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How to build a basement gym for $5000

Posted by Pascal Landshoeft

Aug 2, 2019 9:00:00 AM

Basement gym idea for 4 people

How to build a basement gym for $5000

If you have $5000 change to build your basement gym you can fully commit with the Warrior Crossfit package and combine it with a RM6. If you do not become unstoppable with that, it is simply because you are lazy. 

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Measurements for your basement gym


Remember the days of "highway to hell", "Black Betty" and when Queen started out to become big? Back in the 70s, the average new built house in the US was between 1200 and 1600 square foot. A lot has changed since then.
While the average families are getting smaller the average house size has more than doubled from the 70 until now. An average new built house is between 2200 and 2600 square foot when it is built nowadays. 
When I read books like the price of inequality I wonder how much these numbers are skewed by the mansions of the super-rich. I mean in New York they are piling floors on top of each other to make more money around Central Park. But anyway, that is just me. These numbers mean that the US currently has the highest space per capita in its history. The US comes in second in a study on house sizes from 2017 behind Australia and followed by Canada. If you are Chinese you only live with 1/4 of the space a US citizen has.
While this means that you probably live in abundance, be aware that this surplus of space could be the reason why you are not financially independent yet. Your house is one of the main factors in building or destroying your wealth. The higher the mortgage the more crippling the interest on this mortgage. Think of this dynamic before adding a lot of rooms which you don't use.
If you are lucky enough to have a basement it is usually a full or a half basement. A full basement means that all of your house has an extra layer down in the ground. A half-basement means that only half of your house has been equipped with basement. Based on the current average numbers we, therefore, assume that your basement gym can maximally fill 2200 to 2600 and minimally 1100 to 1300 square foot. 
When you plan your basement/basement gym make also sure that you do not forget to place a staircase in. You will need access and this is usually via a staircase placed along one of the walls of the basement, depending on the layout of your house. 

Why a home gym? 

There can be several reasons why you might consider a home gym over a subscription. In some cases, you might want to save the subscription fee. In my experience that only computes of you are a celebrity who has to pay a couple a thousand dollars for a gym membership to have their peace or if you stay at the same spot for a couple of decades in case the membership is lower than $50 a month. Here are some other considerations apart from the total cost of ownership: 
  • Distance to regular gym 
  • Time constraints 
  • You are a weirdo 
  • Lack of equipment 
  • Celebrity status 
If you live in a rural area the next gym might be miles away. In this instance, it is likely that you will have space on your real estate to build a home gym and improve your lifestyle or one of your children. Having a gym at home will save some valuable not spend in a car. 
Time constraints can be another reason. Your local gym might be close, but it is crowded or not open at the times you want to go. You could also be stuck in traffic for half an hour even though when you first signed up it seemed like the gym was only five minutes away. Time is the only commodity we can not buy back, so make good use of it. 
If you are like me, you might be just fed up with commercial gyms. You want to hang from the ceiling with your balalaika and sing Russian songs while doing a backflip. In most gyms, you will be banned fairly quickly. Some don’t even allow you to deadlift. Also, if you want to run a YouTube channel it is usually better to own the place you are training in. More often than not you otherwise get in trouble with the owner. 
Another reason can be that your local gym simply does not have the equipment you need to be successful. If you deviate from the mean and want yokes, atlas stones or the equipment for gymnastics, you usually won’t find them in your local gym. If the trip to your local high school is far, you don’t want to do it again after you left the place to train. 
If you are a celebrity or concerned about safety you most likely have not many other options than a home gym. Your lifestyle will demand that you can step in at any time have the necessary equipment ready to go. You also can not be around other people as you then might not be able to train in peace. 

