Not everyone has space available for a gym in their house but they would still like to set up a home gym and get away from the membership prices of a commercial gym.
So maybe it’s time to start looking in other areas of your property. How about a backyard home gym? Lots of people are going this route now, whether it be an outdoor gym, a covered gym, or even a garden shed. You can get all the same equipment you would put in your house and maybe even things you wouldn’t.
Imagine having the freedom to workout whenever it is convenient for you, not having to worry about the commute to the gym or if it’s going to be a busy time when you get there.
So let’s start thinking outside the box and go through some things to consider before getting started with the planning of your backyard home gym.
Covered vs Not Covered
First you need to figure out where you are going to set up your backyard home gym. You could use a garden shed to put some equipment in and still have outdoor activities as well. If you live in an area that gets cold in the winter consider an insulated shed with a heat source so your gym will work all year round.
It wouldn’t take a very big shed to fit a squat rack and some free weights, just be sure you know the dimensions of the rack you want before you build your shed. Also, make sure to leave enough room for the width of the bar on the rack and a bit of space on either side to be able to lift the weight plates on to the bar.
One of the great things about setting up a gym in your backyard is the freedom to build an obstacle style course and have equipment that would be too tall to fit in a house. Examples would be a rope climb or a climbing wall, both of which could double as activities for the kids.
Maybe you are in a warm climate where all you need is protection from the rain so a simple roof would be good for you. If you don’t have the time to build one from scratch most of the big home building centers have gazebos that would large enough to fit some weight equipment. I would probably steer clear of any cable machines or any equipment with moving parts that could develop rust when being exposed to the elements, these items would be better suited for the full shed design.
Weights vs Body Weight
Deciding what equipment to get can be a bit daunting, if you haven’t already, check out my post on home gym weight equipment here to decide what you really need. If you just want to stick with bodyweight training to save on some upfront costs consider something like this adjustable power tower that allows you to do several bodyweight exercises.
Another great option would be a space-saving squat rack , you could add an adjustable bench and get the same workout as you would at a commercial gym. It may seem like an expensive piece of equipment but I have been using mine in my home gym for 9 years and it still looks as good as the day I set it up. If you do the math for a gym membership and fuel to travel to the gym for 9 years setting up a backyard home gym will save you a lot over the years.
A simple pulley set up or two could be attached to a lot of things to make your own functional trainer system. Hang it off the squat rack, attach it to the walls of the shed or any piece of outdoor equipment so it can be removed and stored indoors when not in use. This would be a great addition to your backyard home gym for a fraction of the cost of a full cable machine set-up, it will have some limitations in comparison though.
If however, your budget and space allows for a full functional trainer this space-saving design is a great choice and offers all the exercise options of the big commercial units.
Lay Out the Space
Once you have an idea of what style of backyard home gym you plan to build you need to start laying out a design. If you decided to go with weight equipment you should consider a good rubber floor covering to protect both the weights and the floor.
Setting up your space will depend on how much room you have and what type of equipment you plan to purchase. Something to consider would be adding a full length mirror, not just for checking out your newly acquired muscles but also for keeping an eye on your form.
A good portable Bluetooth speaker will help to set the atmosphere, play your favourite workout playlist to stay motivated. If you are building your backyard home gym in an enclosed area consider adding good L.E.D lights to make the space a little brighter.
One last thing to consider is adding some privacy, you may not want all of your neighbors watching you as you workout, or maybe you do. If you aren’t too concerned with the aesthetics of it you could pick up a simple privacy screen and hang it on an existing fence or between two posts. If you are looking for something that is a little more pleasing to the eye or matches your backyard a little better consider building an outdoor living wall, or fake it with these artificial wall panels.
Nothing To It But To Do It
Now that you’ve made the decision to build a backyard home gym and started all the planning the fun is really going to begin. Think of the satisfaction of knowing you will never have to hand money over for a gym membership again, you will never have to wait for a piece of equipment or wipe off someone else’ sweat.
One of the best decisions I ever made was building my own home gym, at first it took some getting used to and I had to find ways to motivate myself, but now I couldn’t imagine going to a gym packed full of people. The idea of not being able to workout when it’s convenient for me or when I only have half an hour of free time was more than enough reason for me to spend the money to set up my space.
I would love to hear in the comments about your backyard home gym!