What Is The Best Home Gym And Garage Gym Equipment

Best equipment for a home gym set up


Garage Gym

Work Out Equipment

What you need for a home garage gym set up to lose weight and build lean muscle.

You’ll be happy to know that you don’t need a lot of equipment to get a good workout. That makes a garage gym set up easy and budget friendly.

Before we get into the details of setting up your gym, know this… there’s a difference between a garage gym and a home gym.

With a garage gym the set up is geared more towards old school training. The goal is to keep things simple and effective. A home gym on the other hand, it’s more state of the art. It has more machines and a couple of dumbbells.

Here is a picture of how I see the two gym set ups…

garage gym or home gym

As you can see the garage gym is based around a lifting platform with a squat rack and barbell. On the other hand the home gym is based on different machines.

This isn’t always the case. You can mix and match styles. But as a rule of thumb, a garage gym is more free weight based.

If you are looking to set up a home gym many of these pieces of equipment won’t apply. But if you’re

looking to set up the best garage gym here is what you’ll need to start.

Garage Gym Basics

A garage gym is a the perfect place to build muscle and burn fat with high intensity workouts. The equipment listed will include everything you need for practically every training program and work out routine

  • strong man training
  • CrossFit
  • Olympic lifting
  • good old fashion hard work

Remember Rocky!

I think it was in Rocky IV when they did their training camp in the middle of Russia. Now that was a garage gym!

Rocky IV Training Montage

Even though Rocky was training in the middel of nowhere he was still able to get in great workouts. Good enough to beat the big Russian.

And he did it all without fancy equipment.

Rocky and his crew kept the exercises basic. Remember him doing shoulder press with the horse cart. It was basic, yet an effective shoulder and core workout.

Even though it was just a movie I don’t think you can beat basic movements when it comes to building muscle and burning fat.

What this means for you and your home gym.

You don’t need a lot of equipment. You don’t need any machines either. You just don’t need anything fancy. Basic works. Starting with very little you will be abel to put together a killer garage gym and get a great workouts.

garage gym training equipment neededI’m not saying you have to go old school like Rocky did, but you can get going with just a few items, and stay within any budget.

I’m not a big fan of CrossFit so I say this with a tear in my eye.  This cult does a great garage gym set up.

For those Crossfitters that don’t go to an affiliate gym for their workouts they’re heading to the garage to workout from home. And they have some killer set ups in their garage gyms.

The official boxes have even better set ups. With a little more money, larger spaces, and more people coming through the doors they’re forced to keep things simple and efficient. They’re able to get in lots of different workouts with little equipment.

It hurts to say that but, it’s true.

Below you will find a simple list of equipment so you can set up your own garage gym and workout from home.

I have to mention this again. The equipment listed here is meant for a garage gym and workout routines suited to specific goals.

Traditional Home Gym

Looking for a more traditional home gym equipment list?

There are only a few items you’ll want from the list below…

  • some dumbbells
  • a bench
  • suspension straps

Don’t waste your money on a treadmill. If you can’t get outside, get a rower instead.

Garage Gym set up

For a visual I have included a great video of a guy taking you on a tour of his garage gym. He has a great set up worth modeling. You will see what equipment he uses and how to set up your space.


Best Exercise Equipment For Garage Gym

Garage Gym Basics

To get up and running you can get away with 3 things.  That’s it. Just these first 3 items and you can get a killer full body workout.


1. Olympic Barbells

First, most important, and the most expensive item on your list is the barbell.  You’re going to need is a good quality bar. Even though the most expensive, this will last you a lifetime if taken care of. The majority of your training is based on this one piece of equipment so make sure it is a quality piece. If money is tight you could just buy a bar and do all your training with it. Strongman stuff and other equipment can come down the road as your budget allows.

It doesn’t matter your goal. You may be looking to get strong, build muscle, burn fat, or a combination of all three, strength training is the way to go and a good bar is the starting point.

There are plenty of barbel workouts that are very effective at training the entire body, so you’ll never have to worry about missing muscle groups.

Pendlay Olympic Bars

Be sure to look for a good quality Olympic bar. This will run you a few more dollars but well worth the investment.  A well made bar will last a lifetime.  It won’t bend or warp.  And is made to dropped with bumper plates. If you get a cheap bar you’ll find that it won’t spin, warps easily, doesn’t last, and just doesn’t feel good in your hands.


When it comes to selecting an Olympic bar you have two choices.

  1. training bar
  2. competition bar

Save your money and go with the training barbell.  It will do everything you need without the extra money. For your money Pendlay Olympic Bars may be the best deal on the market. There are other companies out there too so your not limited to one brand.


