Small home gyms offer all the training you need to stay in shape without the subscription or hassle of traveling to a commercial facility. Let’s look at fifteen examples of ways you can transform a space in your home into the perfect workout spot.
15 Small Home Gym Ideas You’ll Love
Unless you’re living in a mansion, you don’t have room to install all the equipment of a full-size gym. By optimizing your floor plan and maybe thinking outside the box, you can create a small home gym with a small footprint but a significant impact on your health and fitness. With some ingenuity, you won’t even need to break the bank.
Rack it Up
If you’re a heavy-duty weight lifter, no home gym can offer all the variety of equipment of a large commercial gym. But, you can bring some serious power to your home setup with the use of a squat rack. Most racks have integrated storage for weight plates and safety bars, so you can keep your home gym space neat, tidy, and safe.
As a bonus, some weight racks also offer add-on stations. For instance, some have a pullup bar at the top or mounting points for other accessories. And they’re not just for squats. Roll in your adjustable bench and do bench or shoulder presses, do deadlifts, or even bent-over rows.
It doesn’t take much to turn open floor space into gym space at home. In this example, you can see that an exercise ball, some dumbbells, and a padded mat can convert any corner of a house or apartment into a small gym.
You can always add in some of your other favorite gym equipment, but it doesn’t take much to create a space where you can burn some calories, build some muscle, and stay fit.
Maximize Floor Space
Depending on how much room you have or want to dedicate to your home gym, you may have to get a bit creative. Consider tucking a large piece of equipment into the corner and letting everything else fall into place around it.
In this example, the placement of the multi-station exercise machine creates an efficient floor plan, with plenty of room to walk around it and enough space for other equipment arrayed around it.
It doesn’t take much room at all to handle all of the equipment you need in a home gym. You just have to maximize your usage!
Keep Moving (Air)
While your workouts will keep you moving, don’t forget to circulate the air a bit in your small gym. Otherwise, it can get quickly overwhelmed by odors. No matter how good you think you smell, imagine if a guest stepped into your home gym and became bowled over by months of trapped workout stink?
Consider adding a fan to your gym and opening the windows regularly to keep the air moving while you do your workouts and afterward.
Stay Neat and Clean
One of the biggest things people hate about commercial gyms is how dirty they are. Even in well-maintained facilities, the equipment tends to be full of bacteria. That can be a huge problem for people and turn them off to the idea of working out.
Don’t let your home gym become a dirty mess. Even in a small space like this example, keep things clean by wiping down your equipment and not letting garbage or other things pile up. Don’t leave empty water bottles, sweaty towels, or junk around.
Think in Twos
If you ever want to work out with a partner, you’ll need enough equipment to keep you both occupied. For instance, if you and your favorite workout partner are both big runners, maybe it makes sense for you to have two treadmills side-by-side, like in this example.
You don’t need to necessarily have two identical pieces of equipment either. But having a couple of cardio stations and a couple of workout mats, as well as enough equipment and free weights to keep at least two people buys, can offer a fun dynamic in even a small workout space.
Use Natural Light
If your gym is more like a dungeon than a solarium, you might inadvertently make it less desirable to squeeze in a home workout. So pay attention to the best angles to optimize the natural light in your gym.
Give yourself the best view you can, with the most ambient light possible. You can even think strategically about when you are most likely to work out.
For instance, if you know that the early morning sun hits one side of your space a lot, and what’s your favorite workout time, put your equipment on that side of the room so you can enjoy the light.
This way, you won’t end up sitting in a darker corner under a harsh light, thinking about how much better it would be to go outside. Try to bring some of the outsides into your gym by optimizing your natural light exposure.
Protect Your Floor
Even if you’re not going to be deadlifting more than a thousand pounds with Arnold Schwarzenegger cheering you on like Eddie Hall, you should consider protecting the floor of your gym.
Weight drops, scuffs, and spills can all damage your floor. Protect the surface with carpet, rubber mats, interlocking rubber tiles, or even just a series of runners that sit under your heaviest equipment.
You don’t want to end up needing to resurface or replace your floors because you dropped weight or your rowing machine’s feet left a mark on your floor.
