How To Turn Your Garage Into A Home Gym
How To Turn Your Garage Into A Home Gym
Let’s face it – no one uses their garage for cars. Storage? Yes. Bikes? Yes. Rudimentary home beer making kit? Yes.
In our eyes, garages are just gyms waiting to happen. They’re ideal for weight training and can really aid your progression. You can tailor them to your specific needs, goals and preferences. And they’re the ideal place to take an hour out to get away from everything.
You design it, you create it, you use it. The equipment is always available and there’s nothing holding you back from training exactly how you want.
Train for as long as you like – all the while saving precious time and money. You’ve got your own kit that’s set at the right height and weight, and you don’t have to deal with the daily hassles that come with heading out to the gym.
Travelling, dealing with the changing rooms and waiting for equipment can all suck time and energy. And if you live out in the sticks, the extra journey more often than not ends up being too much to do on a regular basis.
And when you enjoy your training more, you’re more likely to do it.
Ultimately, having a garage gym set up can help you stay motivated, reach your goals and stay on it.
How to create the perfect home gym
The domestic garage is not only home to bikes, tools and that Soda Stream you were convinced was missing from your life, but it’s got some other pretty handy traits too:
• Flooring - even though no one’s using their garages for cars, garages are designed for cars, and therefore can handle your extreme weight loads including fails and drops – both intentional and unintentional...
• Temperature - having your gym in the garage means it’s also a lot cooler. Fewer windows means you can keep the sun out on those burning hot days. In the evening, you can open up the garage doors for a cool breeze and quick refresh.
• Space - again, garages are primarily designed for cars. So even though sizes may vary, they are usually around 3m by 6m – which is a good amount of space to train in. And if you need extra storage space at a later date, there are plenty of options to help you make the most of your space including Weight Trees, Wall Racks and Bar Stands .
• Noise levels - Whether you love to turn your music up, take your stresses from the day out on the punch bag or simply release a deafening war cry every time you smash your latest PB, having somewhere you can be yourself makes life a lot easier.
• Eat, sleep, train, repeat - by having a garage gym, you’ll never need to clear your equipment away for extra house guests or for general living space. So, you can keep everything set up as it is, saving time and energy.
• Under lock and key - having a garage gym also means your equipment can be kept safely locked away. Before you start, make sure your garage is secure and can’t be accessed from the outside without a key. It’s also important to make sure the door you use to access the garage from inside the house is lockable. This way you know that your kids won’t mistake your power cage for a climbing frame.
The bottom line is, garages make ideal home gyms. So, park your car out on the street and let’s get started.
What do you need for a home gym?
Once you’ve cleared some space, it’s time to put a shopping list together.
Weight training is the most efficient way to increase strength as well as boost your metabolism – helping you to burn more calories at rest – so we’ve gone with a weight-focused garage gym.
Trying to decide what to get (as well as keep an eye on how much it’s going to cost) can be tricky. There are lots of pieces of specialist pieces of equipment to choose from and knowing which pieces go with what can make the whole thing very time-consuming.
To help, we've put together a list of all the essentials you’ll need to get started.
Garage gym essentials
Power Racks are the cornerstone to any home gym. Use them for squats, bench presses, pull ups, dips and more to build strength and endurance.
They’re also a safe way to train alone. The safety bars along the sides are designed to catch the barbell – ideal for when training to your natural point of failure or simply when you drop the weight bar.
The main feature you’re looking for when choosing a power rack is the weight load it can handle:
• If you’re new to weight training or just know that you’re not going to be training above 250kg, then the Mirafit M100 Power Rack would be the most appropriate power rack for your home gym.
• If you’re an advanced lifter or simply want equipment that has potential for you to lift more in the future, the Mirafit M200 Power Rack is more suited to your needs.
Both of these power racks can be upgraded a later date with a cable system, giving you the option of a more varied workout. Use them to store weights and you can also add resistance band pegs onto them.
For a more in-depth comparison of our range of power racks, read our buyer's guide.
Weight Benches are extremely versatile and can be used for much more than just bench pressing. There are different types available, including flat weight benches and adjustable weight benches.
Flat benches ultimately allow you to bench press with more weight, but this is only really necessary when you reach extremely heavy weight loads. A folding, adjustable weight bench will ultimately give you more options when it comes to training. And it will inevitably allow you to target specific areas as well.
Just like when choosing a power rack, you’ll want to match the maximum weight load of your weight bench to what you are currently – or aiming – to bench press.
The M2 Adjustable Weight Bench can handle up to 260kg (total capacity) and can be used for incline, flat and decline work.Lifting heavier? The commercial grade M3 Adjustable Weight Bench has a total capacity of 500kg
Deciding what types of exercises you want to use your bench for, as well as assessing what your weightlifting goals are, will help you decide on which weight bench is right for you.
