Home Gym

How to Set Up a Home Gym During the COVID-19 Pandemic?

Building A Home Gym - What Does It Entail?

While it is easy to consider in theory, you may find yourself confused as to where to begin when trying to set up your home gym. I totally understand that pain because I have been in that position myself not so long ago. Fortunately for you, I will use my own experience of having finished my home gym recently to help you make the right decisions. Watch my YouTube video as a starting point. 

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Find A Suitable Location

Before you start thinking about the kind of machines and exercise tools you want to put in your gym, you need to decide where you want to put them. Selecting the right location for your home gym is extremely critical as you will want to make sure that you have plenty of space to move around without bumping into anything and possibly hurting yourself. An ideal space for a home gym would also be well ventilated or air conditioned as you do not want to overheat while working out. I, personally, opted for my garage to build a gym and it has turned out great. You can also go for any empty room in your house.

Portable Air Conditioner and Heater

Since I live in Arizona and the temperature gets to about 110-115F during the summer, I decided to buy an EdgeStar 13,500 BTU Portable Air Conditioner. The unit works great, and cools down the garage up to 84F during the summer and 68F during the winter.

EdgeStar 13,500 BTU Portable Air Conditioner
77 Reviews
EdgeStar 13,500 BTU Portable Air Conditioner
  • Three (3) separate fan speeds; Self-evaporative system; Auto restart function
  • Programmable timer; Dry anti-mildew design; Fan type: Centrifugal
  • LED temperature display (°C or °F); Two (2) pre-filters; Remote control included
  • Cooling capacity: 13,500 BTUs; Temperature range: 61 – 86°F; Recommended room size: 450 sq. ft.
  • Dehumidifying capacity: 86 pints/day; Coolant: R-410A; CFM (Low/Med/Hi): 188/224/247; Sound level (Low/Med/Hi): 62/64/66 dB

Bench

I started my home gym with a classic but extremely necessary bench press. I have been using the Olympic grade Valor Fitness Bench Press and it has proven to be a reliable and durable investment so far.

Valor Fitness BF-48 Olympic Weight Bench Press Station with Adjustable Safety Catches and Spotter Stand
78 Reviews
Valor Fitness BF-48 Olympic Weight Bench Press Station with Adjustable Safety Catches and Spotter Stand
  • STURDY, TRIPOD BASE- Steel frame measuring 3” x 2” on uprights and legs. Sturdy, steel tube (2” X 2” 12 Gauge Steel) underneath the bench and between the uprights for extra stability while lifting heavy loads. Built to last a lifetime. Rubber base caps prevent movement of bench during exercise and to better protect gym floors.
  • DUAL-LAYERED PAD- High density, dual-layer, vinyl bench pad designed for optimal comfort under intense stress. (47.5” x 11” x 2.5”) Tapered back pad design (9.5”) allows the shoulders and arms a better range of motion while performing a bench press.
  • STRIKER PLATE- Dual position solid Steel striker plate positions for bar support. Powder coated to prevent scratching after repeated use. Height from the bench to first bar catch, 16” Height from bench to second bar catch, 21”.
  • SAFETY- Includes adjustable safety catches in the event the lift cannot be completed 7 position safety catch allows for a 6” adjustment range, up or down. Heavy duty built-in spotter stand for added safety and protection (18.5” x 12 “).
  • ADDITIONAL- Meant for light-commercial use. Max weight load of 500 lb. 3-year frame warranty, 2-year bench pad warranty, 1-year popper pin warranty. Arrives in 2 separate boxes.

Folding MaxKare Treadmill

A treadmill is another classic addition that will take up a lot of your time and reward with plenty of burned calories. I got mine for just under $100 but it has started to overheat so I may have to look into other options. Regardless, you will be able to find a lot of affordable treadmill options on Amazon. The MaxKare treadmill I purchased has a 2.5HP power, max speed of 8.5 MPH, and a can withstand a maximum weight of 220lbs.

Yogamat

A simple yoga mat can end up benign extremely useful for activities where you are required to sit or lay down on the ground. You can also use it for yoga occasionally when you want to get a good stretch in.

Gaiam Essentials Thick Yoga Mat Fitness & Exercise Mat With Easy-Cinch Yoga Mat Carrier Strap, Teal, 72'L X 24'W X 2/5 Inch Thick
23,283 Reviews
Gaiam Essentials Thick Yoga Mat Fitness & Exercise Mat With Easy-Cinch Yoga Mat Carrier Strap, Teal, 72"L X 24"W X 2/5 Inch Thick
  • Fitness and exercise mat: Classic yoga mat is great for all types of fitness and exercise routines including yoga, pilates and any floor exercise where additional cushion and support is appreciated
  • Extra thick yoga mat: These 2/5 inch exercise mats make for the ideal all purpose fitness mat in the studio or at home, even around the house under knees or as a standing pad or cushion
  • Non toxic and 6p free: PVC yoga mat is a healthier choice for you and the planet and free of DEHP, DBP, BBP, DINP, DIDP and DNOP. Materials: Made from NBR Foam and also 6P Free
  • Includes yoga mat carrier strap: Included with your yoga mat is a carrying strap so you can strap up your mat and go
  • Dimensions: 72 inches L x 24 inches W x 2/5 Inch (3.11 pounds)

X-Mark Pull-down Cable Machine

Another great piece of equipment for me has been this Pull-down Cable Machine by XMark. The pulley is perfect for back workouts as well as for the biceps and triceps. You can use it for pull-downs, presses, curls, and a number of other exercises. I have also gotten the Side Shaper machine which does wonders if you are looking to do simple ab exercises that activates your abs during workout.

