PowerliftingTechnique.com is independent and supported by our readers. We may earn a commission if you buy through the links below. For more, see our disclosures page.
If you’re trying to convert a 400 square foot space into a home gym, you may be wondering how much equipment you can fit.
Is it possible to build a 400 square foot home gym? Yes, it is. We hired an architect named Camila Lyons, the co-founder and lead designer of ALVA Interior Architecture and Design, to design a 400 square foot home gym. You can fit multiple pieces of strength and cardio equipment in this space, but what you add to your home gym depends on your goals.
Keep reading to view the floor plans Camila created and find out what can and cannot fit in a 400 square foot home gym.
400 Square Foot Home Gym Floor Plan
Below are a few different versions of the 400 square foot gym layout our architect created. We based these floor plans on a room that is 16’x25’.
Here is a 2D version of a 400 square foot home gym:
Here is a 3D representation of the layout viewed from overhead:
This is how the room looks from the back:
And here is how the room looks when viewed from the front:
These layouts are just a guide to give you an idea of what you can fit in a 400 square foot space. The equipment you choose will depend on your goals and how you train. Further down in this article, I provide suggestions for substitutions based on your preferred style of training.
Check out our complete guide to Small Home Gym Layouts.
What Can Fit Into A 400 Square Foot Home Gym?
400 square feet is a lot of space. You can fit various pieces of equipment in this space that will give you a great workout no matter what your goals are.
The floor plan layouts above include:
- A plyo box
- Two wall-mounted storage posts for items such as resistance bands, belts, or jump ropes
- An exercise bike
- A GHD machine
- A treadmill
- A wall-mounted cable machine
- Kettlebell, medicine ball, and dumbbell storage racks
- A power cage
- A bench
- A wall-mounted barbell storage rack
- A lifting platform
What CANNOT Fit Into A 400 Square Foot Home Gym?
Once you start getting into larger areas, the limiting factors for your home gym tend to be more about your budget, ceiling height, and training methods rather than the space itself.
However, depending on what else you put in your space, you may not be able to fit the following:
- A power cage, if your ceilings aren’t high enough
- More than one squat rack or power cage if you also add some cardio equipment or bodybuilding machines
- More than two pieces of cardio equipment
- Some bodybuilding machines
Extras & Substitutions Based On Your Goals
Unless you also do additional strength work on top of your CrossFit WODs, multiple pairs of dumbbells aren’t necessary. I’d recommend sticking with one or two sets of hex dumbbells. This will give you more room to do movements such as burpees, double unders, or situps.
You’ll also be able to save space by only keeping one or two kettlebells and one medicine ball in your home gym. By taking out the storage racks that we have in our sample floor plans above, you’ll have more wall space for wall balls and handstand pushups.
If you have easy outdoor access from your gym space, I’d forego a treadmill. You can also leave out the lifting platform unless you also have plans to compete in powerlifting or weightlifting. With the extra space, you could get a rower, ski erg, or Echo bike. You can also just leave the space empty so you have more room for your WODs.
If you want to save even more space, you can get a squat stand instead of a power cage and install a wall-mounted pullup bar.
With a 400 square foot space, bodybuilders have enough room to fit several machines. If you didn’t want two pieces of cardio equipment and a full power cage like we showed in our floor plans above, you can get machines such as a leg press machine, a reverse hyper, or a lat pulldown machine.
You could also get a set of adjustable dumbbells instead of having multiple pairs of dumbbells to save more space.
Weightlifters will need fewer pieces of cardio equipment, except perhaps a bike or rower for low-impact conditioning. Instead, you can get jerk blocks and possibly a reverse hyper machine for more posterior chain work.
Weightlifters will also need a lifting platform like we showed in our sample floor plans so you can drop weights from overhead, but you can also get a set of crash pads to help absorb the impact.
Like weightlifters, powerlifters don’t need quite as much equipment. A power cage or squat rack, barbell, plates, a bench, a pullup bar, and some dumbbells are good for most powerlifting routines. Competitive powerlifters should also get spotter arms for your squat rack if you can’t fit a full power cage in your space.
In a 400 square foot home gym, powerlifters can also fit a reverse hyper in place of a cardio machine. You may also have enough room for a leg press machine or a hack squat machine if you like to perform different variations of the squat.
