Best Garage Gym Ideas

Looking For The Best Home/Garage Gym Equipment Reviews In 2023?

You’re at the right place.

While getting a custom exercise routine is good…

And finding the right equipment is even better…

To find both at one place would be the best!

Garage Gym Planner’s expert-curated home gym equipment reviews can help you narrow down the right equipment for your money as well as the type of exercises you need to do with them – all on one page!

We even found a great exercise demonstration library to show you how to do a wide variety of exercises on your new equipment.

You will find that they’re classified into easily navigable sections which can help you find out exactly what you are looking for.

Hi, I’m a fitness instructor turned unofficial Garage Gym Planner and Architect (if that’s even a profession!) who’d like to help the people get what they would like best out of their fitness routines and stop you from splurging a ton of cash on an expensive gym membership.

Expert-curated garage gym equipment reviews

Upper Body

Lower Body

Full Body

Home Gym vs Commercial Gym

A bit more about this gym membership – you aren’t going to use it much. But, it’s not your fault. Why? Because when you go to a commercial gym, after they take your money for a period of time, 3,6,9 or 12 months, they want you out of there.

It’s pure business numbers when you think about it. A gym can only accommodate so many members, and usually, they have a lot more gym memberships taken and people on the floor than they can manage.

So what’s the best way to combat this? Yes, that’s right:

Make you quit!

If you notice that your personal trainer just doesn’t get his head out of his mobile phone and hardly pays any attention to your form or rep count, then you know that it’s this problem that I’m talking about.

Their job is to get you walking through the door and then get you out the same way as fast as possible.

So to summarize, here are the most glaring problems normally associated with a commercial gym:

Over crowded

Most commercial gyms face this problem of excessive crowds thronging about. Especially when it comes to the treadmills or the exercise bike.

Expensive gym memberships

Make no mistake, commercial gyms are pretty expensive. The most expensive gyms can burn a hole in your pocket.

Limited hours

All gyms have hours when they are active and some of them even have specific entry times based on your initial preferences.

No privacy

A lot of people would prefer to workout by themselves without being constantly pestered by gym rats who have no sense of personal space.

Waiting for equipment

This is another popular problem with most gyms, you have to keep waiting for minutes on end for the person in front of you to finish.

Advantages of a Garage Gym

I always put my priorities above getting fit in the gym. But in hindsight, getting a fit body was one of the most important things that you could ever hope to do.

Serious benefits:

A home garage gym, when properly decked out, is your own personal space and can motivate you into pushing yourself hard. Most often it can be overwhelming, and it will seem like you have no time for anything else. But believe me when I say that eventually once you get into the swing of things, you’ll find yourself making time for fitness.

Save your wallet

Let’s face it, we all have our own budgetary constraints. A gym membership is a pretty expensive proposition especially when you consider that you are not getting the most out of it either. A garage gym can pay for itself in the long run. I did the math, trust me.

No commute

More than 3/4ths of the people I spoke to admitted that the on days when their motivation was low the thought of the commute killed it completely. With a garage gym, you put on your favorite t-shirt and sneaker and just walk into it.

Wear what you want

A gym is no place to parade fashion, but people like to sweat out in clothes that they prefer. Some commercial gyms frown on this and restrict people about what they can wear. When it comes to your own garage gym, you can wear what you want.

stand In Queue

Unless you have 10 other friends in your home gym with you, you are never going to have to wait for your turn on the equipment. Waiting kills the “endorphin high” and wastes all the burn that you’ve build up.

sorry, We’re Closed

You never, ever, ever have to deal with smug trainers telling you this again. Can you tell I really hate this? When you have your own garage gym, you get ready and pump. That’s about it.

Make It Your Own

The whole point of getting your own space to workout is that you can do with it what you will. This means you can have whatever equipment you want depending on your fitness needs. A garage gym is completely customizable and tailored to work for you.

Now that we have looked at home garage gyms with a comically large magnifying glass, it’s now time to put the hammer down. If you’re reading this, I know one thing for sure – you want to better yourself. That is awesome, and mad props to you!

Here’s where you can help me out though: I don’t know how experienced you are at it. Either you are just breaking into fitness and are disillusioned with your local gym, or you just don’t feel that your fitness needs are being satisfied by the neighborhood gym. Either way, I’ve got totally different things that you should be looking at.