XMark Heavy Duty LAT Pulldown and Low Row Cable Machine with High and Low Pulley Stations and Flip-Up Footplate (Plates Not Included)
372 Reviews
XMark Heavy Duty LAT Pulldown and Low Row Cable Machine with High and Low Pulley Stations and Flip-Up Footplate (Plates Not Included)
  • VERSATILITY: Features both high and low pulley stations for a multitude of exercises including lat pull downs, low rows, bicep curls, triceps presses, and shrugs that target the upper back, shoulders and arms. For use with standard or Olympic plate weights. Plates are NOT included.
  • STRENGTH: With nylon-coated aircraft quality cables that have a 2200 pound tensile strength rating and a 400 pound maximum load capacity, XMark has got your back during your most demanding strength training workouts
  • STABILITY: 11-gauge steel 2 inch by 3 inch mainframe construction coated in a baked scratch-resistant powder coat finish with bolted-on skid resistant feet
  • COMFORT: Extra thick 3 inch sweat and tear-resistant Duraguard vinyl cushion and oversized 4.33 inch vinyl covered thigh pads with chrome end caps
  • DESIGN: Constructed using high quality materials with detail in mind for a solid multi-function strength training machine that performs smoothly, has a minimal footprint, and looks as good as it feels to use. Included are a chrome-plated lat pulldown bar and low row bar with texturized rubber hand grips. Also has a flip-up footplate for use with the low row bar.
Sale
Side Shaper by 5 Mins Shaper Pro - Ab Carver Workout Equipment Portable Ab Machine Core Max Work Out Trainer Muscle Toning Device - Body Toner Exercise / Adjustable Workout Fitness Cruncher (Red)
99 Reviews
Side Shaper by 5 Mins Shaper Pro - Ab Carver Workout Equipment Portable Ab Machine Core Max Work Out Trainer Muscle Toning Device - Body Toner Exercise / Adjustable Workout Fitness Cruncher (Red)
  • [Adjustable Difficulty Levels] SideShaper has 3 difficulty levels, simply adjust the difficulty level through low, medium or high inclination levels on the side of the machine. Gradually increase the intensity of your workout sessions as you become comfortable with SideShaper - no personal trainer required.
  • [Multi- Purpose] Use The SideShaper ab trainer is designed to hyper-target your abdominal muscles including the obliques with our unique bi-lateral swivel technology. Our machine also works your core, lower-back & upper body muscles, making SideShaper your new-favorite fat burning machine. Perfect for men and women to shred excess fat and build essential muscles that will tone your arms, back and bottom.
  • [LCD Display] Includes LED smart training computer monitor that calculates exercise time, repetition, and calories burned during workouts. You can also set goals for your workouts to stay focused.
  • [Easy to Assemble & Fold] Clear and brief instructions make it much easier to assemble compared to other workout systems. SideShaper can be folded up when you're not using it - so it can be quickly stored in the closet, under the bed or behind the sofa. When our machine is opened up, it can be used safely within a 6ft x 4ft space. You'll be shocked with the functionality behind our ORIGINAL "reverse-crunch" core-shredding SideShaper.
  • [High Quality & Durable] SideShaper is made of heavy-duty steel - which allows our device to be compact (but most importantly) strong and stable. The recommended weight capacity should be no more than 250lbs.

Side Shaper Pro Review

I love the Side Shaper Pro. My garage is not that big so I needed an ab workout machine that works and I can store easily. I tried the Side Shaper Pro and I would say it is the best ab workout that I experienced so far. It activates your core and obliques. The best part about the Side Shaper Pro is it is not that hard to use. All you need is 5 - 10 mins a day and you are all set.

Dumbbells and Weight Plates

Dumbbells are an extremely versatile gym accessory and will be useful to you across a variety of workout routines and exercises. Not only that, but you can also consider getting kettle-bells, and grips to take it to the next level. I am thinking about getting Bowflex adjustable dumbbells soon once my budget allows me to. For weight plates, I got a set of 45lbs weight plates from XMark over at Amazon. You can also buy a set of XMark Olympic plates that includes (2) 35 lb, (4) 10 lb, (4) 5 lb, and (2) 2.5 lb Olympic weight plates with 2" stainless steel inserts. Total weight 135 lbs.

