Home Gyms

Home gyms are very popular now because gyms are closed. Now that the frenzy is over, lets talk calmly about how to set up a home gym and its advantages.  Although I have been promoting home workouts for over 15 years, I stayed completely out of the coronavirus sparked shark-like feeding frenzy this year where it seems that everyone was trying to make a buck.  Many people, desperate to get home gyms setup quickly, have wasted money on useless products like “Gurrila Bow” or purchased huge expensive hulking things like bowflex, bench press multi-stations, or universal machines and put them in their family rooms or garages. The problem is that taking up this space causes unnecessary family tensions.

Body-Solid-Home-Gym bowflex-home-gym Marcy-Diamond-Home-Gym

Advantages of home gyms

During the coronavirus shutdowns, the only advantage most people think home gyms have is that they are OPEN when commercial gyms are closed.  Not true!  For those of us who have worked out at home for decades, we know there are lots of advantages!

  1. Time savings.
  2. More workout consistency.
  3. Better music.
  4. No annoying, rude people.
  5. More comfortable temperature.
  6. Cost savings

Cost of a home gym

Unless you are a lot wealthier than I am then #6 above (cost savings) is important to take a careful look at.   If you design a home gym wrong it will cost you $200-$400 per month too much!  Surprisingly enough, the cost of the workout equipment is not the main cost in setting up a home gym.  Always in the last 15 years when I would do videos showing my home gym, people would make comments like:

  • “LOL! Why are you doing dumbbell press on the floor, cant you afford a bench press?”
  • “LOL! Why are you using a board propped against the wall for an incline bench, cant you afford a $60 adjustable bench?”

Many people seem to miss the big picture. The “cost” of a home gym is not just the equipment, its the room it is sitting in too. In fact, the room cost dwarfs the cost of the equipment. Depending on where you live, that room turned into the home gym costs from $200-$400 per month!

$962 – National average 1br apartment price
$1194 – National average 2br apartment price
$232/mo more for second bedroom

$1453 – California average 1br apartment price
$1852 – California average 2br apartment price
$399/mo more for second bedroom

THAT is why my home gym has been designed such that everything can be quickly stored in a closet so that the room can be quickly re-purposed as a guest room or whatever.

Hans:  LOL! I have a spare bedroom so putting a home gym in it costs me nothing!!!

Scooby: Don’t be an idiot Hans, you are wasting money!  If you have a room you dont need then MOVE to a smaller and cheaper apartment and save $400 per month!!!

The right way to setup a home gym

Now that the frenzy is over, let me tell you the right way to setup a home gym!  First of all, remember that you need to look at the TOTAL cost, not the line item cost.  If it costs a bit more to buy stuff that can quickly be stored in a closet, that is well worth the additional cost so that the room does not have to be dedicated to the home gym but can double as a study or guest bedroom.  Remember, you are saving at least $200/mo by eliminating the need for a dedicated gym room so you have lots of money to work with here!  Here are the core items you need for a home gym that packs quickly into a closet:

  1. Independent nesting stands like the Valor BD-2, BD-3, BD-8, or BD-9.  These are versatile and can be used for squatting, barbell curls, and also with a little DIY things like leg extension machines.
  2. A ceiling mount pullup bar, retractible is even better so the room can be made to look completely normal.
  3. Used weight plates, handles, and bars. If you are going to do strength training or powerlifting then you need the 2″ hole, otherwise the 1″ hole are usually cheaper.
  4. A rack to hold your plates made of a piece of plywood with pegs made of an old broom handle glued into it.
  5. DIY suspension trainer.
  6. Resistance bands (pullup assist bands)

retractible pullup bar




Combination home gym and guest bedroom

In a normal sized bedroom there is no way to workout there if a bed is present so how do you have a combination gym and guest bedroom without going bonkers?  Glad you asked! You use a bed which quick-folds against the wall! Its called a “Murphy bed”.  If you are good with wood, you can buy the folding hardware on Amazon for $250 and build your own custom frame.  If you want ready-made, you can buy one for $1000-$2000.  Expensive you say?  Remember you need to buy a bed anyway and you will be saving $200-$400/month by not having a dedicated room.   If you build your own, you can put a workout mirror on the back!!!


See also home gym equipment