With our archives now 3,500+ articles deep, we’ve decided to republish a classic piece each Sunday to help our newer readers discover some of the best, evergreen gems from the past. This article was originally published in April 2019.
Let me replay you the typical situation you find yourself in every time you go to your commercial gym. You wake up or get home from the office, change into your workout clothes, pack all of the stuff you need (supplements, shoes, protein shaker, etc.) into your gym bag and head out the door. You jump into your car, and, like many living in a crowded urban environment, hit traffic a couple minutes into your commute. You sit, waiting for cars to dissipate so you can accomplish the grand goal you’ve set for yourself of working out. 30 minutes, 4 near collisions, and 2 mental breakdowns later, you arrive at your destination. You warm up while waiting for the guy doing bicep curls in the one and only squat rack in the 20,000 sq. ft. facility studded with endless lines of treadmills and ellipticals. You finally sneak into the rack, perform your squats while fending off that one guy who gives you form advice while proselytizing the benefits of yoga over weightlifting. Finally, you’re done with your session (two hours later) and drive 30 minutes home to eat.
Does that sound familiar?
Now, let me share with you what a typical training session looks like for me and thousands of others who have freed ourselves from the gym membership rat race.
I throw on some shorts — sweatpants and hoodie if it’s cold; no shirt if it’s warm — and head out into my garage. I walk over to my stereo system and put on some soft tunes to get me in the right mindset during my warm-up. Squats are on the menu, so I rack my bar (the bar only I and my friends use that is superior to every bar at the gym I used to pay $70/month to attend) and begin incrementally increasing the load. I’m at my top set, so I turn on some Dave Mustaine, twist the volume knob to 11, and go to work. Around an hour later I conclude the assault on my body, walk 10 feet inside my house to the most anabolic machine in the known universe — the refrigerator — make a protein shake, and reflect on the hard work accomplished.
After reading that, you’re likely thinking to yourself, “Man! That sounds nice, but . . .” “But.” The most detrimental word to any man’s mission. “But I don’t have the money.”
I’m here to help you with that. Today I’ll show you how to build a home gym on a budget, and how it’s easier to afford than you think. By the time we’re done, you’ll be wondering why you didn’t make the switch sooner.
Be sure to check out our podcast with Coop on all things home gyms:
How to Build a Home Gym for Under $1,000: The Effective, But Budget-Friendly Equipment We Recommend Starting With
Without a doubt, a home gym can be expensive to build. In fact, I’ve seen people spend upwards of $50,000 to install a fully decked-out gym in their garage. But, just because some folks decide to spend that much on working out at home, doesn’t mean it’s either necessary or a good idea.
The reality is that it’s possible to create an effective home gym for under $1,000.
You really only need a few essential pieces of equipment to get started.