7 Home Gym Setups To Inspire Your Own Iron Paradise

Update on:

In this article, I will look at some inspiring home gym setups I’ve seen whilst perusing the internet looking for, well, awesome home gym setups!

In no particular order, I’ve picked out various approaches to home gym setups. These will hopefully give you some ideas for building your own. There is everything from Olympic weightlifting, minimalist, and bodybuilding, to functional fitness heaven. These are from real people, who’ve invested time, money and energy into their workout space.

But first, why build your own gym, why invest your hard-earned money and not be able to fit your car in the garage anymore? Because, although it’s an investment of money and time. In the long run, you save money and time. You also, have a gym that you want to be in, you’ll use it more (because of its proximity to your couch). So now that’s out of the way, let’s get into it, and see what we’ve got.

#1: Rogue One

Rogue One (Image: Tommy Weaver).

First on our list is this very, very well-lit home gym.

The first thing I want to draw your attention to is the glass wall. This gives the gym the illusion of being a lot bigger than it is. It’s also excellent for watching your form as you perform lifts. Also, if you’ve got some decent downward lighting, doing a couple of poses once you’ve got a pump on.

You’ll also see here that they have got a Rogue Fitness equipment setup, and new at that! This is a very good quality brand and the equipment will stand the test of time. This means that it’ll be in the mid-high end price-wise.

The type of equipment chosen is pretty good, there is a sweet power rack for all your lifts, callisthenics, and even a badass bench. They are clearly set up for some powerlifting fun also. I can’t miss the floor! Rubber matting throughout. This will protect the floor and also the equipment, especially if you’re dropping barbells on it.

#2: Made in the U.S.A.

Made in the USA – simple but effective (Image: Zev Fayer).

Second, on the list is this flag-flying, minimalist functional fitness setup.

Here we see that they have again gone for quality equipment. Rogue Ecko bike and Concept 2 rower, staples at any CrossFit box. So their cardio is pretty much nailed, especially when you throw in the punch bag in the corner. Punch bags are a great addition to a home gym for two reasons. First, they are a great workout and second, they are very space efficient.

There is also a good amount of lifting space if you move the weight bench to one side. Something I always recommend when building a home gym is, if you’re going to do functional fitness, please leave some floor space to actually work out! There is a superb balance here.

Of course, I’ll mention the floor. Once again, some solid rubber gym matting to protect their equipment. Being clearly a garage gym, the floor should be solid enough to take any impact from dropped barbells.

#3: Neat and Tidy

A pro gym for training yourself and clients (Image: Shawn Kay).

This one is professional! No second-hand shopping for this guy.

This is a great fitness studio setup. A really great range of equipment and once again some nice rubber flooring. This actually belongs to a trainer who works with clients at home. There are some great space-saving tools in here that make the most out of the space.

First up, the two dumbbell/kettlebell racks. When building your own gym, things like this are priceless. You can store everything super close to the wall and out of the way of your training area. Second, you’ll see a sneaky pair of adjustable dumbbells. These bad boys can weigh up to 90 lbs each, and you can select increments of 5 lbs starting at 10 lbs on the lightest setting. They are a dumbbell rack contained in two dumbbells, genius. You might ask why have any hex dumbbells then? Well, the hex dumbbells are a lot more solid for functional fitness workouts. Exercises like, dumbbell snatch for example are not comfortable with adjustable dumbbells. So having a choice selection of these on hand is great.

#4: Home-Made Iron Paradise

Probably the best second-hand budget dumbbell rack I’ve seen (Image: Christopher Ciccarelli).

Okay, so not exactly a full home gym setup photo here, but…

Here’s what the dude said, ‘Finally finished 10-160lb in 10lb jumps. Started this back in February, it took a bit getting all of the weight. But she is beautiful though. I found something to put in the back’ (Facebook post). And boy, was it worth it!

This dude built this rack from Facebook marketplace. He purchased all the plates from there. For the handles, nut’s and bolts he used a company called Full Circle Padding. It took him three months in total to put it all together. Facebook marketplace, Craigslist, and eBay are great for picking up second-hand equipment.

Expert second-hand gym equipment shopping tip (if I do say so myself). Be sure to set up alerts for the things you are after, especially weight plates. The good items will go quickly, and you want to be able to get in there as soon as something comes up. While not impossible, it can be tricky to find what you want within travelling distance. Most people don’t want to ship weight plates and barbells.

#5: He’s Got Everything!

Iron paradise or maybe iron jungle? (Image: Andy Bordiuk)

It looks chaotic, but there’s some serious workout gear in here!

This is a completely different style of home gym setup from the others so far. I’ve featured this one because of its range of equipment, which is outstanding. As with number four on the list, this would have taken some serious time and effort to put together. Building as they go.

