Every Home Gym project is different. The reasons are straightforward: The household family size, the physical space, your fitness goals for the short and long term, longevity of the space, user preferences, usage of new fitness equipment, management of existing kit (re-sell it - with the intention to minimise waste, and manage this in the most sustainable way) and the list goes on and on....
Creating Fitness Spaces at Home for wellbeing has been continuously increasing over the years, however after the pandemic, it has become even more of a priority for households all over the UK. In a recent study we carried out, the majority of people agreed that when moving homes, a Home Gym or wellness space in the new place would be considered as a high priority. With all that said, what does the home of the future look like?
After years of experience in the fitness industry, with backgrounds in engineering, product creation, interior design, gym flooring and sports science, plus after hundreds of installs across all type of projects we would like to share with you the main home gym concepts for your inspiration!
Following is our list of 13 essentials and design ideas to consider, when making your Ideal Home Gym.
13 Essential Design Rules for your Home Gym
1. Gym location
Some come to us with a space already in mind, but sometimes we may end up finding better alternatives depending on your goals and home space. So start by finding the best location for your workouts …Indoors or perhaps outdoors, upstairs or down etc.?
Should you move around a few pieces of furniture (that don’t get used), and create that lovely corner “fitness sanctuary”? Or perhaps, if you want a bigger area, why not consider converting one of those first floor guest bedrooms that rarely gets used? Currently a lot of people are redefining the word “entertainment” which is why conversion of cinema rooms and pool rooms are also a very popular choice at the moment.
Once you have settled on the space, you need to define the goals of your workout first, this is very crucial for your gym layout! Rather than just allocating a space with a random square meter figure without much thought, as this type of approach later on will prove harder to adjust and re-arrange.
Now-days outdoor workout spaces are also becoming very popular, as many would rather keep separate the living space with the workout area. Some options, to consider: garden gym room or a garden and outdoor gym or of course a garage gym. Each one of these spaces have special considerations from temperature and moisture, to vibrations, load, light, noise and others, which we will touch on later.
2. Maximise your workout space and gym layout
OK, you now have a space in mind. Of course space in the UK is a premium, so when you design your gym layout think of equipment with multiple usage so you can maximum use of the space.
For example the 4 in 1 YBells, Racks not only store but also serve as landmine and dip station. So rather than getting standard storage and trying to make it fit, at Stronger we can create custom storage solutions that are made specifically for your space and equipment. We custom build these solutions in the UK with British Steel.
Additionally, think that as much as having lots of fitness equipment sounds exciting and fun, having enough open workout space is critical not only for safety but also for the proper movement of your workout.
"We are creating workout spaces to move, and for that we need space."
Your workout space must be right for you, so ask your self, what can we remove from the ceiling? are all walls purposely used? etc. It doesn’t matter how big or small the space is, always create it with the goal of maximising your workout area. You need a space that will grow with your goals, so having saved that little square meter in the future might just prove to be priceless. Or simply, you might appreciate it more in the middle of that workout, when in the zone and you get carried away :)
3. It’s all about you! Your fitness goals, today and tomorrow.
Make a list of the or type of training or movement that you love to do, then add the ones that you would love to be able to do in the future, then write down your goals of today and the ones that you see yourself achieving once you progress in your journey. Do the same for everyone in the household. All of these will give you pointers as to what space and kit you need. Noting of course that you don’t need everything from day one….in fact we say start with what you need initially and add more as you evolve. Remember training in the gym for a while will give you more insights to top up, this will also keep the space energised and feeling different over time as well. Don’t think of it as the finished project for now now now, look at it as a living space that will evolve with everyone moving inside it for years to come.
4. The small touches that make your day BIG:
If your Home Gym had soul and a personality, who it would be? What sorts of feelings you want to experience when you are there? extreme euphoria and energy? total peace or both! From experience most of our customers have this space as a multi use space, so we study the small details helping to focus on the goal in mind for a particular time and place.
- Mirror: Love it or hate it! They do divide opinions but if you are looking to make the room look bigger then a wall with mirrors can definitely help. Some say that they are key for good workout technique whilst others of course are all looking for a fun selfie. Some people just prefer not to see themselves training. You can have just single panels with a beautiful wood looking frame or you can have a bespoke wall to wall to ceiling construction, etc.