Multi-purpose use

When you have a gym at home you will have to come to terms that the basement might not be exclusively for your gym. Some other functions of the house might share the basement with you such as
  • Storage
  • Washing 
  • Car (depending on layout) 
  • Guest bedroom 
  • Playroom / Den
Think of all the things that are currently stored in the basements will be stored in the basement. Can they be sold? Are they of sentimental value? If they are, how can they be put on display in the house? What can be thrown out? Marie Kondo’s book about the Life-changing Manga of tidying up can help. 
The washing machine and the dryer might be in the basement at the moment. To be honest this is often not ideal as the washing has to be carried another flight of steps for a routine task. Maybe talk about where to move these appliances instead. Maybe near the kitchen or under the central flight of stairs of the house. 
If you have a house that has the garage in the basement, where will the car or cars go in the future? How often do you actually park them I the garage? Will it affect your insurance payments if you have no more garage? How much space is left in the basement when the cars are parked in there? 
Once the basement will be developed there often comes the question of a guest bedroom. While these can be a bone of contempt the key question here is: How often do you actually have guests? How often is the already existing guest bedroom being used? How long will your children be living in the house, as their bedrooms will turn into guest bedrooms after they move out? The argument that you will have more guests once there is an additional bedroom usually does not hold. If you are not brimming beforehand, it is unlikely you will afterward, unless you are planning to open an Air BnB. 
The last thing to consider is whether the basement should be partly or fully developed into a group rather than just an exercising space. You made want to place a billiard table or other entertainment pieces in there. Again think about how often you actually entertain people before eating up space.
Think about these competing interests for space before you lay out your basement gym. Otherwise, you might have to compromise on the fly, which usually won’t make you too happy. 

List of exercises

Here is a list of exercises you possibly want to do in your basement gym. Make your own to be sure that your equipment covers what you want to do. 
To squat heavy, at home, the ideal solution is a squat rack with security pins. This will keep you secure while you push yourself. The options you have for the barbell squat are full racks, half racks, and squat stands depending on your space and budget. 
To bench press, you will need a bench. A bench can also be used for step-ups, barbell rows and a multitude of other exercises. Depending on your budget you can choose between flat benches and various options of adjustable benches
As long as you have a barbell and some flooring, you can deadlift. Options to upgrade on the deadlift are a deadlift platform, wagon wheels, and trap bars. 
The pull up is one of the most basic and effective bodyweight exercises. For this, you need a pull-up bar. There are variations which can be hooked up to the wall or a rack depending on the solution you pick. 
Box jumps are a great tool for conditioning and explosive strengths. You can also use boxes as storage, chairs and for box squats. You can get stackable and multi-sided versions of boxes depending on your budget and need. 
Lat pulls are a big help to develop your back or if you are not able to do pull-ups yet.  You can either get a free-standing lat pull down or attach one to your rack. The attachments come in many levels of price and quality. 
A sled can also be helpful for conditioning. These are very popular with football and rugby players. If you can not use it outside, make sure your basement has the free space to push and pull one. 
Wall balls are also great for conditioning. They usually need a higher ceiling to be done right. To do wall balls you can get either medicine or rubber medicine balls. 
To row or run indoors you usually need a machine. There are options like treadmills and Airbikes. They all come at a considerable cost. So if you can do your runs outdoors, this would be the best budget option. 

Layouts for your basement gym

Basement gym idead for 4 people
Basement gym example 2200 square foot
Basement gym example 1100 square foot
Above you find three different layouts which are mainly aimed at giving you an idea of how much space you would actually need for your home gym.
I free-styled a gym that would accommodate four family members at the same time for heavy lifting and getting on an Airbike. For a home gym, this is completely over the top. For a dorm house basement of the college football team, this would be a good start. The first picture is a 2200 square footprint while the second is 1100 square foot big. The main message here is that you will have more than enough space in your basement for a gym if you have an average-sized American house. If you are looking for ideas which take up less space review these posts. They are aimed at garden gyms but also get the idea of a smaller footprint for your gym across: 


