How I put together a home gym on a budget (build your own budget home gym)

If you’re anything like me, you can’t stand gyms.

My mission is simple : Put together a home gym that fits the following, very specific, very restrictive parameters.

  • The gym must not cost me too much cash.  I want to be frugal as well as sculpted.
  • The gym must be completely hide-able.  Stealthy?  Inconspicuous?  Can’t think of the right word.  I don’t have a space I can use PRIMARILY for this endeavour, so I’ll be training in my living room, and hiding the equipment away at all other times.


  • The equipment must be versatile enough to allow me to train for strength and a little size at the same time.  Skinny arms be GONE.

So, there you have it.  3 requirements.  Shouldn’t be too difficult, right?

So here’s what I’ve decided on, and the reasons why :

First, I looked for a bench.  All bodybuilders say you should use a bench for bench presses (obviously), rows, sitting military press, and the list goes on.


After spending about 3 hours deciding upon the best bench for my requirements, I discovered floor presses actually recruit more chest muscle & are a lot safer than traditional bench presses.  Furthermore, you don’t need to buy a bench.  Happy days, £100 saved.

But wait.. if I don’t get a bench, how am I going to get the barbell into the correct position to press it, even from the floor?  Dumbells.

I already have 100kg worth of olympic weights in the cupboard collecting dust, so I decided to put them to good use with a pair of olympic dumbell bars.  They’re just like the olympic squat bars (usually 6-7ft long, with a 2″ diameter fitting for the weight plates) except they’re, well, dumbells.  £55, bargain.

They look like this.  Beautiful.

Powerful, olympic dumbell handle.

Powerful : Olympic dumbell handle.


Oh, and purchasing these made me a bit nervous because, quite honestly, I’m concerned about big heavy weight plates falling off the ends of the bar mid-movement and crushing my beautiful face into oblivion.  So I bought 2 pairs of Lockjaw collars, too.  They’re pretty much the most reliable, safe type of collar you can buy for olympic barbells/dumbells.  They look pretty sexy in red, too. £60, boom. You can see them in the photo’s above and below.

Kettlebells, and my new olympic dumbell handles.  Add some olympic plates and I'm set.

Kettlebells, and my new olympic dumbell handles. Add some olympic plates and I’m set.

I’ve not sat down and really designed a circuit / program yet (my new equipment has only just arrived) but I’m thinking that along with floor presses, military presses, some variation of a squat with the equipment I have, bent over rows, I might even add some curls and tricep extensions.  I’m not a fan of isolation exercises particularly, since they can lead to faulty recruitment patterns, but I might make a few exceptions to build a little bit of mass over the next few months.  Then, throw in some kettlebell circuit training (you KNOW I love kettlebells) and I’m good to go.  I’ll write a more detailed plan once I’ve put something good together.

So, there you have it.  My new equipment cost me £105-110 and will allow me to do most of the things I want to do from the comfort of my own living room.

No gym fee’s for me, AND I can work out in my boxers, AND I can watch Ross Kemp on Gangs at the same time.  I win.

Don’t forget to let me know if you build your own budget home gym, I’d love to hear about it!


About the author: James



Recent posts in Body / Fitness


No Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *




Latest Posts


Post of the Week