5. General Fitness
If you train for general health purposes and don’t care about hitting PRs often, you won’t need a full power cage. You can use a squat stand instead and install a wall-mounted pullup bar if your ceilings are high enough.
If you’re not going to be deadlifting a lot of weight, you also won’t need a lifting platform. A plyo box may or may not be necessary, depending on whether or not you incorporate box jumps or step ups into your routine. The extra space will give you more room to move freely for HIIT or circuit-style workouts.
Equipment For A 400 Square Foot Gym
Must Haves for a 400 Square Foot Gym
The 7 must-have pieces of equipment for a 400 square foot gym are:
- Squat rack
- Resistance bands
1. Squat Rack
A squat rack is essential if you do any kind of strength training. A power cage is ideal, especially for powerlifters or very strong individuals. But if you want more space to move around or you have low ceilings, you can get a sturdy squat stand instead.
If you want a power cage, the Fringe Sport One Fit Wonder Power Cage Squat Rack is an excellent option. It has a 1,000lb weight capacity and comes with a pullup bar. You can either bolt it to your floor or secure it with heavy sandbags.
If you’re looking for a squat stand instead, I recommend the Rogue SML-1 70” Monster Lite Squat Stand. It also has a 1,000lb weight capacity but doesn’t take up as much space as a power cage. You can purchase spotter arms separately for it if you want additional peace of mind when you’re trying to set a new PR.
If you’re trying to decide which squat rack is best for you, check out my article 7 Best Squat Racks for Small Spaces.
A barbell is another requirement for anyone who wants to do strength training at home. Most home gym athletes can use any standard 45lb Olympic-style barbell, but CrossFitters and weightlifters have slightly different requirements.
For a good all-purpose barbell, I recommend the Rogue Ohio Power Bar. For weightlifters or CrossFitters who need a barbell with more spin for snatches and clean and jerks, I recommend the Rogue Bella Bar 2.0 for females or the Olympic WL bar for males.
When deciding what kind of plates to get for your home gym, you have to consider your budget as well as what sport you train for.
Weightlifters and CrossFitters should get bumper plates since they can be dropped from overhead. I recommend the Rogue HG 2.0 Bumper Plates. I’ve had them for years, and except for some scuff marks, they’re still in good shape.
Powerlifters should train with metal plates since those are used in powerlifting competitions. They’re also smaller in width than bumper plates so you can fit more plates on the bar. I like the Rogue Calibrated Steel Plates because their weight is accurate to within 10 grams and they’re IPF-approved.
Bodybuilders or individuals who train for general strength purposes can use bumper plates or steel plates, or you can use rubber-coated plates. The RitFit Olympic Rubber Grip Plates are an excellent option. They’re cost-effective, and they have grip holes so you can also use them for movements such as Russian twists.
For a full breakdown of the different types of plates, check out my article Bumper Plates vs. Metal Plates vs. Rubber Plates (Pros and Cons).
I generally wouldn’t recommend multiple pairs of dumbbells for a home gym simply because it can get pricey. But most home gym users will find dumbbells useful, and multiple weights are necessary since you can probably lift more for lower body movements than upper body movements.
Dumbbells such as the Titan Fitness hex dumbbells are good for home gyms because they’re durable and available in weights from 5-100lbs.
If you wanted to save space, you can also get adjustable dumbbells such as the PowerBlock dumbbells. I use them in my own garage gym and they’re one of my favorite home gym purchases. They’re too clunky for CrossFit movements such as dumbbell snatches or cleans, but they’re great for strength training.
You can get either a flat bench or an incline bench. I like incline benches since they have more versatility, but there’s nothing wrong with a flat bench.
Kettlebells are great for both strength and conditioning workouts. They’re also a staple in a lot of CrossFit WODs. Almost everyone can benefit from having one or two kettlebells in their home gym.
I recommend Rogue Kettlebells for any home gym. They’re made out of iron ore, which makes them more durable than other kettlebells on the market, and they have a matte coat finish, so they’re easy to hold when your hands get sweaty.
7. Resistance Bands
Resistance bands are good for warming up and stretching, and you can find creative ways to perform isolation exercises with them if you don’t want to purchase a lot of machines.
