How to Maximize Your Home Gym on a Budget

Apr 30, 2023

A minimal home gym

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Home gyms have become popular in the last few years as gyms across the country shut down temporarily or permanently due to COVID-19. The concerning rise of toxic gym culture has also driven many people away from public fitness centers. Home gyms might have less space, but they can be just as effective if you get the right equipment. Here are some home gym ideas on a budget that will maximize your space and enable you to follow a comprehensive training routine.

1. Do More Bodyweight Exercises

The simplest thing you can do to stay within your home gym budget is to do more bodyweight exercises. The more bodyweight exercises in your routine, the less equipment you’ll need. Here are some viable bodyweight substitutes for popular gym exercises:

  • Bench press: Push-ups and dips.
  • Barbell squat: Air squats and lunges.
  • Shoulder press: Pike push-ups and handstand push-ups.
  • Barbell or dumbbell row: Pull-ups and inverted rows.

If you want your routine to consist entirely of bodyweight movements, calisthenics is the exercise style you’re looking for. Calisthenics has many benefits, including improving your functional strength and testing your hand-eye coordination.

2. Prioritize Multipurpose Equipment

Your garage or basement only has so much space. You can’t afford to fill it with accessory machines that only train one muscle group. Prioritizing multipurpose equipment will give you the most bang for your buck.

The best thing you can buy is an all-in-one power rack with a regular barbell that enables you to perform squats, bench presses, shoulder presses, pull-ups and bent-over rows among other exercises. You could also get these versatile pieces of equipment:

  • Adjustable dumbbells
  • Adjustable bench
  • Treadmill
  • Exercise bands
  • Kettlebells
  • Weight vest
  • Jump rope

While these items serve different purposes, they all have two things in common — they’re affordable and they don’t take up much space. They’ll make home gym storage a breeze and give you more room to maneuver. 

3. Shop at Discount Department Stores

Instead of buying everything brand-new from factory sports outlets, shop around at your local discount department stores like Walmart, Target and Kohl’s. They’re bound to have more affordable fitness equipment in stock. Plus, they often have sales and coupons you can take advantage of. 

You don’t have to worry about buying off-brand equipment at these stores. The fitness industry has many reliable equipment suppliers. Here are some brands you should look out for:

  • Rogue Fitness
  • REP Fitness
  • Horizon Fitness
  • Life Fitness
  • Echelon Fitness
  • Torque Fitness
  • Sunny Health
  • NordicTrack
  • Atlas
  • Bowflex

Your home gym might end up looking like a smorgasbord of different equipment brands, but functionality is more important than appearance.

4. Scour Online Marketplaces

You should also scour online marketplaces like Craigslist and eBay for cheap gym equipment. You can save lots of money by buying pre-owned items from these sites. Used machines are sometimes better than new ones because the previous owner has made special modifications to improve their performance.

For example, home gym veterans often add lots of accessories to their main power rack, such as a cable pulley system or a rackable dumbbell attachment. They can also make the racks more stable by adding extra L brackets. You can’t find these custom modifications on new equipment.

5. Wait for Sales to Buy the Big Stuff

If you’re not pressed for time, you should wait for special sales events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday to buy your biggest equipment. The power rack and weight plates are usually the most expensive purchases, so prioritize them when shopping day comes. This simple buying strategy can save you hundreds of dollars.

6. Watch Out for Gimmicky Equipment

As you shop for home gym equipment, you need to watch out for gimmicky items like the Shake Weight and Thighmaster. People on online marketplaces might also try to sell you DIY equipment, like makeshift dumbbells and homemade squat racks. As a general rule, you should steer clear of these types of equipment and focus on the proven basics.

7. Buy a Little at a Time

You might have several home gym ideas on a budget, but they won’t come to fruition overnight. Take your time determining your ideal home gym layout. You might go through many different floor plan ideas before finding it. That’s why you can’t overcommit to multiple pieces of large equipment at once. Think of your home gym like a puzzle and put it together one piece at a time.

Build Your Dream Home Gym — Ideas on a Budget

Building a home gym on a budget can be a challenge, especially if you don’t have much space for home gym storage. However, following these steps will help you maximize your space and your finances. All it takes is a handful of strategically chosen pieces of equipment and smart spending habits.

Once your home gym is complete, you can break in the equipment with this comprehensive home workout routine and enjoy the fruits of your labor!

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Jack Shaw is a senior writer at Modded. Jack is an avid enthusiast for keeping up with personal health and enjoying nature. He has over five years of experience writing in the men's lifestyle niche, and has written extensively on topics of fitness, exploring the outdoors and men's interests. His writings have been featured in SportsEd TV, Love Inc., and Offroad Xtreme among many more publications.