XMark Black Diamond 135 lb Set Olympic Weight Plates, One-Year Warranty, Patented Design
1,005 Reviews
XMark Black Diamond 135 lb Set Olympic Weight Plates, One-Year Warranty, Patented Design
  • INCLUDED: (2) 35 lb, (4) 10 lb, (4) 5 lb, and (2) 2.5 lb Olympic weight plates with 2" stainless steel inserts. Total weight 135 lbs.
  • XMARK BLACK DIAMOND: Harder than rock, tougher than nails… extraordinary quality makes this plate highly desirable. The unique Patented Design and flawless craftsmanship render it a must-have in any home gym.
  • ONE-YEAR HOME WARRANTY: XMark warrants their Black Diamond Plates to be free from defects in workmanship and materials, under normal residential use and conditions, for a period of one (1) year from the original date of purchase. Cosmetic damage is not covered by warranty.
  • PURCHASE WITH CONFIDENCE: XMark is a trusted brand found in homes and gyms across the United States. The solidly-built cast iron cores are encased with Premium All-Natural Virgin Rubber which maintains a bold, solid color throughout the life of the plate. The precision-tooled stainless-steel inserts allow the plates to slide freely on the bar. Long-lasting quality is what you can expect from XMark. Any noticeable odor after unboxing will dissipate.
  • TOUGH AND DURABLE: Rubber, by its very nature, is tough and durable. All products made from rubber have a distinct smell. The smell will generally dissipate over time; however, some individuals are more sensitive to the odor.

Heavy Bag

One of the simplest yet most fun additions to your gym can be a heavy bag for high intensity boxing exercises. Personally, I got an Everlast 100lbs MMA style heavy bag that is attached to a pulley so that I can adjust it whenever needed. Also picked up a Everlast 2 station heavy bag stand.

Sale
Everlast Traditional Heavy Bag kit (100)
206 Reviews
Everlast Traditional Heavy Bag kit (100)
  • Everlast Traditional Heavy Bag kit (100 lbs)
  • Bag Gloves and Hand Wraps
Everlast - 2 Station Heavy Bag Stand
1,881 Reviews
Everlast - 2 Station Heavy Bag Stand
  • Your purchase includes Everlast – 2 Station Heavy Bad Stand, 4813BDTC model | Plates are not included
  • Bag Stand dimensions – 47.6" W x 66.5" L x 87" H | Weight limit – 100 lbs. | Clearance space – Side: 4Ft. x 6Ft. Ceiling: 7’ 3” H
  • Not recommended for outside use
  • Adjustable height | Speed bag platform handles all speed bag sizes
  • Rugged, powder-coated steel tubing construction and three weight pegs provide maximum durability. All-steel surfaces are powder-coated for scratch resistance and durability

Think About Storage

Now that you know what you want in the gym, you need to determine how you are going to store it all. You cannot just leave your dumbbells strewn around on the floor and there are many small accessories that need to be organized and stowed away properly. For this purpose, you may want to look into some handy storage solutions, a variety of which are available on Amazon for cheap, such as a shoe rack for your trainers, a frame rack for your dumbbells, a hanging organizer for ropes and stuff, and a simple shelf for miscellaneous items.

Deal With The Heat

To prevent overheating, you will have to deal with the ventilation system in your gym space and make sure that it is cool enough to work out. If it is not centrally air conditioned, you may want to consider investing in a portable AC like I did. My EdgeStar portable AC has been a reliable companion throughout my sweatiest workouts. Another trick is to get a movable fan and place it facing towards an open entrance so that it facilities the movement of the atmosphere.

Draw A Rough Blueprint

Now that you know exactly what you want to put in your home gyming space, it is time to sketch out a rough design of the whole setup before you commit to it and start organizing. This will help you make the final additions and cuts based on how much space you have available and what you can fit realistically to maintain a basic comfort level.

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Hessaire MC37M Portable Evaporative Cooler, 3100 Cubic Feet per Minute, Cools 950 Square Feet
1,909 Reviews
Hessaire MC37M Portable Evaporative Cooler, 3100 Cubic Feet per Minute, Cools 950 Square Feet
  • PORTABLE - 4 heavy duty locking casters for cooling home, patio or workshop spaces up to 950 square feet
  • COMPACT YET POWERFUL – 37x17x24 inches; 3, 100 Cubic Feet per Minute (CFM); 3 fan speeds and oscillating louvers to ensure even distribution, wide coverage and comfort
  • EASY TO OPERATE & SIMPLE TO MAINTAIN – 3 simple rotary controls allow the fan (Off, Hi, Med, Low), pump (On, Off) and oscillation motor (On, Off) to be controlled independently
  • MANUAL & CONTINUOUS FILL – Utilize the Continuous Fill option by attaching a household hose with the included float adaptor, eliminating the need to manually watch and fill the water tank
  • SUPERCHARGED, ECONOMICAL COOLING – 3-sided rigid high-density cooling pads for increased evaporative surface area generating cooler air

Put In The Work!

Now that you know exactly what you want to put in your home gym space, it is time to sketch out a rough design of the whole setup before you commit to it and start organizing. This will help you make the final additions and cuts based on how much space you have available and what you can fit realistically to maintain a basic comfort level.

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