Setting Up a Home Gym

Why a home gym? About 2 years ago I decided that I wanted to get stronger, build muscle and stop being fat. After much research, It looked like weight training was the place to start and make the most gain. So at first, I started looking at the big box gyms, 24-hour fitness, LA fitness, etc. and they were $20-$70 a month plus setup and initiation fees, maintenance fees, annual fees, fees, fees. Setting up a home gym would be a one time cost and it would be my equipment forever. At the end of the post, I’ll do a cost breakdown.

Home Gym

Remember that your home gym will always be available to you. You won’t ever have to worry about gym hours and your schedule. You won’t have to worry about catching a disease from other members. I’m looking at you Coronavirus. In general, you won’t have to worry about people being shitty and rude. you can get in, and get out with your workout.


Then there is proof of the lack of motivation. Even in Industry publications.


The gyms know this and they bank on it, that’s why they want contracts and make the monthly payments so easy, and have automatic deductions from your bank account so you won’t notice them. Gyms also know you won’t show up:

Gyms have built their business model around us not showing up. Gyms have way more members than they can actually accommodate. Low-priced gyms are the most extreme example of this. Planet Fitness, which charges between $10 and $20 per month, has, on average, 6,500 members per gym. Most of its gyms can hold around 300 people. Planet Fitness can do this because it knows that members won’t show up. After all, if everyone who had a gym membership showed up at the gym, it would be Thunderdome. If you are not going to the gym, you are actually the gym’s best customer.

I always found it easy to make an excuse not to go to the gym, too tired, it was raining, my workout clothes are dirty, a waxing gibbous moon, whatever. I know I needed to get rid of that. I needed to make good habits.

There is also the intimidation factor, as a newbie, I felt embarrassed to be all pudgy fat, struggling to shoulder press 55 lbs over my head when I have this meathead right next to me.


Plus as I came to find out, I enjoy working out alone, with my music, with my equipment, more on that later.

Home Gym Equipment

Alright, I’m all decided on getting a home gym, now what? What do I buy?

Home gym

This 10 Grand machine?

Setting Up a Home Gym 1

Not hardly, So I started at the beginning and looked at what types of movements I should be working on first. There are articles and articles all over the interwebs about beginner weight lifting routines. But the successful ones focus on compound barbell lifts, no machines, just you and the weight. Squats, Deadlift, bench press, overhead press, and rows. I can go into each of these in detail in a later post, but this was my starting point.

At its most simple I pared it down to this essential equipment:

  1. Olympic 7 foot Barbell (45 lb) $55
  2. Power Rack $309 or Squat Rack Stands $76
  3. Bench $40
  4. Olympic Plates (I started with 2x45lbs, 2x35lbs, 4x25lbs, 2x10lbs, 2x5lbs, 2×2.5lbs) about 300 lbs of total weight which is way above what I can lift currently. 1-2 dollars a pound
  5. Optional – a plate rack to stack your weight on $37
  6. Optional – Interlocking floor mats

I started off with just squat rack stands, then moved up to the power rack setup. The stands work very well and they are easy to put away and not take up much room. I just got nervous because the catch bar on the stands isn’t very big and the last thing I wanted you guys to hear is that I died by choking to death while trying to muscle up 70 lbs on a bench press lol. There are a few more safety features on the power rack if you have the space to fit it.

So what’s this going to set you back? Total about $200 plus weight if you go with the squat rack stand. And about $425 plus weight with the power rack setup. And keep in mind this is all new equipment. If you look at craigslist you might be able to find any or all of this used for much much cheaper. I purchased my equipment in stages so it wasn’t a huge shock at one time. I

Compare that to the average of 500/year with your gyms and the ROI pays off quickly.

If you are looking for a great home gym workout, we suggest Stronglifts 5X5. Check out our write up on Stronglifts 5X5 here!

And remember

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Setting Up a Home Gym 2

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Matt is a husband, a father, an avid motorcycle rider, and an all around awesome guy.

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