Building a Home Gym on a Budget: Part 2

In case you missed it, on Wednesday I wrote part 1 of this post, where I talked about a few pieces of my home gym, and how you can get such things while on a budget.  I recommend checking it out, if only for the great picture of dogs who eat poop.

Now I know you’ve all been in suspense, just dying to know how I got so awesome what else I have in my home gym, so today we’ll finish up that business and then also talk a little bit about other things I want that will help me to make my home fitness experience even better.

Let’s get to it!

Weight VestA weight vest is an excellent piece of equipment for many many reasons. You can use it to add weight to your pull ups, push ups, lunges, squats, and other full body movements. You can use it as additional weight for things like goblet KB squats for heavier lifts without a lot of big, bulky equipment. You can also wear it while running stairs or stadiums — talk about an ass kicker.

Price Point: You can find these new for anywhere from $40-$250 on Amazon, depending on how much weight you want (20-80 lb). The one we have holds about 40 lb, and is listed at about $240 new. Budget Tip: Again, buy used! Craigslist, Ebay, Second hand sporting goods stores; these are all great places to find something like this. Ours came from Ebay for the very reasonable price of $120 and is in good-as-new condition.

Foam RollerI’m not going to go into a lot of detail here because I have a post about foam rolling coming up in the very near future, but this piece of equipment is great for keeping your muscles healthy. And we all know that unhealthy muscles are unhappy muscles! There are also other smaller, more portable tools that are similar, such as The Stick, and The Tigertail, both of which I love.

Price Point: A foam roller will run  you anywhere from about $20-30 depending on the quality. The Stick and Tigertail both retail for around $25-30 as well. Budget Tip: If you’re really brave, cruise on over to your local hardware store, and ask them to cut you a piece of PVC piping to use instead of the foam roller. You’ll spend a fraction of the price, and it’s actually an excellent, durable version that makes the foam roller feel like a cloud. We’re basically talking NFL vs. Powder Puff football here.  And instead of a smaller, portable roller, an athlete of mine told me that he uses a rolling pin at home. Genius!

Foam roller, PVC pipe, and The Stick. All great for different reasons!

Suspension Training Set: Of course I’m referring to the TRX or something similar. This is an extremely space efficient piece of equipment that you can use to do virtually any exercise, and it’s easily portable as well for when you travel. And now that you’ve got that pull-up bar, you’ve got the perfect place in your house to use it!

Price Point: A new TRX set will cost you about $200. EEK! Budget Tip: Make your own! My genius boyfriend made one using gymnastic rings and these nylon straps, all for the hefty price of about $40. Simple, inexpensive, yet ridiculously valuable in terms of workout potential. WIN.

Val SlidesVal Slides are a great tool for adding a new twist to lunges, mountain climbers, supine hamstring curls, all types of ab exercises, among countless other things. The only problem is, as small as they are, they’re pricey little buggers. Price Point: You can find these on Amazon for about $30-$40. Budget Trip: 2 words: Furniture Sliders. You can find a set of these at a hardware store, Walmart, Target, etc. for anywhere from $5-$10. Essentially the same thing at a small fraction of the price FTW.

Drawer O’ Fun – You know how you have that junk drawer in the kitchen with everything from batteries and scissors to old buttons and thimbles? Yep, it’s like that, only filled with workout gear. Assorted resistance bands, band loops, a set of ab-wheels, and a jumprope; this drawer is anything but “junk”. It’s the little things that can add just enough extra challenge to your workout, and can help you to get creative in order to avoid stale, boring workouts.

Price Point: The priciest thing in this drawer is the ab-wheels, and those were about $40 new. Budget Tip: Little things like this you can acquire over time, and many times you can find small pieces of equipment like this on Amazon, or in stores like TJ Maxx and Marshalls. Also, if you have any friends who are Athletic Trainers, they may be nice and give you a few band loops to use 😉

Come on, what’s more fun than THIS drawer o’ fun?

Other: We also have a heavy chain that’s about 40 lb. Really its only purpose is to make me feel badass. On a side note, if you get one of these, be careful of rust. What a pain.

Fun with chains!

My Home Gym Wish ListAlthough we have a lot, there are still more things I would love to have.  I would absolutely love to have battling ropes, although those pose a serious space issue, and I’m not sure I have a great place to use them. Will and I have also thrown around the idea of getting a truck tire (you know, a big one), and a sledge hammer, for some backyard fun. What is more badass than flipping tires in your own backyard? Or hacking away at one with sledge hammer? Nothing at all.  If we do get one, I’ll be sure to get some good pictures of me using it, because I’m pretty sure that would provide some serious comic relief.

