When you’re building a home gym, it can be hard to visualize what can and can’t fit in your space. We hired an architect to create eight home gym floor plans to show you how you can customize a home gym to help you meet your goals.
In the article below, I’ll review:
- How much space you need for your gym equipment
- Ideas for building a home gym based on how large your room is
- Tips for organizing a small home gym
- What equipment you should buy right away and what can wait for the future
Small Home Gym Set Up: Understanding Your Floor Plans
Whether you have a small or a large room in which to build your home gym, you can make the space work for you. Depending on the size of your room, you may have to get creative with how you arrange your equipment and which exercises you perform, but it’s possible to create a functional workout space no matter how big your room is.
How Much Space Is Required For Your Equipment?
Before we get into the home gym floor plans our architect created, let’s review how much space is required for your equipment.
The chart below shows how much space you need for the most common pieces of home gym equipment. Each individual manufacturer’s specifications may vary slightly, but you can use this chart as a guide to help you measure out your home gym space.
|Equipment||Square Footage Required|
|Power cage||At least 70 ft2|
|Squat stand||16 – 20 ft2|
|Bench||6 – 10 ft2|
|Storage racks for free weights||20 – 50 ft2|
|Lifting platform||32 ft2 or 64 ft2, depending on whether you get an Olympic lifting platform or a deadlift platform|
|Treadmill||30 ft2, plus at least 3-5 feet of extra space in the back and on the sides|
|Spin bike||7 – 10 ft2|
|Plyo box||5 ft2|
|Multi-station gym||50 – 200 ft2|
|Single-station machines||At least 35 ft2|
One important thing to keep in mind is that you’ll need room to comfortably squat, deadlift, and bench press without the bar hitting other equipment. You’ll also need room on each side of your squat rack so you can easily load the bar.
Most barbells are 7’ long and the sleeves extend about two feet past the edges of the squat rack. When taking measurements and deciding where you’ll put all of your equipment, make sure you leave a couple of feet of space on either side of your squat rack.
If you do snatches and clean and jerks, you’ll also want to make sure you have enough room to drop a barbell behind or in front of you without damaging something.
One of my favorite plyo boxes is the Rep Fitness 3 in 1 Soft Plyo Box (click for my full review)
500 Square Foot Home Gym
When you have a 500 square foot space to work with, you have a lot of options for building a home gym. There’s enough space for both strength and cardio equipment, and you’ll have room to work out with friends or family members as well.
In this large of a room, you can fit a squat rack or power cage, dumbbell and kettlebell storage racks, plates, a bench, a plyo box, several isolation machines, and a couple of different cardio machines while still having plenty of room to walk around and do other exercises on the floor.
Check out our 500 square foot home gym floor plan.
400 Square Foot Home Gym
A 400 square foot home gym is still a large enough space to fit a squat rack or power cage, storage racks for kettlebells and dumbbells, plates, a bench a plyo box, and different types of barbells like a deadlift bar or a trap bar.
This size gym is also large enough for multiple cardio machines as well as isolation machines like a cable station, leg press, or lat pulldown machine, and you’ll still have space to train with other people if you like to work out with your spouse or kids.
Check out our 400 square foot home gym floor plan.
300 Square Foot Home Gym
In a 300 square foot home gym, you still have a lot of flexibility with which equipment you add. You have room for a power cage, dumbbell and kettlebell storage racks, a bench, a plyo box, and bodybuilding machines. Large cardio machines like treadmills and rowers will also fit, as will a lifting platform.
Check out our 300 square foot home gym floor plan.
250 Square Foot Home Gym
At 250 square feet, you’re getting into a situation where you need to start making some sacrifices. You can still fit a lot of equipment, but you’ll have to be more selective and choose the machines and equipment that are most important to you.
You can fit a power cage in a 250 square foot home gym, but it will limit how many other machines you add if you also wanted a cardio machine or isolation machines. You could fit a multi-station machine, but depending on how large it is, you may not be able to fit a squat stand, power cage, or other single-station machines.
Check out our 250 square foot home gym floor plan.
