How to Build the Perfect Home Gym to Upgrade Your Fitness Routine

Ami Kucharek

Written by , Head of Communication on

home rowing gym

You have this big idea about creating your own home gym with whiteboards, flags, and screens on the walls, training vigorously while jamming to your favorite music. It’s clear how having a private gym that’s available 24/7 will boost your dedication to getting and staying fit. But once you think about it more concretely, a bunch of questions pop up like “Can I put my home gym upstairs?”, “What are home gym essentials?” and “Where to buy home gym equipment?”. Luckily, this EXR Blog post has all the info you need to plan, create, and train at your very own home gym.

Checklist: What to consider when creating your home gym

Working out from the comfort of your home in a dedicated gym space may be a dream of yours. But is it realistic? There are 3 main factors that make or break your home gym dreams. By going through this checklist, you make sure that you consider the main requirements of building the home gym of your dreams and getting the right pieces of equipment.

  • Decide on your exercises
    • Ask yourself what sports you’d like to do. Do you simply need a peaceful, small space to practice Yoga or do you wish to lift weights with a squat rack? Perhaps getting an all-around gym including cardio equipment suits your needs best.

  • Determine your budget
    • Check your finances and decide on a starting budget. Think about how much money you’d like to spend on the maintainance your gym and fitness app subscriptions.

  • Measure the available space
    • Measure the room you’d like to use as a home gym and consider storing space for workout gear and the actual height, length, and width of the room to move freely. If you’re working with limited space, small home gym equipment is more practical than big racks and machines. Don’t know what room is ideal? Read on to find the ideal space for your private gym!

Did you make up your mind and run the numbers? Then you’re ready for the next steps!

Man measuring and planning his home gym layout.

Building the perfect home gym requires thorough planning to ensure it’s worth the effort.


The best rooms for your home gym

Finding the ideal room for your home gym needs some consideration because a great home gym should not restrain your workout. Your gym should offer you the perfect conditions to focus on your fitness. In general, small spaces are less ideal for a home gym than big and open ones. Be careful when putting your fitness equipment outside since rain may damage its frame, chains, or computers. The best spaces provide proper ventilation, temperature isolation, or control. Plus, they are soundproof and spacious.

The best spaces for your home gym

  • Garage
  • Barn
  • Basement

While you may need to upgrade your WiFi to reach your home gym first, you have the long-term advantage of getting to leave your equipment as it is without having to spend much time rearranging furniture, for example. Make sure to add a dehumidifier to your home gym if your workout space is damp.

Good spaces for your home gym

  • Living room
  • Home office
  • Spare room

These spaces offer great internet connection and ideal storage conditions for your workout material. Equipment that’s easy to stow away like a foldable rowing machine for your home is great for limited space. However, you may need to be careful not to damage the floor or furniture. If you share your living space with others, discuss your training times with them to avoid noise disturbance.

Woman using weights to train in her living room.

The right training space motivates you to train more and harder.


Not the best space for your home gym

  • Garden
  • Attic
  • Porch

Outdoor locations may offer you lots of unused space and a great view, but bad weather may restrain you. Plus, you may need to spend lots of time rearranging your workout gear. When training in an attic, you may be restricted by limited overhead space.

4 Reasons why getting a home gym is a great idea

Once you found the ideal spot for your home gym, creating a dedicated workout space sounds like a no-brainer. But how do you get other family members like your spouse on board for this project? Here are 4 reasons that may help you convince your family to invest in a home gym.

Man training in his home gym.

Your home gym is open 24/7, every day of the year.


  1. Celebrate your freedom

  2. You make the rules at home. That’s why working out at your private gym always gives you the freedom to decide when you train and how you train. But there’s more: you get to turn up the music, decide when to open a window for fresh air, and if you put up mirrors. You’re in charge of creating your own happy place to boost your fitness and health.

  3. Save money and time

  4. Saving money and time may be one of the biggest advantages of having a home gym. Since gym memberships are reputable for being expensive and hard to get out of, a home gym is a relatively cheap long-term solution, especially if more than one person wants to use it. Additionally, you save time by avoiding traffic when driving to the gym and waiting for other gymgoers to free your next machine.

  5. Enjoy absolute privacy

  6. The best workout makes you let loose and get into the zone. You grunt from exhaustion, you’re drenched in stinky sweat and you make the weirdest faces… But it just feels so good! Compared to a regular gym, there are no strangers, content creators and on-lookers who may make you feel uncomfortable. Your home gym is your private workout sanctuary.

  7. Train in a hygienic environment

  8. Commerical gyms can be nasty. Although it’s gym etiquette to clean up after yourself and wipe down machines after usage, the actual hygiene standards at your regular gym may still make you shiver. That’s why a home gym is a more sanitary training environment: no filthy sweat prints on machines and no germs of sick gym goers trying to outsmart their flu.

Woman in sport clothes driving a car.

