Never having to leave the comfort and privacy of your own home to get in your daily workout regimen may seem like something for the privileged classes, but think again.
The garage gym has set the new standard in turning an old (and often unused) space into nothing short of a luxury sports club.
These top 75 best garage gym ideas allow you to exercise in your own personalized environment, from music to décor to the actual equipment, with all the conveniences of your home on hand. You can start by assessing what your fitness needs are, the equipment required, and how to properly implement them without compromising any special restrictions.
Flooring, such as rubber and durable wall-to-wall carpeting, are ideal for the indoor gym, and you’ll want plenty of air circulation in the form of a ceiling fan or two. Once the practicalities are taken care of, you can really take matters into your own hands, and design the gym of your dreams.
Let’s face it, sometimes the hardest part about working out is getting yourself out the door in the first place. The cumbersome gym gear and back-and-forth commute, to say nothing of hefty membership fees and shared spaces with perfect strangers, don’t exactly act as motivators. Imagine the luxurious convenience of being able to wake up in the morning and head to the garage at your leisure, with everything you need right where you left it, and a space all to yourself to get into shape the elite way–no go make it happen!
1. Inspirational Walls for Garage Gym Ideas
Before you start building your gym, think about how you’ll decorate the walls. It’s easier to paint when your garage is empty than when it’s full of equipment. Color plays an important role in moods, so painting the walls can help you stay focused and motivated. It can also transform your space from a garage to a home gym.
You could choose your favorite color, but this might do your workout a disservice. Consider painting your gym red. The color red has the longest wavelength and represents power. It invigorates and can help energize you.
Be careful: Too much red, and it can become overwhelming. Then it’s associated with aggression and high blood pressure. To balance this, try using red in one area where you plan to push yourself and then another color in the rest of the gym.
Another option is to hang decorations that inspire you. By hanging reminders of your passions, you can associate that passion with your workout. This will help you push harder.
2. Lighting Ideas for Your Garage Gym
Right now, your garage probably lacks lighting. This means you’ll be spending your workout in the dark, or at best, in the shadows. This is a problem because our bodies take signals from the amount of light surrounding us, so dimmed light signals to your body that it’s time for bed. Now you’re fighting against biology to stay motivated during your workout.
Now, you’re probably thinking, it’s a garage, I’ll just open the door. This works during the summer when days are longer. But it won’t work when winter comes, and it gets dark earlier, or it’s too cold to keep the garage door open.
You need to install lighting that mimics the sun, so choose bright overhead light. Skip the old school fluorescent lights and instead opt for LED lighting. These lights are flexible, cost-effective, long-lasting, and mimic daylight. Try to install your fixtures throughout your workout space, so you have an even wash of light.
If you have the freedom to do a more in-depth install, consider recessed and track lighting. Recessed lighting will give your home gym a luxury feel and can help turn your garage into a legitimate gym. Track lighting will give you the freedom to custom design your lighting. You can move the lights around and angle them as you organize the gym. This will ensure you’re equipment is always well lit.
3. Garage Gym Heating and Cooling Ideas
Depending on where you live, your gym can become unbearably hot in summer or freezing cold during winter. This will make working out uncomfortable. So to address this, you need to think about how you plan to heat or cool your gym.
Depending on the size of your gym, you could use a portable option such as a fan or space heater. This should be plenty for smaller gyms. You should also consider installing insulation. This will help your garage to maintain the perfect temperature better. Don’t forget to insulate your garage door. This is commonly overlooked and one of the biggest weak points when it comes to regulating your garage temperature.
If you want to take your gym up a notch, you could install a forced-air or infrared heater. Both of these allow you to direct the heat exactly where you want it to go.
4. Flooring Ideas for Garage Gym
The concrete floor of your garage isn’t an ideal surface for your home gym. It’s tough on both your equipment and your body. The best flooring you can have is a layer of rubber. It’s durable and can support the heavy weight of your equipment. The rubber mat solution you choose will depend on the size of your gym and your budget.
Rubber tiles are easy to install yourself and let you create a custom-sized workout area. Another option is rubber rolls. These are good for covering large areas because they’re more affordable per square foot than the tiles. You’ll need to be careful with them though, they can shift and create gaps.
A third option is to lay individual mats under each piece of equipment. This works well if you’re on a budget. Check out rubber horse stall mats as they’re just as effective as rubber gym mats but more affordable.
5. Required Floor Space for Your Garage Gym Ideas
Before you start buying equipment, you need to know how much space you’re working with. Can you devote your entire garage to your gym? Are you limited to using only half of your garage? Either way, start by measuring the square footage. This will help you stay organized and ensure that you have enough room remaining in your garage for your other needs.
A garage gym can be as little as 36 square feet if you plan to do workouts that require little to no equipment. This includes yoga, jumping rope, bodyweight, and HIIT workouts.
If you’re a cardio junkie, then plan to use 10 to 30 square feet for each piece of equipment. This is a lot of square footage, so most people either skip the cardio machine or choose one that they absolutely love. Here are some average dimensions to give you an idea of the required space.