I’m not against commercial fitness, a few gyms do get it right. But most of them are all in for the cash grab and I’m sick and tired of it. As should you be. So what is the solution?

Home gym tips

Building Your Home

It can be a daunting task to get a home gym setup, but once you’re done, then it will take care of itself and you with only minor maintenance. But what I have to tell you is that it is actually pretty easy to get into a fitness lifestyle. You can count on advice from this website to act as a guide for when you have problems making the right decisions.

A home garage gym has several fantastic advantages over a gym, we have seen that as well. But why don’t people make the switch? Well, simple – they don’t know and think that they wouldn’t just be able to. Through this website, I’m hoping to deconstruct the enigma of building an effective home garage gym.

Assessing your fitness needs

A home garage gym, when properly decked out, is your own personal space and can motivate you into pushing yourself hard. Like most people who are new to this, you must be wondering how you would get this going.

Before I started building my own home garage gym, I too was daunted by the number of choices and the number of options that were available. “Do I need a power rack?”, “Do I go for adjustable dumbbells despite their cost?”, “What kind of shoes do I buy?” and several more questions raced through my head. Like most people, I too didn’t want to spend money that I didn’t have to.

I learned how to build my own home garage gym from several resources, websites, friends, fellow trainers and other owners of home garage gyms. And this website contains all of this knowledge and wisdom, categorically sorted so that you, the reader, can find what you need at a glance and get out and pump iron!

One of the key factors as far as garage gyms are concerned is that you need to plan ahead regarding your fitness goals. Do you want to get big? Or perhaps you’d like to get shredded? This is the point where you take a call on this.

This ties in with the earlier decision – your equipment choices will depend on what you want to do with your body. Someone who is looking to get buff will probably opt for a power cage compared to a treadmill for a person looking to lose weight.

Another important factor is budget. At the end of the day, this is what determines what kind of equipment you are going to get. Rather than just getting the most expensive piece of equipment we are on the lookout for stuff worth their price.

I will break down exactly what you need to do and when. I also have insights because I also started out new. To get yourself to peak fitness with the help of your home gym, there are 2 aspects you need to focus on.

  • Cardiovascular Machines, for getting that resting heart rate up
  • Enhancing strength, to build muscle and boost metabolism

Cardiovascular Equipment and Exercises

Getting your dose of cardiovascular exercise is absolutely necessary. For some, it’s the difference between a mediocre and a particularly productive day at work. Science has proven that cardiovascular benefits include being able to focus on things longer and feeling less stressed out through the day. To take your cardiovascular functions to the limit, I would go for a rowing machine rather than the popular treadmill.

There are several cardio machines that can give you a good cardiovascular workout and greatly increased basal metabolic rates. Here’s a few of them


Possibly the most popular type of home exercise equipment is the treadmill. It provides an efficient and straightforward cardio workout. Walking is tolerated well by most individuals regardless of their fitness levels or health conditions, so treadmills are an excellent way to begin a new exercise regimen. With time, the treadmill can be used for running or interval training as you build strength and endurance.

Exercise Bike

Exercise Bike

Exercise bikes have become increasingly advanced and are capable of giving you information such as calories burned, speed, mileage, and heart rate. Many models even feature customizable fitness programs depending on your goals such as the Wahoo Kickr V5 Direct Drive Smart Trainer which takes indoor cycling to the next level. So, whether you’re new to exercise or a seasoned athlete, an exercise bike is an excellent way to improve your fitness level and get into great shape.

Elliptical trainer

Elliptical trainer

The elliptical trainer is another cardiovascular machine that is popular in gyms and is becoming increasingly common in homes. They are very easy to use and come with an array of benefits. Elliptical trainers help you work both the upper and lower body at the same time. To use this machine, stand on top of the pedals while holding the handles. Move your legs back-and-forth in a gliding motion.

Jump rope

Jump rope

A simple jump rope is the only piece of equipment that can fit into a bag, can be used by everyone in your family and doesn’t cost a lot. It offers a full body workout, improves cardiovascular fitness and can help tone muscle. Using a jump rope is an excellent way to burn calories. It also improves coordination and reduces the chance of ankle and foot injuries.

