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23 Small Garage Gym Ideas To Make Your Gym Great

Updated January 10th, 2024

Having a small garage gym can make it so much easier to work out. It is a great time saver and can save you money too. No more paying gym membership and wasting time driving to the gym. Here are some small garage gym ideas to help you get started and to make the most of your home workout.

Small Garage Gym Ideas

1 – Save time working out in your garage whenever you want.

Your garage gym is at your home so you can workout any time you want. It’s open and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There is never a line for any equipment. You don’t need to drive, take a bus or Uber to your gym. You can spend the time you want commutting working out. Now you can spend that 30 minute break during work, working out instead of sitting around. A garage gym saves you time and eliminates many excuses you had for not working out because of time.

2 – Save money by skipping the gym membership fees

A commercial gym membership can run anywhere from $20 a month to well over $100 a month. Over time your garage gym will become cheaper than paying for a gym membership. Add in the cost of gas to get back and forth to the gym and your savings become ever greater. If you can share the cost of your garage gym with your friend or neighbor you can both save even more money.

3 – Avoid touching nasty germ infested gym equipment from a commercial gym

The cleanliness of gym equipment at a commercial gym is questionable at best. For many of us, the gym down the street had to shut down for months because of COVID19 this past year. Having a garage gym lets you avoid touching nasty disgusting gym equipment. It’s your gym at your home, you are the one responsible for cleaning it. You are also the only one touching it so you don’t need to worry about getting someone else’s germs even if you don’t. If you want a nice, clean environment to work out in free of other people’s mess, a garage gym is a perfect answer.

4 – Store gym equipment on the wall or ceiling so you can still fit your car in the garage

There are so many ways to get creative with storing gym equipment in your garage. You can hang weights and bars from the wall. You can get a wall mounted squat rack. You can hang things from the ceiling. You can have a fully stocked garage gym and still park your car in the garage if you need too. You may not be able to have a full size power rack and park a car in a single car garage. With some creativity there is a lot you can do with even the smallest amount of floor space.

Consider smaller options if your short on garage space. We all would like to fill a 3 car garage ful of garage gym equipment but we all don’t have that luxury. Use a jump rope over a cardio machine or resistance bands instead of dumbbell weights. You can get a great cardio exercuse from a kettlebell circuit or going for a run too. Get adjustable dumbbells instead of a full set of dumbbells. Use a folding weight bench that can be stored in a small space.

If you are storing heavy weight objects on the wall such as weight plates or barbells, use racks designed for that much weight. The last thing you want is a 50 lb barbell falling on you or your car.

gym equipment storage on walls

5 – Put flooring down before buying a lot of big heavy equipment

If you are going to create the ultimate small gym in your garage, think about putting down flooring first. You will want to use some heavy rubber flooring to keep from damaging the floor. It’s much more comfortable to walk around on rubber flooring than a cold concrete garage floor in the winter.

A horse stall mat makes great home gym flooring and they aren’t too expensive. They are a much better option than almost any other rubber tiles you can buy. Go pick up a bunch at Tractor Supply Co and put them down in your garage before you start buying anything big and heavy. If you don’t you’ll end up moving all your gym equipment later on to install flooring. Get started right. Put down flooring first.

6 – Your squat rack is your own personal erector set.

Buy a squat rack with lots of holes and places to attach accessories. Your squat rack is the foundation of your workout equipment and can also be your pull up bar, your garage work bench, your drying stand or your bike rack. The more holes and attachment points the better.

Your squat rack will likely be the biggest piece of equipment you put in your garage gym. It can also be the most versatile. You can use it to hang gymnastic rings for body weight exercises. You can attach TRX bands to it also. When your not working out you can turn it into a workbench. There are many plans out there for building a work bench surface that can sit on top of your squat rack supports.

7 – It’s your gym. You can have whatever you want

Your the garage gym owner and manager. You can go buy whatever weird piece of exercise equipment you want to try. You can have as many barbell bars as you can fit on your wall and ceiling. You can have as many bumper plates as you want. You can try whatever weird exercise machine you saw on TV. You want that thigh master or shake weight, go to it. You want a CrossFit garage gym, make it that. Whatever home gym idea you have in your head, go for it.

A squat stand or power rack, barbell, and dumbbells are the foundations of many garage gyms. Don’t let that limit you. Many people prefer crossfit equipment over traditional weights. See our article on garage gym essentials for some ideas on what to buy to get started.

small garage gym ideas

8 – Save money buying used equipment. Buy low and sell high to upgrade for free

Many people make garage or home gyms because they think it is a good idea and then never use it. They buy equipment, use it a few times and then it sits. Because of this, there is always lots of used gym equipement out there. If you are good at negotiating, you might be able to get some killer deals. If you are good selling, you might be able to turn around and sell it for more than you paid for.

If you are a smart shopper you can buy gym equipment, use it for a little bit and then flip it to get something better. It is possible to end up with a very high end home gym this way for a fraction of the cost of buying all new equipment.

9 – Be safe. Buy equipment that doesn’t need a spotter to safely use

You are setting up a garage gym to avoid people at the commercial gym. When you buy equipment, do it with the mindset that you won’t have anyone there to spot you. Get a power rack to use for spotting instead of a squat rack or squat stand. Get a barbell rack with lots of pegs so you can save yourself on that bench press you couldn’t quite finish. You don’t want to end your workout with an injury. Even worse, you don’t want a serious injury when there is no one there to help.

