500 Square Foot Home Gym: Free Floor Plan & Equipment List

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500 square foot home gym: free floor plan and equipment list

When building a home gym, it’s important to understand how much equipment you can fit in your space while still being able to work out comfortably. In this article, I’m going to talk about how you can build a 500 square foot home gym.

So, is it possible to build a 500 square foot home gym? Yes, it is possible. We hired Camila Lyons, the co-founder and lead designer of ALVA Interior Architecture and Design, to create a floor plan for a 500 square foot home gym. With this amount of space, you have room for both strength and cardio equipment, but what you decide to put in it will depend on your goals.

Here’s how I’m going to help you with your home gym planning: 

  • I’ll show you the floor plans we created for a 500 square foot home gym
  • I’ll provide ideas for how to customize your 500 square foot home gym for your goals
  • I’ll provide a list of essential and optional pieces of equipment for a 500 square foot home gym.

500 Square Foot Home Gym Floor Plan

Below are the floor plans our architect created for a 500 square foot home gym. These floor plans are just an example of what you could include. You can swap out these items for more strength or cardio equipment, depending on what your goals are.

This is the 2D version of our 500 square foot home gym. This floor plan was created using a room that measures 20’x25’:

500 square foot home gym floor plan 2D version

Here is an overhead 3D view of the floor plan:

500 square foot home gym floor plan 3D view

This is what a 500 square foot home gym would look like when viewed from the front:

500 square foot home gym floor plan front view

And here is a 3D design of the floor plan when viewed from an angle:

500 square foot home gym floor plan angle view

Check out our complete guide to Small Home Gym Layouts.

What Can Fit Into A 500 Square Foot Home Gym?

When you have 500 square feet to work with, you can fit a lot of equipment. Based on our sample floor plan above, the following items would fit in a 500 square foot gym:

  • Kettlebell storage rack
  • Medicine ball storage rack
  • Dumbbell storage rack
  • A bench and squat rack
  • A power rack
  • A deadlift platform
  • Wall-mounted barbell storage racks
  • Two plyo boxes
  • Two wall-mounted storage racks for items such as resistance bands or belts
  • A treadmill
  • A GHD machine
  • A T-bar row machine
  • A wall-mounted cable station
  • A water cooler

What CANNOT Fit Into A 500 Square Foot Home Gym?

Although you can fit a lot of equipment in a 500 square foot home gym, you won’t be able to fit all of the following:

  • More than one or two power cages
  • More than one deadlift or weightlifting platform
  • More than two or three cardio machines
  • More than five to seven bodybuilding machines

You can certainly mix and match your equipment so you have both strength and cardio pieces, but again, it depends on your goals.

Extras & Substitutions Based On Your Goals

Below are lists of different pieces of equipment you can swap out for the items we showed in our sample floor plans based on your goals.

1. Powerlifting

Powerlifters generally don’t need a lot of equipment, but it depends on how much variety and assistance work you like to incorporate into your routine.

In a 500 square foot home gym, powerlifters can fit the following:

  • A power cage or squat rack, depending on how high your ceilings are
  • A barbell
  • Plates
  • Plate storage tree
  • A bench
  • A dip station or matador, if your squat rack is compatible with one
  • A deadlift platform
  • A wall-mounted pull-up bar, if your ceilings are too low for a power cage
  • Dumbbells
  • A reverse hyper
  • A GHD machine

2. Weightlifting

Weightlifters also don’t need a ton of equipment. 500 square feet is more than enough to fit two lifting platforms and two squat stands, a plate storage tree, multiple barbells, dumbbells, and reverse hyper and GHD machines.

Below is a list of equipment weightlifters may want to add to their home gyms:

  • A squat stand
  • A barbell
  • Bumper plates
  • A plate storage tree
  • A bench, if you like to incorporate bench presses in your routine
  • Dumbbells for accessory work
  • A reverse hyper
  • A GHD machine
  • A pullup bar

3. CrossFit

Because of the varied nature of CrossFit WODs, CrossFitters need more equipment than most other athletes. Fortunately, with 500 square feet, you can fit your equipment and still have room to move around during your WODs. It’s even enough space to do some handstand walks and indoor farmer’s carries.

A list of equipment that can fit into a 500 square foot home gym for CrossFitters includes:

  • A squat stand or squat rack with a pullup bar
  • A wall-mounted pullup bar if you can’t fit a full squat rack
  • A jump rope
  • A medicine ball
  • Hex dumbbells
  • A plyo box
  • A barbell
  • Bumper plates
  • A rower
  • An Echo bike
  • Gymnastics rings for muscle ups, ring dips, or ring rows
  • A GHD machine

4. Bodybuilding

Bodybuilders who have aesthetic goals will want to have different machines in their home gyms to effectively target all of the muscle groups. While they don’t have the same benefits as lifting free weights, machines are still a good way to build muscle.