Basement gym example 160 square foot

Basement gym example 160 square foot bird eye view
This example would only take up 160 square foot and leave you with more options for the rest of the basement conversion.Before you fill the gym, draw the complete layout of your basement up. You can use the Rogue Zeus software for this. Be careful about where you will put doors and lighting. The infrastructure can’t be moved and orbits also unlikely that you will move the rack once it is installed. Take some time to think about where to place it and how your basement will evolve over time. 
When you plan your gym remember that barbells are wider than racks. Avoid placing a rack flush against a wall as you then might not be able to move the barbell freely. Also, leave some space around the rack that you can easily move around to get the plates on and off the bar. Take some time to know where you will store your plates, medicine balls and little equipment like jump ropes and boxing gloves. 
Once you have drawn up the footprint, placed the doors and decided where to store things, it is time to film the white space with equipment. 

List of equipment

The first part of the equipment would be the Warrior Crossfit package. This covers everything you need for a price of $2725 in terms of getting your equipment ready. You will find more details about the different line items and their alternatives in this post. 
The second piece of equipment would be the Rogue RM6 rack for a maximum of $2605 if you take it with all of the bells and whistles fom the basic configuration. With this you will have a personal gym to rival any professional athlete.
Warrior Crossfit Package

Overview and review of the Warrior CrossFit package

The warrior Crossfit package gives you 14 different items at a price $2725 to cover all your Crossfit needs. Learn more in this overview and find out about alternatives if you don't have the budget or need for such a big pack. This article was originally posted in "Which rogue equipment to buy for an individual".

What else to consider from Rogue


Overview of the Warrior Crossfit package

The Warrior package gives you everything you need to win the CrossFit games except the time, dedication and genetics. The short overview of the components is: 
With this equipment, you have no more excuses to at least make it to Regionals if you take care of your diet and regime. You might lose the odd event here or there, but overall you can simulate all core WODs and get better at them. 