200 Square Foot Home Gym
A 200 square foot home gym is still large enough for a power cage, but you may want to consider a squat stand instead so you have more room for other exercises.
Alternatively, you can get a wall-mounted foldable squat rack, many of which take up less than a foot when they’re fully extended. This will give you more floor space to do CrossFit WODs or HIIT workouts and will make the room feel less claustrophobic. If you go in this direction, you can also fit a treadmill or another cardio machine, or a couple of isolation machines.
Check out our 200 square foot home gym floor plan.
150 Square Foot Home Gym
As we start getting into spaces less than 200 square feet, you’ll need to really narrow down your equipment list and stick to a few essential pieces.
A lot of large isolation machines won’t fit into a 150 square foot home gym, so you’ll have to use free weights for the bulk of your resistance training. And while you could fit a treadmill or a rower in addition to a squat rack, the room will feel cramped.
You’ll also want to consider a squat stand instead of a power cage to save room and look for things like adjustable dumbbells and wall-mounted storage racks to free up some space.
Check out our 150 square foot home gym floor plan.
120 Square Foot Home Gym
In a 120 square foot home gym, you’ll have room for a squat stand, bench, dumbbells, and potentially a cardio machine. A treadmill could fit, but you may be better off with a spin bike or a small elliptical to save some space. For CrossFitters, a rower or Echo bike won’t fit into a 120 square foot home gym either, since they could get in your way during a WOD.
But if endurance-based goals are more important to you, you can get still get a treadmill and leave out a squat rack, using dumbbells for any strength training you want to do.
Check out our 120 square foot home gym floor plan.
100 Square Foot Home Gym
A room that’s only 100 square feet is small for a home gym, but it’s still possible to add a few pieces of essential equipment. Since you won’t be able to fit isolation machines, your strength training will need to be done with free weights. You definitely won’t be able to fit a power cage and have room for other exercises, so you’ll have to get a squat stand.
If you want a piece of cardio equipment, your best bet is to get a spin bike, which has a smaller footprint than a treadmill or elliptical. Otherwise, you’ll need to forego a squat rack altogether and instead do all of your strength training with dumbbells or kettlebells.
Check out our 100 square foot home gym floor plan.
8 Tips For Organizing Your Small Home Gym
My 8 tips for organizing a small home gym are:
- Decide where and how you want to arrange your equipment
- Measure carefully
- Consider other belongings that you’ll be storing in your gym space
- Buy your equipment in stages
- Look for space-saving solutions that free up some room
- Protect your floors
- Double-check the construction of your walls when installing wall-mounted squat racks or pullup bars
- Leave room for heaters and fans
1. Decide Where and How You Want To Arrange Your Equipment
Most people build home gyms in garages or basements, but you can put equipment in a living room, dining room, or bedroom if you don’t mind having gym equipment in your living spaces. You can also build a home gym in an attic, as long as the ceilings are high enough and the floors are sturdy.
Once you’ve figured out the most optimal place in your home for a gym, consider how you want to arrange your equipment.
CrossFitters, for example, will want to make sure they have enough room to put a barbell on the floor for WODs while still being able to do other movements. If your WOD times are important to you, you’ll also want to make sure you can put everything you need for a WOD in close proximity to each other so you don’t waste time transitioning from one spot to another.
For everyone else, think about which equipment you’ll use the most often and put those pieces as close to each other as possible. This isn’t as much of a concern in a small room, but if you have a large space, this will allow you to keep your most-used equipment in one central area.
2. Measure Carefully
When you have a larger space to work with, it’s usually not a big deal if you make a mistake when measuring since you have more flexibility in where you place your equipment. But when you have a small home gym, it’s important to double-check your measurements so you don’t wind up with equipment that’s too large for your space.
Most gym equipment suppliers list the product dimensions on their websites. Before you purchase anything, measure the area where you want to put each piece of equipment to make sure everything will fit. You may even want to make boxes with tape on the floor where you envision everything going so you can visualize how it will all fit.
3. Consider Other Belongings That You’ll Be Storing in Your Gym Space
Unless you have a room that will be used exclusively for your home gym, you’ll probably have other belongings that you’ll need to work around. You may need to rearrange some furniture or change how you utilize the space.
