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Can You Leave Gym Equipment Outside

Can You Leave Gym Equipment Outside? (& How to Protect it)

If you’re anything like us, your home gym setup is likely expanding at a constant rate, and new equipment making its way into your home on a monthly basis. It’s great when you expand your setup but the issue is most of us are limited by space. 

Gym equipment is not small in size so, with each addition, it’s not just a struggle trying to find room to put stuff but also where to store it. The first thought that comes to mind is then alternative places to store gym equipment. 

So, can you leave gym equipment outside? You can leave gym equipment outside, however, depending on where you live globally, certain factors will need to be taken into consideration. You’ll need to protect your equipment from moisture, rain, and UV rays so keeping it covered, clean, and well oiled will be essential.

In this article, we’ll cover whether you can leave gym equipment outside and if so, what you need to do to maintain it. 

Can You Leave Gym Equipment Outside?

For the most part, you can leave gym equipment outside safely since it’s usually made of metal, specifically iron and steel. However, because of this, all equipment is susceptible to rust so you have to take precautions that vary based on the equipment.

Before we get into that, though, it helps to know if your “outside” is in a garage or on a patio as opposed to just out on the lawn. Under a roof and enclosed, you can always leave your equipment outside and just be sure to maintain it safely.

If you leave it in the yard, it’s not always advisable to let things sit on the grass depending on the weather. We’ll get into that later, but the short answers are yes for an enclosed space and most of the time without a roof or floor.

Can You Leave a Squat Rack Outside?

Yes, but there are 2 important things to know: Zinc and oil are your friends. Zinc is a water-resistant metal, so painting your squat rack once every few months will protect it from rust.

Oil isn’t as necessary here since there are no moving parts on a squat rack, but oil has water-wicking properties and will protect the metal from deteriorating over time. As with everything on this list, cover your rack when you’re done using and cleaning it.

Can You Leave Weights Outside?

Yes, especially if your weights have a rubber exterior. You can still safely leave your steel weights outside, but maintenance is essential to prevent rust on weights kept outside. Wiping them off is necessary, but you should clean them with soap every once in a while.

Either way, make sure they’re completely dry. The sun won’t do anything besides make them hot, but any moisture left on them will turn to rust. You might want to use a waterproof spray to protect them from sweat, too.

Whether it’s on a patio or on a mat in the yard, avoid setting weights down on the grass. Like the squat rack, a fresh coat of zinc will help keep your weights rust-free.

Can You Leave a Bench Press Outside?

Technically yes, but bench presses are more prone to being affected. Rain is obviously an issue, but covering your press will help. They also make paste wax to protect the metal. The sun will wear any padding, fading colors, and crack the material until it falls apart.

That’s why covering it when not in use is so important, which especially happens when it’s cold. You probably don’t workout outside as much when it’s cold, but using the bench will keep rust from forming.

If you don’t want to brave the weather, you might want to disassemble your bench press for the winter and store it safely until you can use it again. Otherwise, chances are good that it will rust.

Can You Leave a Multi-Gym Outside?

This is the hardest choice because you can but you might not want to. A multi-gym poses all of the problems mentioned above combined: Padding, iron or steel, and rust, plus it has working parts that need oiling because they’re extremely susceptible to rust.

With all of that said, as long as you keep it covered, oiled, cleaned, and off the direct ground you can leave your multi-gym outside but you still might want to store it inside during the winter.

How to Protect Gym Equipment Outside

A lot of this goes back to earlier, with how “outside” your equipment is. Since the main threat is rust from moisture, the order of protection is under a roof, followed by a pergola, and lastly out on the lawn.

On the Patio

A covered patio or garage is the best way to protect your gym equipment, but it doesn’t mean you don’t have to take measures to avoid rust. While the roof will keep it safe from the weather, humid air can still find its way into the room and sweat gets on equipment.

One way to prevent this issue is to get in the habit of wiping off your equipment after you’re finished working out. Be thorough, especially if you use a machine because the gears and screws are prone to rust.

The other option is to oil your equipment periodically. This will add a protective coat and loosen the metal to not only prevent rust by wicking moisture away, but make your equipment run smoothly.

Under a Pergola

A pergola is the next best thing for your outdoor equipment, because the flooring will keep things off the ground. However, the latticed structure of a pergola leaves your equipment susceptible to the weather.

On top of cleaning your equipment from sweat, you need to make sure you cover your equipment if it’s going to rain or snow. They make special covers for equipment that are tighter and prevent moisture from getting in, but you should use a tarp at the very least.

In the Yard

Beyond the issues above, equipment in the yard has to contend with being on grass. Grass gathers dew and gets muddy, so the best way to protect your equipment is to either lay something down or build a simple floor.

It doesn’t have to be fancy, just something sturdy. If your equipment is portable, you might consider folding it up and placing it in an outdoor storage area or bringing it under an awning when it storms for added protection.

Most gym equipment is made with rust in mind, so they come with a rust-resistant coating. When you’re finished working out, be sure to gently place your weights down as opposed to dropping them because this will wear down the coating.

Remove Rust

Eventually, rust will likely form on the metal equipment no matter what you do. When this happens, here are some tips to remove it:

  1. Spray something acidic on it. There are special rust-removing solutions, or you can use something homemade like Coke or a 50-50 mixture of water and vinegar.
  2. After that’s had time to soak, use a brush to rub off the rust. Stick with a softer brush because steel will scratch up your equipment. You can also use sandpaper.
  3. Once you’ve removed the rust, go over the area with an anti-corrosive spray or paint. You can find these at most athletic stores.

Final Thoughts

Depending on the type of equipment you’re using, most gym equipment can be kept outside. You’ll need to take precautions to ensure equipment doesn’t rust or crack so regular cleaning, being kept out of direct sunlight/rain, and being covered are basic factors to tick off. 
If you can create external storage outside, this would be the ideal scenario, especially using an outdoor container like a shed or storage box. The cost of this will usually offset the time and effort required to maintain equipment if you were to just keep it outside in the open.