Rowing machine

Rowing machine

Rowing machines have grown in popularity over the last few years. A rowing machine can be used by people of all ages and fitness levels. It is an excellent low-impact way to improve your overall health. A session on the rowing machine is designed to give you the benefits of water-based rowing through a 30 or 60-minute workout.

Stair Stepper Machine

Stair Stepper Machine

Stair stepper machines are an excellent way to burn fat, tone muscle and stay fit. These pieces of equipment are common in gyms as well as homes. It is a great choice if you’re looking to burn calories and achieve real results. A stair stepper machine provides a cardio workout by simulating the action of climbing stairs. It offers a low impact form of exercise, and its intensity can be altered depending on your needs and fitness level.


Building strength – equipment and training

Think that you need to hit the big commercial gym in order to make impressive strength progress and reach new goals?

Think again.

The fact is, getting stronger relies on one simple concept: providing an overloading stimulus to the muscle tissues. This comes in the form of more resistance added, or in some cases, more reps or sets completed. You don’t need to use fancy machines or equipment to see progress. As long as you achieve this one simple goal, you will be on track to success.

There are many fantastic options that you can turn to for getting strong in your indoor gym depending on your needs. Things like budget and space considerations are probably the two most pressing concerns. By addressing these, you can get a better idea of precisely what you can invest in, equipment-wise.

So which are your best bets? Which pieces of indoor gym equipment will help you take your progress to the next level?

Here are the main options to consider.

Crank It Up With Dumbbells

You simply can’t go wrong picking up a set of dumbbells to use throughout your workout session. Dumbbells are a fantastic exercise for hitting every single muscle in the body and provide a great degree of variation in terms of which exercises you can perform.

The really nice thing about dumbbells is that since your core muscles need to contract to keep the body stabilized, you’ll be getting a great core workout with each and every move you make.

Dumbbells are relatively cost effective, and since they come in a wide range of weight levels, you really only need to purchase the ones that you need at the present moment.

Go Compound With A Bench Press/Squat Station

At some point during your training, it’s great to really focus on the heavy compound exercises like bench press, squats, deadlifts, and bent over rows. These can all be done in a bench press/squat station along with a barbell and plate weights, so that’s what you’ll want to look into at this point in your journey.

This setup will take a bit more space, but is still fairly compact considering all the different exercises you can do with it.

You’ll typically be able to load more weight up on a barbell, thus this is an excellent option for improving strength gains.

Add Variety With A Multi-Purpose Gym

Alternatively, if you want to build your own indoor gym that most resembles that of a commercial gym, a multipurpose gym is a great go-to. This type of set-up usually consists of 3-5 different ‘stations’ that are all attached onto one large structure. You can then move from station to station, performing one or more exercises.

It’s basically going to replace all the machine based weight lifting equipment that you’d find in your bigger gyms. While you definitely don’t need this to get an effective workout in, it can give you more options in terms of exercise selection.

This would be your most costly piece of equipment however and take up the most room. Remember this when you are going to buy one for your home gym.

Muscle Gains With Resistance Bands

Rev-Up Muscle Gains With Resistance Bands (The SUPER Space Saver!)

Finally, if you’re really looking to save space, resistance bands can’t be beaten. You can do almost all the same exercises you’d perform with dumbbells only with resistance bands, you can store them in a small container in a drawer. They are the ultimate space saver for improving your fitness.

Resistance bands are also great as they help you maintain tension on the muscle tissue at all times, thus they can help you up your level of lean muscle mass development.

The only drawback:

You won’t be able to provide quite as much of an overloading stimulus as you get stronger with these as you would with, say a barbell, so eventually, you may need to step up to that as you get fitter.

So as you can see, there are plenty of great options on how to set up your indoor gym. Choose the equipment that best meets your needs and circumstances.

Gym Mirrors

Getting powerful – Power Rack

All through my fitness regime, I’ve never heard anyone go “Meh, power racks are so last year.” This baby is like the holy grail of building strength and fitness for anyone and everyone! Also, they are called squat racks in some circles.

With a good quality power rack in place, you can pull of the best compound exercises that are known to man. Squats, benches, deadlifts and overhead presses. Throw in a bit more cash, and you can get your own pull up bar that comes along with it.

A power rack is the basic foundation of a lot of programs. Stronglifts 5 x 5, CrossFit, they consider this their go-to as far as building a strong core is concerned. You just cannot afford to ignore the advantages it offers. To get the most out of your squat rack, pair them up with Olympic sized barbells which can maximize your benefits.


