How to Set Up the Ultimate Home Gym

home gym set up

Travelling to your local big-box gym is a pain, let’s be honest. You get home after a long day, or just after waking, then change into workout clothes, pack your necessities and begrudge yourself out the door.

Then you wait in lines.

Lines of traffic on the way to the gym. Lines forming to scan your card and get into the building. Lines sometimes several-deep at busy times for machines or racks. Then you clean up, head back home, and continue on with your day or night. There surely is a better way.

How about this as an alternative?

You get home after a long day, or just after waking, change into workout clothes, and move into the next room. Here sits your complete home gym. You do your workout, then walk a few steps out of the home gym and go back to the rest of your routine. No lines, no travel time, nothing to pack. Home gyms are a far more effective option for time-conscious professionals looking for an efficient and quick workout option.

But Why Build a Home Gym?

These are all excuses and nothing more. If you have the space, have the (minimal) budget, and lack the time in the day to travel back and forth to the gym, the home gym is the perfect option for you. To assist you in the process, we here at Orbit Fitness are going to walk you through the process of developing a home gym. In the end, you will be surprised at how much you can fit into a reasonable-sized home gym at a surprisingly low cost.

Read more about the benefits of having a home gym.

Cultivating Equipment to Cultivate Mass

Home gym equipment expenses can add up quickly. We aren’t going to pretend that you can get high quality and low price at the same time. Some people spend tens of thousands of dollars on a full-fledged home workout mecca! However, this doesn’t need to be the case in almost all situations. The reality is, it is simple to build an effective home gym for around $1,000 to $2,000.

If you're on a budget there are really only a few crucial pieces of equipment necessary to get started if you plan on using your home gym for non-cardio activities. Whether you plan on gaining muscle, losing weight, or a combination of the two, the following items will go extremely far into ensuring that your goals are reached:

  • A squat rack with pull-up bar
  • Olympic barbell
  • Iron or rubber-coated weight plates
  • A bench

With the above, you can handle all major lifts that hit major muscle groups. From here, branching out to items such as dumbbells, more adjustable weight benches, jump ropes, ab wheels, treadmillsellipticals and more will assist with providing an all-around, customised routine from the comfort of your own home.

Budget Does Not Mean Low Quality

If you find yourself on a budget, it is important to note that this doesn’t mean you need to buy cheap, low-quality equipment for your home gym setup. Instead, focus on purchasing pieces of equipment that are the most versatile and effective in providing a full-body workout.

Remember, cheap equipment of low quality will lead to decreased satisfaction, far less use, a higher likelihood of injury, lower resale values, and a higher chance that a replacement purchase will need to be made. Would you rather spend $20 every year on a plastic dumbbell that cracks regularly and spills concrete dust everywhere or $50 on a single piece of well-formed iron that you can pass on to your grandchildren someday?

The good news is that, due to an influx of gym equipment from the rise of the home gym in popularity, there are ample opportunities to obtain high-quality workout gear at a fraction of what you think it might cost.

Setting Up the Ultimate Home Gym: The Basics

Here are our recommendations for some of the core products you should buy, as well as our reasoning for why they are crucial for the ultimate home gym setup:

A Squat Rack with Pull-Up Bar

If you are going to be using your ultimate home gym for weight lifting purposes, to get the most effective workout, you are going to want a squat rack, a crucial element for both the namesake squat and also a convenient rack for presses and deadlifts. Squat racks with pull-up bars add yet another useful feature to this piece of equipment and are highly recommended for a functional, efficient home gym setup.

Our Recommendation

For a home gym on a budget, or a home gym with limited space, the Orbit Two-Piece Squat Rack is perfect. While it doesn’t have a pull-up bar, it is a perfect, portable option that works wonderfully for not only squats but barbell presses, deadlifts, shoulder presses and more. This product comes in two pieces, so takes up less of a footprint, can be easily moved or stored, and can be adjusted to suit any width or grip bar.

An Olympic Barbell

Olympic barbells are likely the piece of equipment that weightlifters and powerlifters will utilize most often in a home gym. They don’t take up much space, they are versatile enough to work with many exercises, and they are the centrepiece of all of the most effective lifts.

Our Recommendation

Our recommendation for the best Olympic barbell for home gyms is the OB86 Olympic Bar. This barbell was developed to assist with lifting heavy loads. Meant for use with Olympic plates, this bar is forced from incredibly high-quality components. This includes brass bushes and 390-millimetre revolving sleeves.

Iron or Rubber-Coated Weight Plates

This is the most necessary piece for those looking to use their home gym to lift weights: the actual weights themselves. Iron or rubber-coated weight plates go on either end of an Olympic barbell. Typically, they are available in increments from 1.25kg to 20kg. We recommend grabbing a set of each size (1.25kg, 2.5kg, 5kg, 10kg and 20kg), and then when improving lifting abilities add sets of 20kg plates as needed.

Our Recommendation

Our Olympic Weight Plates are available in all popular increments. At $3.00 per kilogram, these raw iron plates provide the functionality necessary to grow muscle. They are cast from black iron, which leads to a very strong, extremely durable product that resists rust and chipping. All plates except for the 1.25kg option come with handles for easier transitioning and less pinched fingers.

A Bench

While many will associate gym benches with the bench press and nothing else, they are actually quite a versatile piece of home gym equipment. They can be used for far more than presses, and work great for exercises like box jumps, split squats, dips, box squats, rows and much more. A good-quality flat bench provides a strong platform, will be slightly under a meter from the ground and have a durable and firm, thick foam pad.

Our Recommendation

Orbit's Flat to Incline Bench is a multifaceted option that provides extensive benefits and is convertible and easily portable for storage. This makes it ideal for a home gym situation. Pair the incline bench with a good pair of dumbbells and you will have the perfect base for curls. Pair the decline bench with one of the 20-kilogram weight plates and you have the ideal situation for weighted sit-ups.

Kicking Things Up A Notch

The above options will get you to 80 percent, and can be done for well under $1,000. However, if you have the additional budget and the space to match, adding the following items can result in a perfect and effective home gym setup.

  • Dumbbells, kettlebells, and a jump rope
  • A full rack instead of a standard squat rack or half rack, space permitting
  • Cardio equipment like a treadmill, cross trainer, rowing machine or exercise bike
  • Boxing or kickboxing equipment like gloves, punching bags, and more
  • Foam floor mats and pads, yoga accessories, and comfort-focused equipment

Wrapping Up The Ultimate Home Gym

Crafting an incredible home gym doesn’t have to be expensive, and is far more within reach than you may think. With a little research and due diligence, clearing out a space, and the purchase of some good-quality equipment, you will be well on your way to eliminating lines and wasted time, and crafting a more effective, less exasperating workout experience.

By working out at home, you will also have far more time for things that you enjoy. It will set a strong example for your family. No waiting for a rack to free up. No circling parking lots that are far too small. No garbage music pumping. Your choices, your ultimate home gym. Enjoy!

Published on 09/12/2019

Last updated on 12/11/2021

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