Items of the Warrior Crossfit package



The concept 2 model D is a worldwide standard for indoor rowing. This is a solid and time tested machine which trains the entire body with low impact. Compared to the VersaClimber it is also suitable for beginners and all age groups alike. Rows are also part of a wide range of WODs so it is money well invested with this machine. If you don’t have the space for a rower you might want to have a look at the Rogue Echo Bike. If you are buying multiple rowers, you can get them in a ten pack, although I would recommend mixing them with the model E. The model E has a higher seat for tall or athletes in rehab. 
The warrior package includes the following plates: 
  • (2) 10LB
  • (2) 25LB
  • (2) 35LB
  • (4) 45LB
You can’t really go wrong with bumper plates. They are cheap, can be dropped from overhead and used outdoors. They are also easy on fingers and toes when you get them between two plates. Compared to Olympic plates They also come in the same diameter for all plates. 
The only downsides to bumper plates are precision and how much space they take up on the sleeves of your barbells. As bumper plates allow more variance in production you might some which are one kilogram of what it says on the plate. In can be more in some cases. Calibrated steel plates and competition plates are precision manufactured and only have a variance of a couple of grams. That is why they come in at a higher price tag. If you have a lot Of people in your gym who throw about more than 500 pounds you also need some steel plates. This is about the maximum mark you can manage on sleeves of a barbell with rubber alone.
Steel plates are the most common option worldwide you can find. Often they are also called Olympic plates even though they are not used in the Olympics. Steel plates have various diameters to obtain the necessary weight. If you don’t lift a lot of weight it looks like a pyramid on your bar. Once you move 400lb plus it also looks like something with steel plates. Rogue also offers calibrated steel plates in case you consider a bigger purchase. These plates have been thrown into this package to enable you to do smaller increments of increasing the weight. other options would be fractional or change plates to achieve the same means. 
The Rogue Ohio Bar builds the backbone of the Rogue barbell portfolio. It was one of the first barbell models to leave production from Columbus, Ohio. With this bar, you get the best value for money bar from Rogue. You will be able to do powerlifting, weightlifting and CrossFit alike. 
If you wanted to upgrade for weightlifters go for the Pyrros bar. This has recently been IWF approved and has bushing instead of bearing. This gives the sleeves more spin and makes the Olympic lifts a little easier.
If you want to give your Regime a little more color and inspiration you can opt for the Fraser or Froning edition of the Ohio bar. With the Zeus system, you can even create your very own design. 
If you want to save some money you can swap the Ohio bar for an echo bar. 
As you are only buying for yourself it might make some sense to get a better barbell as the cost won’t multiply out as it is the case when equipping a gym. 
The warrior comes with 5 Kettlebells with the following weight: 
  • 2 35LB / 1 pood 
  • 2 53LB / 1.5 pood 
  • 1 70LB / 2 pood 
These Kettlebells are solid single cast iron with color-coded handles. They are great if all you do with them are kettlebell swings. If you are looking into kettlebell competitions or do a lot of cleans, snatches, and get-ups you might want to look into the rubber-coated or competition alternative. 
This set of HG collars will protect your barbell from scratches and keep the plates in place when you lift overhead or move very heavy loads. The patented locking mechanism makes it easy to get the collars on and off the bar. 
The cheaper option is spring collars. As you are only buying for yourself and the cost doesn’t multiply out I would not look into them and just go for collars. 
These gymnastic rings are made in America and can be used for your gymnastics needs. If you use them in your home gym make sure that you have some distance to the floor to get the full use out of them. The rings come with the necessary straps to set them up, but not with the anchors to hang them from the ceiling.
(1) SET OF ROGUE FORMED parallettes
To cover your Gymnastics need for l sits and bar work even further you can use these parallettes. Just don’t do somersaults on these. 
The warrior package gives you one medicine ball of your choice. Medicine balls are a great tool for conditioning as you can do throws, slams and coordination work. Read up on some boxing routines to get the full use out of them with Russian twists and wall throws. A lower-cost option from Rogue would be the rubber medicine ball alternative. 
The warrior package includes one slam ball of your choice. Slam balls are great for slamming them into the ground with full force. They are not great for any exercises where the ball needs bounce. The slam balls have basically been designed to not hit you in the face when you slam them into the ground hard. 
This Manila rope comes ready for your climbing and pulling needs. 
The Rogue SR 3 speed rope has quickly become the go-to rope for doing double unders in the CrossFit community. Since then there have been quite a few updates and redesigns published. I would always recommend getting an extra cable with your purchase so that you do not have to wait around when the first one breaks. 
The Abmat takes your sit-ups to the next level. The Abmat is Prone to chafing. If you literally want to save your ass, go for the upgraded version that protects you from chafing. 

Pros of the Warrior Crossfit package

The Warrior package has everything you need to get yourself ready for the games. You are short of nothing to simulate most WODs. It will also save you time researching and clicking on the Rogue store and overlooking something. 

Cons of the Warrior Crossfit package

For the price of the warrior package, you can also build a functioning home gym with a foldable rack, dumbbell set bench, plates, and bar. You can still go out and run to work on your stamina. All depends on your priorities. 

Alternatives to the Warrior Crossfit package

If you are of the opinion that you can use your bike or runners to get your stamina I check you won’t need a rower. In that case, go for the Alpha package and cut your cost considerably as it comes without the rower.
For the price of the warrior package, you are also able to get one of the best racks from Rogue. The RM6 will provide space for your bar, plates and yourself. 

Summary of the Warrior Crossfit package

The warrior package is great when you are very invested in CrossFit and want to be able to simulate as many different WODs as possible at home. It lacks the necessary infrastructure and I am actually surprised that there is no pull-up bar included in the pack. 

