How to Build a Home Gym Without Breaking the Bank

How to Build a Home Gym Without Breaking the Bank
Judy Chambers

11/27/2020 · 5 min reading

Having a home gym is no longer just a luxury. It is fast becoming a necessity, with physical therapist Denise Frost noting a paradigm shift in how people view home exercise. “People usually approach home exercise as an adjunct to a therapy program, or when they can’t do their usual routine,” Frost points out. Such observation is especially true nowadays, what with the pandemic looming over our ways of life, and making trips to the gym somewhat uncomfortable. This results in workouts getting canceled, entire fitness programs being discontinued, and fitness journeys getting stalled.

An obvious solution in this case, according to Frost, is to set up a home gym so one can approach home exercises the right way. This, in turn, can “present an opportunity to make your exercise program more effective and complement your other physical activities, now and when the COVID crisis eventually ends.” In other words, having your own home gym works to your advantage, as you’ll be able to continue your fitness regimen regardless of what happens with this pandemic.

Having a home gym is particularly vital for professionals working from home. That’s because they are prone to either living an unhealthy, sedentary lifestyle or overworking, with lifestyle writer James Gonzales detailing how this work arrangement makes going out less appealing. A direct consequence of it is that work-from-homers no longer feel compelled to go out to get a workout, preferring instead to just stay home and work or enjoy the comforts of home. This is counterproductive, and could lead to dire health consequences

Among these adverse health effects, as outlined in a John Hopkins article on the impact of physical inactivity, are increased risk of high blood pressure and type-2 diabetes; susceptibility to obesity, coronary heart disease, and certain cancers; and a higher likelihood of feeling anxiety and/or depression. Overworking, on the other hand, can lead to burnout, whose symptoms, according to a HelpGuide feature on burnout prevention and treatment, include foul mood, prolonged feelings of fatigue, lowered immunity from illness, frequent headaches, and difficulties sleeping.

Long story short, you need that home gym — and we know you want it set up now rather than later. But chances are you’re hedging because you think building a home gym will be extremely costly. Obviously, setting up your own fitness sanctuary will necessitate some investments; the good news is that there are ways to bring these costs down, so you can build your dream home gym without necessarily breaking the bank. The hacks below will get you started:

Start with the must-haves

Our very own Rachel Burns previously outlined some essential fitness accessories that are guaranteed to boost your workouts. Needless to say, you ought to start building your home gym by investing in these pieces. In particular, look to secure the following:

  • Elastic bands.
    These are cheap yet extremely useful as they can provide the kind of resistance that your muscles need to get a good workout.
  • Adjustable bench.
    Put simply, this might be the only bench you’ll need as you can efficiently perform roughly 30 exercises by simply adjusting the position of the bench.
  • Exercise ball.
    Like elastic bands, an exercise ball is cheap yet useful, and its primary function is to increase muscular contraction when performing stability exercises.

Buy used equipment

The fact is, you can’t be picky when you’re on a budget, and that means you must consider buying used or second-hand equipment. It’s a good thing then that there’s a massive marketplace for this. But you’ll need to do your due diligence in scouring this marketplace to find the best deals. In this case, this means finding items that are still in good condition but priced reasonably, if not affordably. You can start your search in these places:

  • Craigslist
  • Facebook Marketplace
  • LetGo
  • OfferUp
  • Local garage sales/estate sales

Among the above choices, though, Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist might be the best places to find great deals, as both offer a wide range of equipment and gear to choose from. And when you do find something you like, scrutinize it as best you can. Ask for pictures and inquire if there are any issues. Then, negotiate where necessary. Nothing wrong with sweetening an already sweet deal!

Consider kettlebells

Dumbbells get lots of love. But kettlebells are just as useful, and are a lot more versatile than you think. Health and wellness writer Alexa Tucker details how kettlebells work your muscles and get your heart rate up, with traditional kettlebell exercises like kettlebell swings and Turkish get-ups providing excellent full-body workouts.

You can even use kettlebells to level up traditional strength training exercises, as in doing a goblet squat with a kettlebell, or performing a walking lunge while passing a kettlebell underneath your front leg on every step forward. This means you can perform a wide variety of exercises using just a pair of kettlebells with different weights.

DIY what you can

An article on How to Create A Budget-Friendly Home Gym Setup highlights how DIYing parts of your home gym could help you bring the final tab down by as much as two to three times compared to when you buy everything brand new. But unless you’re a certified handyman with experience and expertise, stay away from intense DIYs, like forging a bumper plate or power rack on your own. You can, however, DIY a power rack or barbell hanger using just a hammer and the right construction materials. So, identify which parts of your home gym you can DIY, watch tutorials on YouTube, and put those manual skills to good use.

Invest in multipurpose equipment

Lastly, in case you do want to invest in new gym equipment, make sure that you buy a multipurpose one, such as a power rack for your chest exercises and squats, barbells for presses and curls, and even something like the Marcy MWM-990 Home Gym that allows you to perform multiple exercises using just one piece of equipment. Of course, you’ll need to do your due diligence when buying new gym equipment too, and look to find the best deals. The good news is that brands like Rogue and Marcy offer top-of-the-line equipment but at affordable prices.

Final Thoughts

Now, once you’ve set up your home gym, make sure that you keep your safety in mind — always! Remember: Chances are, you’re likely working out alone, so it’s better to be safe than sorry. In short, stay within your limits and perform every exercise correctly and cautiously. Don’t over-extend yourself or lift very heavy loads. The whole point is to get fit and healthy while having fun and staying free from injury.

Exclusively for by Judy Chambers

How to Build a Home Gym Without Breaking the Bank -
Judy Chambers

Judy Chambers is a physical therapist turned fitness instructor. She has been in the industry for over five years now, and is actively seeking ways to improve her clients' fitness regimens. She is looking to set up a free virtual fitness class that will specifically help work-from-homers and remote workers stay healthy while working offsite.

View all posts by Judy Chambers