Constructing a Home Gym on the Cheap

There are various reasons for creating a home gym. Convenience has played a large factor in my choice to do so. I work strange hours, and there are no nearby training facilities that meet my needs, so instead of foregoing my goals and doing what I love, I instead have spent the past year or so building my own.
I’m not saying doing so is necessarily the least expensive or easiest task, but if that’s the route you choose to take, here is how I went through the process.

#1: Assess and prioritize your goals. I am a lifter. I want to be really freaking strong. Therefor I need a barbell, weights, a squat rack and a bench. Sure there are a lot of fancy toys out there, but if they aren’t of utmost priority, then why waste cash that you could otherwise dedicate to more efficient tools? If your goals are just generally wanting to get into shape, before you go nuts on every as seen on tv gadget and a treadmill with all the bells and whistles, know this – you can accomplish just as much work (if not more) with a 7 dollar jump rope and a loaded barbell. If you need me to prove it, drop me an email.

#2: Once you determine what you want, get shopping: My home gym is a mash up of Craigslist and yard sale finds, Internet close out deals with free shipping, and cleaning my parents’ garage because I wanted more plates to stack.

As you can see, many items (aside from my shiny new squat rack I just bought last week), are well loved. Do they still do their intended job? Absolutely. It might take a little Lysol, but if you’re on a budget, you can make it work. As it becomes more feasible, replace the old with new things. If you’re serious about training, though – it shouldn’t matter how used something is unless it is no longer functional.
Side note, not pictured is my pull-up station. Turns out it is harder to disassemble than it was to assemble. It hasn’t been moved to its new location just yet.

#3: Make the most out of your space. I am still working on this. I want to build a “tree” to hang my plates from in the near future. What you see above only takes up about a 10×5 space, though. Only having what you need is good for that.

Here are some other thoughts:

On a $50.00 Budget, what would you recommend? I would say a kettle bell and a jump rope. Kettle bells are so multi functional – you can use them for strength training as well as explosive cardio moves, and that is amazing

When selecting one, go about 10 pounds heavier than you think you should. You will quickly outgrow it.
As far as a jump rope goes, it’s hard work and you will sweat. It might not be fun, but it’s a lot of bang for your buck.

What’s your next upgrade going to be? I’m seriously lacking in the dumbbell department so I’m going to opt for some adjustable ones. Also I want a flat bench that I can just slide under my squat rack for bench pressing, because it will save me even more space.

How about you guys? Do you have a home gym? Any pointers for those looking to construct one? What would you buy on a 50 dollar budget?

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8 thoughts on “Constructing a Home Gym on the Cheap

  1. I am so drooling over your squatrack. II work out at home too and have been building my gym bit by bit much like you. I got very lucky last year and got a like new bench that someone put out for the trash to take. Woot-just call me dumpster diver! I am with you on the kettlebell decision. But i also think a medicine ball might be a good choice. Do not have one yet-that is my next purchase.

    • Oh I would totally dumpster dive for a bench. Or anything for that matter 🙂
      Medicine balls are so nice! I use mine a LOT and I think I got it for less than 20 bucks. They are incredibly versatile!

  2. I want to go to there! 😀 Love the set up Martha. I can’t wait till we can get a house so I can really start setting up my gym. I am getting really tired of having to wait for dudes to stop huffing and puffing for minutes on end between sets so I can use the machines at our on-site gym. Fo Reals… tabata up my brothas! We should put that on a shirt.
    Don’t discount some weighted gloves for a good cardio add-in. I love my little gloves and trust me they add crazy intensity to my kickboxing workouts. All that added weight on the ends of your arms just makes throwing punches all the more punishing. 😀

  3. I know my weaknesses, and a home gym wouldn’t work for me. But I so love to see everyone elses! I’d love to have a 15# practice bar for starting to train the Oly lifts. (no way I’m starting with the 45# bar!)

    For $50, I’d hit the hardware store and build a set of Swinging Clubs (about $20), and maybe try to figure out a sled…

    • I think you make an awesome point – working out at home isn’t always ideal! Especially when your spotter won’t wake up in the morning 🙂
      I would love a sled! Just lacking in space!

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