My Home Gym, Cost Breakdown and Virtual Tour

February 7, 2012 — 12 Comments

For those who want to workout at home and are planning on setting up a home gym, I’ve written this blog post that will hopefully guide you in the right direction as far as equipment selection, and cost.

This is my home gym so far:

(Go here if you can't see the image above)

I decided to start with, what I believe are the essentials to any home gym.

When I used to train at a commercial gym, I would occupy the squat rack (or power rack) and perform most of my training there. The selection of exercise equipment I’ve invested in is based on what I have used on a regular basis at the gym, which really isn’t much.

To minimize cost, I try to buy the equipment used. But this isn’t always possible because I prefer to have items delivered rather than picking it up myself.

Gym Flooring (Used)

Horse Stall Mats

The last thing I want is the steel plates damaging the concrete floor after a heavy deadlift, so proper gym flooring is essential.

My original plan was to buy horse stall mats from the Tractor Supply Company (TSC). But it’s a bit of a hassle to go there, pickup 10 rubber mats that’s 4’x6’, weigh 100lbs each and 3/4” thick, put it in the car and transport it home.

Luckily I found an ad on Kijiji (a classified ads website similar to Craigslist) from someone who was selling about 30 stall mats.

Turns out that these mats were used at a Crossfit gym in Waterloo! At the time, Crossfit Waterloo just moved location and wanted to sell their old stall mats.

These gym mats are made from virgin rubber, 4’x6’, 1/2” thick and weights around 100lbs. It was listed for $35 each, but I struck a deal and purchased 10 for $300. Best part is, it was delivered! (And no tax!)

It’s awesome for weights, but when tried hitting the “Body Opponent Bag” while barefoot, the bottom of my foot was all black. I’ll need to get some proper mats designed for martial arts in the future if I don’t want to be scrubbing my feet for 10 minutes after kicking the bag.

Cost: $300 for 10 mats.

Amstaff TR023 Power Rack

AmStaff TR023

Next I needed a power rack or squat rack. I was debating about the Amstaff TR023 or a Rogue power rack, but in the end choose Amstaff.

It’s a solid rack with band attachments and monkey bars at a low price. Check out my review here.

Cost: $449.99

AmStaff TS015F Commercial Heavy-Duty Flat Bench

AmStaff Bench

Purchased this bench along with the power rack.

Cost: $98.99

Total cost for the power rack and bench with shipping: $732.55

800lbs Olympic Plates

Olympic Plates

540lbs York & CAP Olympic Plates

I managed to find some good deals on Kijiji, and this is the best deal I’ve encountered to date.

A lady wanted to get rid of twelve 45lbs Olympic plates. I’m not exactly sure why she even had so much weight in the first place. She wanted $50 to have them removed from her premises. AWESOME.

The only negative about this was I had to pick them up myself, and the plates were rusty (I have since refinished half of plates). But at 50 bucks, it was a deal I could not pass up.

Cost: $50

245lbs Bollinger Plates

I also found this on Kijiji. Not a killer deal, but the price was fair at $170 delivered. It also included an Olympic bar. The plates are:

  • 45lbs x 2
  • 35lbs x 2
  • 25lbs x 2
  • 10lbs x 2
  • 5lbs x 2
  • 2.5lbs x 2

The plates are marked “Bollinger”. I don’t think this company makes Olympic plates anymore. I’m not even sure it still exists.

Cost: $170

Weider 5lbs Olympic Plates (2)

I bought this from Sears.com. I wanted an extra pair of 5lbs plates so I can have all possible combination of weights.

Cost = $20

Rogue Fractional Plates

Purchased these from Rogue Fitness. Expensive, but very very useful. My review of the Rogue fractional plates here.

Cost: $75

Total Cost

  • 540lbs York and CAP plates = $50
  • 245lbs Bollinger = $170 *included a crappy Olympic bar
  • 10lbs Weider = $20 *including shipping, taxes and rounding up
  • 5lbs Rogue Fraction Plates = $75 *including shipping, taxes and rounding up
  • Total: 800lbs for $315

Ivanko COT-1.25 Olympic Pressure-Ring Training Collar

Ivanko COT-1.25 Olympic Pressure-Ring Training Collar

When I was living in Bangkok, Thailand and training at a gym there, the plates kept on sliding on the Olympic bar, even when I used spring collars. Purchased these collars from Amazon and haven’t that problem since.