Of course, shout out to the rubber flooring (again). But seriously, what an amazing bodybuilding setup. If pumping iron is your thing, this is an iron paradise. You’ll see the token treadmill in the corner for some light cardio. The real prize is the number of plates for some serious lifting. There are also a couple of decent leg machines, a hack squat and leg extension. Training legs for hypertrophy can be rough without some machines, just ask any serious bodybuilder. With a hack squat (or a leg press if you can find one) you can well? work your quads and calves to develop some mass. The same applies to the leg extension, who doesn’t like a nice bit of teardrop development in the quads. I know Jay Cutler does 🙂

#6: Before and After

Great lifting platforms for the dedicated Olympic lifter (Image: abhutchison)

This is a nice, simple weight-lifting home gym. My favorite part is the D.I.Y. platform (if you want to see how I built mine, check out my article D.I.Y. Olympic Platform). If you’re serious about your clean and jerk and snatch, it’s a good idea and not as expensive as you might think.

There’s a great use of space with the wall-mounted barbells. These can be picked up from places like Amazon at a good price. As you can see, the man’s gone Rogue Fitness for a lot of the gear, which is always a safe bet quality-wise.

What I love most about this home gym setup is the space. It’s very simple, targeted at a very specific type of training, and the space used well. There is enough floor (and rubber matting) to perform the lifts and of course no clutter after the clean-up. This is a lesson I have learned in my home gym variations over the years. I keep very little equipment out, so I have the space to train and breathe. Nice work.

#7: Mine So Far…

Don’t judge me, I’ve just moved in.

And here’s mine, so far…

As with the above and, of course, your gym at home. Mine is always going to be a work in progress. I have bought most of my gear new, but the cost has been spread over several years. I do functional training mostly, so I have a very minimalist setup.

You’ll see a truckload of rubber matting. A cardio section with rower and air-bike, a lifting section with rack, barbells and plates. I’ve then got tonnes of free space to do all the training I need such as calisthenics, CrossFit WOD’s, and gymnastics (hence the rings). It used to be a lot busier, but I’ve put most of the gear away in storage to the side. Meaning I can still get to it, but it’s not in the way.

As you can see, it’s in a barn and the walls could do with some decorating. Something I’ve learned from other people’s setups is that flags can do amazing things. So my first one is on order as we speak, and I’ll take it from there to see what’s next.

Summary

I hope that this article has given you some inspiration. I know it has for me. Here’s a take-home of some of the key points that are most useful.

  • Keep it simple: Unless you have specific training needs, like bodybuilding, where a good range of equipment is needed or, an enormous space. A simple setup might be best to make use of the space you have for actual training, you know, burpees and push-ups, that sort of thing.
  • Protect your floor: You’ll have noticed that all of the above have rubber matting on the floor. I recommend either gym floor rubber matting or horse stall rubber matting. The latter usually being a little cheaper and does the job just fine (I have this in my garage gym, and it’s great).
  • See what you can find second-hand: Like that enormous dumbbell rack or the crazy amount of equipment in #5. Be patient, and you can build a really great setup on a lower budget, over time. Or all at once if you hit the jackpot at a yard sale or something.
  • Buy quality: If you’re in it for the long hall, quality will always pay off in the end. We have seen a bunch of Rogue Fitness equipment. A great example of reasonably priced quality. They even have a whole section on their site for garage gyms, just so you know 😉

FAQ’s

What’s the most cost-effective way to start building a home gym?

Once you have found your space, that was either cheap or free (usually it’s a garage or spare room). Next, you have to start with the essential equipment that meets your basic training requirements. You can build from there. Shop second hand where you can and that’ll get you going. Bear in mind that cheaper is not always cost-effective, replacing worn-out or broken equipment after a few sessions will cost you more in the long run. Buy the next quality your budget will stretch, too, even if that means having less equipment to start with. You’ll be surprised by the work you can get done with a kettlebell and a yoga mat!

How can I ensure quality when buying second-hand gym equipment?

Buying second-hand equipment can be daunting. To help you stay away from a bad purchase, always buy equipment that is a brand you know and trust, for example, Rogue. Anything that has a strange brand you have never heard of was probably cheap to start with and may not be worth buying. When buying machines, thoroughly test them before buying. Like anything they are subject to wear and tear, maybe that’s why they are being sold?

Are there any key design elements I should consider for my home gym to make it more inviting and effective?

Yes, absolutely. The number one in my book is space. Have a nice clutter-free workout space where you don’t have to worry about hitting the power rack when doing a lunge. Number two is storage, make sure everything has somewhere to go. This will keep your space tidy, easy to use and a less stressful place to be. Lastly, I love a wall poster with some motivation to jazz up the place. You’ll have seen some in the images above. They can turn a drab space into a real workout zone.

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Andy is the founder of Garage Gym Greatness. He’s a NASM certified personal trainer and corrective exercise specialist and has worked with clients of all ages, from young professionals to those in their twilight years. Reviewing everything home fitness related is a pleasure, never a chore. His favourite cheese if comté.