I’ve had the WODfitters resistance bands for several years and they still work great. Even after using them several days a week, they haven’t become worn out, and I’ve never had to worry about them snapping when I’m using them.
Optional Equipment for a 400 Square Foot Gym
The 5 pieces of optional equipment for a 400 square foot gym are:
- Cardio machines
- Plyo box
- Bodybuilding machines
- Medicine balls
- Lifting platform
1. Cardio Machines
I only put cardio machines as an optional item because I don’t think they’re totally necessary for home gyms, especially if you can get your conditioning in by walking or running outside.
2. Plyo Box
I should preface this by saying that a plyo box is an excellent piece of equipment, but I wouldn’t call it an absolute necessity for a home gym. But CrossFitters, in particular, should have one, and they’re also great for exercises such as box squats or step ups.
Plyo boxes are available in wood, foam, or steel. Steel boxes are the least expensive, but I don’t recommend them since you can scrape your shins badly if you fall. I also don’t recommend wood boxes for that same reason, but if you won’t be doing a lot of high-rep box jumps, a wood box is sufficient.
I recommend either the wood box or the foam box from Rogue. Both boxes are sturdy so you won’t have to worry about them tipping over when you land a box jump. You can also adjust either box to different height levels, which makes them versatile enough to use for multiple movements.
3. Bodybuilding Machines
When you have 400 square feet to work with, you can fit more bodybuilding machines in your home gym without feeling too claustrophobic. But unless you compete in bodybuilding, you can get most of your strength work done with a barbell and dumbbells.
However, machines such as a leg press, reverse hyper, and GHD are good machines to have for lower body and posterior chain work. Lat pulldown machines, a fly machine, and a preacher curl bench are good for upper body work. You can also get an all-in-one machine that you can use for both upper and lower body movements.
4. Medicine Balls
CrossFitters need medicine balls for wall balls, but for everyone else, I wouldn’t rush to purchase a medicine ball unless you really want one. You can use a dumbbell or plate to perform almost any movement that you’d do with a medicine ball.
But if you do want one, I recommend a Rogue medicine ball. They’re used in a lot of CrossFit gyms, so they’ll be able to easily withstand any home workout.
5. Lifting Platform
A lifting platform is only necessary if you’re a weightlifter or powerlifter or if you have weak floors. If you don’t lift very heavy weight, using horse stall mats or rubber tiles will be enough. If you’re just doing bodybuilding workouts, you can also just put individual roll-up mats under your machines to protect your floors.
If you do need a lifting platform, I recommend the Rogue Deadlift Platform for powerlifters and the Rogue Oly Platform for weightlifters. Both platforms are able to handle heavy loads, and they’ll protect your floors while also reducing noise when you drop your weights.
What Exercises & Workouts Can You Do In A 400 Square Foot Gym?
400 square feet is plenty of room to do most CrossFit, powerlifting, weightlifting, and general strength workouts. Below is a list of some exercises and workouts you can do in this space:
- Bench presses
- Clean and jerks
- Overhead presses
- Pullups, if your ceilings are high enough
- Ring or bar muscle ups, if your ceilings are high enough
- Box jumps
- HIIT or circuit-style workouts
- Core work
- Bodybuilding or assistance work
Other Gym Floor Plans
- 500 square foot home gym
- 300 square foot home gym
- 250 square foot home gym
- 200 square foot home gym
- 150 square foot home gym
- 120 square foot home gym
- 100 square foot home gym
If you’re building a 400 square foot home gym, the equipment you decide to put in it depends on your goals, but you can fit a combination of strength and cardio equipment with ease.
The floor plan designs I provided above should give you a good idea of what you can do with 400 square feet. Your layout may look different based on the exact dimensions of your room, but these floor plans can be used as a starting point for your home gym.
About The Author
Amanda is a writer and editor in the fitness and nutrition industries. Growing up in a family that loved sports, she learned the importance of staying active from a young age. She started CrossFit in 2015, which led to her interest in powerlifting and weightlifting. She's passionate about helping women overcome their fear of lifting weights and teaching them how to fuel their bodies properly. When she's not training in her garage gym or working, you can find her drinking coffee, walking her dog, or indulging in one too many pieces of chocolate.