If you have been thinking about clearing out your spare room or your garage and setting up your own gym at home so that you can work out whenever you want, you have probably wondered how much it will actually cost to buy everything you need.
This is not easy to do because the cost of exercise equipment can vary quite considerably, depending on whether you are looking to buy commercial-grade machines, for example, or whether you would prefer to buy more affordable machines, or even second hand equipment.
However the good news is that you don’t necessarily need to spend thousands of dollars if you only have a limited budget, as I will hopefully demonstrate in this article.
Think About What You Need
The first thing you need to do is to determine which machines and which items of equipment you will need to help you achieve your goals.
A home gym doesn’t necessarily have to be filled with lots of different exercise machines like a commercial gym.
If you are just looking to lose a couple of inches from your waistline and tone up a little bit, then an indoor cycling bike and a rowing machine would be more than sufficient.
Similarly, if you are just looking to build as much muscle as possible, then your home gym may only consist of a multi-purpose home gym, a weight bench, a barbell and a set of dumbbells because these would give you all of the workout options that you really need.
If you are primarily looking to improve your fitness level, lose weight and stay in shape, there are lots of cardio machines that will help you do just this:
The classic home exercise machine is of course the exercise bike, and this is still the number one choice for many people.
An exercise bicycle will provide you with a low impact workout that is easy on your joints, and will help you to burn lots of calories.
An indoor cycling/spin bike is the best option if you are looking to get a really intense workout and would like to pedal in a standing position during your workouts, but a standard upright bike will still help you to burn hundreds of calories.
If you have problems getting on and off one of these bikes, you could instead opt for a recumbent bike, which is a lot easier to get on and off, and has the added bonus of a back support for a much more comfortable workout.
Price guide: $100 – $2500
A treadmill is essentially just an indoor running machine, so it is ideal for training all year round, and it will of course dramatically improve your cardiovascular fitness if you use it regularly. Plus you can also use it for walking workouts if you are just looking to increase your activity level.
These machines are generally very heavy and will take up quite a lot of space in your home (unless you buy a folding treadmill), so this is something you should bear in mind if you are setting up your home gym in a relatively small room.
They also tend to be quite expensive unless you are buying a really basic treadmill, which is why many people ultimately decide not to buy one for their home gym.
Price guide: $150 – $4000
(here is a guide to the best treadmills for home gyms)
An elliptical trainer is well worth considering because it is one of the more versatile machines that you can buy. That’s because you can simulate stair climbing, walking and running on this one piece of equipment.
Elliptical machines provide you with a low impact workout that is easy on your joints, just like an exercise bike, but it is worth pointing out that you are not just getting a lower-body toning and fitness workout. If you buy one that has moving arms, you can also work your arms and your abs as well.
Some when you consider that many modern-day ellipticals tend to have adjustable incline settings and multiple resistance settings, it is easy to see why many people buy one of these cardio machines for their homes.
Price guide: $100 – $4000
(this article has comparisons of the best ellipticals for home use)
If you are looking to buy a cardio machine that will not only help to improve your fitness, but will also give you a little bit of muscle toning as well, then a rowing machine is well worth considering.
It will help work both your upper and lower body, and is therefore another machine that offers value for money in terms of the overall benefits that you will get from this machine.
These indoor rowers are ideal for home gyms because they can often be folded away when they are not being used, or stacked against a wall. So they don’t necessarily require a lot of space in many cases.
The hydraulic rowers are the cheapest, but it is worth paying a little bit more for one that has air, magnetic or water resistance if you can because these will give you a much better workout.
Price guide: $100 – $1500
(here is a guide to the top rowers for home gyms)
Step machines, also referred to as steppers, stair climber machines or stepper machines, will also provide you with a low impact cardiovascular workout, but have the added benefit of toning your legs and butt as well.
Indeed they will actually target your hips, glutes, quads, hamstrings and calves, and if you buy one without a handlebar, it will also engage your core abdominal muscles. Plus the more expensive vertical climbers will also tone your arms as well.
The major benefit of a stepper is that they are very cheap to buy compared to some of the larger machines listed above, and are generally a lot smaller. Therefore they are very easy to accommodate in your home gym set up.
Price guide: $40 – $200
It is important to note that you don’t necessarily need to buy a bulky exercise machine to burn lots of calories, lose weight and increase your fitness level because a skipping rope can be just as effective.
You will often see boxers training with a skipping rope for long periods because it increases their stamina and endurance, as well as the speed of their footwork. Plus it works pretty much every muscle in their body and improves their co-ordination.
