The Ultimate List of Home Gym Tips, Hacks, and Secrets (over 100!)

Wynie and Adrian - February 2023

We searched every corner of the internet and leveraged our YouTube community, Instagram, and even our Patreon to create this. The ultimate list of home gym of tips, hacks, secrets, and advice to help you build and evolve your home gym space. 

Building a home gym can be overwhelming. There's nearly and unlimited amount of options and ways to build one. Whether you're a powerlifter, strongman, cross fitter, still on the fence, or anything between this list holds all of the best home gym building advice we've (and our community) has come up with. 

So here it is, the largest home gym collection of tips, ideas, hacks, secrets, or whatever you want to call all this .

How We Compiled This List

We read a ton of blogs and articles, listened to podcasts, watched YouTube video after YouTube video (and even made our own), and exhausted every resource we could find to create this. We also posted on our Instagram and YouTube channel as well as our Patreon (check it out!) to get input from our viewers because they're our greatest resource (and we appreciate you so much for it!).

This list took many hours to create and is actually larger than what you see here! If you want to check out the full list it's hosted on our Patreon. Thank you so much to those who have been able to support us over there. It's helped us to create more content without having to worry about affiliates or ad revenue.

1. Flooring

Horse Stall Mat Gym Flooring

Use horse stall mats  for your gym floor, not foam exercise mats. They take a beating, will last forever, and are supportive (vs squishy like exercise mats). Even though these beasts weigh almost 100lbs they will move around over time so I've used a few different methods of keeping them in place.

One simple thing you can do is just put heavy equipment on them, your gym is filled with it. But for open spaces or where equipment isn't I've used mending plates (tip by Alan Thrall)  though I only use the plates around the edges or where I don't walk because you can feel them underneath the stall mats. I also like to use Gorilla tape (tip from Basement Brandon) to keep my mats in place and seal the seams. It makes the mats much easier to clean and gives your space a cleaner look.

There’s other good options for flooring but horse stall mats are the most popular for a lot of reasons. They're readily available, cheap (relatively speaking), stable, and easy to set up though relatively speaking.

2. Buy Used

 I love shiny things but the first version of my gym was more used than new and I still have a lot of pre-owned stuff (half my horse stall mats are second hand). We all love to dream big but a home gym isn’t for everyone (which benefits you!) so scour the used marketplace for deals. Machines, plates, racks, and other big heavy things are much cheaper when used and you’re not paying shipping. So check Craiglists, Facebook and even auctions!

When you're searching the used marketplace try using generic terms. Searching for things like "Olympic barbell" will return more results than "Stainless Steel Ohio Power Bar". It'll also give you results of people who may not know what they have which means you might get a better deal than the guy who knows he paid a lot for a bar and doesn't want to lose money on his purchase.

Here's my first rack, a Rogue Infinity R6. I bought it for $500 new and not only did it come with some extra but it was in like new shape. 

Rogue Infinity R6 Power Rack

3. Sell Things!

After using my first rack for a few years I sold it for $1,400 which netted me a $900 profit. I then took that money and invested in back into my space (to buy my Rep PR-5000). I did this same thing with some plates I had picked up for free. I restored them and sold them for enough money to buy my Rogue Urethane bumpers. My garage gym build is littered with stories like that and selling things is a big reason I've been able to build my gym at all. 

So sell things you don't use and get something else. If you planned out your purchases you can get a lot of money back. Actually with the way prices are going you may be able to get more than what you paid in the first place. Rogue resells better than Titan but even Titan will sell better than a no name brand.

4. Shop Sales

Home gym companies love to run sales. Many will run them quite often (like Titan Fitness) but during certain times of the year almost everyone goes at it like on Black Friday (the only time Rogue Fitness runs a big sale), Memorial day, Labor Day, New Years, the 4th of July... you get the idea. So if you're patient you can get a lot more bang for your buck. 

We run sales pages during those big events so check bookmark our site because we work tireless to bring you the biggest deals whether we're affiliated with the companies or not.

