Early in 2016, I realized I was spending a lot of time commuting to and from the gym, and the commute time only got longer when I moved to Virginia in July. While I love the gym I go to, and the atmosphere it provides, I can’t help sometimes but think I’m wasting so much of time time going to the gym just to do a light 5×5 prescribed workout. So I got to thinking, what if I bought myself a home gym?
Now being the frugal guy I am, I wanted to buy everything I needed to do the big 3, while not having to break the bank to do so. Herein, I set out to buy myself a cheap home gym for under $1000, and I am now sharing with you how to do so.
Rack: Titan T-2 Series Power Rack: $299 + free shipping
Designed to hold up to 700lbs (more than what I need so far), this squat rack is sturdy, yet compact enough to not take up more space than necessary. Given that I am rather short in stature, I actually opted to buy the Titan T-2 Series Short Power Rack, which sells for a bargain $269. And even better, I happened to buy this rack when Titan was holding a 10% off sale on their racks, AND I used a 10% off coupon, so in reality I ended up paying less than $210 for this rack. What a steal!
Flooring: Horse Stall Mat: $39.99
Stall mats make great gym floors, as they are thick and grippy, and are extremely cheap. I picked my up from a local farm supply store, but these are also sold at Tractor Supply stores everywhere.
Barbell: Rogue 29mm Boneyard Bar: $195 + shipping
These are the slightly blemished, but otherwise high quality barbells made and sold by Rogue Fitness. This company is slowly taking over the fitness world by selling quality equipment at decent prices. While the “pristine” barbells can be bought for about $250-$275, we’re all about saving money here, aren’t we?
The Ohio Power Bar is ideal for powerlifting, as just recently the IPF has approved their bars and the Rogue Calibrated kilo plates! That’s right, these are the bars you’ll actually be potentially using if you compete in the USAPL!
Bench: Adidas Performance Flat Training Bench: $79.99
This bench is sturdy, supportive, decently comfortable, and best of all, decently priced! Rated for 600lbs, and tested for 1000lbs (not sure how that works, ha), this bench has no problem at all supporting all of my bodyweight, plus my 405lb bench press.
Bar Clamps: Ritfit Clamps: $12.99
Don’t think too hard about these. You just need something cheap and durable to keep the iron on the bar once its there. I bought these about 6 months ago, and they haven’t failed me yet. Not going to prevent the plates from sliding off if you tilt it 90 degrees, but it does a great job otherwise.
Iron: The Big Variable: $-$$$
This is where you’ll need to do your due diligence and have a little bit of patience. By scouting craigslist, asking neighbors, or having great friends, iron weights can range in price anywhere from free to $1.00+ per pound. The longer you can search, though, the better luck you’ll have in finding great deals. Just be sure you’re getting the 2″ Olympic plates that fit with the barbell you bought!
Not the most patient? These new plates from Walmart and Amazon both sell for $30.99 for each 45lb plate, and have free shipping, so a full set of 10 plates will set you back about $310 dollars. You can also buy 300lb sets of weight that include 2 plates each of 45lbs, 35lbs, 25lbs, 10lbs, 5lbs, and 2.5lbs. These typically sell for less than $300, but the bar is crap, so throw that away immediately, or keep it for auxiliary lifts like rows and rack pulls.
Using the above to guide you, you’ll find it pretty easy to spend less than $1000 on your home gym. To give you an idea of actual costs, I bought everything above, with 560lbs of iron, for… $758. I really found some great deals on purchasing plates, plus was able to snag some for free from neighbors that no longer had any use for them other than collecting dust.
Is the above gym perfect? Nope. I still use my gym membership to deadlift and squat heavy, as they have special equipment and deadlift platforms. If you’re planning to deadlift at home, like I plan to eventually, I’d recommend building yourself a deadlift platform similar to one in this video. In total this will cost you another $100, but well worth it to prevent damage to your floor.
It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to buy two rubber stall mats, which will cost you $80 instead of $40. I personally don’t need it, but I’d understand those who wish to have a little bit more space in their home gym.
And that’s it! Good luck in your quest to build your own frugal home gym, and may many more PR’s come your way!