A jump rope is also very beneficial if you are looking to lose weight because you can burn more than 10 calories per minute.
So when you consider that this is one of the most inexpensive items that you can buy for your home gym, and will take up no space at all, it is pretty much a no-brainer.
Price guide: $5 – $20
Strength Training Options
If you are looking to build a lot more muscle mass, or simply wish to tone up certain areas of your body, then you will want to buy some form of strength training equipment for your home gym. So here is a guide to some of the main products that you may wish to consider buying:
Instead of actually setting up your own home gym, it is possible to buy a so-called home gym that will provide you with all the strength training workouts that you will need to build muscle.
These machines are also called multi-gyms and they are ideal if you have limited space in your home, or if you are simply looking to buy a single machine that has everything you need.
With a lot of these multi-gyms, you don’t need to buy any dumbbells or barbells because they will use their own weights, and all of the weight plates are usually included. The only downside of this is that they do have a maximum weight limit, which could be a problem if you become really strong over time.
Nevertheless, if you want to avoid going to the gym, but would like to do many of the same muscle-building exercises, you should definitely think about investing in a multi-gym of some description.
Price guide: $150 – $5000
A multi-gym is ideal if you are looking to build some muscle, but if you are a serious hardcore bodybuilder, you might want to think about investing in a power rack instead.
This is quite a substantial piece of equipment that will take up a lot of space, but it really is invaluable because you can do all of the most effective compound moves, such as squats, bench presses, overhead presses, pull-ups and deadlifts, for instance, and some of them will include a lat pull attachment as well.
A multi-gym is not really that beneficial if you want to develop your legs because there are usually only a few exercises you can do, but by using a really solid power rack and investing in some heavy weights (see below), you can do squats and deadlifts to really pack on some muscle.
There are no limitations either because you will always be able to add more weight to the bar as you get stronger.
Price guide: $100 – $1500
A multi-gym is a great investment if your budget can stretch this far, but if not, a weight bench is the next best alternative.
You will find that you can do a range of different strength-building exercises with a weighted barbell and some dumbbells, even with a simple flat bench.
However it is better to spend a little more on an adjustable bench because then you can do a range of incline and decline exercises as well.
With this one simple piece of equipment, you can do bench presses, shoulder presses, bent over rows and so many more upper body moves that will help to build muscle.
In addition, a bench will come in handy if you ever decide to buy a power rack because then you will be able to do bench presses and seated shoulder presses, for example.
Price guide: $50 – $200
If you are looking to pack on some muscle, then you will need to buy some weights for your home gym (unless you buy a multi-gym).
A set of dumbbells is always a good investment because they are very inexpensive and won’t take up very much room in your home gym. More importantly, they will of course enable you to do so many different exercises, regardless of which area of your body you are looking to develop.
It is also a good idea to buy a barbell and accompanying weight plates because these will enable you to do barbell curls with heavier weights, as well as some intense compound moves, such as squats and deadlifts.
These are the basic weights that you will need, but you could also think about buying kettlebells because these will also enable you to perform lots of different exercises, and won’t take up a lot of space.
Price guide: < $100, up to $500 for adjustable dumbbells, up to $1000 for Olympic barbell sets
It is fair to say that a dip stand is not exactly an essential item that you will really need if you are setting up your own gym at home.
Nevertheless if you do have lots of free space, you might want to consider buying one of these dip stands because as the name suggests, these will enable you to perform dips in order to really develop your chest and triceps.
You will find that they are not very expensive and won’t take up very much space at all, so they can be a useful addition if you do not have any other way of performing dips at home.
Price guide: < $100
It is hard to do pull-ups if you don’t have access to a gym, but you can now buy pull-up bars that will fit securely into your doorways at home to enable you to perform this particular muscle-building exercise.
These pull-up bars are exceptionally cheap to buy and are relatively small and easy to move around, so they can be a useful addition to your home gym if you are looking to develop your upper body.
Indeed you don’t even need to use one of these bars in your home gym because you can use them in any of your doorways at home.
Price guide: < $35
Medicine balls are ideal if you are looking to build your core strength because these weighted balls can be thrown or caught to improve your overall power and conditioning.
Plus you can also hold on to them and perform a range of different exercises that will work every area of your body, as you would with a dumbbell or a kettlebell, for example.
The only drawback of these medicine balls is that they are always a fixed weight, but when you consider that they are cheap to buy and relatively small in size, they are well worth adding to your home gym.
