I want to share with you how to build the best home gym (or how we did, anyways).

{I also promised to write this post last week when I published, “The Bigness Project.”}

Why a Garage Gym?

A long time ago, maybe like a year ago, Ryan and I quit our gym memberships and started working out at home.

We more or less felt we had to because after Isaiah came, there just wasn’t the time anymore. Before Isaiah, I would usually go to the gym in the mornings and Ryan would go at 5 pm after work. (And before Samarah, we went whenever, for however long, and it rocked.)

Neither scenario no longer worked once we got Isaiah, and obviously, life is far more insane now that we have Amiya, too. So we decided to put the pedal to the metal and go all in with building out a home gym, er, garage gym. Read more about the benefits of a Strong Chap at home to keep a fit lifestyle.

Building It

In the beginning, we only had a few random dumbbells, a yoga mat, and a stability ball. And guess what? For a couple weeks this was okay because we learned to get creative and also how to do a lot of bodyweight + Tabata Workouts. Handstands, anyone?!

How to Build the Best Home Gym Spartan Training, Week 4 Fitness Weight training sarahkayhoffman.com

But then, we realized that in order to make a home gym truly work for the long haul, we would need to build it (Ryan was going crazy without the ability to lift heavy and in the ways he has been used to his whole life) out much more. 

Our garage is fairly large, so we chose to put the gym it in the “tandem” portion vs. our guest bedroom inside. And it has worked perfectly for us for many reasons, namely that it’s nice and cool out there (except for in the dead of summer) and we can crank the music early in the morning (even when the babies are sleeping).

Peek Inside

And even though it’s not 100% clutter free, it 100% works (but we are working to remove more things from the garage to make it even cleaner). You can get a little idea of what it looks like. Like yesterday….

So the big question is,

What fitness equipment is in your home gym?

How to Build the Best Home Gym

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How to Build the Best Home Gym sarahkayhoffman.com Fitness at Home

I studied to be a personal trainer through the NSCA (before Samarah), but never finished the program (I really should). So I know a thing or two about at-home training and having equipment available that can serve a variety of purposes. This is exactly what we’ve done and will continue to do with building out our home gym.

  1. Squat Rack

    We have the Pro HR500 Fitness Half Rack, and this was one of the first things we bought. Zero regrets! I love everything about having a squat rack with these pull-up bars attached. A squat rack is very multi-purpose.

  2. Barbell and Plates

    The barbell and plates we have did not come with the squat rack. Separately, we got a barbell and 300-pound weight set similar to this. In the beginning, before we had the Bowflex Dumbbells set, I used the barbell and individual plates to do many different random workouts and exercises. (Plate curls anyone?!)

  3. Dumbbells, set

    There are many different ones you could choose from. We have the Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells (Pair). Each dumbbell goes up to 52.5 pounds, and switching from weight-to-weight is super easy.

  4. Dumbbells, individual

    We have some 2’s, 5’s, 10’s, 12’s, and 80’s. Random. I know.

  5. Treadmill

    I bought this used, from a friend. It’s one just like THIS. I love it! Do I think everyone needs a treadmill? Probably not, but a treadmill isn’t just to log 10-minute miles, 5 days a week. In fact, I only use it for the mundane if it’s icky outside. Instead, I like to use it for sprinting intervals, hill workout, lunges, and lateral work. (Side note: I also heard TreadLift is a pretty cool program. I have not tried it yet.)

  6. Bench

    We have this one, and it’s perfect because it’s adjustable, which I think it kind of necessary if you’re only going to have one bench to start with.

  7. Pull Up Assist Bands

    We have the WOD assist bands in black, purple, and red.

  8. Resistance Bands

    We have a set of Resistance Loop Bands. The 14-Week Bigness Project I’m currently doing said I’d need some, so I quick grabbed a multitude of bands (for variety). 

  9. Resistance Bands with Handles

    We also have a set of Resistance Bands with Handles (and ankle straps).

  10. Ab Roller

    You don’t need anything fancy. Ours looks like THIS one. Alternatively, you can do ab rollouts with a stability ball.

  11. Stability Ball

    Our stability ball isn’t even “pretty.” It’s THIS one, but I think I use it, on average 1-2 times per week. Bonus: You can sit on this at your desk if you’re into that sort of thing.

  12. Yoga Mat

    If you want to do yoga at home, then you’ll absolutely need this. We don’t do yoga at home, but use ours for floor core work, stretching, and other things like that.

  13. Kettlebell

    Yes, we have just one currently, it’s a 35 lb Kettlebell.

  14. Epic Bars

    Ha…..this one is totally optional, but I can’t do gym without my Epic Bars so I quickly ordered a 12-pack of the Bison Epic Bars on Amazon. Obv.

How to Build the Best Home Gym agutsygirl.com #homegym #athomeworkout #workouts

And more….

The reason this post is called “How to Build the Best Home Gym” is not to tell you that our current gym is the best, but that we’re working on it. 

I believe that in order to build the best home gym, you must have the basics (squat rack, dumbbells, bench), but you must also have an assortment of things so that you’re able to hit muscles in a variety of ways while also never getting bored or staying complacent for too long.

How to Build the Perfect Home Gym 24+ Things for Building the Perfect Home Gym sarahkayhoffman.com

That said, here are the things we still need (some sooner rather than later):

  1. Boxes. If we feel like putting them together, we’ll grab these boxes. Otherwise, the standard will be just fine.
  2. (Edited: Bought this.) Jump Rope. I’m really picky with my jump ropes, but I think I’ve decided on this one.
  3. (Edited: Bought the PROCIRCLE.) Foam Roller. We have one, but it’s very average. I’d love a TriggerPoint GRID (or PROCIRCLE), and I think that anyone who lifts a lot or works out in general should have something that digs in a little more like these. Otherwise, a nice variety of sizes like THESE would work well, too.
  4. More Kettlebells. I need to start practicing the Turkish Get-Ups, but beyond them, there are so many things you can do with Kettlebells (I am addicted to Kettlebell swings). I love THIS brand of Kettle, so we just need to get weights 20, 25, 30, 40, 45, 50, 55, and 60.  
  5. (Edited: We bought this TRX Training Kit. Love it!) TRX Bands. Having a great TRX Training Kit allows you to do a ton of suspension training + also have the ability to move your home gym along with you when you travel. 
  6. More Plates. I would probably be fine without more plates, but Ryan could use more.
  7. Bumper Plates. We don’t, however, have any bumper plates, and I really dig them. The 230lb colored set is what I have my eyes on.
  8. Bosu Ball. These are nice for core and stability work. 
  9. Floor Mats. We currently just use a huge, old rug for the majority of floor space, in addition to the garage flooring, but it would be nice (maybe once we clear out even more space) to get the foam puzzle floor matting.
  10. Full-Length Mirror. This sounds super vanity. It’s not. Mirrors are critical many times to ensure proper form for avoiding injury. Any basic one would do.
  11. Peloton Bike. This one is just a major wish-list item! Have you seen the new Peloton Bike yet? It’s like spin class right at home. My friend, Megan, has one and absolutely loves it. They are pricey, but she says well worth it. 

And there you have it, all in one place.

Any other must-have fitness items I’m missing?

p.s. A Pinterest board you might enjoy: Tabata, Crossfit, & Bodyweight Only Workouts.


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