How to Set Up a Gym

Setting up a personal gym can be an easy, cheap and effective way to stay in shape. Maybe you want to save money in the long run by avoiding the time, gas and fees that you need to go to the gym, or you simply prefer the comforts of your home. Either way, a home gym can provide for your basic fitness needs. It’s all about having the right equipment, and whether you’re on a budget or willing to spend a little extra, there are only a few things you need to get in good shape and stay that way.

Equipment for a Budget

  1. Buy some free weights for resistance training. Adjustable dumbbells are a great space and money saver, and they’re just as good used as they are new. Almost every resistance exercise can be done with dumbbells. Resistance bands are another versatile option, and all you would need is a few bands with different levels of tension.

  2. Lay out some padded floor mats in the area you plan to use as a gym. These mats will help protect your flooring and equipment from damage, especially if the room you use has a carpeted or tiled floor. Mats also double as a comfortable place to perform floor exercises such as situps and pushups.

  3. Purchase some miscellaneous equipment that meets your personal goals, such as a stability ball for core and balance training, a jump rope for cardio and warm-ups or a pullup bar for developing the back, arms and shoulders. Medicine balls are cheap and can add a lot of variety to your workouts.

Helpful Extras

  1. Invest in a stationary bicycle. These are the cheapest of the cardio machines, they don’t take up much space, and it is easy to find used models. Stationary cycling is also a low-impact and low-injury alternative to cheaper workouts such as running. It has the added benefit of allowing you to work out inside during bad weather.

  2. Set up an adjustable weight bench with a barbell rack. This will add another dimension to your resistance training and allow you to lift heavier weights in positions that would otherwise be difficult, such as the bench press. You will also need a barbell and set of plate weights which, like dumbbells, are just as good used as new.

  3. Install a full home gym set if you’re willing to spend the money. These sets combine a variety of equipment and workout possibilities into a very small space. They usually include amenities such as a Smith machine, pullup bar, cable system, chest-fly machine and dip bars. A full home gym set can cost thousands of dollars, but can be found for much less used.


    Set up your personal gym in a place with plenty of space, such as a large spare room or a garage. This will not only make it a comfortable space to use, but also increase safety by giving you ample room to perform full ranges of motion.

    When you set out to find the right equipment for your gym, think of the exercises you want to do and then buy what you need to do them, not the other way around. This ensures that you won’t be wasting money on things you won’t use.


    Even though this will be a personal gym, it can still be a good idea to share the space with a workout buddy who can provide assistance during difficult exercises and be ready to help in case of injury. Exercising under supervision is always safer.

Things Needed

  • Adjustable dumbbells or resistance bands
  • Padded floor mats
  • Stability ball
  • Jump rope
  • Medicine ball
  • Pullup bar

About the Author

Michael Shiva Best is a writer with Bachelor of Arts degrees from Eckerd College. He lives and works in Orlando, Fla.. and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.