- Gym Colours: Go on, sit down and think about colours. For some its irrelevant, however we do advocate for taking a bit of time to choosing the right palette colour….this guides the gym floor, the walls, the metal work etc. Colour can make a big difference in a limited space. Maybe consider walls that can work with your intention of movement, one could be powerful and the other one peaceful and calming. This is when accent colours or even stylish wallpaper can really help.
- Plants: You don’t have to be a gardener to be able to have an area that could host 1 or 2 plants to help you with that meditation and reset time. There are some easy choices that are pretty hard to ‘kill’ that most online providers have, you can literally google them like that, home plants hard to kill, lol, and you can also find them at garden centres etc. Light is pretty important here. So maybe choose your ‘reset’ space close to a window if needed.
- Clocks: You can have a traditional one of course that goes with your style but what could be even more fun is if you wanted to get a gym timer that can help you with intervals. If you are not keen in the look of those, then choose one that you prefer aesthetically and also download an interval timer app.
- Boards: Popular in CrossFit boxes and many people are now putting them into Home Gyms. You can write down your workout for the day or use it to help stay on track with your daily/weekly/monthly/annual goals or habits, or maybe even a cute note for another family member to brighten up their day.
- Welcoming kids and pets? This is another opinion divider. You may want the home gym to be you're sanctuary away from the family, but what a great opportunity to set a positive example and encourage them to live a healthy and active life. Squats or press ups with the added weight of a small child can also be fun! However, if kids or pets are around make sure that the workout space is safe place to be!
- ‘Lucky’ object: Consider taking into your space that something that reminds you of the time when you smash it, or that goal you are trying to achieve or a photo of the place you want your body to take you to. What is that something that might help you stick to it when it gets hard? That special object for that extra motivation! Find a place for it :)
5. It doesn’t all need to be New Fitness Equipment.
Like with any other part of the house, you don’t have to buy everything new. Consider getting any existing kit that you have an annual service visit, or in other words a really good clean if you can do it yourself. And if you don’t want it, consider putting it on eBay or gumtree so that even if you get very little for it, see it as enhancing someone else’s lifestyle who might be just starting and/or not have the means to buy new gym equipment. Let’s also try not to default to sending all our unwanted gear to a landfill. At stronger we are strong advocates of a sustainable world and the impact of the small little gestures.
6. Mindfulness, Flexibility, Meditation and Mobility
So so important! We love to talk about how are you going to use the space for this. It is fabulous if you can have enough space to lay down on a full stretch. However, meditation and mindfulness can happen anywhere, so if you don’t have space for a full body laying down, don’t worry, standing on mountain pose or simply sitting down also works. Maybe consider some lovely plants (think of lighting to buy the right type), a cushion to make it comfy if you get uncomfortable etc. Whatever you do, the point here is to allow for a space to rest and recover. At the end of the day you can only work as hard as you Recover!
7. Ceiling Height
Very important! The higher the better, obviously, but just think of this when making your wish list of kit. How much clearance do you need for a barbell overhead press, or when the treadmill is on maximum incline or fort plyo box work? This is also key when purchasing the flooring, the lower the ceiling the more you need to think about the thickness of your floor tiles.
8. Acoustics & Noise
From councils shutting down gym facilities to neighbour quarrels, we have seen a few challenges over the years on noises and vibrations. Technology for controlling noises and vibrations has evolved tremendously over the last few years, especially for rubber gym flooring there is a lot of choices for you ro consider. If your dream Home Gym happens to be inside a building with more living spaces, it is highly recommended to think about this. Even if it happens to be your own home, you want to consider noise & acoustics if the gym is located above the home office for example or even in the next door Garage.
Yes, you might be thinking, this can run into the thousands, however not all cases are the same and the team @ Stronger can guide you through all flooring options that can help you optimise your space. Now, if you are only worried about your barbell, kettlebells and heavy weights, then perhaps a proper gym floor with some drop pads can be a simple yet efficient answer. If you are not hugely into strength training, you might want to consider our hyper wear barbell set which also converts into dumbbell and kettlebell. These weights are made of sand, so when you drop them, they will be very forgiving with the floor but also make less noise.