With a home gym, you spend less time in your car and more time working out.

4 Life Hacks to motivate yourself to train at your home gym

Having a home gym is one thing. Another one is using it. Training at your home gym may be fun the first few times, but how do you prevent slacking off? Don’t let your dedicated workout room go to waste by applying these 4 life hacks.

  1. Remove obstacles

  2. Every little inconvenience easily becomes an excuse to skip training or stop early. To feel comfortable and get into the zone in no time, erase any pain points before you get started. For example, add a water spender to your gym to avoid having to go to the kitchen to refill your water bottle, or download an adrenaline-pumping workout playlist beforehand to avoid wasting time looking for the perfect songs.

  3. Decorate your gym

  4. Your home gym is your personal workout space. So why not add style and character to it to make it feel more welcoming? You can put up motivational quotes and inspiring images or flags to create an energizing environment. Moreover, removing ugly appliances and installing proper lighting may make your gym feel less DIY and more professional.

  5. Track your activities

  6. In an age where everything is traceable, why not track your fitness progress? Following a workout plan and documenting if you stick to it, boosts your motivation and holds you accountable. Additionally, it helps you check at what point the investment into your home gym pays off.

  7. Train together

  8. At a public gym, it’s easy to join group sessions to make sure you attend regularly. This is called social accountability. To get the same commitment boost at home, invite your partner, neighbors, or friends to train together. Besides being able to help each other out with form checks and spotting, you get to deepen your relationship by spending some quality time together.

Woman in sports clothes streching with a man in workout gear at a home gym.

Train together to make slacking off your fitness routine less likely.

Where to find and buy home workout equipment

For some shopping is fun, for others it’s Pandora's box of decisions. For example, you need to consider buying brand-new fitness equipment or second-hand gear. Plus, there’s the question of whether you want equipment from a reputable brand which may be more expensive, or prefer cheaper alternatives from no-name brands.

Buying new fitness tools directly from a store

Putting together your workout equipment is fun, especially when you buy everything new. The satisfying feeling of unpacking brand-new gear almost beats the workout itself. Before going on a shopping spree, however, it’s best to test the machines at showrooms. Machines of big brands like Concept2 and Technogym may even be available at your local gym where you get the chance to test them extensively. When choosing a no-name brand, check out reviews to ensure you make a purchase that won’t disappoint you in the long run.

A couple looking at their tablet with a smile because they are online shopping.

Once you made up your mind about your shopping list, shopping for workout equipment is fun.


Buying second-hand gym equipment

An alternative to buying new gym equipment is buying second-hand. Depending on what’s available, the choice between reputable brands and no-name equipment may be made for you already. To find second-hand offers, try your luck and ask around if any of your friends or colleagues are upgrading their home gym since this means that they’re getting rid of old gear that you can take off their hands for a little money. Also closing gyms or fitness clubs that renew their inventory may sell their training tools. When negotiating about the price, keep in mind that you may need to spend extra money on restoring gear like making the machine work and look well again.

Be careful when buying from online sellers since scams are not uncommon. Warning signs are time pressure, upfront payments, and deals that are too good to be true.

Why adding a rowing machine to your home gym is a great idea

When looking at fitness forums like Reddit’s r/homegym, you’ll find that rowing machines are taking over home gyms worldwide. The demand for home rowing is increasing due to the rowers’ versatility. Similar to stationary bikes, rowing exercises at home are easy on your joints, but train all of your main muscles instead of just your legs.

Young woman rowing on her rowing machine in the living room while training with the virtual rowing app EXR.

Rowing machines are the trending fitness tool for home gyms in 2024.


Even if you're not planning to focus on cardio or rowing workouts at home, using a rowing machine for your warm-up and cool-down is perfect. It works your entire body, making it an ideal piece of equipment to get started with your training. Another reason why increasingly more fitness enthusiasts are indoor rowing is that it’s a highly accessible exercise. Everyone can use a rowing machine, no matter their strength, weight or age. Adaptive rowing with modified rowing machines even opens the sport to adaptive athletes of all abilities.

How to upgrade your rowing machine setup

No matter what rowing machine you decide to buy, there are always ways to upgrade and customize it. Think about making it easier to grab a drink, track your data, or make your workouts more comfortable. Many upgrades can often be found on the website of your rower’s manufacturer; others may be available on third-party fitness equipment websites or through specialized retailers.

  • Apps: Track your performance and make your workout more fun.
  • Device holder: tablet holder or smartphone holder for entertainment or rower apps.
  • Ergonomic handle: broad shoulders mean a broad grip and smaller hands may require a thinner handle.
  • Slides: make rowing indoors feel more like rowing on the water.
  • Water bottle holder: always have your water bottle within reach.
  • Heart Rate Monitor: monitor your performance with a heart rate monitor watch or chest strap.
  • Seat cushion: especially during long sessions a seat cushion helps against soreness.

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