You can read more about our weight benches in our buyer's guide.
When setting up a home gym, your Weight Bar is going to be one of the most important purchases that you make. Not only does it need to be able to handle the weight loads that you’re lifting, but you’re also going to be using it day-in, day-out. So, it’s really important that it can keep up with your training.
There are a whole range of specialist weight bars out there which can help you in a variety of ways. To get you started however, you’ll need a straight barbell. And if you’re planning on getting a power rack, you’ll need one of the following:
• A 7ft Olympic barbell
• A 6ft International barbell
• An M3 Women's 15kg Olympic Barbell
All of these bars are long enough to fit the bar rests on your power rack correctly and safely. The 7ft bar in particular has the standard sleeve length at the end as well, making them more suited to bumper plates and competition-style weights.
The 6ft International Bar is slightly lighter as the sleeve length is shorter. It fits fewer weights making it more suited to slimmer style plates such as tri grip weights. However, because the sleeves are shorter, it’s extremely handy for anyone who doesn’t have as much space available.
All our M3 standard, straight barbells can handle up to 680kg and have been designed for both weightlifting and powerlifting. So, as well as using them on the rack to bench press and squat with, you can also use them more freely for deadlifts as well as snatch and clean and jerk.
Ultimately, it’s really worth investing in a bar that will last.
Buying Weight Plates can make you feel a bit like a kid in a candy store – you need them all, right? And to be honest, because different weight plates have different uses as well as various benefits, there’s no harm in building up a collection. Doing this will ultimately give you more options when you work out too.
In terms of getting the right plate for your garage gym however, there are a few differences you need to be aware of first.
Standard Vs Olympic – this refers to the size of the holes going through the centre of the weight plate itself. Standard plates have a 1” diameter ring in the middle of them. Olympic weight plates have a 2” diameter. If you are buying a power rack and you have a 7ft bar, then automatically, you are going to need 2” Olympic weights.
Standard sized weight plates are designed for standard weight bars, which are slimmer and therefore lighter – more suitable for those who haven’t progressed to a full-sized bar yet.
Cast iron vs bumper – our 2" Cast Iron Trip Grip Olympic Weights make weight changes really smooth. They’re easy to grab hold of and because they’re slimmer, you can fit more onto the end of a bar, or onto your weight storage poles. Ideal for anyone who’s looking to get the 6ft International Bar or simply anyone who doesn’t have as much space available.
Tri Grip Weights are also really useful if you use your plates off the bar as well. Exercises such as Russian Twists using a weight plate are much easier when you can grab hold of the weight plate properly.
Bumper plates are specially designed to absorb impact. This means if you’re doing anything like deadlifts, you’ll want bumper plates as they will help to protect your bar and your floor. They’re also all have the same diameter all the way across, regardless of their weight. This makes it much easier when resting a loaded bar on the floor.
Competition Style Bumper Plates are colour coded which makes them easily identifiable. Those with the extra steel disc insert in the middle are even more durable and are ideal if you’re looking to drop your bar doing weightlifting moves.
Fractional Weight Plates – these are smaller weights which are generally used by those who have been lifting for a while. Often, people find that progression is quite quick when you first start out. Then, everything starts to even off and pushing past your one-rep max gets much harder. Fractional weight plates allow for gradual progression without loading too much on at once. Ideal for preventing injury as well as helping you reach your strength goals.
Setting up a garage gym is an investment. So it’s worth having some really good weight bar collars to help make sure weight changes are smooth.
QR collars or quick release collars are the easiest to use and have grips on the inside to help protect your bar.
The main thing you need to make sure here is that you get the right size for your bar. Olympic weight bars need a 2" Olympic QR Collar.
Storage isn’t just about making your garage gym look good, it’s about protecting all that equipment you’ve just invested in. Knocks, scrapes and scratches can have an effect on your training, reduce the longevity of your equipment and make everything look a bit worn.
There are lots of storage options for garage gyms. It just depends on what you’re storing.
Simple storage options include weight storage poles which slot into your power cage. M100 cages take a 50mm storage pole and the M200 power rack takes a 60mm weight storage pole.
Weight storage trees and racks are great for keeping hold of extra weight plates as you build out your collection.
Dumbbell Racks will obviously look after all your free-weights. You can keep them in size order too, which really helps you to maintain focus while training.
Wall Racks are ideal for saving on floor space. And finally, you can even create a bespoke storage system depending on what you’re looking to store.
Just make sure you check the weight limits of each storage option, to make sure it can handle what you’re stacking on top of it.
You’ll find this information in the specifications underneath each product on our site.
Building out your gym
Once you have the key elements, you can look to start building out your gym depending on your strength goals.