10 – You can use body weight and gymnastic rings instead of dumbbells for many exercises

Storing a lot of barbells of different sizes can take up a lot of space. There are a ton of bodyweight exercises you can do that are just as effective. If you’re short on gym space, hang up a pair of gymnastic rings or TRX bands instead of getting a set of barbells. Use bodyweight resistance exercises to train and strengthen your core. Gymnastic rings can be one of the most effective pieces of equipment you can buy. They are also one of the cheapest too. Some items such as a foam roller, medicine ball, or yoga mat take up very little space in your fitness room but can be very effective.

The below video shows some good beginner strength training exercises you can do with gymnastic rings.

11 – You can watch your kids while working out

You can set up a play area in your garage for your kids so you can watch them while working out. This will save you money on daycare or babysitters. You don’t have to wait until the kids go to sleep to work out. If they are old enough, let them work out too. This will teach them the lifelong habits and benefits of exercise.

12 – You can workout with your significant other without other people staring at them

You can work out in your home gym with your wife, girlfriend, husband, or life partner. Let’s face it. People aren’t always at their best behavior at the public gym. Your spouse or partner may hate working out because they feel self conscious. They may hate being checked out or stared at, at the gym. A garage gym gives them a nice private place to work out with you, without dealing with any creepers.

13 – Add lighting and mirrors to make it feel like a real gym

Add lighting, mirrors and decorations to make your garage gym feel like the gym you want it to be. Add whatever motivational posters or signs you want. If you like a dark gym, don’t go crazy with the lights. If you like a really bright feel, add a lot of lighting. You can paint the walls and ceilings to match also. One of the true advantages of a home gym is you can create the workout space exactly how you want it.

14 – Where whatever you want while working out

It’s your garage gym so you can wear whatever you want while working out. You can even workout naked if you want to. I wouldn’t recommend working out naked with the garage door open. That might get you some unwanted attention from the neighbors and local police. Feel free to wear whatever out of style workout clothes you have. No one will judge you (except for you) for doing a couple sets in your work clothes, a dinner dress, your undies or pajamas.

15 – Listen to whatever music you want to

It’s your garage gym so you can listen to whatever music you want to help with your workouts. If Barry Manilow is what does it for you while doing squats, then by all means, blast it out. No one is there but you to make fun of your really questionable workout music choice.

16 – You can grunt as loud as you want and do whatever weird looking thing you want

If you have spent any time in the weight training area of a gym, you have encountered excessive grunting guy. This guy wants to make sure everyone within a 1 mile radius knows that he is lifting. When you are working out in your garage, you can grunt as loud as you want. Go over the top with every lift. No one will hear you or be annoyed by it. No one will hit the Planet Fitness lunkhead alarm while you’re maxing it out in your garage.

17 – Working out in extreme hot and cold builds discipline

Your garage gym may or may not be heated and cooled. If it’s not and you live in a place with hot summers and cold winters, you will need to learn to workout in the hot and cold. Working in extreme hot and cold gives your body extra stresses. It gives you excuses to not workout. Learning to exercise in hot and cold can build discipline.

If you just can’t take how hot or cold it is during your workout, consider heating or cooling your garage. See our articles on making your garage warmer and making your garage cooler to learn more. Installing a few fans in your workout area can really help with excessive heat, humidity, and odor too.

18 – Put a fridge in your gym for drinks and snacks

A garage fridge can be a great place to keep shakes and smoothies cold. Before your workout, mix up your favorite smoothis or protein shake and keep it in your fridge. It’s cold and ready for you when your workout is done.

All refrigerators are not meant to work in a garage. See our article on garage refrigerator tips to learn more.

19 – Avoid the dreaded New Years Resolution rush in January and February every year.

Every year thousands of new people rush into the gym right after New Years Day. Most of them have no idea about gym etiquette or how to use or clean equipment. January can be a month of frustration of waiting to use equipment that will be dirty or broken. You can avoid all that by building a garage gym.

20 – Share your garage gym with friends and neighbors

Some times you want to be a total introvery with your workouts. Every now and then most people want to be social. You can share your garage gym with your friends or neighbors when you don’t feel like working out alone. If you get along really well with someone you can even consider partnering on costs of gym equipment.

21 – Get a TV for watching workout videos and inspirational movies and shows

Put a TV on the wall in your gym to watch workout videos or inspirational films. Nothing gets you more pumped than watching Rocky Balboa run up the stairs. YouTube is full of Yoga Classes and other workout videos when you want to try something new in your gym.

22 – Put up a chalkboard or whiteboard for tracking your progress

You can put up a whiteboard or chalkboard to track your workout progress. Write down your workout schedule for the week so it’s always there to see. Having a plan and having goals that you can track is key to achieving success with working out. You can’t achieve something if you don’t set a target to measure your achievement. See the below video for some tips on setting fitness goals.

23 – A leaf blower and Simple Green are your 2 best friends when it comes to cleaning your garage gym

You are the gym owner and manager of your garage gym. You don’t want a smelly nasty disgusting gym to workout in. 2 of the best tools you can use to keep your garage gym clean are a leaf blower and Simple Green All Purpose Cleaner. A leaf blower can get rid of all the dust, leaves, and debris that find their way into your garage. Give all your equipment a once over with the leaf blower to keep them dust and dirt free.

Simple Green is a great cleaner for wiping down your gym after using it. It also works well for cleaning almost anything else in your garage too. Keep a spray bottle handy in your garage for all your cleaning needs.

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About the author

My name is Doug Ryan. I am a homeowner and love having get togethers and finding the best things to make spending time at home easier and more fun. We spend a lot of time at home so why shouldn’t we have a great time there?  I decided to start Great Home Gear as a way to share my knowledge and enthusiasm for all things home living with everyone.