For example, if you’re building your home gym in your garage, can you still park your car in it, or will you have to start parking on the street or in your driveway?
You should also make sure that you don’t leave important items too close to where you’ll be working out. If you have to drop your weights from overhead or bail a lift by dropping your barbell on the floor, you don’t want it to roll away from you and damage your other belongings.
4. Buy Your Equipment in Stages
Buying your gym equipment in phases will not only help you budget your expenses but will also allow you to visualize how your gym will come together as you slowly add to it.
For example, things like plates and dumbbells can be bought in stages. You can purchase weights based on where your strength is at right now, and then add more in the future as you get stronger and you replenish your budget.
5. Look for Space-Saving Solutions That Free Up Some Room
If your home gym area is small, you’ll need to find ways to maximize every inch of space so you can train comfortably.
Power cages are ideal when you’re lifting heavy weights because of the safety features they have, but if you don’t have a lot of room, you can look for a squat stand instead. You can also look for a collapsible squat rack that you can fold up against the wall when you’re done training.
As well, you can get a set of adjustable dumbbells instead of multiple pairs of dumbbells or a spin bike instead of a treadmill for cardio workouts. You can also get wall-mounted storage racks for your plates so you’re not taking up precious floor space with a plate storage tree.
6. Protect Your Floors
No matter where you put your home gym, you should make sure your floors can support your activity. Even cement floors in garages or basements can crack when weights are repeatedly dropped on them.
The best way to protect your floors is to build or purchase a lifting platform. Lifting platforms are made with a combination of plywood and rubber tiles and are sometimes surrounded by a metal frame. They absorb the shock from dropped weights and also help reduce noise, which is important to consider if you live with other people.
If you can’t buy or build a platform for whatever reason, you can get a pair of crash pads that also work to absorb shock and reduce noise. An added bonus of crash pads is that they’re easier to move around, so you can put them off to the side when you don’t need them.
Even if you don’t lift heavy weights, you should still get an exercise mat, rubber tiles, or horse stall mats to cover your floors. They’ll give you a softer surface to work out on, so if you do a lot of HIIT or jumping movements, you’ll put less stress on your ankles, knees, and calves.
One last thing to consider is whether or not you want to bolt your squat rack to the floor. If you do, you’ll need to make sure you can drill through any protective floor coverings. Otherwise, if you’re concerned about your squat rack wobbling, you can put heavy sandbags on it to keep it stable.
7. Double-Check the Construction of Your Walls When Installing Wall-Mounted Squat Racks or Pullup Bars
If you’re planning on getting wall-mounted squat racks or pullup bars, you should make sure your walls can handle the weight. A carpenter or general contractor can inspect your walls for you if you want an expert opinion.
Many squat rack manufacturers recommend the use of stringers when bolting racks to your walls. Stringers are wood or metal supports that add extra stability to anything that’s mounted to your wall. Instead of screwing nails directly into concrete or masonry, you screw them into the stringers, which allows for a more secure installation.
8. Leave Room for Heaters and Fans
If you work out in a garage, basement, or attic that’s not well-insulated, you’ll want something to help circulate air in the summer and warm up the space in the winter.
Fans and heaters don’t take up too much room, but you should still make sure you have enough space to fit them in your home gym so you can keep the temperature comfortable while you train.
Related Article: 20 Home Fitness Equipment Brands (That We Trust)
Equipment For Small Home Gym Set-Ups
As I mentioned earlier, when you start building your home gym, you don’t have to buy everything right away. It’s best to focus on a few essentials at the very beginning and add to it later on when you get a better feel for how everything will come together.
Of course, you have to consider your budget as well. Although you’ll save money in the long run by not paying for a gym membership, building a home gym will be a bit costly upfront. Buying equipment in phases gives you the opportunity to save money in between each large purchase rather than being stuck with a large expense at one time.