Price guide: < $100
If you are going to the trouble of setting up your own home gym, it is a good idea to have some form of entertainment so that you can enjoy your workouts and not get bored doing long workouts on the exercise bike or treadmill, for example. So here are a few things you should consider purchasing:
If you want to recreate the feeling of being in a gym whilst working out out at home, you should think about buying a stereo and a decent set of speakers.
You will often find that playing loud high-tempo music will subconsciously make you exercise harder if you are doing a cardio workout, or lift a little more weight if you are doing some strength training exercises.
In addition, it will also make you feel a lot happier and will make your workouts a lot more enjoyable because they can be quite repetitive and boring otherwise.
Price guide: $30 – $300
With so many great TV shows and movies to watch on Netflix and Amazon Prime, it is also a good idea to buy a TV for your home gym.
This may not necessarily be something you really need if you are primarily doing lots of strength training workouts.
However if you are regularly on the treadmill, elliptical or cycling bike for 30-60 minutes at a time, you will find that this is a great way to prevent boredom and keep yourself motivated to do more workouts.
Price guide: $80 – $500
Other Products To Consider
The products featured above are some of the core essentials, but here are a few more items that you might want to add to your home gym:
- Mirror (to monitor your form and technique)
- Suspension Trainer (for strength, balance and endurance)
- Resistance Bands (for strength, rehabilitation and flexibility)
- Yoga Mat (for yoga, stretching and floor exercises)
- Stability Ball (for strength, core and balance exercises)
- Foam Roller (to help aid recovery after workouts)
Estimated Cost Of A Home Gym
If you look online at some of the home fitness equipment that is available, you will see that you could easily end up spending a substantial sum of money if you end up buying a lot of commercial-grade machines from some of the leading companies.
To demonstrate this point, take a look at Vince Del Monte’s personal home gym which cost him around $60,000 to set up:
However the good news is that you don’t need to spend anywhere near this much money if you are on a budget.
Here is an example of a good quality home gym that you could use for cardio and strength training, along with the respective costs for each item:
- Bowflex Xtreme 2SE Home Gym ($1400)
- Sunny Health & Fitness Belt Drive Indoor Cycling Bike ($300)
- Stamina Air Rower ($300)
- Premium Quality Jump Rope ($10)
- TRX 12-kg Kettlebell ($50)
Total cost = $2060
This particular multi-gym would enable you to strengthen and add muscle to every part of our body because it offers 6 chest, 14 shoulder, 16 back, 24 arm, 3 abdominal and 10 leg exercises, and you could also use the kettlebell to add some variation to your workouts.
You also have the indoor cycling bike and the air resistance rower that you could use for your cardio workouts, as well as the jump rope for stamina, endurance and general conditioning.
However if you were to use a power rack instead of a multi-gym, your home gym might look something like this:
- Powertec Fitness Power Rack – $675
- Bowflex SelectTech 5.1 Adjustable Bench – $180
- CAP Barbell Olympic Bar – $300
- XMark 90-Pound Olympic Plate Weight Set – $170
- Starring 65-Pound Adjustable Dumbbells – $70
- Nautilus T614 Treadmill – $750
Total cost = $2145
With this particular set-up, you could do all of your big compound moves to pack on muscle using the combination of the weights, the bench and the power rack, and you could also burn off any excess fat by jumping on the treadmill, which is a good quality mid-range model that has multiple incline settings and workout programs, and a high top speed.
The point I wanted to get across in both of these examples is that you can buy some good quality exercise machines and equipment for a little over $2000.
Insider Tip: you can save yourself a lot of money by buying second-hand equipment from gyms and private sellers on sites such as Craigslist and eBay.
It is also worth remembering that you don’t need to buy all of this equipment right away. You could start off by buying a weight bench, a set of dumbbells and an exercise bike, for example, for under $500 and buy more equipment when you have some spare cash.
Indeed if you are just looking to get fit and toned, you may find that a small set-up such as this one is all you really need.
Pros And Cons Of A Home Gym
If you are still on the fence about setting up your own home gym, and are not really sure whether or not it’s a good idea, let me finish this article by discussing some of the main pros and cons to help you make your mind up.
Cheaper In The Long Run
One of the key reasons why you should set up your own gym in your home or garage is because it will generally work out a lot cheaper than going to a commercial gym in the long run.
When you sit down and work out what you are paying out every year in membership fees, the initial cost of your home gym will eventually cover these fees after a few years, and then you are essentially working out for free thereafter.
One of the most frustrating things about being a gym member is that you actually have to leave your house and travel there before you can begin your workout.
Therefore you have the extra cost of driving there or taking public transport, for example, and you will often find that it is hard to find the motivation in the middle of winter when it is cold and wet outside. With a home gym, however, you obviously don’t have these problems.