Get Consistent: How To Stay Motivated To Train In Your Garage Gym

If there’s one thing that many people in the fitness world struggle with, it’s sustaining motivation over time. If you feel like you’re often on the verge of just giving up because you can’t seem to get consistent, the following tips will help.

Sometimes all you need is one or two tricks to jump-start that workout routine.


Power Up With Some Music

There are few things that get a person motivated than some good, fast paced music, so download a few of your new favorite tunes before you hit the gym.Don’t put it on really loud though, as that can do more harm than good.

Study Your Favorite Fitness Celebrity On Video

In the YouTube era, there is no shortage of motivational videos out there that you can watch. Subscribe to your favorite fitness celebrity and watch a video or two. You may just learn a few new tricks you can apply to your workout as well.

Study Your Favorite Fitness Celebrity On VideoBuddy-Up-For-Better-Gains

Buddy Up For Better Gains

A workout buddy is a great way to get consistent with your gym sessions. When you know they’re relying on you to show up, you’ll think twice about ditching that workout. Invite your friend over to your indoor gym and go at it together.

Snap Those Selfies

Progress pictures are a great way to keep yourself going when you’d rather quit. Take a moment to look back over the last few weeks or months and see the transformation that’s unfolded before your eyes.


Smart Tip: For best results, take these pictures at the same time every day in the same room wearing the same clothing. This will help keep everything consistent.

Hang Motivational Posters In Your Indoor Gym

If you need a little more motivation while in the gym, consider hanging a few posters of your favorite athletes working hard. Then you can look up at them during those last few reps of your set and be motivated to push just a little harder.

Use Videos To Track Progress

Finally, consider filming yourself doing some of the exercises planned in your program. Simply watching yourself on camera can help spark some motivation to get in your indoor gym and push harder next time.

If you use one or more of these tricks, you should find that you are well on your way to staying committed and getting those results you’re looking for.

Garage Gym: A Beginner’s Guide

These are the questions that I hear from people who want to break into the home fitness regime:

What do I need to buy for a basic home gym?

Read ahead!

What machines do I consider for losing weight?

We’re going to discuss this as well.

Do machines exist that can do everything?

They do, surprise!

How can I get a six-pack in a month?

Yes, but conditions apply.

There are reviews, articles, and guides about what you should be doing with regards to these all throughout the website. About getting the 6-pack in a month, you can. But you needed to have started out with a 4-pack a month ago.


Beginner Garage Gym Workout – What you need to know

Some beginners opt for a squat rack, which is basically a baby power rack. It’s like a power rack but it comes with safeties built in which can prevent new guys from hurting themselves. I actually don’t recommend this if you have a long term fitness goal in mind as they are expensive and you’ll need to replace them with a power rack for ultimate benefits.

I would rather that you stick with free weights, Olympic barbells to be exact than purchase something that will not add value to your home gym in the long run. Barbells are great learning tools and can teach you a lot about the right form. The key is not to be too aggressive with loading weights on them.

Smith your body:

If you are just getting into home gym and fitness, then you should opt for a smith machine. To put it simply, it’s a power rack but it has a safety system setup in place which can protect you. I wouldn’t recommend sticking with this for any extended periods of time as it provides very little benefits and a power rack is definitely the better alternative.

Barbell your limits:

If a smith machine is out of your spending budget, you might do well to look at Olympic sized barbells that can give you the requisite training. As long as you keep weights within manageable limits, you shouldn’t face any problems with them. Also, it’s very important to maintain proper form, and you need to check online or with other people to determine what the best method to do so would likely be.

Dumbbells are great:

I hear several people asking me if they should buy both dumbbells and barbells for their garage gym. My answer to that would be: if you can, definitely. Barbells and dumbbells perform different functions when it comes to how they build muscle. A barbell is something I would use for more total-strength related movements squats, deadlifts, and bench presses. For more information check out our article on the benefits of incline and decline bench press.

Other Gym Equipments you should know

Other Home Gym Ideas for beginners

A complete home gym system is a great way to save money and space. By this, I mean that you can get all you want in one machine, for example, Joe Weider home gym systems. They aren’t your exact alternatives to power lifting equipment, but they serve beginners well. It’s definitely not something that you will base your home gym around. It’s just something that acts as a stopgap before you graduate to better equipment.

