How to create your own home gym

Home gyms come in all shapes and sizes. Picture: PA Photo/WeMakeGyms

Home gyms come in all shapes and sizes. Picture: PA Photo/WeMakeGyms - Credit: Press Association Images

As home exercise booms because of COVID restrictions, Lisa Salmon asked a fitness expert what you can do to make a useful workout area in your home.

Do you have a loft space that's ripe for conversion? Picture: PA Photo/WeMakeGyms

Do you have a loft space that's ripe for conversion? Picture: PA Photo/WeMakeGyms - Credit: Press Association Images

Home gyms have boomed since the pandemic struck - and not just among the wealthy.

Mark Reynolds, founder of WeMakeGyms (wemakegyms.com), says a home gym can be as elaborate or simple as you like, balanced out by savings on family gym memberships or fitness classes over subsequent years. “It can all quickly add up,” he points out, “so the appeal of an at-home gym becomes ever more prevalent.”

Your own exercise space can cost from a few pounds for a gym mat to £30,000-plus for a converted room or garage with all mod cons, he adds. “At home, you determine when you work out, and that can take place at any time of the day or night. A new normal is being created, and what people are starting to see is the pure flexibility and long-term cost-effectiveness of an at-home gym.”

These are Mark’s four ways to create a home gym:


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1. Use a room corner

“You don’t need a lot of room to lay down a yoga mat, which could be the foundation of your workout space, where you can stretch and do core exercises, Pilates or yoga,” says Mark.

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More vigorous workouts like Hiit (high intensity interval training) may sometimes warrant a little more space, although most exercises can be done on the spot – even jogging. A solid floor to jump around on is useful, although not essential (your carpet, however, may not benefit from repeated jogging on the spot).

Mark Reynolds, founder of WeMakeGyms. Picture: PA Photo/WeMakeGyms

Mark Reynolds, founder of WeMakeGyms. Picture: PA Photo/WeMakeGyms - Credit: Press Association Images

A skipping rope and resistance bands are great basic (and cheap) exercise tools if you don’t have the space or cash for an exercise machine. In addition, adjustable dumbbells, or a small set on a vertical rack, only require minimal storage.

2. Use a dedicated area

If you have the space to dedicate to a workout area within a larger room, a sliding door will take up less space than a swing door. You could also use a portable screen or even curtains to divide the space, Mark suggests.

To keep workout gear organised, hang some shelves or get a small storage unit. It can sometimes be a problem to store bulky weights, says Mark, but careful design can solve this issue.

If the space is permanent, you may want to change the flooring – consider temporary interlocking rubber mats, or something more durable and permanent, such as rubber flooring in tiles or rolls, which will provide physical and audible cushioning for your workout, and prevent slipperiness from sweat and/or fast movement.

Keep your form in check by making a mirror wall part of your design scheme – it can brighten up the space, and make it feel much larger, says Mark. Another option is to hang a punchbag from the ceiling – it can always be unhooked and removed to make more space. Alternatively, buy a floor-standing punchbag.

A basic custom-designed set-up including one cardio machine, dumbbells, an adjustable bench and flooring will cost around £2,500-£5,000, says Mark.

Home workout space has become increasingly popular since March, with gyms being forced into periods of closure. Picture...

Home workout space has become increasingly popular since March, with gyms being forced into periods of closure. Picture: PA Photo/WeMakeGyms - Credit: Press Association Images

3. Create a fitness wall

Wall workouts are popular, especially for tight spaces, because they don’t require bulky equipment. Fitness walls combine tools for strength training, such as resistance bands, body straps, pull-up bars and even foldable squat racks with an integrated adjustable bench. A fitness wall can be as elaborate or simple as you like, explains Mark, and can incorporate hooks or bars to attach resistance bands or other suspension training apparatus to, as well as built-in equipment like cable and/or battle rope pulleys. A fitness wall can also support an angled sit-up bench, or beams that can provide support for total body stretches.

4. Convert a space

Garages, basements and attics can be ideal for converting into a permanent home gym, with the benefit of adding value to your property, says Mark.

If you’ve got a spacious garden or outbuilding, you could install a standalone gym, which you could combine with a home office space if necessary. Mirrors on the walls will open up and brighten the space, and a wall TV can help cardio time go much more quickly, or connect to an on-demand fitness service. A good sound system to play your favourite tracks as you work out is also useful as a motivational tool.

A custom-designed luxury home gym with two or three cardio machines, a squat rack, free weights, cable machine, adjustable bench, combat fitness equipment, a feature wall, custom flooring, audio, visual equipment and air conditioning will cost around £30,000, says Mark.

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