How to design your home gym
Attached you will find two example designs which you can use as a blueprint. I have also done many variations on those. Start with the floor space you have available and design your gym into it, as the available space most likely will not change. The few exceptions are new builds in the garden. Here I would also start with the available shed / room options and work from there.
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How to design your home gym
Designing a home gym can be tough and confusing.
- What material should you get?
- Where to place things?
- What will the landlord say?
- Can I DIY this?
Survey the area
The first thing to do would be to survey your house or apartment for possible places to put the gym in. The usual suspects are the attic, the basement, the garden or the leftover room which currently functions as an office, skip and does not need to be used as a room for your kids anymore.
Also, try to obtain any plans of the building you can get your hands on. Study your lease contract and make a list of the people who will possibly be impacted by your gym. If a new structure is part of your plan also make sure whether you need planning permission from the landlord or local authorities. This in itself will already take some time.
Once you have whittled it down to some possible options in your living quarters weigh up the pros and cons of each. The more limited space the more obvious the choice usually is. A former office might be a bit small compared to the attic but has the advantage of being on the ground floor. The basement might have no light or heating but has the bonus that it saves the cost of the structure compared to a garden gym.
In addition, you should also consider how hard it will be to negotiate the space with the interested parties involved. Your partner might be more willing to give up the garage space versus a part of the precious garden. Your mates in the dorm might be more into a pool table than into a rack. You will know the best for your personal situation. The trick is to map out potential people and objections before investing money or half way through the project. Of course, the other tactic is to tell none and pull it off on a weekend when no one is around and take the flack afterward.
Especially For a garden project, keep the views in mind. Make note of the following angles:
- From the house to the gym shed
- From the house to the rest of the garden
- From the gym shed to the house
- From the gym shed to the rest of the garden
- From your neighbors to the gym shed
- From the gym shed to the neighbors
Ideally, you want nice views for everybody in every direction. Avoid putting the shed right in the beautiful view for which you moved into the house in the first place
Try out some different designs at different sizes to determine the footprint of your gym. In our modern world, there are plenty of free programs to choose from to do your designs. I personally like the Zeus engine which Rogue Fitness provides to do my designs and experiment. All of the examples I have linked earlier in this post were made with that program.
Most common footprints are:
And variations of the themes. This is where the plans of your house or apartment will come in handy. For existing rooms, it is also wise to double-check the measurements yourself.
Windows and Doors
If you will place your equipment into an existing room check the existing doors and windows.
Which way do they open?
Are there any pipes, other constructions protruding from the walls or ceiling?
How often do these need to be accessed?
For a new structure, you want to think about where it is placed and how the sun travels during the day. Be smart about how to place the windows and doors depending on this.
Heat, air, electricity, and water
Depending on your location you want to get cooling and heating to your new gym. You might need to think about
to make the picture complete an avoid ramshackle solutions during the build.
Basement, garage and attic gyms are usually ok for electricity. Water might not be an option if the structure is already in place. Heat and cooling is usually a challenge in the garage and basement as the rooms have mainly been build for storage, not to keep humans cozy for a prolonged period of time.
A garden gym can be equipped with everything as you will most likely build it new. Electricity will be the easiest to get supplied. Has and water might be a little more tricky. So think hard before you make a decision on a sauna and shower n your newly build gym.
You can spend a lot of unnecessary money on intricate gym flooring. It might not even do the job as intended, especially when you are mainly interested in heavy lifting.
For gymnastics and yoga, you want something softer with a bit of bounce. This will cost a little more money. For lifting, horse mats are a perfect and cheap solution.
Make a plan about what you want to put on the walls.
- Which color should they have?
- What do you want to put on them?
- Will you hang equipment on the walls?
- How do the walls interplay with the floor?
Also, check whether the walls are straight or have a slant. Check the material so that you know how you could drill into the wall. It is hard to drive a nail into the concrete wall of a basement.
Make a list of the exercises you want to do in your gym and which equipment you need to do them. Don’t go too fancy. Chances are that you will keep doing whatever you already like doing in your local gym.
When you buy heavy equipment go for the quality. Buy once, cry once. It is also of advantage to buying in bulk to save on shipping costs. When you are looking for equipment it is easy to get carried away. Check your cart before you confirm the purchase. Some of the items you might not really need.
I personally would recommend getting a good rack, bench, dumbbell, and barbell. This will keep you fit and save. Most of the home gyms on television are of poor quality and won’t last long. If you want to do cardio either buy a very good pair of runners to run go outside or invest in a treadmill. An Airbike also can do wonders for losing weight.
Leave space between the different equipment when planning your gym. Don’t forget that a barbell is wider than the rack itself and that you also might want to be a bale to hand from it or run around it. Avoid putting a rack very close to a wall or to each other. Leave some breathing space around your heavy equipment.