Must-Have Pieces of Equipment for Small Home Gyms
What you may consider a must-have for your home gym will depend on your goals, but for the most part, most home gyms will need at least the following:
- A squat stand
- A barbell
- A bench
Bodybuilders and individuals who work out for general health purposes may want to start out with different pieces of isolation equipment. For example, a bodybuilder may consider a cable station a must-have while a general fitness enthusiast may consider a treadmill a necessity.
There are also a few smaller pieces of equipment I consider must-haves, but because they don’t take up much space, you won’t have to worry about where to store them. These items include:
- A jump rope
- Resistance bands
I would also recommend that most home gym users get one or two kettlebells, but again, it depends on your goals. If you don’t need or want them, you’d be better off getting more dumbbells or using the space for something else.
Small Home Gym Equipment to Buy in the Future
When you have the essential pieces of equipment I listed above, you can do a good amount of strength and cardio training. For that reason, there are some things that you don’t need to buy right away, including:
- A plyo box
- Different types of bars, such as a trap bar, deadlift bar, or EZ curl bar
- Jerk blocks, if you’re an Olympic weightlifter
- Medicine balls
- Isolation machines
I put isolation machines on this list only because you probably won’t want to buy multiple machines at once since they can be pricey. These are definitely pieces of equipment that you can purchase over time if you’re concerned about your budget.
Other items on this list may not be necessary to you at all, so it’s important to consider both your current and future training goals before you start buying any equipment.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What Is A Good Size For A Home Gym?
A good size for a home gym is about 150-250 square feet. This gives you enough room for both strength and cardio equipment. But you can build a home gym even if you don’t have that much space available. You just have to be selective about which equipment you buy.
How Small Can A Home Gym Be?
You can build a home gym with as little as 50-60 square feet, but at that size, you’ll pretty much only have room for a bench and some dumbbells or a treadmill. For a home gym that includes a squat rack, a barbell, a bench, and plates, you should have at least 100 square feet. This will give you enough room to set up your equipment and still be able to walk around and lift comfortably.
One of my favorite benches is the Rep Fitness Ab 3100 (click for my full review)
What Is The Best Height For A Small Home Gym?
The best ceiling height for a small home gym will depend on several factors, including how tall your equipment is, how tall you are, and whether or not you’ll be doing a lot of overhead pressing and pullups. In most cases, a 9’ ceiling height is ideal. With ceilings of this height, you can fit most power cages, and most people can do pullups or overhead presses without hitting the ceiling.
If your ceiling is lower than 9’, you can still make a home gym work. You may not be able to fit a power cage, but you can get a squat stand instead, many of which stand at just 6’ tall. And you may not be able to do certain movements, but you can swap them out for others. For example, you can do different row variations instead of pullups or find substitutions for overhead presses.
If you’re tall and have low ceilings, you’ll also want to make sure you have enough clearance between the plates on the bar and the ceiling when you do overhead lifts. This is especially important if you train with bumper plates. They extend about eight inches over the bar, so you may hit the ceiling when you lift the bar overhead, especially if you have long arms.
One last thing to consider is whether or not you’ll be lifting on a raised platform. If so, you’ll need to account for a couple of inches of added height when trying to figure out how much room you have between the bar and the ceiling when you’re holding a barbell overhead.
Other Home Gym Resources
- How To Protect Your Floor From Weights (6 Ways)
- Putting A Squat Rack In An Apartment (Complete Guide)
- How Do I Warm-Up My Garage Gym (10 Tips That Actually Work)
- 15 Things To Consider When Buying A Home Gym Treadmill
- 9 Best Speakers For Garage Gym (Tried & Tested)
- 7 Best Dumbbells That You Can Drop Without Damaging Them
- Best Gym Clocks & Timers (Bought & Tested 7 Different Types)
- Best Cable Attachments (10 Options For Home Gyms)
- How To Store Dumbbells At Home (My Top 4 Favorite Ways)
Building a home gym has a lot of benefits, from saving money on a gym membership, being able to work out on your own time, and not having to wait for equipment to become available.
Fortunately, you can build a home gym in a room as small as 100 square feet. The equipment you buy depends on exactly how much space you have and what your training goals are, but the floor plans and tips I shared above should give you some ideas on how you can structure your own 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.