A lot of people seem to consider their basement as the best place for a home gym. But don’t forget to think about how you can use upstairs space to create a home workout area.
Sometimes, like in this example of a small home gym, you can get a lot of functionality out of attic space. Or a spare bedroom on the second floor of your home can offer ample space for a home gym without forcing you to go down into your cellar.
Some basements are ideal for a workout space. Others are damp, dark, and no fun, so don’t stick some weights or a treadmill down there and expect you’ll have much fun using it. Make it as inviting as you can.
Keep an Eye on Things
It’s not narcissistic to study yourself in the mirror a bit when you’re working out. It’s a good practice that ensures you are keeping the correct form during exercises.
Particularly during strength training exercises, this visual feedback can be quite important. Even when you’re jogging on a treadmill, it can be helpful to see yourself in the mirror, where you can easily spot bad posture, poor strides, or uneven steps.
So, add mirrors to your home gym, and keep a sharp eye out for bad form and other inconsistencies that could end up having negative impacts.
Plant Some Seeds
Commercial gyms tend to suffer from an industrial vibe. There might be thousands of pieces of equipment, dozens of TVs, and exposed hardware like ductwork and cabling.
Those aren’t necessarily bad features, but do you really want your home gym to feel like a commercial gym? Add some unique touches to personalize your space. Adding a plant or two is one of the easiest things you can do to change the feel of a small home gym.
Mix Business and Pleasure
Recently, almost 45% of Americans responding to a survey said that working from home improved their physical health. That’s probably in large part due to their reduced commuting time, freeing up more time for workouts and other beneficial activities.
So, why not bring a touch of the office into the gym and try to improve that work and life balance even more. There’s no reason you can’t put a small desk and a laptop computer in a corner of your gym space.
Add a bookcase or a monitor with some additional work materials and try to keep fit while handling some work chores to create your home gym and your home office in the same space.
Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way
If you have a favorite feature from the gym, you can probably make it work at home. For some, that might be a massive power rack for heavy weight lifting.
For others, it might be a leg press machine or some other large piece of equipment. In this example of a home gym, the owner decided that a sauna was mandatory, and they managed to make it work.
Think Creature Comforts
No gym is complete if you’re not comfortable using it. Since you’re at home, consider making some space for towels, robes, extra clothes, and a hamper for dirty workout gear. If you integrate a little storage nook into your home gym, you’ll always have what you need at hand.
Don’t hesitate to add some entertainment devices to your home gym. A TV on the wall can help distract you from a bit of a boring run on the treadmill.
Adding a sound system so you can crank up your favorite music can bring a little bit of an energy boost to your workouts. If there’s something you can do to offer some entertainment and distract yourself in your gym, you should do it!
Things to Consider: Home Gyms
Follow these tips to keep your home gym in top shape:
Home Gym Best Practices
- Wipe down your equipment regularly with a mild disinfectant
- Keep strong air circulation
- Re-rack your weights after every use
- Clean up all your workout debris like water bottles and sweaty clothes after workouts
- Maximize natural light, consider adding mirrors, and think outside the box for a location
- Distract yourself from boring parts of your fitness routine
- Keep yourself comfortable and add touches of home to your workout space
- Stay connected by integrating a bit of a workspace into your gym
- Protect your floors from damage
Home Gym Worst Practices
- Don’t leave empty water bottles or sweaty workout gear all over
- Don’t assume a big idea won’t work in your small space
- Don’t let your big equipment dominate your space
- Don’t let your gym feel like a dungeon
Which Small Home Gym Idea Will You Pick?
So there you have it — our favorite ideas for small home gyms. I absolutely love my home gym. Even though it’s in my basement, I have a large window that lets in plenty of light, and my equipment is neatly laid out and optimized for the floor plan.
I don’t always like getting interrupted by work during my exercise, but I’d rather be at home than at the gym or the office. And once the work call is over or I send that important email, I turn the music back up and go back to the workout.
With a little bit of ingenuity and inspiration from these home gym ideas, you can be enjoying your little home gym in no time at all.