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How to Build a Basement Gym on A Budget

by Matt Weik

To be completely honest, there’s nothing better than creating your own home gym or basement gym. I’ve had conversations with followers of my work, personal training clients I work with, podcast listeners, and people on social media about my personal home setup and basement gym. I explain to them how I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Don’t get me wrong, I love fitness centers and gyms due to the variety of equipment that is available as well as the amenities. However, there’s nothing like not having to leave your house and being able to fit in a workout regardless of your schedule, right in the privacy of your own home with your very own basement gym. Combine your basement gym with a solid nutrition and supplementation plan, and you’re good to go!

In this article, we will discuss some options on how to build a basement gym on a budget. You don’t need a ton of cash to have everything required to get in a great workout. My personal basement gym is a little insane, as I’ve dropped close to $50k into it, but it’s also part of my business and how I make income. So, let’s discuss how you can have everything you need right at home and build your basement gym without taking up too much space or breaking the bank.

Build Your Foundation

No, I’m not talking about pouring a new foundation for your home. I’m talking about purchasing key pieces that you can easily build off of down the road if you so wish. Many people think that building a basement gym will force them to go into debt—it won’t if you know what you need and can find the right deals.

For starters, I like to save money. It might not seem like it based on my own basement gym’s cost, but I would have paid even more money had I not looked for sales and promotions. You could very easily look at the classified ads in the newspaper, scroll through Craigslist or eBay, or simply buy direct from a manufacturer or retailer. If you’re tight on money, try to find something used. You can generally save yourself over 50% of what the piece was initially purchased for.

Power Rack

There are a few key foundational pieces that you need first and foremost to build off of when creating your basement gym. The first piece you should invest in would be a power rack. This piece generally comes with a pull-up bar on it and attachments where you can perform dips. The one that I have and personally love is the Powertec Fitness Work Bench Power Rack1. It is built like a tank and has held up to years of heavy use.

Weight Plates

The next piece you are going to need to invest in would be a 300-pound Olympic weight set. Cap Barbell makes a quality set that includes the weight plates and barbell2. Included with the barbell are:

• (2) 45-pound plates
• (2) 35-pound plates
• (2) 25-pound plates
• (2) 10-pound plates
• (4) 5-pound plates
• (2) 2.5-pound plates

With the two pieces of equipment mentioned above, you can easily and safely complete exercises for every muscle group right in your home. Both of these combined will set you back around $1,000. Yet, in the end, you’ll have a basement gym that will more than likely outlive you and can be passed down or resold.

Add-On Equipment

Some people might have read the above and wondered where the adjustable weight bench is. Well, it’s definitely a piece that would add more variety to your basement gym, but it’s not really a necessity. If you had the money lying around, I’d highly recommend you purchase one. I like things that are multi-purpose, and the Body Solid Bench3 fits the bill. You can make nine different angle adjustments from decline all the way to an incline. It’s heavy-duty and holds up to 1,000 pounds. In addition, it has a leg attachment on the end of the bench to allow for seated leg extensions as well as lying leg curls.

The nice thing about the bench is that when it isn’t in use, you can slide it into the rack to keep it out of the way and take up less space. In addition, you could also add some adjustable dumbbells to your home gym. This would add more exercise variety to your basement gym while keeping the footprint small to not take over your entire basement. A pair that I have personally used in hotels that I found extremely useful and of high quality would be the Bowflex SelectTech 552 dumbbells4. This pair goes up to 52.5 pounds (each) and adjusts in 2.5-pound increments up to the first 25 pounds. You can set the dumbbells on the floor, or if you wished you could purchase the Bowflex Dumbbell Stand5 to go with it.

What About Cardio?

Sure, you could invest in something like a Schwinn Recumbent Bike6 or a NordicTrack Treadmill7, but it’s not a necessity. You can do so many things for cardiovascular exercise that I don’t feel like it should be on your radar if you don’t have the funds or space. We want to keep this basement gym on a budget—some people’s budget might be larger than others, and that’s ok. But, you can easily walk or jog around your neighborhood for cardio. You could walk the stairs in your home as well. In addition, to get your heart rate up, you could do burpees, mountain climbers, jumping jacks, jog in place, shadow box, or any other cardio form that doesn’t involve a lot of space or equipment.

As you can see, it’s not that difficult to build your own basement gym. If you can save up some money, you wouldn’t even need to pay for a gym membership at all and can save all of that money spent on a gym membership. You’d also save on the time it takes to drive to the gym and the expense of gas. There are no lines of people waiting for equipment in your basement gym. There are no creepers or those who forgot deodorant (unless that person is you) and are stinking up the place. And you can exercise in the privacy of your own home if you are someone who’s self-conscious about their appearance or exercise abilities. There are way more positives than negatives associated with building a basement gym on a budget.

Reference list:
1. Powertec Fitness Work Bench Power Rack
2. Cap 300-Pound Weight Set
3. Body Solid Weight Bench
4. Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells
5. Bowflex Dumbbell Stand
6. Schwinn Recumbent Bike
7. NordicTrack Treadmill

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