11 Ideas For a Garage Gym On a Budget

As exciting as the social aspect of lifting with a group of people can be at a gym or a box (perhaps it drives your competitive side further or you just like lifting with friends) — you might have grown tired of the commute or people telling you can't slam weights on the floor.

We get it. That is why we created this neat list of ideas you can explore to transition to a home gym setup without making a huge dent in your pocket.


1. Meet Safety Requirements For Solo Lifting

Potential savings: up to $1,000+

Since you are going to be lifting alone most of the time, be sure to invest in equipment that could save you a hefty bill from the hospital.

A proper rack that features safety pins will prevent your sternum from being split into three in case you miss a rep on the bench press. This power cage rack features safety bars and is a great all-around rack that ties into idea #4.

Equipment recommendations:

2. What Do You Already Have Available?

Potential savings: ???

Do you have a fence that you can use as a dip bar? Maybe a structure that can be used as support for gymnastic rings so you can ditch the pull-up bar?

(Rings are cheaper and more versatile.)

Look for areas, heavy items or structures you can leverage to save money.


3. More Is Better

Potential savings: $50+

Generally, buying things in bulk will yield you a better price per unit. That is also true for plates. Buying heavier plates will not only get you a better deal in terms of dollars-per-pound, but they are sturdier and can take a hell of a beating.

Take our American-made 100 lb bumper plate, for example. That will cost you around $4.19 per pound. The same 45 lb version of that plate runs at $4.42 per pound.


Equipment recommendations:


4. Look For 2-in-1 Pieces of Equipment

Potential savings: $100+

If you are trying to get most out of your money, look for equipment that can be used in a lot of different ways. 

Instead of buying a squat stand and a pull-up bar, invest in a squat rack with a pull-up bar. Instead of buying a weight tree to store your plates, buy attachments to put them on your rack.

Equipment recommendations:


5. Skip the Dumbbells; Use Your Body

Potential savings: $200+

The majority of your movements will be done with the barbell, hitting all major muscle groups. Some alternative for hitting smaller muscle groups would be bands, dumbbells and bodyweight exercises. 

A dumbbell set or even an adjustable dumbbell can be too clunky (and expensive) sometimes. For lots of variability in your workouts, add a pair of gymnastic rings to your setup. Here is what Conor McGregor’s movement coach Ido Portal said about them:

For upper body strength development - the number one tool out there is a simple pair of gymnastics rings. Nothing comes close to it.


Equipment recommendations:


6. Go The DIY Route For Things That Make Sense

Potential savings: $1,000+

Remember, never violate #1. A rack with safety pins, a pull-up bar or even parallettes if you fancy being upside down are not things you want to DIY yourself.

On the other hand, you can build yourself an awesome deadlifting platform for a fraction of the price. Same for things like barbell holders, battle ropes, water balls and sandbags.


7. Take Versatility To The Next Level 

Potential savings: $150+

Combine tip #4 and #6. Stack (or make) things that are versatile to create yet another use for them. 

Want to deadlift off blocks, but don't have money for them? Stack up your thick bumper plates and put a sheet of plywood sandwiched with rubber on top of it to act as blocks.

Stack your bumper plates on top of your bench to regulate the height for a proper box squat. Line up your plyo boxes to mimic parallettes. Use your rings not only for pull-ups and rows but for tricep extensions. 

Recommended equipment:


8. Share The Bill With Your Neighbors

Potential savings: $500+

Got a neighbor or two that are into lifting just like you are? Suggest you all buy the equipment together and share the bill (and the garage).

Take a look at our gym packages to see which one is the right one for you.


9. Win Free Equipment

Potential savings: $100+

Every month we give a piece of equipment away to one member of our VIP list. The winner is announced on the 4th Monday of each month.

Click here to join the VIP member list for free.

You will also receive exclusive information before everybody else, including our deal of the week, which is announced on Monday.


10. Check Local Competitions

Potential savings: ???

If you are a CrossFitter, strongman or powerlifter, check your local competitions. Three reasons for it: it's a lot of fun, you can win cash prizes and you can get used equipment.

If you win some cash, you can invest that back in your gym. In some cases these events are sponsored, so the organizers might sell you some of the equipment that they won't need anymore at a bargain.

You can also check local listings and Craigslist for used items such as plates, collars, etc.


11. Ditch Cardio Machines

Potential savings: $1,500+

Assess whether you really need a treadmill for your cardio if you have plenty of room to run outside, for example.  If the weather is not on your side, a great, cheaper alternative for a great indoor cardio workout are kettlebell circuits. 

If you have a legitimate reason to use cardio machines (say, you are recovering from knee injury), consider commercial gyms. Most of them are lacking in the weightlifting department, but you can have access to their cardio area for as little as $20/month.


Recommended equipment:

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