Getting out of bed, getting dressed, and driving 10 miles to an almost empty gym feels like a chore. The alternative is to go after work but then you have to wait 10 minutes in line to do some squats. “It is such a chore”, is what I’d think if I did that day in and day out. Thankfully, I learned how to build an affordable home gym for strength training and I’ve never been happier.
Why Should I Build A Home Gym?
There are several amazing reasons to build an affordable gym for strength training. I’ll go over a few that really impacted my day to day life and helped me become more motivated.
The biggest thing about having a gym right in your home is the convenience. You no longer have to get up at 3 am just to reach an empty gym. Or risk going in the evening and suffocate in a crowd of gym-goers. You walk to your room, garage, garden or even basement that you’ve repurposed as a gym and you are good to go.
If you build an affordable home gym for strength training you will save a ton of time. You don’t need to get in your car to drive to a location, don’t need to wait for the weights to be free (pun intended). It’s like a certain weight from your schedule has been lifted, I’ll stop with the puns now.
You might be thinking, “WAIT WHAT?” But hear me out here, a standard gym membership costs somewhere around $50 to even $100. Some cheaper ones are around $30-40 depending on your area. Factor in your time and the funds spent on transportation and the cost quickly rises. A gym membership can run you close to a thousand dollars a year.
Alternatively, you can simply start with good quality but affordable squat rack, a bar, and some weights and you are good to go. Finding used stuff online is also way easier than people think. The gym equipment is usually designed to withstand use and some abuse anyways so getting a used barbell is not going to be a loss.
Want to squat in just boxers? Now you can do that. Want to play Justin Bieber while you deadlift? You can do that, but I’ll judge if you tell me. You don’t have to interact with anyone in your very own strength training gym apart from your pets or maybe a roommate. No more “experts” giving you unsolicited advice and certainly no more of those leering types, we all know who they are.
Is Weightlifting Good for Your Health?
There are a lot of half-baked rumors flying around that weightlifting is bad for your back. That is all hogwash! Controlled weightlifting is amazing for your back. I’ve been lifting for almost a decade and my back is as solid as it can be. The main word here is “Controlled”, lifting needs to be within reason, ability, and safety.
Finding Used Equipment
Used gym equipment is super easy to find and brings down the cost of your home strength training gym significantly. Using websites like OfferUp, LetGo and even Craigslist is fine, most gym equipment is already built with long-lasting materials and can take a beating so you will be fine. Pro-tip, the Facebook Marketplace is also a great way to score some sweet equipment at a fraction of the cost.
If you need some help, check out this comprehensive guide on finding used Home Gym Equipment.
Building an Affordable Home Gym
Get a Squat Rack
A squat rack is one of the essential pieces of equipment you’ll need. It is not only necessary for your safety but also better for your form in the long run. There are two types of squat racks you can get:
Full Rack: A full rack fully encompasses you and has better safety features. However, it will take up more space. We have a list of inexpensive squat racks if you want to check them out!
Half Rack: That’s a rack that has safety arms and 2 posts. It is ideal for small spaces because as the name suggests, it’s a half rack. Here are a couple of awesome half racks for your home gym!
Get a Barbell
A barbell doesn’t need to be super expensive, just check out the weight capacity and you are good to go. Make sure you get the Olympic kind though, it is compatible with Olympic weights. Check out some of the best affordable Olympic barbells on this list.
These can be found fairly easily and inexpensively too. Get them used, no need to dish out the big bucks for the weights. We recommend getting bumper plates if you are just starting out. They are better for deadlifts and your floor will thank you.
The Big Three Lifts
The big three are quite easy. That was an unintentional rhyme.
Squat: Weight on the back and you squat, that’s about it.
Deadlift: You pull the barbell up from the ground.
Press: You push the barbell over your head while standing.
Things to Do
If you are just starting your home gym and strength training adventure, you should pack some of this stuff for the journey:
Get a Book: A good book like the Starting Strength is a great way to start off on the right foot. This book helped me a lot when I first started doing strength training and it works.
Get a Coach: Form is really important when it comes to strength training. Finding a local coach can be complicated, especially if you live in a remote area. However, take a look at Startingstrength.org or Google Olympic or Powerlifting coach in your area.
Check out a Website: A website like Stronglifts.com can be a good source of knowledge when you are starting.
Check YouTube: Try out YouTube for squat, deadlift and press videos to learn how proper form works.
Try Subreddit: Subreddit or Reddit forums like r/BarbellMedicine, r/Stronglifts5x5, and r/StartingStrength are great places to get advice from fellow lifters. You can even post a video of your form and get constructive critique from the members there!
These were some of the tips you can use to build your very own affordable home gym for strength training in no time! Wishing you great gains and no pains in your journey!