How Much Space Do You Actually Need for a Home Gym?

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First things first: There are no particular guidelines, that defines exactly how much space you need to set up a home gym. It mostly relies on what kinds of exercises you want to do, but with a little knowledge and a few tools you can actually set up a proper home gym in any spare room you might have.

You don’t actually need a large treadmill, a rowing machine, a workout bench, barbells, a whole rack of dumbbells, nor do you need any of the advanced gym stations.

Regardless of why you’re working out, it requires a full body workout routine to do it properly. And for that, you simply need a good set of basic overall exercise equipment.

Space requirements for a basic home gym

We believe you need at least 100 square feet of space to set up a proper home gym.

Allow at least 200 square feet if you want a proper treadmill, preferably a compact treadmill for small spaces, if you want to store it after use.

This grants you enough space to organize your equipment properly, and still have a good amount of floor space left to do the actual workout on.

You have to have in mind that some exercises require you to either lie down, sit, or stand in different positions, and you need a decent amount of space around you if you want to be able to move around properly.

Could you set up a home gym in your living room?

Basically, you can set up a home gym anywhere. We don’t recommend setting it up in a living room nor the bedroom, because those areas should be reserved for relaxation. This is actually quite important for your sleep, according to Verywell Health.

Consider the basement or ground-level room

For safety reasons, but also for practicality reasons, the basement or ground-level room should be your first choice when allocating a space for your home gym.

If you’re planning on doing intense workouts, it will often involve some type of movement, and if your house has multiple levels, you may end up bothering those living on a lower floor.

Outdoor warmups recommended

Catch a breath of fresh air as you warm up for your exercises outdoors. You don’t have to go jogging, but doing a set of exercises in your garden can be quite rewarding in terms of getting both fresh air and catch some sunlight at the same time.

Use adjustable equipment and save space

Pair of adjustable dumbbells
Adjustable dumbbells come in many shapes and sizes.

You’ve probably seen the gigantic racks of dumbbells and other equipment available at your local gym, and wondered “how in the World am I going to fit this into my spare room at home?”

Fortunately, you don’t have to. There are tons of great adjustable equipment, and getting a pair of adjustable, beginner-friendly dumbbells is a great idea.

Adjustable dumbbells have been recommended by Men’s Health, and they save a lot of space compared to having five or six pairs of dumbbells of different weights.

You can also get adjustable benches, granting you the opportunities to do multiple exercises that require you to sit or lie down in various angles.

Straps, rollers, and other space-saving hacks

There are other cheats and tricks that can help you make more of your space too. There are suspension training kits that help build muscle using only your own body weight, and as the kit is suspended, it gives you loads of uninhabited floor space to use.

According to Healthline you can create a home gym for just $150, using simple household items such as books, large bottles full of liquids, jump ropes, and more. So if you just want a temporary setup, these are definitely great ideas.

Safety first

One thing you should always consider, especially when planning to set up a home gym, is safety.

Working out is of course not dangerous in itself, but the surroundings could potentially cause you trouble.

Here are some important safety tips, that will help you stay safe when you’re doing your exercises at home:

1. Soft surfaces spare your knees and elbows

There’s nothing worse than exercising on a hard surface, and it could cause pain because of the pressure applied to your knees and/or elbows.

Make sure you have a soft layer beneath you, ideally a workout mat, but a soft rug could work too.

2. Secure any sharp edges – or move them away

Most people don’t consider this, but imagine you’re trying to balance with a set of dumbbells in order to perfect your lunges, and then fall to the side. Would you rather land on a soft surface, or bump into the corner of a table?

Make sure there’s plenty of space around you, and don’t exercise near any furniture with sharp edges – consider moving away glass tables and other furniture made of either wood or metal, to improve the overall safety.

3. Remove cables from the floor

If you’re running cables over the floor, make sure they’re removed before you start working out. You might forget them as you work out, and you could potentially trip over them and get hurt.

4. Have a spotter nearby

A spotter is commonly used by those lifting heavy weights at the gym, but at home you could have any family member or friend watch you as you work out. They don’t have to sit near you and watch you all the time, but having them within reach and available to assist at any moment, could improve safety if you somehow manage to hurt yourself or cause an accident.

5. Don’t throw your weights

People like to throw their weights while they’re done working out. This is a bad idea, not only because your floors are probably wooden, but also because the surface might be more bouncy than in your local gym – and you might be surprised by how much a set of dumbbells could bounce if you throw them at the floor.

6. No pets should be allowed nearby

If you’re the happy owner of a dog or cat, they shouldn’t be allowed nearby while you work out, because accidents could easily happen if you’re unaware of their movements.

Your pets are probably not used to seeing you working out inside your home, so they might become curious and decide to check what’s going on. So it’s better to keep them at a distance, or at least corner yourself in a way so you can always watch where they are.