Tips For Setting Up A Home Gym

Most of us don’t have the option to workout in a gym during COVID-19, and those of us who do, may be concerned about health and safety the first weeks of reopening.  Plus, you may want to plan in advance for future closures and have a safe spot ready for you to stay active.  

It’s important to have a home gym that can inspire, motivate, and allow you to get the most out of your workouts.  In order to stick to your routine (when it’s easy to cut corners or say no to a workout at home) it’s important that you take time to plan out a comfortable space you enjoy being in that has enough room.

  1.  How do you choose a space?

First, you’ll need to analyze how much room you have in your house.  If possible, have a designated space that is solely yours for working out.  While, we know city life or sharing space may not allow this, this may mean another space may have to double as your home gym.  

Do you have a home office?  Guest bedroom?  Corner of a room that isn’t in use?  Setup your equipment in these locations.  Ideally at least 6 feet by 6 feet will suffice (unless you’re taller and plan to do a lot of laying positions).  

Whichever spot you choose, make sure you can keep your equipment there, or have an easy spot to store your equipment.  If it’s a pain to setup your space you’re less likely to stick to your routine.  

Stick to HIIT workouts with minimal equipment if you’re tight on space.  If you have more room to fit equipment then you can look into doing strength training at home.  HIIT tends to be the easiest workout to setup for, and gets you the most bang for your buck.  The strategically planned workouts are designed to fluctuate your heart rate level to burn calories and build lean muscle with minimal weight and time.  Ever gone for a long jog before?  Not only can it get boring, but your body gets used to the motion and stops burning calories.  Your body is extremely efficient and will find the easiest way out.  If it’s always guessing with a HIIT workout, you’ll never hit a dreaded plateau.  

Make sure you like the space!  If it’s a spot you can leave your equipment, make sure you set the space up nicely so it’s inviting to workout.  If it’s a dark space you don’t like, try adding lamps to brighten it.  If it’s hot, try to add a fan.  If you have to store your equipment, make sure it’s easy to take out/put away your equipment.  Make sure it’s comfortable for you!

  • Equipment.  

Make sure you have the right equipment for working out at home.  If you’re doing a HIIT workout you can usually get away with no weights or minimal amounts of weights.  Ideally you don’t need to spend much money a lot of equipment.  Give yourself options to check out different styles of workouts before purchasing equipment you may not use.  Most workouts, if you can find 2 sets of dumbbells (think smaller muscle groups – triceps extensions and front/lateral raises) and a heavier set (think rows, squats, deadlifts) and a glute band that would be great!

Some options to purchase:

Yoga mat: a soft space for laying down or being on your knees is important to keep yourself safe and comfortable.  

Jump Rope: for cardio in a small space

Resistance bands: Take up minimal amount of room and are great pieces of equipment to use for burning out muscle groups or in a variety of ways to hit every single muscle group.

Booty bands:  Another very functional piece of equipment.  It’s small, affordable, and oh boy the burn you feel even with no weights.  These come in a variety of resistance levels and loop sizes.  We highly suggest using ones that come with at least 2 resistance levels.  Ideally, the loop size will be the same, but resistance level differs.  Nothing worse than a super long band that falls off your legs!

Dumbbells:  As we mentioned above, 2 sets would be ideal.  It’s a little tough to find right now, but keep checking sites often as they restock frequently.  Some of our favorites are Perform Better and X Training Equipment.  We found Perform Better restocks often and X Training does as well.  We prefer hex dumbbells so they don’t roll on the floor (think using them in plank position).

Kettlebells:  If you can’t find dumbbells you can always try looking for kettlebells to put in place of dumbbells.  Kettlebells aren’t as common as dumbbells so you may have an easier time finding them. 

Bench:  Not necessary, but if you have the room it can be a great item to have for presses, step ups, explosive movements.  If you have a chair or couch nearby, that can easily be substituted for a bench, which can be expensive and take up space.  

Again, a simple HIIT workout with dumbbells and booty bands are usually the most effective option for at home, but if you’re looking to expand your home gym and have space you can look into options such as barbells and plates (get very expensive and hard to store), gym balls (can take up a lot of space), TRX (amazing at home item, but very pricey), and weighted med balls (you can use a weighted bag or dumbbells in place of many of these items). 

Remember to keep your equipment based on what you actually need.  Home gyms can be limited on space and it’s best to stick to workouts with minimal equipment and save the room for moving yourself around!

  •  Set up your space that’s motivating

If you have space, a full-length mirror is very helpful for workouts.  Remember, if it’s a pain to get all of the items out before you workout skip unnecessary items like a mirror.  But, you can get an inexpensive full length mirror (like the one you may have had on your door in college) for around $10-$20.  Something easy to pull out and give you some feedback on form!

Setup your space:  Get an area that is easy to free from clutter for your workout.  If you have to move 3 chairs and a couch to do your workout it may give you that excuse to skip it.  Try to clear out items from the area you haven’t used in awhile.  Even if the space isn’t solely for your workout it’ll be easier to quickly setup your space.  

Find an easy spot to store your equipment.  Somewhere easy to take your equipment out and put away.  Keep your equipment in the same area and workout in the same area so it feels more like your space and you aren’t wondering where you’d like to workout today (which can cause extra frustration and another reason to skip your workout).  

Make your space inviting: consider adding a fan.  Get a Bluetooth speaker you can use in your workout space and crank up your favorite Spotify playlists.  Maybe write a motivational quote you can see nearby.  A calendar or white board you can track your workouts can make you feel amazing when you checkoff your workout for the day.  

  • Keep your space safe and clean

Yes, we know it’s your space, but it’s important to wipe off your equipment each day after use.  Consider keeping a bottle of disinfectant/cleaner nearby your space to wipe down your equipment each day.  

Store your equipment out of your workout area each day.  Nothing worse than a stubbed toe on a dumbbell or rolled ankle!  The more clean and tidy your area looks the more likely you are to get back into your workout the next day!

  •  We know right now there isn’t a ton of extra money to spend on equipment.  While health and fitness is more important now than ever you can create a great workout space and routine without spending tons of money.

Secondhand – now that stores have started to reopen check used sporting goods stores, gyms that have done out of business, look for equipment resellers (but beware some are taking advantage of the scarcity of equipment), and thrift stores.  Check online marketplaces such as Facebook for equipment.  Just make sure you disinfect before bringing it into your home.  

Buy packages – sometimes you can find bundles of equipment for cheaper than buying things individually.

Only buy what you need – if you can get 2 pairs of dumbbells, a booty band and a mat you can do tons of workout each week and NEVER get bored!

Invest in On Demand – on demand services have economically priced workouts that are light on equipment and high on results.  Find one that switches up workouts frequently so you get the most bang for your buck.  

Consider going equipment free – there are a lot of bodyweight workouts you can do.  But, for a small investment in a couple pieces of equipment you can be sure you get a great workout each day for a long time.  You’ll get so much use out of your equipment, especially with a guide to follow such as on demand.  

If you’re ready to setup your home guy and get started at home follow these tips and plan out which workout you’re going to be doing before you buy your equipment.  Whether your gyms aren’t open, you’re concerned about health and safety, like to have a backup plan if you don’t have time to make it to the gym, plan to fully switch in home, or are preparing for potential gym closures again this Fall/Winter these tips will help you get started!  

If you’re looking for the best in at home workouts check out RippedPHL On Demand.  Minimal equipment (suggested 2 sets of dumbbells and a booty band), 4 absolutely brand new workouts each week.  6 week challenges you can follow so you’re never wondering what workout to do.  The most effective and efficient workout you’ll find at home.