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Building A Garage Gym

Having a gym membership is a luxury.  But building an effective garage gym can be realistic.

Being able to start your day early, pack a gym back and jump in the car to drive for a one-hour workout is really nice.  The benefits of time and all of the amenities at a big gym can be greatly rewarding.

But news flash.  Not everyone can afford a gym membership and not everyone has the time it takes to go to one, let alone time to get the workout in.

That’s why the idea of building a garage gym might be more appealing to most people.  Building a garage gym is not difficult and can be extremely useful with the help of a few tools.  We’re giving out our best advice on building a simple and effective garage gym. A few things to consider is what kind of workouts you will do, what kind of cardio do you do, and making sure your space is sufficiently organized for the workouts you want to do.  

Heavy Weights Vs. Body Weight

Every garage gym consists of some kind of weights and you will need to know what kind of exercises you will be doing in order to know what to get.  Are you a heavy lifter or more of a calisthenics person who prefers bodyweight exercises? The gear you will need will obviously vary depending on what you want to do.  The typical garage gym will probably have a little bit of both

If you decide to go the heavy weights route then you will need to make sure you purchase weight equipment and have sufficient space for it such as barbells, a bench press, and plates.  However, bodyweight exercises might only require a few simple tools and some padded flooring to get you started. Having a hanging bar to do pull ups, dips, and leg raises is another great tool for bodyweight exercises.

Garage Gym inspiration from Chelsea Schuur

Gym Toys

The average garage gym will consist of some amount of toys.  And we don’t mean kids bikes or cars. Gym toys can be anything that assists you during a workout to help you form or make your workout more challenging.  And if you’re too manly to think of them as toys, then fine, we’ll go with tools.

Some good garage gym tools to consider having on hand would be an exercise ball for stability exercises, ab mat to assist with repetitive sit-ups, ab wheels to increase ab workout difficulty, ab rollers for recovery, and anything else one can get their hands on to improve their garage gym.   


An adequately equipped garage gym will have some form of lighter weights.  These can range from 5 lbs to 50 lbs. Even if that doesn’t sound light to you now, consider your future and how you will increase in strength on a regular basis. These weights can be used in exercises like Romanian deadlifts, curls, presses, and more.  

While it is nice having real kettlebells or dumbbells at your disposal, and you might eventually want to purchase a few, you do not have to have them in your garage gym at the start.  You can adlib any workout to use any heavy object to get the job done. Some ideas are sealed water jugs, cement filled jugs, bricks, cinder blocks or medicine balls filled with sand. Use your imagination and what you have on hand until you decided to spend money on heavier equipment.  There are tons of items you can DIY for your garage gym, in fact, we wrote a blog on our favorite garage gym DIY projects.

Pro advice from Brandon Campbell Diamond

Cardio Space

The great thing about having a garage gym is that you can control your own space.  Any well put together garage gym will have sufficient room for cardio or similar fast-paced exercises.  If you are a runner, then this is a no-brainer, you just go for a run, but if the weather is bad or you just hate running then you will need cardio space in your garage gym.  

Typically an 8 x 8 foot cleared space is good enough for most exercises such as jumping rope, jumping jacks, and burpees.  If you don’t have enough space, then make sure your garage gym equipment is moveable and can be pushed easily out of the way when needed.  


The key to having a usable, functioning garage gym is keeping it organized.  Your space might be limited but it doesn’t have to be limiting. Use your walls to put in shelves to keep your gear organizes, and use even the ceiling and hooks to hang what you can.  If hanging a bunch of new shelves isn’t an option then you can use storage bins to keep track of your gear.

Part of an organized garage gym is making sure all of your equipment goes back to its home when you are finished with it so it is easily retrieved during your next workout.  It also means you won’t trip over gear you’ve left out, and the dog won’t get a chance to chew up your new speed jump rope. Make sure everything has a place to go when not in use and it’s your responsibility to put it back.  

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