Cost: $60 including shipping

B&R Bar

The B&R bar a solid bar that’s probably going to last me the rest of my life if I take care of it properly. Read my review of the B&R bar here.

Cost: $350 *included shipping & taxes.

Cap Barbell RK-1 Standard Plate Rack

I was thinking I could save some cash by having my weights on the floor. That thought lasted about a day, since I couldn’t stand seeing all the plates lying around.

I bought 2 of these because I wanted a weight tree on each side of the rack. It would make it convenient to load the bar on each side. I also need 2 because one weight tree wasn’t going to hold 800lbs of plates. Check my review here.

Cost: $110 *included taxes. Shipping was free.

Chalk

Chalk

1.5L bucket of “Teknik Chunky Yeti Chalk”. Purchased this from MEC. 1 tub cost $8. I’ll round this up to $10 with taxes.

Cost: $10

Ironmind Headstrap Fit for Hercules Neck Harness

Ironmind Headstrap Fit for Hercules Neck Harness

I got this while I was living in Bangkok. I wanted a neck harness that was durable, but lightweight. Most neck harnesses I’ve seen uses chains, but the one from Ironmind is made from nylon (I think) and supposedly can hold over a ton. Works for me!

Cost: $119.95 *including shipping

Ironmind De Rigueur Dipping Belt (Used)

Ironmind De Rigueur Dipping Belt

I also purchased this while I was living in Bangkok. There wasn’t a dip belt at my gym, so I scoured the interwebz to find a durable but lightweight dip belt. I found the this Ironmind dipping belt on eBay at a great price. There’s no metal chains, so it’s very light. Also, it’s made by Ironmind, who makes equipment for the World’s Strongest Man competitions.

Cost: $49 *including shipping

Fatgripz

Fatgripz

I’ve seen these advertised everywhere, so I decided to pick up a pair and see what’s all the fuss is about. They’re actually pretty good.

Total Cost: $40.26 *including taxes and shipping

B.O.B (Body Opponent Bag)

BOB

When I was planning my home gym, I knew I watched something to punch and kick. It was either a heavy bag, or a free standing bag. I got this off Kijiji. Right now it’s being used as a place to hang some of my gear.

To be honest, hitting a freestanding bag is not the same as hitting a properly hung heavy bag. Even when filled to the top with water, it still moves around when I kick it.

Cost: $200

Ikea Jerker Desk (Version 1)

I’m currently using this as a standing desk. I got this off Kijiji for $35 delivered.

Combined with a laptop and speakers, I use this area to:

  1. Keep a record of my workouts on my blog
    What I used to do is log my workouts in my iPod Touch. I would make a draft, and then upload it to my website. But now I can do everything straight from my laptop which eliminates the extra step uploading from the iPod.
  2. Play music during my workouts
    I hooked up an old pair of Monsoon MM-700 speakers and usually play the Trance or Goa-Psy Trance channel from di.fm
  3. Write
    I’m finding that having a separate computer and location to do specific work really helps with productivity.It also helps being surrounded by exercise equipment when writing about exercise as well.

Summary

So far, in total I’ve invested $2321.76 in my home gym.

You might think that’s a lot, but $2321.76 pays for a little over 3 years of a gym membership, assuming the monthly cost is $60 (not including the cost of transportation).

But since there’s 2 people using my home gym on a regular basis, $2321.76 will cover about 1 year and 7 months worth of a gym membership. I plan on lifting weights until I’m on my death bed, so the way I see it, $2321.76 for my current home gym is good investment.

If you’ve got the space and you TRAIN on a regular basis at a gym, I would seriously consider setting up a home gym. You don’t need to buy all the equipment at once, and you can find some pretty damn good deals on classified ads websites such as Kijiji or Craigslist.

Best part is, you don’t have to deal with any of the annoyances typically found in a commercial gym!