2.Weight Plates

Now that you have a bar it’s time to add some weight. Your best option is to find a few bumper plates.  If you haven’t seen these before they are the big fat rubber weights used by Olympic lifters.

You’ll want bumper plates because they are safe to drop and throw around, and they will not be as loud as your typical iron plates.  Plus the bumper plates are much more floor friendly. If you’ve ever dropped an iron plate, I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.

It’s hard to say how much weight you will need. The stronger you are the more you’ll need. You’ll also have to link about how many different people and how many different exercises are going on at one time. For most the maximum f weight is needed for deadlifts.

Iron plates are less expensive so you can get a mix of both. 300lbs or 135Kg is a good place to start.  Here is what I recommend:

  • 4 – 45lbs (20Kg) bumper plates
  • 4 – 25lbs (10Kg)bumper plates
  • 4 – 10lbs (5Kg) iron plates
  • 2 – 5lbs (2.5Kg) iron plates
  • 2 – 2.5lbs (1.25Kg) iron plates
  • 1 set of Rubber Fractional Weight Plates

Don’t waste your money on 35lbs (15KG) plates. If you get a great deal on some go ahead and pick them up. Otherwise don’t bother. It may be a bit light for your deadlifts. If that is the case, do clean pulls until you get more weight. Or you can add mini bands to the bar.

With the bar and that list gives you about 265 pounds of weight.  If you need more weight buy 2 more 45 pound bumpers.  That will put you over 350.


3. Flooring

The last item on your essential garage gym equipment list is the flooring.
You don’t need anything fancy. You don’t even need to go with the regular gym flooring. What I use in my training studio is, horse stall mats, and plywood.  You’ll find these things nearly indestructible. You’ll curse their toughness if you have to make any cuts, but you’ll love the price and piece of mind knowing that they will last forever even under the most difficult situations.

If you want to get fancy, build yourself an Olympic platform with the mats and plywood. This isn’t necessary, but it looks good. I built a few lifting platforms. All I did for that was stain a few pieces of plywood and fit it between the mats.

CAP Barbell makes an interlocking puzzle mat. It isn’t a durable. But it looks better and is easier to work with. And it’s cheaper.


In the beginning that’s all the equipment needed. With the bar, flooring, and bumper plates you can do everything you need.  This set up can work forever if need be. But if you want more variation and and have extra money to invest there are a few other items you may want to consider.

But, 3 items and you officially have yourself a home gym. You can now get an excellent workout in from home with these 3 pieces of equipment, throw in some bodyweight exercises and you will have enough variety to burn that belly fat, build muscle, and keep you motivated.

If you’re looking for some ideas you may want to check out the the bar complexes…

full body barbell workouts


A workout room wouldn’t be complete without music. Your sound system doesn’t have to be crazy. In the worst case you can take your mp3 player and plug it into a dock.  Or you may prefer more volume and base. In that case pick up a cheap boombox. Something from a garage sale or flea market will be perfect. But for those of you who are into electronics like myself, you’ll want to use a small receiver, subwoofer, computer or iPod  and blast the best workout music.

Garage Gym Additions

You can do this next phase right away, or do it in pieces. But at some point you will want to add these items…

Squat Rack – Give the front squats a break. The rack may be the first piece of equipment you will want to pick up when you get the money. A power rack is your best choice but a half rack will do, and to save money you can always go with squat stands.

Pull Up Bars – If you didn’t get a power rack with pull up bars, time to install a set. Pipe is all you need.

Adjustable Bench – Go with an adjustable bench, no need to get an adjustable and flat bench. Simply roll it in and out of the power rack to do bench press, incline bench, set it up for inverted rows, seated shoulder press, etc…

Prowler – This piece of equipment will be used for cardio and strength training, get yourself a Power Sled and start pushing.

Dumbbells – your best bet is to go with Power Blocks. They don’t take up much room, actually next to none. Plus it’ll be cheaper in the long run.

Suspension Straps or Rings – Go with the Lifeline Jungle Gym XT because they have more versatility and I think versatility is important when putting together a home work out area.

Extras for your Garage Gym

I just put down what I thought would be other items that would add to your workouts.  The list isn’t in any order so feel free to pick what works best for you.

Garage Gym Cardio Machine

Forget the elliptical trainers and tread mills, because they are a waste of your time and money. If you do want to some more traditional cardio go with a rowing machines. For all your other cardio go with:


Any questions or comments? I’m all ears. Click the link below to voice your opinion…

Q&A For A Garage Gy Set Up


If you are handy or on a budget there are plenty of things you can make that work just fine, some even better than the real thing.  Check out… Home Gym Equipment MacGyver Style


As you can see you don’t need much to workout from home.  Pick up all this work out equipment and you’ll have a killer garage gym.

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