How to build your own home gym
I’ve owned three CrossFit affiliates and a yoga studio, so I understand the importance of showing up to a gym and being part of a community. But being an adult (kind of) I also understand life gets in the way. Work, family, dogs, all things that distract us and sometimes prevent us from actually showing up to classes. So having a gym at home is a great solution to that problem (or excuse)!
Having equipment at home can be a way to ensure that no matter what life demands, we still get our workouts in without having to get our butts to the gym.
Even when I owned three CrossFit affiliates I had my garage fully equipped with workout gear. I knew that often times if I left my house without a workout it would be hard to squeeze one in.
The other benefit is cost. Going to a gym has its perks but it can also be pricey. For less than the cost of your yearly membership you can fully equip your garage with everything you’ll need to hit a workout.
Where do you begin? Well, of course I’m partial to CrossFit and functional movements, I’m also a big fan of Rogue Equipment as I have found their quality and customer service to be leaps and bounds beyond anyone else. With that being said, if you are on a budget, I would scour Craigslist and other online options for some great deals. The cool thing about most equipment is it lasts a heck of a long time!
Let’s assume we are building out a garage and the goal is to be able to do any CrossFit workout imaginable, there will be some limitations, i.e. rope climbs and unique equipment needs, but this list will allow you to do 95% of any workout you see. I’m also going to assume we don’t have infinite space, either a single car garage or a basement.
The foundation of your new garage gym will be your rack. This will serve as both a place you can take the barbell from for movements such as squats and overhead lifts and also where you can do pull-ups, ring dips, toes to bar, and more.
Rig / Rack
I love this collapsible rig from Rogue. It folds neatly back to the wall which is ideal for those of you who are tight on space. Truth is I’ve never owned one, I don’t park my car in the garage, but if that’s something you still want to be able to do, get one of these. The nice part is the days you don’t need to use it, you have a ton of space for everything else. If you want to make your garage stand out, you can customize your rack by choosing from 11 different colors.
Of course to use that rig you’ll need a barbell. Rogue literally offers hundreds of different barbells these days. I’m partial to the Ohio Bar, it has dual knurling, which is great for the Olympic lifts, and the Black Oxide just looks badass. You can spend as much as $800 if you really want to, but for a bit less you can get the Echo Bar 2.0 which is still of top notch quality. For the ladies I would recommend the Bella 2.0 same quality as the Ohio Bar but a little light and smaller diameter which makes it easier to grip.
Great we have a bar, what should I put on it? For your home gym, I recommend the Rogue HG 2.0 Bumper Plates. The HG 2.0 series is a bit cheaper than the Hi-Temp plates and have less bounce when dropped from overhead, which is nice when trying to keep the ruckus down while the kids are asleep. Depending on how much weight you plan on moving you can go with either the 230-pound or 260-pound sets, or if you’re an absolute beast the 350-pound set.
To keep the weights from moving you’ll need collars, while the Rogue Aluminum collars are shiny and pretty, truth is the spring collars will get the job done at a much more affordable price.
For much of our Own Your Eating programming we assume you don’t have a rig or barbell, because truth is with a few Dumbbells and Kettlebells you can get more than enough. If you are on a tight budget or spacing is very limited, what we have listed below will still get your heart rate pounding and muscles growing.
The beauty of kettlebells is that they can be used in so many ways – Russian or American Swings, snatches, farmer carries, Turkish get-ups, goblet squats, cleans, jerks, and more. Rogue makes their own line of kettlebells that feature a powder coated finish and a smooth handle. While one kettlebell will give you a lot of options, we recommend buying two if you can fit it in your budget. For experience men we suggest a 70lb. and 53lb. Bell, for experience women and new men we suggest a 53lb. and 35lb. bell.
Dumbbells are not a necessity, especially if you have a barbell, but for those of you that want to keep it simple, a set of DBs is cost and space effective. The Rogue Rubber Hex Dumbbells will last forever with the only downfall being you can’t adjust them. 50s for men and 35s for women are pretty standard and will cover you across many exercises.
The medicine ball is designed for throwing, typically as a “Wall-Ball” movement which requires an athlete to drop into a squat while holding the ball at chest-height, come to stand and throw the ball in to the air at a target on a wall and catching the ball as it rebounds off the target before dropping into a squat again and repeating the movement.
A medicine ball is a highly functional piece of equipment as it can be used for multiple exercises like med-ball sit-ups, squatting, med-ball cleans, shoulder presses, push-ups, sprawlball throws etc. I also regularly use it as a prop for stretching. Recommended weight for athletic men and women is 20 lbs. and 14 lbs. respectively.
The jump rope is a great conditioning tool and for many just beginning CrossFit the double-under is a skill that takes a while to get the hang of. The SR-1 Rogue Bearing Speed Rope is a great jump rope for beginners and advanced alike, but without the high price tag that comes with some of the premium ropes out there.
If you’re into carpentry or see yourself as a bit of DIY-er then you may want to challenge yourself to make your own! Otherwise Rogue can sort you out with their Flat-Pack Games Box – you’ll still need a drill to assemble it!
If you’re intimidated by the wooden edges then the foam plyo boxes will help put your fears aside with their soft and very forgiving material! They are great for avoiding injury and allow you to keep pushing yourself to the next level.
You have a pull-up bar as part of the rack we suggested, but gymnastics rings are great because they require additional stabilization to keep them from swinging. Coach Glassman said if you can do 25 standard dips you can do one ring dip. Hang them from your rig and do ring dips, ring rows, ring push-ups, and of course the lofty goal of being able to do muscle-ups.
Depending on where you’ll be, a garage, a basement, outdoors and what equipment you’ll be using, you’ll want to think about flooring. Best bang for your buck matting will be horse stall mats. For about $35 for a 4×6’ mat you can protect your floor, drown out some noise, and keep your neighbors happy. 2-4 of them should do the trick.
Once you have all of this, it is time to think about some accessories like chalk, tape, and a weight belt. While these are by no means necessary, they will prove themselves useful as weights go up!
For under $1,500 (excluding shipping costs), you can build your own garage gym that will give you endless combinations of movements to keep your met-cons fresh and exciting. Here’s the rundown of all the equipment we recommended and the cost.
After you get your garage gym up and running, we’d love to see your set-up. Tag us on Instagram @ownyoureating.