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Your guide to building the perfect home gym

The gyms we’ve called our second homes are closing their doors once again and it’s time to start thinking about how to bring the workouts to you instead. 

Creating a home gym sounds daunting but it’s actually much easier than you think. Besides the fact that you now have no more excuses to skip leg day, having a home gym means that you’ll never have to travel far, nor wait for your turn on the barbells again. Convinced? Here’s where we jump in to help you get started. 

Effective exercise consists of three core activities — aerobics, strength, and flexibility — and the way your home gym is structured will depend heavily on your goals. But before you rush online to order all the free weights and Peloton treadmills you can find, here’s what you need to consider first.

Here’s your guide to creating your very own home gym.

Work with the space you have

(Image credit: Sweat)

First, you’ll need to find a space that’s big enough for you to accomplish whatever fitness goals you’ve set out to achieve. If you’re looking to incorporate dynamic high-intensity moves, choose spots which are non-carpeted and free from furniture to prevent injury. Your balcony, living room, or even bedroom can be great places for weight training.

Even a tiny studio apartment can accommodate a home gym; you just have to pick workouts that don’t require too much space; incorporate classic moves such as push-ups, squats, planks, and lunges. Jump roping is also a good way of getting your cardio in without leaving that one spot.

Pick the right equipment

We can’t feel bad enough for all the good men who’ve been seduced into purchasing expensive and faddish equipment for their conquest, but the key to success here — especially if you’re space-restricted — is to be smart about your choices. 

Home gym
(Image credit: Peloton)

Instead of going all out with a treadmill or rowing machine, pick equipment that isn’t only multi-purpose, but can be stashed away easily. Start with a yoga mat, then add resistance bands for stretching and strength training. To add weights to your workout, Bowflex’s adjustable dumbbells and kettlebell are good investments because they eliminate clutter in your workout space. A good foam roller can be used for core work as well as sorting out your sore muscles after.

Stability and BOSU balls are good for turning up the heat but can be tough to store. These balancing discs are decent alternatives since they still incorporating balance and core work while being less than half the size. If you’d still like to incorporate cardio machines to your regimen, these space-friendly options are your best bet.

Give it good vibes

Your workout is only as good as how pumped you feel, and your environment has a big part to play in that. We’re not saying you have to sage the place (unless that’s what you’re into), but giving it plenty of good vibes is a start.

home gym
(Image credit: Bowflex)

Try to fill your space with plenty of natural light and make it feel as airy as possible. Remove as many distractions as possible — think documents, food, and work devices — and if you’re following a tutorial have your laptop set up at a level that’s easily accessible throughout the session. 

A mirror is also a good tool for feedback since there won’t be instructors around to guide you, plus it can help open up a small area to make it appear larger. Equip your home gym with a decent compact speaker and add a couple of plants to give it some life. 

Be organised

There’s nothing more annoying than having a shared living space that’s turned into an equipment-filled obstacle course. Proper storage solutions such as shelves or containers are easy ways of ensuring you and your co-living victims stay safe and happy with this workout-from-home arrangement. Besides, it’ll give your tools more longevity too.

Your guide to building the perfect home gym

Shatricia Nair

Managing Editor

Shatricia Nair has a passion for motoring, beauty, and wellness, and is perpetually knee-deep in the world of V8s, retinols, and latest fitness trends. She has nine years of experience writing for digital media, and her bylines have appeared in Prestige, and Augustman. She'll do (almost) anything for good chocolate chip cookies.

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