Overview of the Rogue RM6 rack

Price 2.605$ max


Overview of the RM6

The RM6 is currently the flagship rack of Rogue's portfolio. It is the biggest and meanest rack you can get from them. The Rogue RM6 provides you with one full and half rack which can be customized to your needs. You can use different cross members and pull up bars for functionality and stability. The RM6 goes with many of Rogue's accessories to be customized to your personal needs. This can be chalk bowls, barbell holders and different versions of plate storage
The RM6 has a footprint of 80''x53''. It is 76'' long and 49'' in width. You can get it in three different heights, 90'', 100'' and 108''. The steel notes are made from 3x3 Gauge Steel as all products from the Rogue Monster series.  The available colours for the RM6 are
  • Bright blue
  • Bright Green
  • Burnt orange
  • Dark blue
  • Dark red
  • Gun Metal
  • Light Gray
  • Rogue Red
  • White
  • Satin clear
  • Satin black
For the cross members, you have the following options
  • Single pull up bar
  • Fat Skinny pull up bar
  • Nameplate
  • Single fat
  • Beam with gusset
  • Socket pull up bar
For the J cups, you have three options
The securities have the following options
With this rack, you get the storage space and pull up space which is ideal to build a standalone powerlifting station in your gym or building the ultimate home gym. This beast is massive and overbuilt, but worth the price. You can also rest assured that you will be part of any innovation that Rogue makes as they usually start from the monster series and trickle now products down from there.

Pros of the RM6

The Rogue RM6 provides you with a full and a half rack to customise further. You can either choose to leave the space so that two athletes can train at the same time or add plate storage as needed. The half rack can also be converted to a belt squat station by combining it with Rhino bet squat. The Rogue Monster Slinger can attach to create a station for lat pull down and triceps pushdowns. All of this combined makes the RM6 the ultimate home gym when you are serious about change or the piece of attention in your existing gym to attract powerlifters. 

Cons of the RM6

The RM6 takes up quite a bit of space. If you are aiming to maximize your floor space and leave a lot of room for running exercises, this is not the optimal choice. Another con is the price. for 2600$ you can get two mid-range Rogue racks or eight Rogue Ohio Barbells. If you want to build a gym on a budget this is not the right choice for you. 

Alternatives to the RM6

There are some alternatives to the RM6 in the Rogue portfolio depending on your needs. These are
The Rogue R6 takes the same idea as with the RM6 and makes it a bit more palatable to your purse. The R6 comes in at roughly 1.000 $ less and covers the same floor space. If you are trying to build a home gym with plate storage including a full and half rack, the R6 is also an option. The only downside is that the R6 belongs to the Rogue Infinity series. The Infinity series is built from 2x3 stell notes and not from 3x3 steel notes.  At the moment Rogue does not focus in developing new equipment for this series. Innovations like the 50' cal, Rhibo belt squat and Slinger will take time to trickle down to this rack. You will still have a solid rack that delivers.
The RML690C is an option when you still want a long rack with space and keep the option to choose your own colour.  With 1.750$you make some savings compared to the R6. There are no standardised height choices so you will have to contact Rogue to get a custom build if you want changes to the original height. You will also have fewer accessory options is with the Monster line. 
If you are considering to start a new gym, be aware that for the price of one RM6 you can get 8 Rogue Ohio barbells. This means you can run a CrossFit class with 8 paying people if you have the floor space instead of one powerlifter rattling a rack. Something to think about when you ay out your gym to maximise revenue. Not so relevant for the home gym warrior.

