Building a Home Gym on a Budget


It is that time of year again. The swimsuits are about to come out and hundreds of thousands of people start looking to get back in shape. Usually, this would mean joining a gym, but the recent pandemic has made most gyms questionable at best. They truly are one of the most difficult places to social distance, which is why people are starting to realize the merits of a home gym.

With a home gym, you can work out on your schedule and have complete confidence in the cleanliness of your equipment. No waiting for a machine to be free or dealing with that person who just refuses to mask up. Having a home gym is a wonderful thing, but it is admittedly an expensive project. There are some ways to make it more affordable, so take a look.

Building A Gym On A Budget

If you want to have the best of everything, you can expect to spend thousands of dollars on a home gym. Top notch equipment does not come cheap and with the huge demand on exercise gear at the moment, sales are not common. If you want to take out a loan for gym equipment or have money to burn, this article is not for you.

On the other hand, if you want to build a home gym for well under a thousand dollars, keep reading. I will go over the basics of what you need and tell you where to get it cheap. Let’s get started.

Cardio Equipment – $100 to $400

Your first task should be choosing out a good piece of cardio equipment. The type of machine that you buy will depend on your personal preference and to some extent your budget.

One good choice is an exercise bike. If you have bad knees or a bad back, this is an excellent choice, especially if you go with a recumbent bike. This will also likely be your cheapest option with most used exercise bikes going for around $100 on Craigslist. A little tip, be sure to look for magnetic resistance which will be much smoother.

Another popular, but slightly more expensive choice is a treadmill. Expect to pay $200 to $400 for a good used treadmill. Be sure to thoroughly test out this piece of equipment because there is a lot that can go wrong them. Make sure that the belt is nice and tight and that the motor does not struggle to get up to speed. You need to be on the machine when you test it as well, it is operating under weight.

Other popular options include elliptical machines which can be had for around $400, used of course and stair climbers, which are much harder to find used.

With cardio equipment, you want to go used if you want to go cheap. Doing so will allow you to buy quality equipment. New equipment in the $100 to $400 range would likely be junk.

Resistance Training Equipment – $100 to $500

It does not begin and end with cardio. In fact, it can be argued that weight training is even more important. Working with weights can help you build or even just retain muscle and strength training helps to keep your bones strong.

There are several ways that you can go with resistance training depending on your goals and your level of fitness.

If you just want to tone, you can get a set of barbells and an adjustable weight bench. You can go new with this route for around $150 – $200 or shop the used market for well under $100.

Should you want to do some more advanced exercises, you will need a weight bench with a rack and a full-size barbell set. If you do not plan on lifting more than 100 pounds, a standard 1-inch plate kit can get the job done and is very inexpensive. 1 inch refers to the opening on the weight plate. If you plan on lifting heavier weights, the only way to go is with an Olympic kit. These have 2-inch openings on the plates and will have a much thicker and stronger bar. Expect to spend about $200 here if you shop on Craigslist and $400 for new.

For those who really want to hit the weights hard, the best way to go is with a cage or rack system. This will utilize safety bars so that you can lift heavy weights safely, without the need for a spotter. To this cage, you will need to add an adjustable bench, a strong one, and an Olympic weight set. Used will be the budget friendly way to go here as you can pick up your gear for $400 to $500 if you shop around. New would easily cost over $1000.

Odds & Ends – $100

There will always be a few odds and ends that you will need to pick up to round out your home gym. One item that you should pick up is a decent mat for floor exercises. Even if your home gym has carpet, a mat will make exercise that much more comfortable. Other items that you might consider are resistance bands, a weight belt or even a door mounted pull up bar.

To Sum It Up

So, there you have it, for $300 to $1000 you can have a home gym to be proud of. As you can see from reading, the key is to choose your equipment carefully and buy used exercise equipment as much as you can. Luckily, there is no shortage of used equipment available because people tend to give up on exercise all too easily. Hopefully, you will do better. Good luck.


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