How to Build an Amazing Home Gym in a Small Space

A car parked in a compact garage gym

You don’t need a big space to build an epic home gym. As Louie Simmons put it, “Big isn’t strong. Strong is strong.” If you can clear out the corner of your garage, basement, or even a bedroom, you can get in a killer workout from home.

And we’re not talking about bodyweight exercises with a few bands (not that there’s anything wrong with that). We’re talking full-on strength-training with weights, cables, cardio, the whole shebang. All you need is the right gear. Here’s how to do it.

A squat rack folded up on the wall
The center of your small home gym is this compact but incredibly sturdy squat rack. It comes in two sizes, but the shallowest is 21.5” deep. This wall-mounted rack folds in on itself, so when it’s stored away it only takes up 6” of extra space from the wall. No floor space required.

Don’t let the small footprint fool you, though. The PR-4100 is as sturdy as heck, with 3x3” 11-gauge steel uprights and the ability to handle a half a ton in weight. And when you’re done, it’s easy to fold up. Bonus: It’s compatible with a bunch of optional attachments, like a landmine press, spotter arms, and a dip attachment.

Wall-Mounted Athena attachment + 5000 Series Wall Mounted Fixed Rack

Wall-Mounted Athena

If you're looking for more than a basic squat rack, opt for the Wall-Mounted Athena ™ attachment instead. This is a low-profile cable attachment that integrates into a wall-mounted 5000 Series rack. So you get all of the versatility of a rack plus a fully functioning cable machine all in a small footprint. 
The Athena ™ attachment is an excellent functional trainer (cable machine) attachment with weight stacks up to 220lbs per side (with a 2:1 ratio, that feels like 110lbs). 

AB-4100 Adjustable Weight Bench

Lifter moving the AB-4100 adjustable bench

The second must-have for any home gym is an adjustable weight bench, and the AB-4100 offers the most options in the smallest package. An adjustable bench offers more workout variations than a standard flat bench, and when space is tight, it’s all about multi-purpose use.

This super compact bench takes up only 7.2SQFT of working space and weighs only 85lbs, so it’s easy to wheel around. Choose between seven different back positions (0 to 85 degrees) and three seat positions (flat, 10, and 20 degrees). When you’re done, store it up and out of the way, thanks to a built-in storage post with rubber coating (for stability and to protect your floor).

Adjustable Dumbbells 

If you’re working with limited real estate, you definitely don’t have space for a full rack of dumbbells. So, go with a pair of adjustable dumbbells instead. They're like having multiple dumbbells in one. 

Choose between three different types.

The basic Adjustable Dumbbells have a simple screw-style adjustment mechanism. The 40lb set comes with two handles, four 5lbs plates, and four 2.5lb plates (plus collars to secure everything in place). If you need more weight, you can buy additional 10lb plates for the 40lb set. Or go with the 52.5lb dumbbell (with eight 5lb plates, two 2.5s, and two 1.25s). 

QuickDraw  adjustable dumbbells are the premium option, featuring innovative switch technology that's secure, easy, and fast to change. Choose from four different size options: a pair that spans 5-30lbs; 5-40lbs; 5-50lbs; or 5-60lbs. These dumbbells have been proven to withstand not only flat but also angled drop tests. 

Check out how durable the QuickDraw dumbbells are compared to others on the market below. 

Then there is the REP x PÉPIN FAST Series Adjustable DumbbellThese premier adjustable dumbbells are heavier and more compact than most adjustable dumbbells on the market. An adjustable dumbbell that starts at 10lbs and can go up to 125lbs at only 18.3” long is pretty much unheard of.

It’s quick, easy, safe, and satisfying to change the weight in 10lb increments – with just the press of a magnetic pop-pin. Adjust weight inside or outside the cradles (ideal for drop sets). Or add the included 2.5lb micro-plates for smaller adjustments. Adjustable dumbbells take up a small footprint in your gym, especially when compared with a standard set of 10-125lb dumbbells. 

Colorado Bar

Man lifting with the Colorado Bar

A barbell is an incredible versatile piece of equipment, and the Colorado can do it all. This bar is mixed-use, meaning it’s built for powerlifting, Olympic weightlifting, and cross-training/HIIT-style workouts. It features medium-depth knurling for good grip when you need it, but it won’t demolish your hands when you need to do high-rep speed work. 

Learn all about the Colorado Bar below.

For a set of plates, go with Equalizers. Bumpers may be quiet, but they take up more space. Equalizers are thinner, high quality, and the larger plates feature symmetrical grip holes that add versatility. In addition to loading the plates on your barbell, you can also grip the holes for front plate raises, makeshift farmer carries, and other exercises, in lieu of more dumbbells or other equipment.

Store your weight plates up and off the floor with a wall-mounted storage rack. Opt for the double weight horn for extra storage. Just mount this unit on your wall and keep your plates organized and out of the way. This rack is made from solid steel, so it’s tough and aesthetic.

Get the rest of your goodies off the floor with a Multi-Use Wall Storage. This gorgeous, wall-mounted organization system can hold up to six barbells, or other gear, like jump ropes, weight belts, chains, and bands. Paired with the weight storage unit, and you’ve got a zero-footprint equipment solution. 

Of course, you can get in cardio with no equipment (burpees, run, jump), but if you want to add some structure to your cardio, a jump rope takes up pretty much no space. This speed rope is adjustable and swift enough for double-unders and crossovers.

If you need a low-impact cardio option, the Ski-Row Dual Function Ski and Rowing Erg is an impressively compact piece of high-quality equipment that’s two machines in one. Use it for both rowing and skiing workouts.

Finally, top off your tiny home gym with some simple Pull-Up Bands. These small, lightweight bands can add a ton of options to your workout. Use them for warming up, recovery, to train pull-ups, and to provide extra challenges on compound lifts. These come in seven different sizes of varying widths and colors. A super inexpensive and easy way to round out your gym.