Building a Home Gym – Things I Wish I Knew Before I Built My Garage Gym

Published by Jason Narog on

Jason Narog

I finished building my garage gym in September of 2019. I bought the majority of my equipment in May / June of 2019. Do you immediately see a problem there?

[I built the gym when I moved into a new home. I spent May & June fixing up the house, July doing other outdoor housework, took a break in August then finally started setting up the gym in September.]

Garage Gym Flooring

I bought horse stall mats second hand from my trainer at the time. He was moving locations (from a smaller setup to a larger setup) and had purchased new ones for his new space. My brother and I rented a truck from UHaul, picked them up (in May), then threw them in my garage, which I finally laid out in late August.

I don’t really have any problems with the flooring. I clean it with Defense Soap Disinfectant Tablets [15% off with code getbackintofitness], and I used a hammer drill with a concrete drill bit to mount my rack & kickboxing stand with concrete screws.

Concrete Screws

I initially purchased Red Head TapCon screws to hold everything down. 1 of the holes we drilled we did wrong on the kickboxing stand. By wrong I mean we made the hole a little to big. Practice drilling into concrete if you haven’t done this before, especially if you have something that will be shaking often. 1 of my screws literally shattered in the hole one day when I was kicking the heavy bag. There are other options for anchors, I can’t remember if I used a wedge or sleeve anchor as a replacement, but I used one of them to fill the slightly too big hole.

Square Before You Drill

We messed this up on both the rack and the heavy bag stand. The heavy bag stand isn’t square. I went to add wooden supports to keep it from wobbling but couldn’t quite get the angles right. Had we placed the stand square to begin with, this wouldn’t be an issue. So square up.

On the rack, the pull up bars on the front and back push the rack further out than the bottom. When constructing I would suggest putting the pull up racks at the bottom first, square up the rack, drill your concrete holes, mount, then move the pull up bars and any other attachments to their correct position. You could use a piece of wood cut to size to square up the rack, but I feel like using the actual pieces of the rack to square up makes more sense.

Check your measurements before you drill as well. We placed the rack a little close to the wall, so I have hesitation of the bar bumping off the exposed beams every time I’m in the rack. Getting behind the rack is also a pain in the neck.

Do I need this equipment?

I have 2 pieces of equipment from my initial setup I wish I never bought – a treadmill and a tricep dip bar for the rack.

The treadmill takes up extra space and can’t be on the same breaker as my space heater. I also hate in place running and would be much happier with an Assault Bike / Airdyne or a rower.

The tricep dip bar oddly sticks out and I hit my head on it more often than not. It’s more of a brain damage causing tool than it is a fitness tool. I do all my tricep work with the Bulgarian bags anyway so its something I could’ve done without.

Storage Solutions

I have open Amazon storage racks for almost everything. Sandbags, boxing gear, Bulgarian bags, the BJJ dummy, they all go on the racks. Kettlebells are on the floor. Foam rollers and yoga mats are on hooks that’ve been screwed into the wall.

The more stuff you can get off the floor, the better. If I had thought of storage solutions ahead of time, I could’ve planned for the future. Instead my storage options are more reactionary.

My dumbbell weights are currently hung on the wall. I used a 2×6″ with nails from the 50’s, back when things were made well. Each nail holds about 20 pounds on it, and it’s worked out well.