Creating a Home Gym

Intro

Strength training at home gets better results and easier to achieve  as more time passes.   Better designed equipment lets you get more good things done in a lesser amount of space.  Demands on out time make home a better place to do it. Planning a home gym can get better results. 

The type and aim of the gym

We’re looking primarily at the needs of a strength gym, rather than one that includes typical cardio gear like treadmills, cross trainers etc., but it applies to a gym that includes cardio and other equipment, so it doesn’t stop you adding whatever pieces you might wish for. Space is commonly the biggest challenge.

Do a basic match of your goals, equipment, space and money

How much do you want to spend? How much space do you have? What sort of strength training do you want to do? Do you favour a power rack and free weights as the basis? Or perhaps get results with a leverage gym in a possibly smaller space? An Olympic bench can often permit an excellent array of major exercises in a small space, and provide for a later lat tower addition to complete an excellent inventory. Typically, ten-feet square will give you the basic space for a free weight, power rack-based gym, which offers the major compound exercises (presses, squats, rows, if you do dead lifts outside the rack – you can do them inside at a pinch) and a lot more if you include isolation exercises such as curls. Good racks have strong chin-up and dip facilities as well. This space will include a bench. Similar space is required for a Leverage Gym; and of course you have self-spotting facilities with racks and leverage equipment.For many people a set of dumbbells and a bench is a great option for being able to do a huge amount of useful stuff. But regular dumbbells take space and organising. It’s easy to think you can cover your bases with three of four pairs, but a few months later it’s a different matter. 

Add-on space

You may need to add space for other equipment. Attachments and accessories for the main items take up space. Even space for body weight exercises, like press-ups, need room. Do you want to bolt a multi-grip chin-up bar on a wall? Remember plate storage, or dumbbell sets; you can buy plate storage units that store 600 kg+ of worth in a compact space.

Flooring

Bare concrete can damage smaller items, e.g. plates and accessories, if care isn’t taken. Wood floors can be damaged by what’s on them. Rubber flooring offers many benefits. It can add a professional finish. It can reduce noise, and lets you put a barbell down without worrying about marking a floor. At a lower thickness, rubber can protect equipment and accessories, and at a higher thickness it can protect floors. (Note that if you’re going to drop weights in Olympic-style lifting, you’ll need more than regular rubber; probably a lifting platform with multi-bonded ply and rubber surfacing, even if you use bumper plates)

And concrete can crack. You can slip on dusty concrete and wood; and there’s less risk on rubber when you’re holding or carrying something heavy, so it’s safer. More details on rubber flooring can be found at the bottom of the page .

Bolted Equipment

Not generally necessary unless a piece of equipment, e.g. rack, is inherently unstable, or very light. If it is, or if it's your style to have things extra rugged, you need a hammer drill, a masonry bit, and some dynabolts, which cost a few dollars each. You drill a hole, vacuum it out, put the bolt in and tighten it. Make sure you have holes in the item you're bolting down, of course! Heavy carpet squares can aid stability. Weights placed overnight on a slightly loosened rack can settle it also.

Ventilation

Think about fresh air, comfort, and the potential to keep moisture levels low long term. Opening windows, and some sunlight potential.

Storage

A cupboard can be useful for small accessories and supplies. Hardware stores such as Bunnings offer cupboards six feet high and two or more feet wide and around a foot in depth for a few hundred dollars. Good for holding loose items; nuts, bolts, spares, CRC silicon lubricant, (if you have a cable tower, or any device with a slider mechanism) a wrench, and socket set. A small vacuum cleaner. Chalk if you use it for your grip on the bar.

Cleaning

A broom or small dedicated vacuum cleaner handy can encourage a more frequent clean. Wet-wipes-style cleaning tissues, or a general cleaner you can use in a spray, and towel. There’s sweat, there’s dust and there’s regular hygiene. And a rubbish bin.

Decor

The industrial look's good for a separate building or garage, but for a room in the house a cleaner look might be the plan.  A whiteboard for plans perhaps.  Anything decorative that can aid or reinforce your best frame of mind.  Music..?

Flooring and matting

Bunnings offer rubber flooring squares, in the range of 70 cm to 1.3 m, which offer stability to anything placed on them and basic protection to items based on the floor beneath. These are priced (13 July 2014) in the $29-59 vicinity. They also offer inexpensive carpet squares for basic protection. A more comprehensive offering is the range of interlocking mats from the Numat Group. Both their Kura and UniMats are German-made, and come in 12 mm and 24 mm thicknesses for differing levels of protection. Their appearance is especially good. Here’s a link to the product display: Kura Gym Flooring.  Prices are in the vicinity of $80-90 and $60-70 excluding GST (but check) for the 24 mm and 12 mm thicknesses respectively, per 1190 mm by 850 mm square (each covers one sq. metre) Freight is free over $250.