Having a home gym has a lot of advantages
such as not having to drive to the gym, not having to wait for equipment on a busy day,
and being able to listen to your music without headphones. But many of you might find it
either space or cost prohibitive to have your own home gym. Now first of all for space you
really don’t need that much. I’d say the minimum is around 100 square feet for the equipment
I’m going to be going over. As for my gym at home, I have 13 by 13 foot size, and that’s
more than enough. Now as far as cost, depending on the equipment
you need, it’s anywhere from around $1200 to $2500. 1200 is the bare minimum, and the
biggest difference for the fluctuation in range is whether or not you want to have sets
of dumbbells or if you’re just buying one set of adjustable dumbbells.
Now the key to saving on gym equipment is to be patient, or checking the marketplace
such as Amazon, Craigslist, and deal sites like slickdeals.com. You’re also going to
want to check the local gyms around you just to see, they’re going to have a lot of used
equipment that’s in pretty good shape, even though it’s old. It’s going to be a lot better
to get that than to get like some chintzy new equipment that isn’t going to last you
as long. Now when I purchased all my gym equipment
it was around March or April of 2013. Prices are always going to chance but the tactics
in which you use to find those prices will not.
Now for any home gym you’re going to need a power rack. This is the Valor Athletics
BD Seven power rack. I got this for around $500 on Amazon. Right now it’s between $500
and $600 on Amazon. But you’re going to want to use a historic price checking site such
as keepa.com to check the historic prices on items which are on Amazon. You don’t want
to be paying a record high price for your item. So if this is on a record high currently,
just wait a few months or few weeks if you have the patience.
Now ceiling height can be an issue for any power rack. The Valor BD Seven with the rubber
end caps removed is about six feet, six feet 10 inches. My ceiling is just over seven feet
one inch. Now I took away the drywall here and there’s an additional nine and half inches
in between the wooden slats. This is so you can do pull ups and chin ups. So definitely
measure if you’re on a basement or if you’re putting this in the first floor as well, definitely
measure your ceiling right before purchasing this.
Now putting together this power rack is a chore. But given the parts and the complexity,
especially the pulley system in the back, I don’t see how it could be any easier. Just
make sure you have the right tools for it. I did have a work piece of plastic in the
back for the pulley system, but Jim Vanderbleek, the owner of the Valor Athletics, he actually
answered my email and shipped out a replacement part immediately, so customer service is great
for this. You’re also going to need an Olympic weight
set. It’s pretty much a necessity, along with an Olympic bar. I purchased these at Dick’s
Sporting Goods. They were on sale for under $300 for 255 pounds, and then you can just
get some clips at Amazon for around $10. If you need more than 255 pounds just get two
additional 45 pound weights on Amazon. Actually don’t get them on Amazon. I paid way too much
for mine at $106. Get them locally, either on Craigslist or a local gym. It really doesn’t
matter if they’re rusty, they’re just weights. Also you’re going to need a calf block. This
is going to be your … basically this is a necessity for all your calf exercises since
you’re not going to have any dedicated calf machines. You can do a variety of different
exercises, but each one uses that … This is about $50 on Amazon.
Next you’re going to want a bench. I have the Ironmaster Super Bench. It was around
$320 on Amazon. I know over $300 is a lot just for a bench but it’s really versatile
and you can do it incline, decline, of course flat, but you really want to make sure you
get a sturdy bench because this is rated 1000 pounds. You don’t want to get a bench that’s
rated much lower than that. You don’t want to get like a cheap Marcy or
a Nova bench. You can also see if your local gym has a bench as well. You might not be
able to get one that doesn’t incline and decline. But that’s what I like about this one because
I don’t have enough, I mean I do have enough room, but if you have two benches, especially
in a space as small as 13 by 13 or any smaller you’re going to start to get a little crowded.
So this can do. As the C attachment you can do an incline.
Then you can also get an additional decline attachment. This is around $70. Again, it’s
all together around $400 for a bench but it’s definitely worth it. You might be able to
find it cheaper but just put this on the end and then that should decline as well.
Now you’re also going to want some dumbbells. If you’re going to go the cheaper route just
get a pair of adjustable dumbbells. These were on Amazon for around 260. A lot of the
cost was from shipping so if you can find some adjustable dumbbells on Craigslist it’ll
save a lot of money that way. Now the ones I got on Amazon, I’ll provide the links.
They’re pretty wide. So if these are a little too wide for you, you could also get a saw
and saw some of it off. You just have lighter weight set and then a heavier weight set where
you go saw it off. Whatever you do just don’t get adjustable dumbbell sets at Wal-Mart because
they’re cheap pieces of crap. A piece just broke off, I hope you can see, but I mean
it’s for what you’re paying for at Wal-Mart. Just don’t get any gym equipment period at
Wal-Mart. Word of advice. You’re going to pay a lot more for a lot lower quality.
Now you’re going to want some padding so you don’t chip your gym floor. What I have right
now is the bare minimum to protect your floor. It’s just about a quarter inch to half inch
of these anti-fatigue mats you can get at a lot of hardware places. I got mine at Harbor
Freight. These are four square feet each and they come at four to a pack at $10 a pack.
So it’s a real cost effective way to cover your gym floor. But, yeah, I needed about
$100 worth of pads to cover this floor. But they start to show wear right away.
If you can see there a bunch of dents, divots which it’s not a problem. But what is a problem
is when they start to separate in the high traffic area, right in front of the power
rack. You’re going to get some separation, even though you can easily puzzle piece them
back together and always become separate again because you get the shift in the padding overtime.