Machines that bodybuilders may want to add to their home gyms include:

  • A leg press
  • A leg extension
  • A hamstring curl station
  • A preacher curl bench
  • A shoulder press machine
  • A lat pulldown machine
  • A pec deck machine
  • A cable machine

You’ll also need a set of plates for any plate-loaded machines.

5. General Fitness

If you train for general health purposes, you have enough space with 500 square feet to add both strength and cardio equipment. Since you probably won’t need a lifting platform, you’ll also have room to do HIIT workouts on the floor.

A list of equipment that I recommend for general fitness includes:

  • Dumbbells
  • A treadmill
  • An exercise bike
  • An all-in-one resistance machine
  • A jump rope
  • A squat rack
  • A barbell
  • Plates
  • A plate storage tree
  • A bench

Equipment For A 500 Square Foot Gym

Must-Haves for a 500 Square Foot Gym

The 8 essential pieces of equipment for a 500 square foot gym are:

  • Squat rack
  • Barbell
  • Plates
  • Bench
  • Dumbbells
  • Kettlebells
  • A cardio machine
  • Resistance bands

1. Squat Rack

squat rack

In our sample floor plans above, we showed a full power cage as well as a bench press station with a squat rack. You don’t necessarily need both, but having at least one squat rack or power cage is essential.

If your ceilings are high enough, I recommend a power cage such as the Fringe Sport One Fit Wonder Power Cage Squat Rack. It has a 1,000lb weight capacity, comes with safety pins, and has a pullup bar.

If you have low ceilings, I recommend the Rogue SML-1 70” Monster Lite Squat Stand. It also has a 1,000lb weight capacity, but it doesn’t take up quite as much space, so you’ll have more room for additional machines.


For a full list of squat racks that are ideal for home gyms, check out my article 7 Best Squat Racks for Small Spaces.

2. Barbell

A 45lb Olympic barbell like the Rogue Ohio Power Bar will work well for most home gyms. If you’re a CrossFitter or weightlifter, I recommend the Rogue Bella Bar 2.0 for females or the Olympic WL bar for males. They have more spin than a regular barbell, which is important when you’re doing snatches and clean and jerks.


3. Plates

Rogue Plates

I recommend bumper plates for most home gyms since they’re quiet and are less likely to damage your floors. They’re also necessary for CrossFit, weightlifting, or any workouts where you’ll be dropping weights from overhead.

You can’t go wrong with the Rogue HG 2.0 Bumper Plates. I use them in my own home gym, and they’ve held up well. Other than some scuff marks, there’s no significant damage to them, despite me having used them 4-5 days per week for almost four years now.


In addition to bumper plates, you may want to take a look at steel or rubber-coated plates. Check out my article Bumper Plates vs. Metal Plates vs. Rubber Plates (Pros and Cons) to find out which ones are best for you.

4. Bench

A bench is a must if you want to do any kind of bench pressing at home. You can get either a flat bench or an incline bench. I prefer incline benches because I like to do exercises such as incline bench presses and incline chest flyes. But if you just need a bench for regular bench presses, a flat bench will be sufficient.

The Fringe Sport flat bench and adjustable bench are both good options for home gyms. They both have high weight capacities, and the adjustable bench has seven different available positions. They’re both also transportable so you can move them around if you need more space for your workout.


5. Dumbbells

Dumbbells are great for isolation and accessory movements to complement your main lifts. I recommend hex dumbbells because they don’t roll and they’re easier to do movements such as renegade rows or devil’s presses with.

The rubber hex dumbbells from Titan Fitness are a good choice for home gyms because they’re reasonably priced, durable, and the knurling allows you to get a good grip on the handles. They’re available in weights from 5-100lbs.

If you don’t have the budget for multiple pairs of dumbbells, you can get adjustable dumbbells such as these PowerBlock dumbbells. I’ve had them for years and they’re one of my favorite things in my home gym. They’re not ideal for CrossFit WODs because of their bulkiness at higher weights, but they’re great for strength workouts.


6.  Kettlebells

Kettlebell

Kettlebells are versatile tools that can be used for both strength and conditioning workouts. Even though we showed a full storage rack with kettlebells in our sample floor plans above, you really only need one or two.

I recommend the Rogue Kettlebells. They’re durable, the weights are accurate, and they don’t contain any cheap fillers or materials. The matte-coated finish also prevents your hands from slipping when they get sweaty.


7. A Cardio Machine

I don’t normally think a cardio machine is essential for a home gym, especially if you can run or walk outside easily. But if you have the space and budget available, there’s no reason not to add a cardio machine or two.

