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Creating Your Perfect Home Gym
As people around the world become more aware and invested in their personal health and fitness, many are choosing to convert empty rooms, basements and garages into a home gym.
If you're considering creating your private fitness space, no matter whether you lean towards cardio, strength, functional training or something else, we've got some tips to help you create an exciting, premium home gym.
Creating Your Perfect Home Gym
Whilst we understand it is exciting to be creating your perfect home training paradise, make sure you buy with consideration. Critically assess your current training needs and buy the equipment to cater to that regime.
There is always time to add more equipment later on, but buying too much at the start will clutter up your home gym and might actually inhibit your training. Since many equipment items are heavy and cumbersome, selling it on second hand can be a huge hassle that's easily avoided if you buy with a purpose in mind.
Let’s talk Training
We've pulled together some tips for the three main types of home gyms we create for our clients. Just scroll down to find your training style.
Cardio Focus Home Gym
Many people wanting to create a home gym will do so to introduce a more regular dose of physical movement to their daily routine. Other, more active users want to create a space that will allow them to maintain their running, rowing or cycling regime during the winter months, or perhaps for rehabilitation purposes.
Either way, here's what we would consider the essentials to your cardio based home gym.
First, you'll want to choose your cardio machine. While treadmills are a popular option (and are available at a range of price points and spec levels), rowers and indoor cycles make a great alternative. Their footprints are smaller, lighter, and in general, they run more quietly.
In terms of Exercise Bikes, you can go upright, recumbent or indoor cycles. The choice here depends on your preference, but remember that a standard indoor cycle will usually not require power outlets while many upright and recumbents will.
Because of the motors inside, recumbent and upright bikes can also be costly to repair. Many bikes now come with embedded display (our new favourite is the Stages Solo) which will bring your ride to life, while also really impressing your friends.
Finally, you can't really go wrong when it comes to rowers, but the industry standard is the Concept2 Rowers. Rowers like the Origin OR1 will do a great job as well without breaking the bank, and come with LED displays that let you finetune your training.
One cardio machine does not make a gym. Bringing in functional accessories like sandbags, medicine balls and kettlebells will improve your strength and cardiovascular performance, while also bringing variety into your workouts.
If you have the space, battleropes, a set of dumbbells and a boxing bag can be great further additions to your space, and impact your performance immensely. Keep in mind that you will need to anchor your battleropes against something very robust, or attach a hook to your wall.
Strength Focus Gym
If your frustration with waiting for lifting racks has motivated your home gym creation, a strength focused space will most likely be your end-goal. Here are our recommendations for creating that perfect lifting haven at home.
If you have space and height required for a full lifting rack, we would absolutely recommend you get one. Having spotter arms and the versatility of inserts will really help your solo training progression. To find the perfect rack, check out our Power Rack Buying Guide.
If, however, you are somewhat limited and need something that can be stored away or moved around, squat stands are your perfect solution.
Plates and Weight Bars
Depending on the type of lifting you do most frequently, you can choose from Olympic weight plates, bumpers, training and many more weight plates. These, in combination with your weight bar, should last you a good couple of years. We've got in-depth advice blogs to help you find both the perfect bar and the perfect plates based on the type of training you do.
What's important is that you have a safe place to store both your plates and your bars. If you don't get a lifting rack with storage, a toaster rack or weight plate tree will help you keep your home gym organised. If you're going for multiple types of bars, consider investing in a weight bar holder.
Fitness Flooring for Strength
We highly recommend fitting high impact flooring tiles in your strength zone. Not only will this reduce the chance of noise complaints, but it will also increase the lifespan of your products. If you're a keen Olympic lifter, you could go the extra mile and have a wooden platform installed, or create one by laying different coloured flooring tiles to mimic the shape of one.
A 40mm high impact tile will take a drop from overhead without any problem, and will also protect your subflooring from damage, meaning no costly repairs if you decide to move house.
If you're prone to dropping your weights (both dumbbells and weight plates), consider investing in Urethane products, as they will last much longer.
Alternatively, you can opt for Dual Adjustable Pulleys, which are incredibly versatile and will allow you to carry out a huge range of strength moves while taking up very little space.
No more waiting for equipment, or dealing with other member's loud grunts - this is your space.
Functional or Cross Training Home Gym
If you're a fan of functional training, plan on bringing in a PT or generally like to train with as much versatility as possible, a functional training home gym could be your perfect solution. This is your time to be creative, but here are a couple of suggestions to get you started.
An Upper Body ergometer, indoor cycle or rowing machine will let you carry out both steady-pace workouts and high-intensity interval sessions. The point of these HIIT machines is that they are self-powered and often fan driven, meaning the more power you put in, the harder it gets.
They also have a small footprint and are easily pushed out of the way to make space for the next stage of your workout.
