Information on how to run faster, lift stronger and think deeper

Home gym, where to start [Article, Video]

Posted by Pascal Landshoeft

Mar 2, 2020 9:00:00 AM

Woman using activity tracker at gym-1

Home gym, Where to start

This is a short overview of where to start with your home gym. Check out the related articles for more details on each item.
Click for Instagram

Commercial gym

Before you even go near the idea of a home gym, join a commercial gym. The only exception is when your commute would be super long, but we will get to that in the next section. Join a commercial gym for a trial month and suck the subscription dry. Go as often as you can. Make use of all the equipment. Talk to as many members and coaches as you possibly can. Work on your plan. Reshuffle your day so that you can actually attend classes. Figure out whether you prefer to train alone or in a group. Do you prefer to have your earphones on or listen to music played in the gym?
By the end of the thirty days, you should have tried everything on the grounds. You should also have more clarity on which exercises are good for reaching your goals and how to execute them. You will know whether the commute is a pain. Getting a handle on whether you need others to stay motivated and on track will also help a great deal. Starting your home gym starts with clarity on whether you can stick to a regime and what works for you in a commercial gym, before making a big investment. 


If you live in a big city I would be surprised if there was no gym somewhere in 20 minutes walk or driving distance. You want this commute to be as short as possible. If on the other hand, you live far away from any gym on an island or in the middle of a big agricultural area, you might as well get started on planning your home gym. If the commute is more than 30 minutes each way, invest in a home gym. You will then travel as long as the workout takes to finish. This is not a wise use of your precious time in life. The only commodity in life you can not buy back in life is time. So save it wherever you can.

Exercise selection

After you had your trial month and have some more clarity on what kind of training you like make a list. The list will consist of all of the exercises you are currently liking and are effective for your goals. Keep this list close when you start planning your home gym. It will determine space and budget requirements for your home gym and also keep you in check when you get into a shopping frenzy. From here you can deduct which gym balls, mats, dumbbells, and rack to get. 


Survey your home for the best area to put your home gym in. The usual suspects are the attic, garage, and basement. If you don't have these think of places in your house where you just throw in things for storage. If you have a room full of stuff that you have not even looked at for a year, this is the perfect area to start.
Once the room is picked, take your measurements. Measure the length of the walls, the height of the ceiling, doors, and windows. Check whether there are any structural obstructions hanging from the ceiling / which are not in direct line of sight. Make notes in which direction doors and windows open. Also mark where radiators, sockets and light switches are installed. This might take a while, but detailed notes of your room will prevent that you spent a lot of money on equipment and then even more on changing the setup of the room.
With the finished notes and plans, you can start to design. Rogue Fitness has a great 3D Planner which enables you to play around with room designs and dimensions. The more you simulate, the better for your end results. Think about the placement of the equipment. Color the walls differently. Make a design with and without a desk. Whatever you can come up with. The more alterations on the plan you make and try out in this phase the more refined the end result will be. 


If you don't want to go crazy and just be able to exercise at home to stay fit and healthy kettlebells are a great option. They are probably the cheapest and most compact all-around gym. Men start with 12kg while women usually are covered with 8kg. I highly recommend Pavel Tsatsouline's Simple and sinister protocol for your kettlebell regime. 


Once you have a pair of kettlebells you can invest in a bench. A bench will give you a lot more options for varying your exercises. Step-ups are safer and you can also start doing split squats and bench press variations. The only downside is that once a bench comes into play you will most likely need a dedicated room for your home gym.

Rack, barbell, and plates

The next step up is a rack including all the extra material to lift heavy. Spend some extra money to get a quality rack including a barbell and plates. You will enjoy your gym more and be safe. Once you think in these dimensions it makes sense to start taking notes and have a finance plan to address all your needs.

Finance plan

home gym will put you back somewhere between 500 - 5000 depending on your needs and what you get. Make a finance plan to get there. Which kind of leisure activities could you cut back on? Could you optimize your expenses on food by batch cooking? What about your insurances and retirement plan? Starting your home gym and a new regime can be the start of an entirely new, better life by tackling different areas of your life with more structure and focus. 

Build and delivery

Depending on whether you already have a room ready or have to build one, make time. If you decided to build a garden gym, take two weeks off when the work is being done. There will be errands to be made and workers to be supervised. Even if you just sit in your kitchen drinking tea they will work harder. When questions arise, you can directly address them and make decisions rather than giving the team an excuse to have a coffee break. Be nice to the team. Even if you do not have a big project brewing and only have to assemble a delivery, take a week off. Enlist one of your friends to build the gym with you, once the delivery has arrived. 


There is a lot of information out there on how to build your own gym. Some people use wood while others use metal depending on their skill sets. The advantage of a self-build is that you will save quite a bit of money. You might also learn a new skill and find satisfaction in finishing a project. The disadvantage is that DIY projects tend to drag it and not be finished. It might also not be secure. If you regularly to complex DIY projects and enjoy them go down this route. If you only want to save money but have never done any DIY apart from this, stick with the professionals.

Professional build

The big negative on this one is the labor cost. Depending on how many and who is working on the project this can reach anywhere from 100 to 10000. Unfortunately, only the sky is the limit when it comes to building something new. Budget 1000 - 5000 for a proper team of builders without an architect for your new structure without material. The good news is, these guys know what they are doing and will get the project finished. If you are not happy with the result you can also complain to someone. in a DIY project, you will get complaints from family and neighbors. 

Finishing touches

Once the room and equipment have arrived make the final adjustments. Here you can decide where you want to store material like platesjump ropes, dumbbells, and kettlebells. Avoid obstructing doors, windows, and other essential infrastructure. Paint, murals, and floors should be finished before the equipment is moved in. Pictures, nick-nacks, posters and other small items get moved in and installed after the equipment is placed.


Starting your home gym is not only about equipment. To a large degree, it is about changing your routines and planning accordingly. There is no point in having a home gym that you are not going to use. The same goes for the equipment which goes into the gym.

Topics: Rogue, Powerlifting, Crossfit, TITAN, Barbell, Plates, Bench, Dumbbell, Rack