Machines like the Concept 2 Rower and Rogue Echo Bike are good options for CrossFitters since a lot of WODs incorporate those machines. You may also want to consider a ski erg.

For other individuals, a treadmill or spin bike are good options. The Schwinn IC3 indoor cycling bike is affordable, has a small footprint, and has a multimedia device holder so you can stream spin classes on your phone or tablet. 

If you prefer a treadmill, the NordicTrack T Series 6.5 Si Treadmill is a good choice. It comes with 20 built-in workouts and real-time performance tracking, and you can connect it to your phone to play your own workout playlist through the sound system. You can also fold it up when it’s not in use so you have more room to do other workouts.


8. Resistance Bands

Resistance bands are inexpensive and don’t take up much room. You can use them for mobility work and warming up. You can also use them for isolation exercises if you don’t want to add more machines to your home gym.

I recommend the WODfitters resistance bands. I’ve had them for several years, and they’ve yet to break. They haven’t even stretched out that much despite me using them a few times a week. You can either purchase them individually or get them as a complete set.


Optional Equipment for a 500 Square Foot Gym

The four pieces of optional equipment for a 500 square foot gym are:

  1. Bodybuilding machines
  2. Plyo box
  3. Medicine balls
  4. Lifting platform

1. Bodybuilding Machines

Although I believe that free weights are superior to machines for building strength and muscle, machines do have their place. They’re especially useful for bodybuilders who perform a lot of isolation exercises.

For lower body and posterior chain work, leg press, reverse hyper, and GHD machines are good options. For upper body work, you can get a lat pulldown machine, a fly machine, and a preacher curl bench. If you want a more versatile option or want to save space, you can also get an all-in-one machine.


2. Plyo Box

plyo box

Plyo boxes are good for CrossFitters or general strength and conditioning purposes, but they aren’t a requirement for your home gym if you want to use the space for other equipment.

Most manufacturers sell wood, foam, or steel plyo boxes. I don’t recommend steel because you can cause a lot of damage to your shins if you fail a box jump. I also don’t recommend wood boxes for the same reason. Foam boxes are more expensive, but you’ll be able to perform box jumps more confidently knowing that you won’t tear up your shins if you fall.

I like the Rogue foam box. They’re high-quality, and they don’t tip over when you land on them. The only drawback is that they can’t be used on a smooth surface such as wood or tile.


3. Medicine Balls

medicine balls

There’s not much you can do with a medicine ball that you can’t do with a dumbbell or a plate. I don’t consider them a necessary piece of equipment for a home gym unless you’re a CrossFitter who needs one for wall balls.

If you do want a medicine ball, I recommend one from Rogue. These medicine balls have a moisture- and scuff-resistant coating, so you can use them inside or outside, and the nylon thread seam is designed to stay intact even with near-daily usage.


4. Lifting Platform

Unless you’re a competitive weightlifter or powerlifter, a lifting platform isn’t necessary. You can protect your floors with horse stall mats, rubber tiles, or crash pads instead. This will give you more space to move around if you do CrossFit WODs or HIIT-style workouts at home.

If you do decide to put a lifting platform in your home gym, I recommend the Rogue Deadlift Platform for powerlifters and the Rogue Oly Platform for weightlifters. Both platforms are designed to absorb shock and vibrations and will protect your floors from damage from heavy weights being dropped on them.


What Exercises & Workouts Can You Do In A 500 Square Foot Gym?

In a 500 square foot home gym, you can do a variety of strength and conditioning workouts. Below are some examples of exercises you can do depending on your goals and which equipment you decide to add to your home gym:

  • Squats
  • Deadlifts
  • Bench presses
  • Overhead presses
  • Snatches
  • Clean and jerks
  • Box jumps
  • Cardio
  • Core work
  • Lunges
  • Rows
  • HIIT workouts
  • Pullups, if you have high ceilings
  • Ring or bar muscle ups, if you have high ceilings
  • Bodybuilding exercises

Other Gym Floor Plans

Final Thoughts

You can build a really nice home gym with a 500 square foot space. The floor plans I provided above are just a guide, but they should give you a good idea of what’s possible for a 500 square foot home gym.

The equipment you add to your space will depend on your goals, but you’ll have enough room to add both strength and cardio equipment, and you’ll still have plenty of space to move around freely and perform some floor exercises as well.


About The Author

Amanda Dvorak

Amanda Dvorak is a freelance writer and powerlifting enthusiast. Amanda played softball for 12 years and discovered her passion for fitness when she was in college. It wasn’t until she started CrossFit in 2015 that she became interested in powerlifting and realized how much she loves lifting heavy weights. In addition to powerlifting, Amanda also enjoys running and cycling.