In the last few years, home gyms have become increasingly popular.
Home gyms have loads of advantages. They’re much more convenient and flexible to use than regular gyms, as you don’t have to travel to get to them or worry about how busy they’ll be. You also don’t have to worry about opening times if the gym is in your home.
Home gyms are also cost-effective. Although they require an initial investment, they’re cheaper in the long term when you consider how much it costs each month for a gym membership.
In creating a home gym, or expanding a setup you already have, space is probably the most important factor to consider. Whether you’re thinking about using a garage, a spare bedroom, a shed, or somewhere else, ensuring you have the necessary amount of space is going to be crucial for your home gym.
So, how much space do you need for a home gym? Read on and we’ll cover all the specifications and key measurements that you need to be aware of if you want to fit all of your preferred equipment into your available space.
Minimum Space Required for a Home Gym
The minimum space needed for a home gym is typically 3m x 3m. This amount of space should be enough for your choice of equipment, whether this is a treadmill or squat rack, as well as enough space for you to safely move around.
So, usually, you’re going to need a space that is 3m x 3m (10ft x 10ft) for a home gym. With this amount of space, you should have room for bigger pieces of equipment, like a spin bike or free weight stand. As this kind of equipment can be bulky it’s good to measure up in advance to know exactly how much room it’s going to need.
As well as room for equipment it’s important to leave some empty space. This is because a lot of equipment, like treadmills and squat racks, require a clearance of space around them for safety. Obviously cluttered gyms aren’t safe, so leaving a good clearance around the equipment is important.
It’s also good to have some empty space so that you can do exercise that doesn’t require a big piece of equipment, like jumping rope, push-ups, or burpees. You can also use this space for stretching, warm-ups before working out, and cool-downs after a workout.
Overall then a space that’s 3m x 3m should be enough for a couple of pieces of workout equipment, as well as the necessary clearance space. It should also give you some empty space for exercises that don’t need equipment.
Check out this video on setting up a home gym with limited space:
This amount of space though is really a minimum requirement for a home gym. With more space, you can add more equipment and really maximize what workouts you’re able to do from home, so if you have the option to potentially increase the space you’re using that’s a great bonus.
To demonstrate, I had a 3m x 3m space and this picture shows how much space I had:
And this is the equipment that I was able to fit into the space available:
- Mirafit M2 Power Rack (with cable attachment)
- 7ft barbell
- 180kg worth of weight plates
- Hard Castle Semi-Commercial Weight Bench
- Senshi Landmine and handle
There was space for an exercise bike or rowing machine but with this equipment, I was essentially maxed out on space.
When planning a home gym, most people think about the ground space they’re going to need. But it’s also important to think about the ceiling height of the space you’re planning to use. This is especially the case if you’re thinking about using a basement, attic, or garage as your home gym as these rooms aren’t always a standard height.
Gym equipment can be tall, so it’s important to look at the equipment you’d be buying to make sure it actually fits in the space you’re planning to use. It’s also important to remember that many pieces of equipment require a clearance of space above them, so this is something to consider and allocate when getting different equipment.
For example, if you’re planning to do pull-ups using a pull-up bar then it’s important to have at least a foot of clearance above it for your head.
We cover how to set up a pull-up bar and the correct pull-up bar height in this guide – which takes into consideration overhead clearance.
So a good rule to think about is to ensure that any equipment you buy is at least a foot below your ceiling height, as this should always give you enough clearance. The only exception would be if you’re especially tall, in which case you might need some more clearance.
One other factor to consider when planning the space you could use as a home gym is power. Now if it’s an indoor room then having power outlets is probably a given. But don’t forget that some pieces of equipment might need to be plugged in, or charged. So you need to account for having these pieces close to power outlets.
If you’re thinking of converting a room that doesn’t have power outlets into a home gym, such as a garage or a basement, then adding power outlets is an important thing to think about.
Although you could use extension cords from other rooms, having wires running across the floor isn’t ideal as it poses a potential hazard.
Another thing to think about is flooring.
Gym floors are usually made from rubber and there’s a good reason for this. It protects your floor against damage, such as from dropped weights, but also stops your equipment from getting damaged by the floor which can happen if you have hard floorings like wood or concrete.
Check out our guide for garage gym flooring here, this covers everything from the type of rubber flooring you should get, to how you can protect non-rubber flooring.
If you don’t want to have a full rubber floor, or if this just isn’t an option, then I’d recommend getting some rubber mats. This can go underneath exercise equipment to stop damage and that way they won’t take up too much space or be too much of an eyesore.
Having a space with windows is great for ventilation, both during intense workouts and afterward when you want to get rid of that sweaty workout smell. It’s also good as you can have some natural light, which has been proven to improve productivity and focus, as well as mood.
However, windows can pose a hazard in home gyms as they can easily get broken by gym equipment. This often happens with weight bars. So it’s important to make sure that you leave a good clearance of about 1ft around windows. This way you can avoid a costly bill from a broken window.
This is also true for mirrors. Many people include mirrors in home gyms so that they can see their form when working out. This is obviously important as ensuring you’ve got proper form can make a huge difference to your workout’s effectiveness.
However, as with windows, mirrors can easily get broken by equipment. So it’s crucial to always leave a good clearance of at least 1’ around them.
What’s the goal
With all of this being said though, the space you need for a home gym is also going to depend on what your goal is with your home gym including what type of equipment and workouts you’re planning on doing. For example, are you looking to do more cardio, or are you looking to gain muscle through weight training?
