space and means you can do a varied workout without spending too much.

I bought a barbell set that splits into dumbbells and water bottle weights (bottles shaped like dumbbells) which you can fill up with water to add weight and also re-hydrate after a workout.

They’ve both meant I’m able to take up less space in my small apartment but still allow you to get a good workout with a variety of exercises.

— Hannah Lovatt, Team RH Fitness

Finding equipment and items that are versatile and can be used for multiple workouts and parts of the body is crucial.

Even if you have a large space and lots of room for your home gym, every inch will be valuable.

So finding pieces of equipment that can be used for multiple parts of the body and during more than just one workout is an important part of creating a home gym that you’ll use and love.

— Alex Newsome, Turbo Gadget Reviews

4. Focus On Keeping It Clean

Clean air is an essential part of good health, and is especially important in your home gym where your heart rate is accelerated and lungs are expanded.

A vital component in learning how to clean a home gym is removing dust from all horizontal and vertical surfaces, including exercise equipment, shelving, lighting, and fans.

Use a microfiber cloth to trap, rather than spread the dust around, working from the top of the room down.

— Angela Wills, Savvy Homemade

5. Choose The Right Location

Setting up a home gym or yoga studio is a very intentional process. Do not set it up on the second floor, especially if you are in an older home.

Long ago, the second floor in buildings were not built to load weight, especially heavy squat racks.

Put your gym in your basement, and it will be cooler there for you as well when you begin sweating and warming up your muscles.

— Katie Ziskind, Wisdom Within Counseling

When setting up a home gym, it is important to consider the place where the equipment is going to be kept.

It should be a dedicated place where there is less chance of disturbance.

Also, it should be somewhere where small kids can not go unsupervised as there is a high risk of them getting hurt by the heavy equipment.

— Arbab Muneeb, Physicians Thrive

I think a lot of people don’t give much thought to a home gym, which is why you seen people putting equipment in the garage, the basement, or a small extra room. 

The problem is this is that you’re not really putting your workout equipment in desirable places, so how often will you really workout at home?

To prevent this from happening to you, focus on finding a great spot in your home that has the right amount of space, doesn’t disturb others in the home (or you by them), and that gets enough ventilation so that you don’t freeze or overheat while working out.

But at the same time, don’t rule out taking some of your workouts outdoors so you can get a bit of fresh air and sunshine while you get fit.

— Sharon Gourlay, Tasmania Explorer

6. Know Your Space Limitations

Size-up your space, and then make your investments accordingly. You don’t want to have a treadmill consume 85% of your floorspace.

Likewise, if you have lots of room, you might be in a position to have both cardio and resistance machines in the space.

Most people forget that you really want a good chunk of open floorspace for HIIT, yoga, stretching, and general workout activities.

— Paul Johnson, CompleteTri

Obviously, if you are setting up weight training equipment, deadlifts, squats, bench press etc. you need plenty of space to move around.

You don’t want to be running into other equipment or hitting your elbows on the walls.

You also need to make sure you don’t bring in too much equipment. So be sure to measure the space before you start bringing equipment home to fill it. 

— Alex Williams, The Body Training

Make sure you’re able to perform the basic movements in the space that will give you the most bang for your buck.

If you’re trying to build muscle, that means squats, bench press, overhead press, and deadlifts.

— Brian Ward, The Workout Digest

7. Get Proper Lighting

It’s important for your home gym to be properly-lit for your workouts.

Not only because it makes exercising and working out safer but because it also helps keep you in a more productive and motivated mood.

— Simon Elkjær, avXperten

8. Don’t Forget The Flooring and Mirrors!

Setting up a cheap mirror can be very helpful to check your form when lifting alone. The last thing you want is to get an injury from lifting
with poor technique.

Using mats or a platform can really help for a number of reasons. It helps to protect your floor (yes even if it’s concrete in the garage), your gym equipment and yourself.

The flooring is often something people overlook but you can save a ton of money on replacements or fixing cracks in your floor over time.

Horse stall mats are great if you want to save money or 1/4 rubber mats are ideal.

EVA foam can be too soft to hold a power rack and can be dangerous if you’re lifting heavy weights alone.

— Mike Beatty, Strong Home Gym

9. Consider The Environment You’ll Be Working Out In

If your home gym is going to be place that you spend a lot of time, then you need to make sure that it has a relaxing environment.

For instance, if you’re doing a lot of yoga and pilates, then you may want some soft music and candles in the room to really get you in the zone.

Or, if you’re doing a lot of strength training then you may want fast paced music filling the room.

You may even just want a TV mounted on the wall so that you can watch a movie or you favorite shows while you get in some time on the treadmill.

— Adena Adams, The Sage Divine

We all know that listening to music while working out makes the time go faster.

But you don’t want to have to wear headphones in your own home gym.

And you probably don’t want to invest in one of the expensive machines that lets you play music through it.

So, make sure your home gym budget includes a good sound system so that you can pump in your favorite tunes while working out.

— Michael Barnett, Performer Life

10. Have A Food and Hydration Plan

We usually pay little attention to what we consume before and after the workout.

It is essential to have a diet plan that would help accomplish your fitness goal.

As for me, I take carbohydrates before I fuel up. And after, I take more proteins.

— John Peterson, Safe Drive Gear

11. Go Minimalist

If you’re doing body weight exercises, then you don’t need any equipment at all.

But, if you want to keep a few essential pieces at home, then I suggest a yoga mat, a kettle bell or dumbbells, and some resistance bands. With those, you can work out your entire body.

If you have a small apartment and want to add some cardio equipment, then a compact treadmill that folds up when not is use is a great way to make the most of that small space.

If money and space are no object, then a good power rack is a great thing to add to your home gym if you’re into strength training.

Don’t let a lack of proper gym equipment prevent you from starting a new exercise habit.

In addition to bodyweight exercises that require zero equipment, you can use things around your home as equipment.

Anything heavy, like a bottle of juice, can double as a weight. That ottoman that you never use can be a weight bench, and so on.

— John Medina, John Medina Buys Houses

For people who do not have the luxury of space to accommodate large machines and weights, resistance bands are a great alternative.

While not as versatile as some machines, resistance bands can still offer ample use for lighter exercise routines.

— Michelle Henry, Outdoor Dog Fun

12. Get A Workout Plan

No matter what equipment you get for your home gym, make sure to always have a structured plan when working out at home.

The plan should be created by a trainer, with a focus on working all of the body parts over the course of a week (like core, shoulders, back, biceps, triceps, chest, legs, and so forth). Each week should build upon itself.

Plans like these can be easily found or purchased and are instrumental to success.

Don’t simply cobble together a whole program from the free workouts you find on YouTube.

You’ll be wasting precious time and might not meet your health goals without a good plan.

— Alex Davis, Ryan and Alex Duo Life

13. Focus On One Essential Piece To Start

An essential part of your home gym is a yoga mat. A mat can be helpful to perform any bodyweight exercises like pushups, planks, etc. A yoga mat is your best friend for your cardio routine that you will be performing at home. It can also come in handy for pre-workout warm-up stretches.

— Kenneth Byrd, Curl Centric

Now that you’ve heard from 26 experts with experience setting up a home gym, it’s time for to you to get started designing the home gym of your dreams.

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