8 Essentials to Equip Your Ultimate Home or Garage Gym for Under $1500

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Franz Rivoira
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Equipment Ultimate Garage Gym

8 Essentials to Equip Your Ultimate Home or Garage Gym for Under $1500

You can get a monthly membership at a local globo gym for around $20-30, which makes it a bargain even if you only go twice or three times a month. Spread out over a year, it still only amounts to a little over $200, which is fine.

If you’re not finding the time to get to the gym, however, or if your $20 a month membership isn’t getting you anything other than entry — i.e. the equipment isn’t great and there’s not a lot in the way of coaching — then you could be wasting a lot of precious time.

You Dream Home Gym or Garage Gym Setup for Under $1500?

Then there’s CrossFit, where a two-month membership can cost as much as your annual membership might cost at the globo gym. You’ll get more personalized coaching and the chance to socialize, but if you’re someone who prefers to workout alone, don’t want to go out into the cold, or you’re looking for a way to supplement your gym membership with home workouts, then investing in a home gym setup can be done for under $1,500. You don’t need to renovate your home to do so (as wonderful an idea as that might be), and this can be a test for greater things.

Seems like a hefty pay-out, and it’s not cheap, we’ll grant you, but since you’re the only one who will be using your kit, then it’s going to last a long time, and when it comes to serious fitness equipment, quality really does matter.

Groom+Style have put together the key components of an awesome garage gym, covering everything you’ll need so that you’re always just minutes away from whatever workout you’re looking for — full body, or isolated.

The Basics of the Ultimate Garage Gym

A well thought-out garage gym should be more than a dusty set of dumbbells and a chest expander. You want to make sure that you have certain key areas covered, so that you’re not only motivated to get started, but so that you have everything you need to stay safe and train effectively.

The 8 items listed below will cover the 3 core requirements for any effective home based gym:

  • Warm-up and stretching equipment
  • A full body setup
  • Equipment for isolating and accessory work

1. Start with a Yoga Mat

Equipment Ultimate Garage Gym - Reehut Extra Thick High Density NBR Exercise Yoga Mat for Pilates
Extra Thick High Density NBR Exercise Mat. Click on the photo to see the Price on Amazon.

It’s easy to skip the warm-up when you’re training at home. Why, we don’t know, but you shouldn’t, and these simple pieces of kit will help to make sure you’re training safely and effectively.

Taking the time to prepare your body for exercise should be a priority. If it’s not, then you’re not training effectively. Yoga is exercise in its own right, but you don’t need to spend too long using it to get ready. All we’re talking about is 10-15 minutes of dynamic stretching to both lengthen your muscles, prepare your joints and bring some awareness into your body and mind.

Check prices of yoga mats on Amazon

2. Resistance Bands

Equipment Ultimate Garage Gym - Limm Exercise Resistance Loop Bands
Bands. Click photo for Price on Amazon.

Resistance bands are great for firing up muscles before lifting and exercising. They come in varying strengths, and are especially useful for activating muscles in the back, shoulders and glutes. Work these into the beginning of your routine, before you start the heavy stuff.

Check prices of Resistance Bands on Amazon

3. Squat Rack with Pull-Up Bar

Equipment Ultimate Garage Gym - Cap Barbell Power Rack Exercise Stand
Exercise Stand. Click photo for Price on Amazon.

Two of the basics covered right here in squats and pull-ups. Investing in a solid squat rack with a built-on pull-up bar is essential for getting the most out of the space you have at home. We’ve linked to a very reasonably priced setup, but if you’re planning on using a lot more weight, or you’re going to be doing kipping pull-ups and other CrossFit related movements, then you might want to consider something with a little more weight.

Check prices of squat racks on Amazon

4. Olympic Style Barbell

If you’re serious about weight training, then investing in an Olympic style barbell is going to give you the best opportunity to train efficiently and in a way that’s challenging. If you’re going to be doing squats, deadlift, cleans, bench press and so on, it’s with an Olympic barbell that you’ll get the best center of gravity and weight distribution. The handling is better than on standard, cheaper barbells, too, and because they’re heavy (45 lbs men’s bar / 33 lbs women’s bar), using one is a workout in itself.

Check prices of Olympic barbells on Amazon

5. Bumper Weight Plates

Equipment Ultimate Garage Gym - Hi Temp Heavy Duty Rubber Bumper Olympic Weight Plates 260 lb
Heavy Duty Bumper Olympic Weight Plates 260 lb. Click photo for Price on Amazon.

Your biggest investment by far in your home or garage gym is going to be the weight plates. For now, even though you’re still spending a lot of money on these, bear in mind that you’re not going to get a huge amount of weight for the money we’re talking. Best to start off with our suggestion below, then add to your weights as you go.

This selection of plates has a combined weight of 260 lbs, which is fine for most workouts, and for working small sets on your squats. Set contains 10, 15, 25, 35 and 45 lb plates.

Check prices of bumper weight plates on Amazon

6. A Pair of Dumbbells

Once again, realistically, you’re only going to be able to afford one set of decent dumbbells at first, if your budget is around the $1,500 mark. Start out with a medium weight that’s going to serve you well for most workouts, and build on that as your gym grows.

Check prices of dumbbells on Amazon

If you do find yourself having money to spare then consider a set of:

high quality adjustable dumbbells

7. Speed Jump Rope

Equipment Ultimate Garage Gym - Jump Rope - Premium Quality - Best for Boxing MMA Fitness Training
Click photo for Price on Amazon.

Weightlifting equipment is going to take up most of your budget, since the push-ups, running, burpees and what have you are totally free. A good jump rope, however, opens up a lot of other possibilities, and can improve not only your cardiovascular fitness, but also muscular endurance and coordination.

Check prices of jump ropes on Amazon

8. Chalk for Your Hands

That’s about all you need to get started with an awesome home or garage gym of your own, but if you have any money left over, then we highly recommend buying some chalk. It’ll make lifting during hot weather (and when you’re sweaty) easier and safer. The chalk balls and blocks are better and cleaner than the loose chalk, and if you need to keep things clean, then liquid chalk is another great option.

Check prices of lifting chalk on Amazon

Things You Might Want to Consider Later On:

If you are well on your way to building or setting up your ultimate home gym then you can also consider adding a few other items to your arsenal.

How about:

A top of the line rowing machine

An ab machine to further shred that six pack

A simple balance ball to vary your work?

A high quality mini trampoline is also a great way to vary your workouts.

A weighted vest which can very easily be used to add intensity to your favourite cardio or strength training workout!

Until then, happy sweating.


  • Franz Rivoira

    Franz is an expert in watches and grooming. He has extensive knowledge of mechanical watches and loves exploring the details that make each one unique. He's also passionate about helping men look their best and shares tips on grooming, including achieving a perfect shave or maintaining a healthy beard. Franz is a go-to source for anyone looking to elevate their style game. Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/franzrivoira/