- Treadmill: 64 x 28 inches
- Elliptical: 72 x 30 inches
- Stationary Bike: 35-48 x 18-26 inches
- Rowing Machine: about 72 inches long
For those that prefer to lift weights, plan on having 20 to 50 square feet. This will vary depending on if you use dumbbells and a weight bench or a single station home gym apparatus.
- Weight Bench: 50 x 19 inches
- Single Station Gym: 55 x 60 inches
6. Multi-use Garage Gym Equipment Ideas
Now that you know how much space you have to work with, you can start selecting equipment. Look for equipment that can perform more than one function. This will help you maximize your space while also reaching your fitness goals.
There is no one piece of equipment that every gym must include. This is because everyone’s workout style and fitness goals are different. For some, this means having a squat rack and bumper plates; for others, it means having a cable system setup.
Whatever setup you choose, try to choose equipment that lets you do more than one exercise. You also want to consider its size. Squat and power racks come in a variety of footprint sizes and heights. Measure before you buy to ensure your equipment will comfortably fit.
7. Minimalist Garage Gym
Do not overstock your garage gym. While it can be tempting, putting too much into your gym will leave it feeling cluttered and crowded. This creates a level of stress and limits your ability to move about. You need to leave enough room around the equipment to be able to move and actually work out.
You should be able to freely walk between each exercise station. Your movements shouldn’t be limited while using each piece. You also need an open space for working out when not on the equipment.
Think about your typical workout and the equipment you regularly use. Prioritize this list so that you get the most important machines or gear first. Then work your way down the list, stopping when your gym reaches capacity.
8. Racks and Shelving Garage Gym Ideas
One way you can keep your gym neat and organized is to use racks and shelving. This will help you keep smaller equipment pieces together. If you plan to have dumbbells, a rack is a must to avoid having them lying on the floor. Use a rack mounted on the wall to hang your bars and grips on. Keeping everything in one place will also help your workout go by faster as you’ll spend less time searching for the things you need.
If you don’t want to purchase a rack, you can mount hooks on the wall. These will work for a variety of items, from grips to resistance bands.
9. Vertical Use Ideas for Garage Gyms
Don’t let yourself become so focused on the floorplan that you forget to look up. You can maximize your use of the space by using the area above you. This eliminates the need for more floor space to use as storage. It also allows you to install more exercise equipment that you may previously have thought you couldn’t use.
Consider mounting a pull-up bar, rings, or a rope to the ceiling. Just be sure that you mount them into supporting beams. Otherwise, you’ll risk having the whole thing come crashing down mid-workout.
You can also use the vertical space for your equipment storage. Instead of having long dumbbell racks along the ground, you can go vertical with them. There are racks that will store four rows of dumbbells of increasing weight. The lightest ones go on the top and they get progressively heavier the closer to the ground that they get.
10. Garage Gym Technology Ideas
The beauty of having your own gym is that you have the only say in what’s on the TV or the music choice. While you don’t have to have technology in your gym, it can make it more enjoyable. Music is incredibly motivating and can help get you into the right headspace to push yourself beyond that plateau you’ve been struggling with.
For your gym, decide if you want to have a TV, music, or both. If you want a TV, you’ll need to figure out the wiring and what you plan to play on it. This could be as easy as plugging it in and air casting or it could be a bit more complicated with a cable box.
When it comes to having music, a simple Bluetooth speaker may do the job. This works well for a smaller space. If you want something a bit more advanced, consider placing speakers around the gym for a surround sound effect. Just keep in mind that your neighbors may not appreciate your musical preferences if you plan to work out with the garage door open.
11. Progress Tracking Ideas for Your Garage Gym
Instead of trying to remember specific reps and weight, why not create a workout plan that remains posted on your wall? This will help you stay focused on your goal and track your progress. You can plan your workouts for the coming weeks, or you could track milestones that you achieve.
The simplest way of doing this is to hang a calendar on the wall. Then make notes on each day. Another option is to hang a dry erase board to write notes on.
If you want to get creative, you can use chalkboard paint to paint a section of a wall. Then you have an entire chalkboard to track progress and make notes. This gives you the most freedom and space to track anything and everything. Then, with it boldly written on the wall, you’ll see the notes and be reminded. This will help you stay focused and motivated.
Garage Gym FAQs
Do I need to buy expensive equipment to outfit my gym?
No, you can get creative with outfitting your gym and find affordable alternatives to expensive gym equipment. Just make sure that whatever you use is safe.
What’s the smallest amount of space I need?
This is a difficult question to answer because it depends on what you’re looking to do. At the bare minimum, you need just enough space for a treadmill, stationary bike, function trainer, or fixed-press machine.
How do I maintain my garage gym?
You’ll want to regularly wipe down and disinfect all of your equipment. This will keep it clean. Any equipment with moving parts needs to be free of dust, dirt, and debris. You should also regularly lubricate them to keep everything gliding smoothly. Then check the rest of your equipment for signs of wear and needing replacement.