5. You've Got A Lot To Learn

Here's our current space before we ever started building it. Who knew years later it would become what it is, but it took a lot of time, research, and effort.

Home Gym Before

We all do, and that's OK. When I first decided to build my home gym I started looking at my commercial gym and asking what things were. I had no idea who all these companies were. 3"x3" 11 gauge? Different types of bushings? The best barbell finish? I was beyond lost and it’s one of the reasons we made Gluck’s Gym, to help others who are where we once were.

I spend hours each week trying to learn everything I can so that I can make the best possible content for our followers but if there's one thing I've learned after years of doing so, it's that I still have a ton to learn. 

6. Budgeting

When I built my space I set short and long term goals and and prioritized my purchases. My original space was supposed to consist of 3 levels (or stages). The first was my rack, bar, plates, and bench. Of course there were some odds and ends like collars thrown in there but it was pretty minimal set up. I wanted to see if this was really for me.

Once I was certain I loved having a home gym I leveled up my gym (sorry, I'm a gamer) and started building my dumbbell collection which took close to two years to complete (I bought the dumbbell racks used). Stage 3, my final stage (HA!) was my used Life Fitness functional trainer. 

By researching and planning out my purchases I was able capitalize on deals when they popped up. I would put a little money aside each paycheck and reward myself when the time came. It wasn't flashy and it took some self control but I didn't waste money or regret purchases either.

7. Mirrors

I workout to keep up with my kids and to feel good about myself. Some of that is mental and some of its physical but I have mirrors for a few reasons. It’s a nice way to check out your form (or your wife), it can make the space feel larger, and Wynie checks herself out all the time so they’re kind of a necessity. 

You can get mirrors used for pretty cheap which is how I got the mirror in front of my rack but all of my other mirrors are Glacial Bay 36"x60" frameless mirrors (no affiliation) and can be pick in any Home Depot.

8. Plan It Out

I can't overemphasize how much planning out your home gym will help you, we even did a full video on it.

By planning your home gym, and by that I mean the physical space and the budgeting, you’ll end up with a much better result. 

You don't have to necessarily draw everything out or make 3D renderings like I did (I taught engineering and architecture, don't judge me!) but at the very least take a tape measure and double check your physical space (and don't forget to check the height!). You can also use an online tool like Rogue's Zeus Gym Builder to do all the work for you!

9. Design Matters

A space with a nice atmosphere is easier to workout in, simple as that. It’s your space so if you want posters or banners, go for it. Like LEDs lights? Who’s stopping you? Paint walls, decorate, hang pictures, display your trophies, do whatever you want to make your space more inviting to you whether that’s something simple or over the top. Your space, your rules.

Rep Fitness Side of Home Gym

10. Music

Being able to control the music is one of the great benefits of a home gym. You don't need headphones, it can be as loud as you want, and nobody is there to criticize your song selections. So go ahead and pump Taylor Swift if you want. We use a Google Home to control our music. The audio quality is great, we can control it with our phones or voices, and it adds to the atmosphere of the gym. There are a lot of great options that work the same way so get whichever is going to get you “bumping” as Wynie puts it. Listen to whatever you want, your favorite podcast, a book, or creepy serial killer stuff like Wynie (I don’t feel safe).

11. Lighting

One of the things people tend to forget is lighting but we think it’s so important we made an entire video on it! Lights help with atmosphere and aesthetics which will create a much more polished and inviting space. Wynie and I lifted under a few poorly functioning overhead lights for years but our remodel made our space so much look and feel so much nicer (plus you’ll look better in your mirrors 😉).

12 A Home Gym Isn't For Everyone

For every person that loves their home gym there’s another that realizes it isn’t for them. Working out alone can be great and can be awful (I’m looking at you leg day). Sure you’ve got unlimited access to your rack but if you haven’t completed your HVAC that barbell might be 30 degrees and burn your hands when you touch it (or rusting). There’s a lot that goes into making a great space, planning, budgeting, HVAC, and the list goes on. Even with a perfectly planned space we’re often more limited than a commercial gym so I say try before you buy. 