Knowing what your goal is is important as it will determine the kinds of equipment you’ll have in your home gym. Here I’ve broken it down and explained how much space you’ll need for some of the most popular home gym equipment:
Space Needed for Cardio Equipment
For cardio equipment, you’ll need at least 2m (L) x 2m (W) for the equipment. This is because you also need to factor in space around it for safety reasons, this is especially the case with equipment like treadmills which need a good clearance behind them.
So cardio equipment itself typically doesn’t take up a huge amount of space. Equipment like treadmills, elliptical machines, spin bikes, and rowing machines aren’t that big and will usually fit within a space that’s between 2m x 2m (6.5ft x 6.5ft).
However, it’s important to remember that you’ll need some space around these. Rowing machines need clearance around them so you can comfortably use them and spin bikes will need a few meters clearance above them for when you’re doing standing cycling.
Although treadmills don’t need clearance for use, they do need a clearance of about 3 meters for safety. So this is an important thing to factor in when planning your home gym.
Space Needed for Squat Rack
The space needed for a squat rack will vary depending on the size of the rack you’re using. Squat racks can vary in size with smaller options usually about 45 x 25 x 80 inches. You’ll also need at least 8ft clearance space to accommodate the length of a standard 7ft bar. Therefore a minimum of 2.5m x 2.5m (8ft x 8ft) is needed.
The good news with squat racks is that there are a variety of sizes available so you can adapt what product you get to meet the space you have available.
If you have a small amount of space then there are smaller racks available, but if you have a bigger space then it’s a good idea to go for a bigger model.
Some of these smaller racks include:
The main thing to remember is that you need to account for the barbell. Typically, Olympic barbells are 7ft in length and they stick out either side of the squat rack. So it’s important to account for this and leave a good clearance on either side of the rack.
You can get 6ft, 5ft, and 4ft barbells, but for a complete workout, a 7ft barbell is the standard recommendation.
It’s worth noting that if you are looking for a squat or power rack set up as a priority, we also have this guide on how much space is needed for a power rack. This factors in all equipment you need as well as the type of lifts you’ll be doing.
Space Needed for Free Weights
The space needed for free weights varies. For a basic setup including a weight bench and dumbbells, you’ll need about 2m x 2.5m (7ft x 8ft), This factors in the size of the bench, space needed to perform free weight exercises, and also storage for the dumbbells.
Free weights and dumbbells are a good option for a home gym because they don’t take up a huge amount of space. A basic setup will only take up about 2m x 2.5 (7ft x 8ft) and will still allow you space for full-body workouts.
This is ideal if you’re looking to convert a pretty tight space into your home gym like a single car garage or even a spare room.
The other benefit is that this setup can be easily developed and expanded if you do have more space. Bigger free weight options are available, and you can gradually add a squat stand, power rack, or even cardio equipment as you scale up.
I’d advise that you look at the size of the equipment you’re looking to get though. A bigger selection of weights is obviously going to take up more space, so it’s important that your setup is big enough to accommodate the weights you need to train with.
Storage is key here and you’ll want to make use of a rack or vertical storage to store sets of dumbbells. A more convenient option could be adjustable dumbbells but these might not be in the weight range or budget that you are looking for.
The other thing to think about is width.
Dumbbell chest flys, where you stretch out both your arms, are probably the exercise needing the most space that you’d do with free weights, so just make sure you’ve got enough space for this. It’s a good idea to give yourself some clearance of 3m (10ft) around this width too, especially if you’re close to a mirror, window, or other surfaces that could easily be broken.
How Much Space do you Need for a Home Gym?
For a home gym, you need a minimum space of 3m (length) x 3m (width) x 2.16m (height). This will allow you to store a squat rack, weight bench, free weight section, and a piece of cardio equipment like a spin bike. Most home gyms will need to be 4m x 4m x 2.16m though to cater for all this equipment.
Everyone will have different preferences, requirements, and available space so there isn’t a one size fits all approach when making a home gym. So people may only need 2m x 2m to perform bodyweight training or yoga whereas others need a minimum of 4m x 4m for Bodybuilding equipment.
Whatever your requirements, it’s important to follow some key practices when designing a home gym:
- Measure everything – length, width, and height all need to be measured and then you’ll also want to work out the floor space available in square meters or square feet. This helps plan specific equipment much easier.
- Factor in infrastructure – if using a blank canvas, you’ll need to consider the addition of flooring, insulation, heating, and ventilation. All of these factors will improve your home gym environment but ultimately reduce your available space for equipment or training.
- Be efficient with purchases – space in a home gym will always be an issue. It doesn’t matter how much space or equipment you have because we always want more! Therefore, combine equipment where possible. A good example is a power rack with a cable pulley, a 2-in-1 hack squat and leg press, or adjustable dumbbells.
Building a home gym is a very personal and individual project. Everyone not only has a different space to work with (with its own challenges and conditions), but also no two people will have the same goals and equipment requirements.
As a very general guide, you need a minimum space of 3m x 3m to create a basic home gym with space for free weights, cardio equipment, and/or a power rack. These are the fundamental items you’d want and anything less than a 3m x 3m space will restrict you.
If you really have a small space to work with then keep an eye on this site, we’ll be producing an article series specifically dedicated to building a home gym in a small space.