No Need To Wait For Equipment
Working out in a gym can be quite enjoyable, but one of the most frustrating aspect of the gym is having to wait for equipment to become free, particularly during peak hours.
If you are using your own exercise machines at home, however, you will never face this problem, and will be able to complete your workouts a lot quicker.
Train At Any Hour Of The Day
Another key benefit is that you can train whenever you like. If you want to train in the middle of the night at 3.00AM, there is nothing to stop you.
Similarly, if you only have a few free hours after work, which is when gyms are generally packed out, you can go into your home gym and perform your workout without any stress.
Exercise Without Anyone Watching You
I don’t think there is anybody that likes people watching them when they are working out, but sadly this happens a lot in the gym, whether it’s people waiting for you to finish, or whether it’s a member of the opposite sex checking you out, for example.
By working out at home, you can of course train alone without anyone looking at you, which is a great feeling.
Choose Your Own Form Of Entertainment
The trouble with a lot of modern-day gyms is that they don’t really make much of an effort to keep you entertained during your workout routines. They will often play the same repetitive dance music that you have heard a thousand times before, or they will have TVs that are permanently showing one of the news channels, for instance.
When you are working out in your spare bedroom or garage, on the other hand, you can set up your own sound system and play all of your favorite music, or put a TV in there and watch all of your favorite movies if you are doing cardio workouts, which will keep you entertained a lot more.
Use Equipment That Is Tailored To You
It can be overwhelming going into a commercial gym because there are so many different machines that you can use, some of which you will inevitably have no idea what they are or how to use them.
With a home gym, however, you can specifically focus on the equipment that you want to use. If you only ever use the exercise bike or the treadmill when you go to the gym, you may as well buy your own and save yourself a fortune.
Train In A Cleaner Environment
One final benefit that many people forget about is that you can work out in a much cleaner and a much more hygienic environment when you work out at home.
The gyms are full of inconsiderate members who sweat over all of the machines and spread their germs everywhere, but you will never face this problem again if you use your own equipment and keep them clean.
Less Choice Of Equipment
One of the main drawbacks of opting for a home gym is that you are never going to have the same amount of equipment as a commercial gym (unless you have a massive budget and a lot of space).
The great thing about being a member of a gym is that you will always be able to work every single muscle group because of the wide variety of machines that are available, but this isn’t always possible if you buy your own equipment.
Another downside is that the quality of your home set-up is somewhat restricted by the amount of space that you have, whether it’s in a bedroom, a basement or a garage, for example.
If you only have a very small room with which to work with, then you will have to make some tough choices with regards to which equipment you are going to buy to get the most out of your workouts.
High Set-Up Costs Initially
The one thing that will put many people off the idea of building a gym at home is the initial cost because as I demonstrated earlier, a decent set-up with some good quality machines for both cardio and strength training can cost around $2000.
However it is possible to spend a lot less than this, particularly if you buy second-hand equipment, and it is worth pointing out that you may only require two or three exercise machines if you are focused solely on doing cardio workouts, for example.
Have To Maintain Equipment Yourself
You will soon discover that you will have to fix some of the exercise machines yourself, or pay an expert to do it for you if anything breaks or stops working as it should.
This shouldn’t happen very often if you buy strong and durable equipment rather than cheap entry-level machines, but it is an extra cost that you may have to incur at some point.
Cannot Chat With Other People
Some people will see this as a benefit that you cannot interact with other gym members when working out at home, but a lot of people enjoy the social aspect of going to the gym. So a home gym may not necessarily be suitable for extroverts who enjoy the company of others.
Cannot Use A Spotter
There are many exercises that you can do safely at home without any problems, but if you decide to buy a power rack and a barbell, for example, and are planning to do compound moves such as squats and bench presses, it can be very dangerous when you are lifting close to your maximum.
At the gym you can always ask someone to spot you and take the weight if you run into difficulty during an exercise, but this is obviously not possible when you are on your own at home, which is why injuries can easily occur.
Have To Do Your Own Research
Another problem is that once you have all of the equipment that you want, you might not know how to actually perform some of the exercises.
After all, you won’t have access to a personal trainer, so you may have to search online and watch some YouTube videos in order to learn how to do certain exercises with correct form in order to prevent injury.
A home gym is not for everyone. You need a certain amount of space in your home for a start, and the initial cost may be too much for a lot of people.
However if you do go ahead and buy various different machines and accessories, you will love the freedom and enjoyment that you get from working out at home whenever you want, particularly as you will have none of the stress or the intimidation that comes from working out in a commercial gym.