So there you have it! My home gym in a (2-part) nutshell, and some ideas for creating your own. I would also recommend checking out Alexandra’s post about making her own squat rack (talk about ambitious!), and Juliet’s post about making her own TRX, which is much different than mine, to give you some more ideas.

What else would you include in your home gym? Do you think that it’s necessary to have a lot of equipment? How often do you work out at home or do you prefer the gym? 

Have a great weekend everyone! Stay classy. 

21 thoughts on “Building a Home Gym on a Budget: Part 2

  1. Hey thanks for the link girl!! 😀 I just love when you do posts like this– they always inspire me to get creative with adding things to my home gym. And that’d be wicked cool if yall got a truck tire for your backyard!
    Now I gotta go read Juliet’s TRX post, that sounds LEGIT!!

    1. The tire truck definitely would be awesome… I’m thinking we’ll get on that next spring when it gets warm again!

  2. This was a great series of posts, Stephanie! And your home gym is truly ballin’. I haven’t added much to mine recently, but next on the list is weights for my drag sled, furniture ‘valsalides’, and a sand bag. Sand bags cost pennies…well… a few dollars. What do you do with your chain? I might look into that!

    1. Thanks so much Juliet!! Ahh… sandbags would be a great addition to the home gym, excellent idea! And as for the chain, sometimes I just put it in a backpack and use it as extra weight when I head out to do outdoor workouts, and sometimes I just pull it hand over hand back and forth for a little bit of an UB endurance type of workout… I don’t actually know if it’s doing anything effective but it makes me feel cool 🙂 … And I just realized how strange and dirty that sounded. whatevvs.

  3. These are seriously some great ideas and fantastic swaps!! I particularly love your homemade TRX – AWESOME!

    1. Thanks so much! I give full credit to Will on that (and most of it, as a matter of fact), he’s been the one to find most of this awesomeness!

  4. a trainer i met has battle ropes in his gym & he stores them in a little homemade box with a crank so that when he’s not using them he just winds it up and they wrap back into the box – amazing space saver! but other than that, your home gym is bad ass!! thanks for posting!

    1. That kind of box is a great idea… maybe I’ll look into that and actually get some ropes! Thanks for the idea, and thanks for checking in! 🙂

  5. You are awesome! Although I did laugh when you said you had a drawer of fun….sorry, dirty mind!

    The cheapest foam roller I could find in Australia was $89. Yeah…..thankfully I can buy a $20 one like everyone else now!

    1. Gee Thanks Tara! Haha, now that you mention it, it makes me giggle too 🙂 And WHAT? $89 for a foam roller? That’s just nonsense!

  6. Thumbs up on the Ron Burgundy pic. Great link, love the homemade TRX. I’m all for the occasional home work out, but I’m one that just likes the “feel” of a gym: weights clanking around, music, other people also enjoying your passion of fitness.

    “I’m Ron Burgundy?”

    1. Thanks Jason! I completely agree with you, I couldn’t strictly work out at home because I love the atmosphere of the gym so much. It really helps to have other people around who have similar goals to you. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. This is a great post! My home gym is slowly starting to grow more and more. My most recent purchase was a couple resistance bands for PT work (I’ve been working in some of your runner’s knee exercises as well, and my PT actually gave me some more bridge ones to work on — thank you!). My next purchase is going to be a stick. My old roommate had one and I borrowed it often. Time for my own. I definitely have a drawer going.

    1. Awesome!! I’m glad to hear you’ve been doing some PT work for that knee, I hope you’ve been feeling better lately! And I really love The Stick, it’s such a great tool and also awesome for travel!

  8. onehealthymunchkin September 14, 2012 — 5:52 pm

    Umm I want to come work out at your house! You’ve got such an awesome variety of equipment. And I wish I had a handy bf like yours to build me stuff. 😉

    Thanks for the tip about the PVC piping! I have a foam roller but it basically does nothing for me, so I want something more intense. I’ll definitely look into that piping!

    1. Haha Yes please! Come work out at my house!!! And the handy BF certainly is a plus 🙂 Yes yes yes, definitely try out the PVC piping… it really takes some getting used to because it’s much tougher than the foam roller, but it’s worth it in my book!

    1. The rings are pretty fun! Great for advanced push-ups too 🙂

      1. i’m stuck on muscles ups at the moment. its driving me crazy!

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