If space is not an issue, a curved treadmill is an incredible alternative for those HIIT sessions and can improve running gait and posture in the long run.
To give you as much versatility as possible, we would recommend you look into having a rig installed. While this might sound like an outlandishly far fetched idea, rigs and racks can come pretty cheap these days. As per our strength section, we recommend you check out the Gym Division brand for amazing home gym equipment that is modular and versatile, like their Alpha Pod system.
They can be wall-mounted or just bolted to the floor, and open up a world of training possibilities.
Add J-Hooks to create an instant lifting rack, or hang suspension trainers like PT4Pro's for full body moves. You can even add monkey bars to go for a full "playground" feel.
Many functional and performance rigs come in "cells" as standard, so it is easy to build your own, but if you have something special in mind (or your space has non-standard dimensions), bespoke options are quickly and easily quoted for.
Fitness Flooring for CrossFit and Functional Gyms
We would recommend installing some kind of rubber flooring, whether it is tiles or rolls, to provide you with more grip. Doing so will allow you to perform more dynamic moves, while also protecting your equipment.
If you really want to impress your friends, add some line markings or install a sprint turf track for sled work (if you have space and budget).
Any of the above-mentioned accessories will work great in a functional training space. Other amazing options would include multi-sided plyo boxes, power bands, slam balls, sandbells and Olympic rings.
Things you should think about before building a home gym
So you've decided on your training style and equipment - what's the next step?
Before you “add to basket” and start waiting at your window for that delivery truck to arrive, here are some considerations for you and your home that could drastically improve your home gym experience.
If your gym will be in a basement, this probably won't be too much of an issue, but if you plan on creating your fitness space anywhere else in your house, you should think about noise levels.
In many homes, walls let through more sound than you might think, so the dropping of barbells, dumbbells or even the drone of a running treadmill can become a nuisance to neighbours or other family members.
A lot of this excess noise can be diluted through the installation of high-impact flooring tiles, but as this type of solution comes at a higher price point, it is something to keep in mind during the initial planning stages.
If you are planning on mounting any equipment to your walls, make sure they are strong enough to support it. Many racks, rigs, boxing bag brackets and storage units recommend being secured to a vertical surface, so checking your room before making your purchases can save you the hassle of having to return something you realise you can't properly install.
If you are planning on weightlifting or running in your home gym, make sure you have plenty of room for your training. Many treadmills are significantly elevated from the floor and can bring your head close to the ceiling when running on an incline.
If you're looking to install a power or half rack, make sure you have the headroom to perform overhead lifts. While the height may be tall enough for the rack, is it tall enough for to allow you clearance for your head when doing pull-ups?
Access for Installation
Many pieces of equipment are packed flat, but some of them can still come in large boxes or crates, meaning that bringing them inside the house can become tricky. Make sure you measure your doorways and compare them against the packaging dimensions before placing your order, or speak to the supplier about their installation process and price (to save you the hassle).
It may seem obvious, but if you are looking to bring in cardio equipment make sure to check whether it requires external power. If it does, make sure the position of your power outlet is close enough to the location you want your machine to be in, to avoid long cables spanning your beautiful new home gym.
If you are looking to bring in multiple pieces of powered cardio equipment, always make sure you have a dedicated power point for each. Never use extension cords as a power point for your cardio machine.
Fitness Equipment Storage
This is mostly applicable to people looking to create a strength training or functional home gym. This type of training results in owning lots of smaller accessories, so make sure you consider your storage arrangements. Many suppliers offer shelves, plate trees, and wall-mounted storage solutions, which can be a great space saver.
Ventilation and Insulation
Having a well ventilated and insulated space won't just make your workouts more pleasant - it will actually increase the lifespan of your equipment. Weightlifting bars, in particular, can suffer premature rust if kept in a damp or cold environment, and will therefore noticeably depreciate in performance. To help extend their lifespan as much as possible, here’s a guide to help you look after your bars.
Flooring tiles and rolls may expand and contract with heat fluctuations as well, meaning you may find that a perfectly laid floor forms gaps in the winter time if the temperature within the space is not controlled to some degree.
Keeping your options open
At some point in the future, you might want to rearrange your home gym or take it with you if you move house. We would recommend loose laying your floor tiles (check out our floor joining plates to get a secure fit without bonding) to give you the flexibility of moving it all around, without damaging the flooring when it's lifted.
Creating your own home gym gives you the chance to create your ideal workout environment, and can be so much more than an old treadmill in the spare bedroom. We hope that with these guidelines and your own creativity and enthusiasm, you'll create a unique and motivational space that will help you achieve your goals.
If you have any queries regarding any of the products mentioned in this article, our experts are always on hand to answer questions. Head over to the contacts page to drop us a message or call us on 0333 2000 750.