To really get it back correctly you’d have to lift the power rack and all the weights
just to get it back together and it’s really not worth it.
Instead of these I recommend they have them at Tractor Supply Co these large one to two
inch rubber mats they use for horses, but they’re about 20 square feet each. It’s going
to be more expensive but it’s worth in the long run because they’re not going to shift
around like these do. Now as for protection for your floor, I mean
basically the bare minimum is going to prevent drops, but there, even 10 pounds at a couple
of inches, I mean you can see a dent, but it’s good for a start. But after experiencing
this I’d recommend just going with the rubber mats from Tractor Supply right away.
Now if you find adjustable dumbbells too much of a pain and you’re willing to spend the
extra money you can get a whole dumbbell set for around $600 assuming they’re used and
at around 50 cents a pound. You can get great deals if you just search locally for these
dumbbells either at local gyms but especially on Craigslist. If you build them up overtime
instead of trying to buy a whole set of ones, you’ll probably get a better deal. Once you
find a set and you’re able to talk someone down, negotiate for the whole set. Just buy
what you need. If the heaviest dumbbells you use are 75 pounds
then buy them 65 pounds and then use the adjustable dumbbells for the 75 because you’re probably
not going to use your heaviest set as much as you are the others. Also for the heavier
weights, space them in 10 pound increments instead of five pound of increments like you
do with the lower weights. I started at 10 pounds then go in five pound increments up
to 60. And then from 60 on I’d just go 60 to 85 I’d just go in 10 pound increments.
Then I use my adjustable dumbbells for the heaviest set and I also use it to fill in
between. I don’t have a 65 pound set so I just use those when I need them.
Also for the racks you’re also going to want to get these used. My spacing isn’t very efficient
with these. I have just one rack at the top here. The bottom isn’t being used. I actually
prefer having the weights at the top rack. That way you’re not bending over and having
to pick up the heavy weight and possibly hurt your back. Now with the lower weights I use
the four-tier set. If you had a two or three-tier set here I mean you can make do with half
the space for the dumbbells. Now these pieces of equipment aren’t exactly
necessary but they do help flash out the amount of exercise you can do for the variety of
lifts rather. You can get a preacher bench. This is a pretty cheap one. It was about $100
new on Amazon. I mean it’s really light, which is actually an asset because then you can
pick it up and move it around. You can use it for a variety of purposes once you attach
a T-bar row attachment here. That really helps out, the amount of back exercises you can
do. This is all you really need for your preacher bench.
This adjusts and then both of the racks here adjust. Then you’re also going to want to
get an EZ crowbar. There’s a bunch of other small items you’ll get which will just make
things easier. The Valor power rack comes with a cable system so you’re going to want
a variety of attachments such as the rope attachment. This is the triangle attachment.
It’s a variety of gears. Valor comes with a chain so you can adjust the length of the
attachments. This is for squats. That’s about it.
You’re also going to want to … You might want a plate tree. It’s really up to you.
I mean the Valor comes with four plate racks so you might not, but I mean, if you have
the space definitely get a plate rack. As I mentioned earlier you’ll want to use
a site like keepa.com to track your historic Amazon pricing. You want to purchase something
when it’s one of its price valleys. You can do this by setting up alerts with your email
address so then it will email you once the price dips below the norm. For your local
purchases such as barbells and dumbbells use CraigsList. Then for your equipment purchases
set up some deal alerts on slickdeals.com. Now let’s go over the bare minimums equipment
needed for your home gym. First you want a power rack. That’s between 500 and 600. Your
super bench, 400 with the attachment. Your Olympic weight set between 200 and 300. Your
calf block depending on if you make it yourself or you purchase a metal version between 20
and 17 and your barbell clips. Your adjustable dumbbells. Get these regardless if you purchase
the non-adjustable dumbbells or not. You’ll need these to fill in the gaps. These are
between 120 and 240 depending on if you buy them locally or online.
So your total cost of the bare minimum home gym is between 1240 and 1610 whether or not
you purchase them locally, used, or online. The break even for a $30 month gym is between
three and half and four and a half years. If you want to protect your floor get some
mats. I highly recommend the Tractor Supply Co mats, a lot more expensive. But if you’re
fine with piecing together puzzle board and putting them back together every now and then
the Harbor Freight version is so much cheaper. Your non-adjustable dumbbells set is going
to be around $600, this assuming 50 cents per pound, used, getting them locally. For
this set this is between this is from 10 pounds up to 85 pounds in five pound increments,
except between 65 and 85 pounds, those are in 10 pound increments. Then if you need something
in between those, just use your adjustable dumbbell set. You can get used racks for around
100. T-bar bracket $40 online. Handles and barbell
pads between 50 and 100, depending if you get those locally or not. Preacher bench around
100. You can probably get a used preacher bench locally for around the same price, but
I like the online version just because I think the light weight is an asset in the home gym
because it’s easier to move around. Your EZ curl bar between 30 and 80, and your Plate
tree between 30 and 45. Total cost of the complete home gym is anywhere
between about 2300 to 2900 and your break even for this is between 6.3 and eight years.
Now it seems like it’s a long time to get your return on your investment, but this doesn’t
factor in hard-to-cost benefits like gas and your time saved from not driving to the gym
daily. Depending on how you value your time and how far the gym is this is going to vary
a lot person to person. That should be it and good luck with your deal hunting.