How to Create Your At-Home Gym (Hint: It’s Not Expensive)

Just because you can’t pay for a membership, or don’t have time to get to the gym during the week, doesn’t mean working out isn’t out of the question. Creating an at-home gym can be an effective way to work it out while saving time and money.

Though putting your gym together will take a small initial investment, it’s entirely possible to build it as you go. Start with the basics and make the more expensive purchases later.


Before you can have an at-home gym, you need the space to move around in. Consider your options:

  • Spare room
  • Basement
  • Clearing room in bedroom/living room
  • Large walk-in closet
  • Yard
  • Garage
  • Patio/deck

With just a few items, you don’t even need much storage space—under the bed is a great area for keeping small items out of the way but still easily accessible.


Once you have the space, it’s time to fill it out with all the right equipment. Most of the small items you might want falling well below the $50 mark, depending on where you shop. To decide what you need or want, consider your goals and potential future plans. For example:

  • Weights: Dummbells can be used in hundreds of exercises, kettle balls are great, but should be used only when you’ve been taught how to, and ankle weights are great for adding more umph to your evening walk.
  • Bench: This is great for lifting, and can double as a stool for tricep dips, leg drops, 1-arm row and more.
  • Medicine ball: Large or small, this is a multi-faceted exercising tool. Toss it against the wall, squat or lunge with it, or use it as weight during ab exercises like Russian twists.
  • Miscellaneous: Jump rope, dumbbell set, resistance bands, BOSU ball and exercise ball all can be used in seemingly endless number of ways.
  • Stretching: Foam roller, RistRoller, stretching bands.

Machines and Big-Ticket Items

While every item in the equipment category (above) can be purchased for $5-$100. Workout machines are much more expensive. Though you can opt for the cheaper brand, smaller items or basic staples, you’re still looking at a serious financial investment.

Choosing the right equipment will be based on the space available to you. A stationary bike will quickly turn into your new clothing rack if you don’t have an effective space for it.

If you are going to go for a machine, consider your options:

  • Stationary bike: Put this in a room with a TV. If running isn’t for you, you can get all your cardio with this, while watching your favorite TV shows or movies.
  • Treadmill: If investing in a treadmill, take the plunge and get one that has a variety of settings and options; this will give you the most to work with, and will likely last the longest.
  • Weight training bench and barbell set: A bench and barbell set provides you with hundreds of options for your at-home gym. With these items, you can scale your workout program easily.
  • All-in-one gym: This expensive piece of equipment could be all you need. Built to help you target various parts of your body, you can be sure you’ll get a full-body workout.


Finally, the hardest part of about an at-home gym is finding the motivation to get up and use the equipment you’ve invested in. In a gym, group mentality takes over. At home? Chores, a dirty house and television can be very persuasive.

It’s smart to purchase a few workout videos to help direct you, or find a small room where you can set yourself apart from the rest of the hustle and bustle of home. Here are a few other ideas:

  • Online workouts: has a large library of workout videos. Specify equipment, type, duration and more to find the best one for you.
  • Magazines: Subscribe to a fitness magazine or two. Every month you’ll get a new workout. Or, subscribe to a website like FitSugar for email updates with workouts and tips.
  • Personal trainer: It may be wise to consider hiring a personal trainer, if only for once a week or even once a month. Not only will a personal trainer help to hold you accountable, but that person can also help guide your program, give suggestions and ensure you’re using the right form.

Remember that there are many variations on these options, and it’s important that you build your at-home gym according to your personal specifications. Consider what will be beneficial for you, your program, your body and your space.

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Jessica Thiefels

Jessica Thiefels has been writing for more than ten years. She's the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Honest Body Fitness, where women are warriors who love their bodies. She's also a a full-time writer, ACE Certified Personal Trainer and NASM Certified Fitness Nutrition specialist. She’s written for Shape, Reader’s Digest, AARP, Snap Fitness, 24 Hour Fitness and more. Follow Jessica and Honest Body Fitness on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for health articles, workouts tips and more.

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