What are the Garage Gym Essential Items?

A lot of dedicated gym goers want to build their own small place for training inside their homes.

And there are many reasons for that. First of all, it’s more convenient to be able to train at home, especially during the winter months when it’s snowing and cold, but also during the summer when it’s hot.

Along with that, being able to just take a few stairs to the gym instead of having to take a ride can save valuable time and give working professionals an opportunity to train on days when they’d otherwise have to miss their training session.

Additionally, for a lot of people having a home gym means lowering the family costs, as everyone can train there instead of paying for individual fitness cards. 

In today’s article, we’re going to talk about the must-have garage gym equipment. We’re going to discuss all of the different options you have when it comes to buying equipment and how you can make the process more cost-effective. 

What are the Home Gym Essentials? 

Before starting our list, allow us to make a short disclaimer.

The items that we’re going to suggest below are a “must-have’ if you want to have a functional garage gym that’s great for all kinds of workouts but that is not specialized for strength training or for cross training.

The requirements and the must-haves will vary if you want to make your space more tuned for a specific training style or your training needs. So please keep that in mind before continuing to read. 

And now that we have that disclaimer crossed off the list let’s get started. 

Weight Rack 

Regardless of whether you’re a strength athlete or not, having some kind of weight rack is a must for a home gym. It’s the place where you will do all your squats, deadlifts, and presses, and it’s the key to having a strength section.

Depending on your budget, a weight rack can simply hold your barbell while you prepare to lift it or squat, but it can also have other extras, such as dipping bars, plate storage, and even cable pulleys.

When it comes to buying a weight rack for your garage gym, our recommendation would be to spend a bit more money but to get one with extras – that way, you will save space by combining multiple machines into one. 

Barbells and Weight Plates 

You can’t use a weight rack without a barbell and weight plates. If you’re just starting to build your gym, it’s good to invest in one high-quality barbell that’s in the standard size, and that can be used for all kinds of exercises – from squats to push presses.

Additionally, you will need at least a few plates with different weights so that you can add and remove them according to your training needs.

Typically, we would recommend getting plates from 1lbs to 15lbs so that you can use them for various movements  – but again, the weights you need will vary according to your strength levels. 

Cable Machines

If you get a simple weight rack that doesn’t have a built-in cable system, then you might have to get a separate dedicated cable machine. Now there are many different options on the market, and what you will choose to get depends on your personal needs.

If you plan on focusing on isolated exercises, then it might be worth investing in a more expensive one, but if you’re just going to need a basic cable system, then you can save yourself some dollars. 

Kettlebells & Dumbbells

If you’re on a tight budget, your best bet will be to get dumbbells and kettlebells that allow you to adjust the weight. That way, you will only have to buy one or two pieces of equipment and switch the weight depending on your needs.

By doing so, you will optimize the space you have in your garage, and you will likely save some money – especially if you need to use dumbbells and kettlebells of various weight categories.


A training bench is a piece of equipment used for supporting your body during all kinds of exercises. You can lay on it, prop your feet or your hands to angle your body, and you can also use it as a step up.

Basically, adding a bench to your garage gym will allow you to add more variety to your training sessions, which is why we consider it a must-have, especially if you’re someone that’s dedicated to strength training. 

Cardio Machines 

A gym isn’t complete without a cardio machine.

Cardio is key for heart health, and it’s also the best way to burn more calories and increase fat loss. And while it’s true that you can always go run outside, having an indoor cardio machine will allow you to do your cardio in a more convenient way. 

Whether you choose to get an AirBike, bike ERG, stair master, rower, or treadmill, depends entirely on your budget and your preferences. For home gyms, our typical recommendation is to get some kind of a bike, as it’s more versatile and because running is something you can do, even without specific equipment.

An alternative to a cardio machine is the jump rope – it’s a terrific way to get your heart rate up and to work on your coordination while being a lot cheaper than any sort of machine on the market.

Exercise Mats 

Last but not least are exercise mats.

Having at least one is key, as it will allow you to do all kinds of movements that require you to be on the ground. Typically those are ab exercises or stretches that feel all kinds of uncomfortable if you do them on a rug or on a bare floor. 

We advise investing in a thick, high-quality mat, which will likely last you for years.

In Conclusion

That’s a wrap on our list of must-haves for your garage gym. Let us know what you think is necessary for any home gym and what pieces of eq