Forking out a lot of cash every month to work out? Would you rather train at home? If so, then I’d say we’re pretty similar!
The cost of owning quality training equipment might turn you away from this initiative; indeed, the costs might be high and even out of reach, but you don’t have to drop your pursuit! You can build a garage sports gym on a budget.
Let me tell you how I’ve built my garage and sports gym without breaking my budget.
First of all, a custom-built gym doesn’t require nearly half of the equipment found in a conventional gym. If you happen to have some equipment in your power, the cost will be far smaller.
With that said, let’s discuss two approaches you can take:
- Buying equipment packages.
- Buying individual pieces of equipment.
The first isn’t necessarily cheaper, at all in fact. You’d be saving in bulk shipping, but that’s about it. You should only consider buying a package if it includes everything that you want while not having anything you don’t want. In other words, if a package has something you don’t want, then it’s generally a bad choice for you.
Being honest with you, packages will often include a bunch of accessories that are nice to have, but far away from being necessary elements of a functional start-up gym.
If you’re looking to put together a fully-functional, quality gym, you should consider having the following pieces:
- Bumper plates.
- Olympic Bar Collars (not entirely necessary).
- Squat Stand (or power rack).
- Flat Bench.
- Pull-up bar.
With this combo, you’ll be able of training almost every muscle while doing a huge variety of “core” exercises. At this point, you can quit a gym already. If you want to keep doing cardio, jogging in a park is an even better alternative to riding a treadmill.
All in all, depending on what pieces of gear you have as well as what kind of deals you can get, you could build your gym with just $500! But I can assure you that it won’t be more than a single grand.
Let’s get started with each item:
While surprising, the right barbell can cost as much as a power rack, however, with some thorough search, it’s quite possible to find an affordable bar of respectable quality.
If you’re looking for the cheapest “quality” bar, Rogue’s barbells are of decent quality, and about as cheap as quality goes. Relatively strong and reliable, you will find these bars around $165.
If you’d rather go for something cheaper, CAP’s bars are amongst the cheapest, and while not as good as Rogue’s bars, they can get you out in a pinch. I personally went for the Rogue one, but make your choice based on your needs!
If you don’t mind shelling some dough for a product that will carry on through your weightlifting progress, Vulcan’s bars are of superior quality (and I emphasize, superior) and they wouldn’t really need to be replaced, which means you’re actually saving money in the long run!
Or weights. If you’re going straight for powerlifting, any kind of weights will get you through. If that’s the case I’d recommend you go for some used steel plates, you can find them for about 50 cents! I guess we should thank everyone that impulse buys weight sets.
On the other hand, if you want to do some CrossFit or Olympic Lifting, you will need bumper plates. Finding these used is harder but still possible. Like before, avoid box-store brands!
Rogue’s Echo Black bumpers are affordable and quality, and while they don’t bring a lot of plates, they’re perfect for beginners, for reference, they’re around $220 and $245 for the 160-pound set.
Vulcan’s bumpers are -unsurprisingly more expensive, however, they’re far more durable than arguably the rest of the brands. These resilient bumper plates are around $250 and $270 for the 160-pound set.
There are some strong and inexpensive stands out there, and while you will probably want to replace them down the road, they can get you started.
CFF Gen 2 Squat Stand is one of such deals. With 11-gauge steel and a higher load rating, this squat stand provides a reliable and strong choice that is also inexpensive, and all this for a price range of $150 to $200.
If you’re saving pennies left and right to make a sizeable investment in a single piece, getting a Rogue squat stand would be a smart move. For about $390-440 you’d be getting a quality squat stand that you probably won’t be replacing!
While there are some expensive, quality benches out there, do you really need to shell out a lot of cash for it?
Adidas flat utility bench is the supreme economy bench, with its 600-pound capacity, this bench can serve its purpose for a very long time, and while it’s a bit short, it serves its purpose well for a mere ~$80 price range.
This is the part where it gets tricky. If you went for the Rogue squat stand (like the S-2) you can pretty much use the pull-up bar in the rack instead of getting another one. However, if you didn’t, you’d have to get either a wall or ceiling mounted bar.
Just bear in mind, if you indeed intend to get a cheaper squat stand along a dedicate pull-up bar, then make sure you do the math first if the resulting cost ends up being around (or even a bit less) than the Rogue squat stand, just get the stand!
The nice, worthwhile dedicated pull-up bars are usually around ~$100 and trust me, it is in your best interest to avoid the cheap ones, you don’t want to injure yourself due to a faulty bar, do you?
You’re free to look for what works for you, just use your judgment properly! If I may chime in with a recommendation, Rogue’s products are very good and serviceable!
In any case, you can always neglect the bar and use a DIY solution, from exposed rafters to a large tree, just make sure it’s safe!
As a conclusion:
You wouldn’t believe all the things we can do in our garages if we set our minds to it, me? I don’t only have my gym, but I also have a little table tennis joint there, and I thoroughly enjoy playing ping pong there with my son and his friends!
I hope this guide helped you get started with your garage gym! You can always add more stuff a few paychecks later, so just focus on working out once it’s ready.
There are many guides for this kind of initiative out there, but I felt most were just trying to sell me stuff rather than give me good advice, so I decided to do this!
I was normal gym attendant before, but the difficulty of the travel, as well as the amount of money I was spending, made it difficult for me to do so, and that’s when I decided to pimp my garage to be a gym too!
About the author: My name is Roman, I am 40! I am an automotive guru, my hobby is to repair old cars. But occasionally my son was involved in ping pong. I had to clean some space in my garage for his table tennis table. Later I organized a small gym there and started a small Ping Pong blog for him.