Subscribe!

* indicates required

John Phung

Posts Twitter Facebook

Ever since I started taking strength training seriously, I was bitten by the Iron Bug. Then it burrowed under my skin and laid eggs in my heart. Now those eggs are hatching and I... the feeling is indescribable.




Quick Stats
Height: 5'4"
Weight: 200 lb

Credentials


Oh yeah, I also have some pieces of paper that says:

  • -||| NSCA-CPT (which is short for "National Strength and Conditioning Association Certified Personal Trainer")
  • FMS Level 1 (Functional Movement Screen)
Programs
  • Texas Method: March 4, 2011 - April 28, 2013
  • Smolov Jr for Bench Press: June 4 - 22, 2012
  • Starting Strength: Nov 29, 2010 - March 4, 2011
  • Shreddy Brek

    As stupid as it sounds, I looked into the costs of setting up a home gym around last christmas. Just my gym being shut for 2 days annoyed me. Just over $2300 is peanuts considering the usage you’ll get out of all of this. I wish England had a Kijiji!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=516310673 Thom Wendelboe

    True story: I think you might live next to me.

    I saw this post on your home gym, and as someone with a home gym, I was intrigued. I noticed your basement and garage are strikingly similar to those found in my townhouse. I also bought my stall mats from Crossfit Waterloo.  

    My gym is in the garage. I built a platform and leveled it with cardboard. Not very sophisticated, but it works. I am too tall to lift overhead in the basement. I also like to skip in between sets sometimes, and that wasn’t happening down there. If you do live in the same townhouse complex (across from the mall), feel free to say hey. I am normally out walking my large white dog a few times a day. 

    • http://www.johnphung.com John Phung

      What a small world…I think you’re right! I do live across from the mall and I have seen someone walking a huge white dog every so often.

      And that’s a nice setup you have in the garage! (seen in your FB profile). Makes me want to expand my home gym into the garage.

      I’ll probably see you in the future, so I’ll definitely say hey :)

  • Jimmy

    I feel good, thats almost identical to my home gym equipment… One problem, don’t know what to do for dips.

  • http://twitter.com/rawtrainingsd Dustin Graham

    Awesome set up!  You really scored on some prices there!

  • http://www.smartguy.se/klader/jeans-byxor/byxor byxor

    Well, all I can say is that it is a worthy investment. 

  • Joanickb

    Hey John, thanks for sharing! I’m about to order the same equipment for my powerlifting garage. Wanted to know, how do you like the bench ?

    • http://www.johnphung.com John Phung

      Bench is good. Stable, 17″ height is perfect, no complaints really.

  • http://twitter.com/ctoller11 Clayton Toller

    Great post man.  Are you noticing any issues with going second-hand for some equipment (like the dip belt)?  Also, when you compare the cost to a regular gym it’s 3 years (or appx. 1.5 for 2 ppl) But compared to the CrossFit affiliate fees (usually 150/mo for 1 maybe 250 for 2) You’re WAYYYYY ahead with the home gym.  All you need is someone there working with you to push you a bit and your’e gold.

    • http://www.johnphung.com John Phung

      The dip belt has been working fine. When it arrived it didn’t even looked used.

      The used flooring is holding up. A little dirty when I got them, but that’s fine.

      I had a used Olympic barbell that came with a bunch of plates, but that bar was crap. It wasn’t even proper length (couldn’t fit inside my rack) and was rusty. Decided to replace it with the B&R bar from Rogue.

      The used Olympic plates are somewhat of an issue. First, I have 3 different brands of plates. The diameters of each brand (for the 45lbs plate) are different.

      And I remember weighing the York plates and the Cap plates, and they were not 45lbs. I believe the York was 45.5lbs, but the Cap plates were 46lbs. I’m not sure the actual weight of the 3rd brand is. I’ll need to get a scale and weigh all the plates again.

      And you’re right about being ahead with the home gym!

  • http://ifconfig.blogspot.com Fred Woodbridge

    Reminds me of something I just read: buy once, buy right.

    • http://www.johnphung.com John Phung

      Wise words to live by :)