That being said, for some of us a home gym is the ultimate hobby and investment and the pros far out weigh the cons.

13. A Home Gym Is An Investment

In you, your family, and your time. A home gym might not be for everyone but for many of us it’s our mecca. I love hanging out with my friends there, showing my son things, playing the music I want, dreaming of passing things down. I’m happier and healthier now & you can’t put a price on that.

14. Start With The Essentials

I’ve seen a lot of people say buy it all at once because it saves you money. That may work if you’re absolutely certain a home gym is for you but unless you've already had one there's no way to be certain.

I think it's a good idea to purchase the essentials first. If you've saved up for awhile and done your research then you can go get a solid with a power rack, bench, barbell, plates and some accessories (like collars) to start. They don't necessarily have to be your dream items but as long as they're good (middle ground, or even really great used stuff pops up cheap) you'll have a solid foundation.

f that sounds like too much you can buy some basics to see how you feel about working out at home. A jump rope, pull-up bar, or gymnastics rings for example. You could even just make yourself a workout space and trying doing some body weight workouts. It's not nearly as exciting but at least you're not risking much. If you do decide a home gym is for you then check out all of our build videos

15. It's a Hobby

Most of us start a home gym for the convenience or to save money (yeah right) but home gyms often become a hobby. It’s your space, you’ll take pride in it and for many of us it’s a hangout, our man (or woman) cave, our happy place (and for some it’s even a status symbol). Your space will evolve, your wants and needs will change & in 5 years you may have upgraded and swapped yourself into a place you never thought you’d be. Some people collect cars, play video games (ok I do that too), or craft but some of us just enjoy building our home gyms.

16. Scratch and Dent

I bought a lot of my equipment new but with some blemishes. I’ve got deep dish plates and 3 barbells form Rogue’s Boneyard and my Titan Hex Trap Bar came from their Scratch & Dent section.

Lots of companies like American Barbell and Kabuki have sections where they sell perfectly functional items with cosmetic defects. It’s a great way to save money and with some companies I often can’t tell what the issue is.

Rogue Fitness Boneyard Bella Barbell

17. Versatility Is King

The two main issues with a home gym are budget and space so equipment that does more (and does it well) is often a better choice than a one trick pony. I think GHDs and Reverse Hypers can be great training tools but they take up a lot of space which is why I’ve got a combo unit. It takes up as much space as either of the one but does what both can.

Maybe a better example is a power rack, if you get the right one you’ll be able to add onto it to your heart's content which is why 3x3 racks are so over hyped, they do it all. My 11 post rack is a good example of this  It's got Rogue and Rep components and I've even got big plans to change it up again. Necessary, no, but the versatility of a modular 3x3 system is what we're after.

Rep Fitness 9 Post Rack

18. Storage, It’s Never Enough

We’ve already established you’ll never have enough space so you’ll need some killer storage. I’ve got a tons of Wall Control that holds an insane amount of gym items but I’ve also got plates and barbells hanging on my walls and 3 different barbell storage systems on my rack. Wall storage (and other areas) is not only essential but when done well it’ll look professional too. I’m currently working on a big video about this topic and will publish it once my French cleat wall is complete 👀

19. Organization

Not only do you want to be able to store things but having them organized is just as important. I can’t tell you how much time I’ve wasted looking for things during a workout. Having an organized space makes workouts more efficient, makes things more enjoyable (I get unreasonably made when I can’t find things), helps with atmosphere because your space will be more polished, and can even help equipment last longer.

Bar Holder

20. Attachments On Other Racks

Unfortunately as modular as many racks are, companies don't always like to play nice together. Luckily there's a very creative and clever community out there that's figured out what attachments fit on other racks. To be completely honest I could and probably should make this into an entire video but here's a few tips.

Did you know you can put ⅝” attachments onto a Rogue Monster rack? The keyholes are ⅝” and it’s how I use my Bells Hydra Seal Row Pad with my Rogue rack.

