So I Finally Just Built a Home Gym

August 4, 2020
4 Minute Read

Four months into the COVID-19 Pandemic, I finally broke down and built a gym in my basement.

Back in March when the country shut down because of the Coronavirus, my trips to the gym were one of the first things to go. I didn't feel comfortable going and it didn't matter because LA Fitness closed their gyms anyway. My wife was even awesome enough to give me the OK to buy and build a home gym setup since she knew it was important to me. But back in March, I hesitated to spend the money on it since I knew it wouldn't be cheap and I wasn't sure how long this lock down would last. Foolish me, I thought we would be out of it in a month or two. I ended up switching to running over the last 4 months. I've logged more miles than I have in just about any year other than 2015 when I was training for my marathon. As I write this, I'm currently on a 44 day running streak after putting up over 100 miles in July. Suffice it to say, that's kept me occupied.

At the end of June however, LA Fitness notified me that they were planning on opening back up and would resume charging me my monthly rate. I still don't feel comfortable going back to the gym so I looked into freezing or suspending my membership. Well that didn't work as I expected and LA Fitness wanted to charge me $10 a month to "suspend" my membership. Basically I'd have to pay them $10 a month, and I wouldn't be able to go to the gym either. That was a raw deal, so I opted to cancel my membership instead. After confirming that I was still able to make the purchases neccesary to build a home gym, I set out to price things out.

I was hoping to buy things used to save some money, but the selection on Craigslist was minimal and the stuff that was there was the cheap stuff marked up 300+%. I kept an eye on Craigslist, but in the end I ended up buying everything new. The hardest part was finding what I needed and wanted in stock. It seems that I'm not the only person looking to build a home gym. Finding barbells, plates, and other equipment in stock was a challenge in an of itself. Thankfully I found the Home Gym Subreddit. It has a regular In Stock Thread where users are awesome enough to announce when the various different shops have gear in stock. Sorting by new, I was able to find when barbells and plates came in stock on the various different shops. After about 2 weeks of scouring the web, I managed to purchase all the gear I needed.

I'm quite happy with what my setup. The only think I'll need is a better mat for deadlifting. The flooring is a basic rubber mat from Amazon and won't hold up to deadlifting 300+ lbs. I'll definitely need to better protect the concrete floor of my basement.

My Setup

My home gym setup

Rack: Rogue SML-1

Barbells: XMark Fitness Voodoo Bar & Rogue Curl Bar

Bench: Rogue Flat Utility Bench

Plate Stand: CAP Barbell Plate Rack

Plates: Ironmaster & York Plates

Tips for Building Your Own

Here are a few tips for building your own setup.

  1. Plan: Determine your budget and what exercises you want to be able perform. Decide what you want for your gym and make a list.
  2. Plate Prices: For basic plates, the ideal cost is no more than $2/lb.
  3. Scour Craigslist & Facebook Marketplace: I wasn't able to find any good deals with Craigslist, and don't have a Facebook account. Hopefully you'd have better luck.
  4. Home Gym Subreddit In Stock Thread: Every Friday they start a new thread, but constantly posted to throughout the week. Sort the comments by new and you can keep track of what comes into stock.
  5. In Stock Bots & Email Subscriptions: As I don't have a Facebook account, I couldn't use these tools. Rogue Fitness has the Rogue Stock Bot that allows you to tell it what you're looking for and it will message you on Facebook when it comes in stock. Rogue & Rep Fitness also allow you to enter your email and will email you when items are back in stock. The downside to the email is that it's not as instantaneous as the stock bot, which means that the items could go out of stock before it ever notifies you.