by Matt Weik
To be completely honest, there is nothing like creating your own home gym or a basement gym. I’ve chatted with followers of my work, personal training clients I work with, podcast listeners, and people on social media about my personal home setup and basement gym. I explain to them that I would not trade it for the world. Don’t get me wrong, I love fitness centers and gyms for the variety of equipment and amenities available. However, there is nothing like not having to leave the house and being able to get a workout regardless of your schedule, right in the privacy of your own home with your very own basement gym. Combine your basement gym with a solid diet and supplement plan and you’re good to go!
In this article, we’re going to discuss some of the ways you can build a basement gym on a budget. You don’t need a lot of money to have everything you need for a great workout. My personal basement gym is a little crazy having invested almost $ 50,000, but it’s also part of my business and source of income. So let’s discuss how to have everything you need right at home and build your basement gym without taking up too much space or breaking the bank.
Build your foundation
No, I’m not talking about pouring a new foundation for your home. I’m talking about buying key pieces that you can easily recreate if you wish. Many people think that building a basement gym will force them to go into debt – that’s not the case if you know what you need and find the right deals.
For starters, I like saving money. It might not look like it was based on the cost of my own basement gym, but I would have paid even more money if I hadn’t looked for offers and promotions. You can easily look at the classifieds in the newspaper, scroll through Craigslist or eBay, or simply buy directly from a manufacturer or dealer. If you are tight on cash, try to find something used. You can usually save over 50% of the original purchase price.
There are a few important basic elements that you need to primarily build on when building your basement gym. The first piece to invest in would be a power rack. This piece generally comes with a pull-up bar and attachments to do dips on. The one I own and personally love is the Powertec Fitness Work Bench Power Rack1. It’s built like a tank and has withstood years of heavy use.
The next piece to invest in would be a 300 pound Olympic weight set. Cap Barbell makes a high quality set that includes the weight plates and the barbell2. The barbell comes with:
• (2) 45 pound plates
• (2) 35 pound plates
• (2) 25 pound plates
• (2) 10 pound plates
• (4) 5 pound plates
• (2) 2.5 pound plates
With the two devices mentioned above, you can comfortably and safely complete exercises for each muscle group right at home. Both of these combined will bring you back around $ 1,000. However, in the end, you have a gym in the basement that you most likely survived and can be passed down or resold.
Some people may have read the above and wondered where the adjustable weight bench is. Well, it’s definitely a piece that would add variety to your basement gym, but it’s not really a necessity. If you had the money lying around I would highly recommend buying one. I like things that are versatile and the Body Solid Bench3 is just the ticket. You can make nine different angle settings from slope to slope. It’s sturdy and can hold up to 1,000 pounds. In addition, it has a leg attachment at the end of the bench to enable both seated leg extensors and lying hamstrings.
The nice thing about the bench is that you can slide it into the rack when not in use to keep it out of the way and take up less space. Additionally, you can add some adjustable dumbbells to your home gym as well. This would add more exercise variety to your basement gym while keeping the footprint small so as not to take up your entire basement. One pair that I have personally used in hotels that I found extremely useful and of high quality are the Bowflex SelectTech 552 dumbbells4. This pair goes up to 52.5 pounds (each) and adjusts in 2.5 pound increments up to the first 25 pounds. You can put the dumbbells on the floor or buy the Bowflex dumbbell stand5 if you wish.
What about cardio?
Sure, you could invest in something like a Schwinn Recumbent Bike6 or a NordicTrack treadmill7, but that’s not a necessity. There are so many things you can do for cardiovascular exercise that I don’t feel like it should be on your radar if you don’t have the money or the space. We want this basement gym to be on a budget – some people’s budget might be bigger than others and that’s fine. But you can easily walk or jog around your neighborhood for cardio. You could also go down the stairs in your house. Also, to get your heart rate up, you can do burpees, mountaineering, jumping jacks, jogging, shadow boxing, or any other cardio form that doesn’t take up much space or equipment.
As you can see, it’s not that difficult to build your own gym in the basement. If you can save some cash, you don’t even have to pay for a gym membership and you can save all of the money spent on a gym membership. You also save travel time to the gym and fuel costs. In your basement gym, there are no lines of people waiting for equipment. There are no creepers or those who have forgotten deodorant (unless that person is you) and stink the place. And you can exercise in the privacy of your own home if you are someone who is aware of their looks or athletic abilities. There are far more positives than negatives associated with building a basement gym on a budget.
1. Powertec Fitness Work Bench Power Rack
2. Cap 300 pound weight set
3. Body-firm weight bench
4. Bowflex SelectTech 552 adjustable dumbbells
5. Bowflex dumbbell rack
6. Schwinn recumbent bike
7. NordicTrack treadmill