If you have a non Rogue rack (or want to orient your attachment in any direction) and still want to get 5/8" attachments onto your rack you can use 5/8" to 1" adapters pin adapters. There's a few place that produce them and I have no affiliation with any but lately I've been using these from F & F Steel.

What about attachments that fit but are a bit tight like going from a Metric rack to American? I’ve sanded the backside of the  UHMW on attachments to make them fit better. Keep in mind when going between measurement systems that attachments that utilize one hole tend to work well but if your attachment needs more than one to line up when on the rack the second probably won't align. It's generic advice, and there are exceptions to the rule but it's at least a starting point. 

21. Cleaning

We use a leaf blower to clean out our garage gym. We have a gas powered one but an electric will keep your space from smelling like gas. If a leaf blower won’t work for you because you’re in a dark dungeon (basement gym) you can use a shop vac, though a broom may be quicker and is cheaper. It's actually our most common way of cleaning with the blower coming out when we want to do a larger scale clean.

 We also mop the floors or wipe things down (rarely) with Simple Green because it's cheap and works.

22. Maintenance

I never realized how much work it can be to clean a gym and keep it organized. Barbells have to be maintained (and sometimes other equipment) so they don't rust. You have to lubricate things… clean the floors, mirrors, cobwebs, and sometimes putting your own things away is harder since you can just deal with it tomorrow. It’s really not that bad but it’s something nobody talks about.

23. Specialty Bars

Maybe this should go near the don’t fall for the hype section but specialty bars are a great training tool (and probably a bit over purchased as well). I love my deadlift bar and curl bar and I use them weekly. I’ve got safety squat bars, multi grip barbells, prototypes of weird things I’ve been sent, and I have no plans on slowing down my collection. They’re fun to use and variety keeps a home gym interesting.

Specialty barbells

24. It Can Be Hard To Workout At Home

Many of us workout alone at home which means having a good program, schedule, and goals is essential. It’s much easier to get distracted by your family and things that need to get done around the house when your gym is part of it. So figure out what works for your situation and stick to it which is much easier said than done. For myself I still find a good workout partner is the best way to stay on track so friends, kids, wives, and neighbors have all been regularly harassed to visit my space.

25. Family

The BIGGEST benefit of a home gym for me has been time with my family. The other day I was showing my oldest son how to squat using his Rogue 5lb bar. I’d never have that chance in a commercial gym and it was worth the world to me. He gets to swing on the rings (all kids love doing it) and play with other things and we get to share our passion. It’s honestly one of the best things in my life.

26. Your Spouse!

The most popular person on my channel is my Wynie. I wish that were a joke… But I married her for a reason (or a few hundred reasons). She’s my biggest motivator, my best friend, tthe best training partner I've ever had, my biggest supporter, and a huge reason this channel exists. I love training with my wife and it’s a great way for us to spend time together but for some training is their time and that’s fine too but the option is there & it may be an incredible opportunity

27. A Home Gym Doesn’t Always Save Money

I get it, it’s a nice thing for influencers to say because we all want to believe we’ll save money. But as many of us know, we spend a lot more on our home gyms. With equipment prices rising it's become harder to save money on your space. Maybe yours will but just don’t start one purely for that reason. And you know what, it’s ok, it's yours, get what you need but it’s ok to reward yourself and enjoy the space as well.

28. Convenience

Your gym might not save you money but you will save time… Ok maybe no. I spend more time in my home gym but it CAN save you time 😂No commute, lift whenever you want, do cardio in the morning and lift weights in the afternoon, lift with your family or friends, it's up to you! It’s good to be king (or queen).

29. Do What You Want

There’s no one to judge you here. Experiment, try out lifts, gadgets, and builds you’d never dreamed of in a commercial gym. It’s your space, enjoy it.

30. Nobody to Ogle You

Nobody ever talked to me in commercial gym (seriously) but holy hell did people bother Wynie. If I wasn’t there she got chatted up, given advice, and bothered every single workout. At home you’re free to wear what you want and do what you want whenever you want and it’s incredibly liberating.

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