Garage gym products – Buying Them Online

There are several vendors that you need to check out for great deals on gym equipment. A few that immediately come to mind are

Rogue Fitness

Rogue Fitness

rogue fitness

Anyone who is building a home gym would have definitely heard about Rogue Fitness. They are the top home weight room manufacturers out there right now. They have basically most of the stuff you need to get your own home gym started. And their prices are pretty good as well, along with deals that you can net every once awhile. They offer great quality and I’m pretty sure that you’ll never feel let down by them.

York Fitness

York Fitness

york fitness

They make premium equipment that has been the benchmark for a really long, long time. The quality when it comes to barbells and dumbbells have to be seen to believed. The only caveat it has that since they’re based in the UK, you might have to get it imported into the US. Still, look for bargains especially if they have discounts on shipping on their website.


Vulcan Strength

vulcan strength training systems

Another option if you want strength training equipment is to get in touch with Vulcan Strength for squat racks and barbell. There is very little difference between Vulcan and Rogue, except for the fact that Vulcan is probably a bit more affordable.

There are still many more options that you can explore, but these are the big guns as far as gym equipment is concerned. There will be more detailed/specific guides about this elsewhere on the website.

Safety In Your Garage Gym

Safety is an important aspect of fitness. You need to take care of your body as well as your expensive equipment. There are several aspects which you need to look at before you can get lifting. We’ve come up with a few pointers that can help you safely become fit.

Investing in large gym mirrors – checking your form

It’s very important to get a feel for your own body when you work out and this is best accomplished by being in a well-lit environment complete with large mirrors. Plus, functionally mirrors can help you with correcting your form as well. Large mirrors are indispensable for the home gym. I would go so far as to say it’s on par with getting the right kind of floor at your gym.

Home gym flooring is important

Home gym flooring is important

Home gym flooring is an often overlooked aspect when it comes to gyms. If you do not want to mess up your home floors, you’d do well to get gym specific flooring that can resist the wear and tear of heavy weights on them all the time. There are several varieties of gym flooring available from synthetic rubber to wood that can help with keeping your flooring safe and free from damage.

Hiring your own Personal Gym Trainer

Hiring your Personal Gym Trainer

Another option when you are just starting off is to hire a personal trainer. It might be expensive to start off with, but then once you get your form right, you could go on your own. There are too many reasons to list why a personal trainer can help you be the best that you can be. They have years of experience and know exactly what gets your body built like you want.

Like me and a hundred other people will tell you, form is everything. It determines how good of a workout you’re getting and how to avoid injuries. Proper form with lower weight will always pay you more dividends than just piling on weights.

Streaming Fitness Channels

If you aren’t able to afford a personal trainer about now, you might look to online methods which can help you with your problems. One channel I recommend is The Buff Dudes channel on YouTube. These guys are fun and give you the right methods to build your physique. You can also make use of ‘How to get the best form’ on Reddit. Another underutilized resource which gives you opinions and advice from more than a million people at your fingertips.

There are hundreds of channels online that you can refer to for getting the most out of your fitness regime as well as executing the correct movement. YouTube immediately comes to mind and several channels on the website offer great tips to get started. Popsugar fitness, turbulence training, and fitnessblender are some of the top channels that can give you what you want when it comes to your fitness needs.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, this article has given you some idea of how to go about setting up your first home gym. As you’ve probably read through, it’s not very complicated, and anyone can get into it and find exactly what they are looking for.

Well, this is just the beginning of the fitness path that you have chosen. You will grow fitter and stronger every day when you keep working out and will learn to be honest with yourself. If you’ve read this far, then I hope I added some value and insights for you to take over when you choose to get your own home garage gym set up.

Another thing you should keep in mind is that you never should skimp on gym equipment. From experience, I can tell you that the cheaper ones amount to you just throwing money away rather than saving. I will never carry a brand on my website owing to it being just cheap and not worth the money in the long run.

To finish up, remember to follow a healthy diet. Nutritious food intake is half the battle won. Consult your doctor about your current fitness system and find out the ideal amount of calories that you need to intake or burn.

Do write to me or in the comments section if you need to leave questions, criticism or anything else that might help me or our community. Feedback is always helpful!