Why Rogue

I personally recommend Rogue to anyone who is in the market to build a home gym and want to work with free weights. They might not have the best machines, but when it comes to free weight training and racks they have found a great niche and perfected their products. 
Delivery with Rogue is usually top-notch. It depends on how much you are buying and whether it is in stock, but delivery times are somewhere between two to six weeks. Racks and other big equipment usually ship for free. This is not a standard across the industry. The packaging is great and the material you get will mostly be unharmed and stack well to be transported. The last thing you want is that your 5000 dollar home gym has chips and scratches already on arrival. 
Rogue is committed to quality which reflects in their portfolio. If the design of a product is off, it will be updated. Products are not flooded into the market, but carefully tested and refined to get it just right. You can find examples of this in the lat pull-down50 cal armsRhino Belt squat, and cerakote barbells
Rogues first version of the last pull down got complaints about its functionality. After this, it underwent a major update to improve the pulley system and how you attach different bars. 
After going to market with the Rogue arms as an attachment to their racks Rogue realized that it can be a pain to adjust them to the right height. Combining ideas from the military with their engineering they came up with the 50 cal lever arm which is easily adjustable. 
The Rhino belt squat has been tested and refined to create the best belt squat on the market to date. For this special attention had to be laid to the pulley system to get it as close as possible to a 1:1 ratio of weight on the bar to the lifter. Based on the general feedback in the market this is something Rogue achieved and hasn’t been done before. Belt squats and leg presses usually inflate the numbers on the squat by a considerable margin to put the same stress in the lifter. 
Last but not least the Cerakote coating which was applied to rogues barbell arsenal. Rather than keeping the product, the same Rogue looked for ways to make barbells more customizable. The result was to use cerakote in the production process to be able to apply more colors and even elaborate designs to barbells. 
Most of the equipment you can buy at Rogue is American made in Columbus Ohio. Rogue produces and employs local to give back and ensure quality. If they have something in their portfolio they have to source from abroad it usually does not take long until it is adapted to be produced locally.
All racks and rigs of Rogue are modular. This means you can take them apart and put them together in other ways to upgrade your home gym over time. You do not have to throw out the old equipment and rip and replace your gym.
Based on the modular design and the good brand buying Rogue will protect your investment. The resell value will be higher in case you have to give up your gym and you will not lose as much money as on lower quality equipment. 

Pros of a basement gym

A basement gym is right at your home. You only need to step down and get going. It will be mostly out of the way of your children and has a door that you can easily lock up. Chances are slim that you will have to give the space up, once a gym has been established. It will also be mostly out of sight for guests. If you already have a basement you also do not have to give up parking space or building an additional structure to provide for your gym. If you have the basement running beneath the entire building you also have considerable space to play with. 

Cons of a basement gym

Basements often lack light, heat, air and tend to be damp. These are cons which are hard to fix. The lighting adds to the cost and training in a basement can feel stuffy at times. If you love in a very cold part of the world and you need to get hearing down there this will also considerably add to the cost of your project. A basement gym also seldom has nice views to make your workout a little more interesting. 

Alternatives to a basement gym

Alternatively, your gym can be 
  • In the attic 
  • In the garage 
  • In the garden 
  • In a rented unit 
  • In a community center 
Some attic conversions are used for gyms although this is not the go-to. More often than not these conversions are used for an extra bedroom for the younger members of the family. 
The garage is a very popular alternative to a basement gym as many garages are not used and filled with clutter. The main project will be to get the funds and agree on what can be thrown out if the car is not already parked in there on a regular basis. 
The garden can be a good option for your gym and the popularity of garden rooms is on the rise. The garden has the benefit of more light and nicer views. The challenge will be to erect a new structure to get your gym into. 
Some people decide to put their gym into a rented unit. You might be able to rent an unused garage in an apartment block to put your gym in. Just make sure that the unit is closer than your local gym, otherwise, this does not make a lot of sense unless you need to train outside regular opening times. 
Another alternative, especially in rural areas, is to get together in the neighborhood and invest in a community gym including a building. This brings the cost per household considerably down or buys a very fancy gym if everyone chips in with the intended budget for their own gym. The downside is that all parties have to agree on what to get and that there will definitely be one person who gets a lot more out of this than the rest.

Summary for the $5000 basement gym

With the RM6 and Warrior Crossfit package you get the creme de la creme from Rogue. The only way up from here is the recently published RM8 and adding a Donkey GHD.

Topics: Rogue