Now if it is not the dropping of the fitness equipment but the smashing tunes with that unbelievable BASE :-) that gets you through that PB, then yes there is special wall sound proofing ‘acoustic wall systems’, that can be created after the wall is in place and actually looks pretty cool. Because let's be honest, what is not negotiable is to workout without your favourite tunes playing at whatever level you want, transporting you right into the zone….
9. Gym Flooring
Unfortunately this is an area that even commercial gyms get wrong. With so much bodyweight training and floor work, we see flooring as a key part of the workout experience and gym layout. The type of exercise to be performed here will hugely determine what you will need and as with many workout spaces they can tend to be a multi use rooms. Therefore in some cases it doesn’t have to be just one kind of floor, as you could split the floor areas depending on the workouts and gym layout. The most popular options are:
- Rubber Floor Mats & Interlocking Tiles
- Turf Floor
- Vinyl Floorings
Without a doubt you can find some pretty inexpensive floor tiles & matts, however at Stronger we insist that quality gym flooring is worth the investment and safety. You can check out our detailed guide to selecting the appropriate gym flooring following this link
Make the Gym Floor work for:
- For performance of the moment: Think about what you want from the floor, do you need total grip, do you want it to have a bit of bounce and to be gentle. Are you going to have a yoga session? or dance? or drop weights? or quickly lift a bar over your head and let it drop? What ever the scenario we find that rubber flooring & interlocking tiles can be the best option.
- For aesthetics: Nope, it doesn’t have to be black, and in fact black black is almost like white, pretty unforgiving for cleaning, so keep that in mind. We have a huge range of colours, so for preferences here is the rainbow of colours, with or without flecks etc. Some like to make a statement, whilst some others don’t want it to look like a gym at all and want to be in keeping with the rest of the house as much as possible, there is a colour for that!
- For hygiene: Before you invest in your flooring, think if it will absorb your sweat, if it is water and anti bacterial proof and how easy it can be cleaned. Oh dear, the smells that we have experienced at some jobs when the old floor was being removed is pretty horrendous, so keep in mind how easy is it to clean. Very Important!
- For protection of underfloor and good neighbour relationships :-): Acoustic flooring comes to mind, however not always the go to as this can be an expensive option, other simple options that could work in certain cases is to have drop pads or simply a thicker layer for your gym flooring.
10. Essential Home Gym Equipment
There is no such thing as an essential fitness kit list, every style and goal has something essential and special. However, if we try to be really cheeky and to give some pointers here, we can share with you what is popular. We suggest to try and challenge your default thinking, it doesn’t always have to be a dumbbell or a treadmill, and as we also say, if you are looking to start your journey, try to keep it simple. Training your body and keeping fit with just your body weight is also an incredible achievement.
- Cardio for endurance: Long sessions where our heart rate is not going to go crazy: Spin bike, Treadmill, Rower, yeah, normal, but have you considered maybe a Ski Erg or an Air Bike? Cost effective cardio solutions are jump rope, plyo box or the Hyper Rope
- Strength Training: Space here will be a key factor to prioritise. Multi award winning Ybell is super popular amongst most of our users, however of course the hex hero dumbbells and a classic cast iron kettlebell will be the staples and go to of many home users. If there is more space, normally barbells, squat racks and cable machines get chosen as next in line, and the list goes on.
- Cross Fit: You have all the classics such as a barbell, hex dumbbells and kettlebells, however a medicine ball can help you add variety, and if you don’t have space for a half rack, how about considering a landmine in the corner which is simple and offers huge variety. We personally think that a hypervest and a plyo box are great choices even before you go for the expense of a ski erg or an air bike. In fact, a good way of choosing your kit would be, if you were to go on an airplane and can only take 3 things with you, what would you take? But of course this can cause a massive dramatic debate lolz.
- Recovery & Mobility: The theragun and thera roll are great choices, however another pretty cool tool that we like is the flexdisc, it will challenge your flexibility, mobility and core strength.
- Core and abs: Well, here, the classic is the abs roller, however we would like to challenge you to check out the core burner in our hyper wear range.
11. Equipment Storage
A home gym can look very messy very quickly. You start buying more fitness toys but you didn’t think about where they are going to live when not in use, therefore it will now live right on that corner or next to that other machine or behind the sofa etc. At Stronger we can help you create a bespoke storage solution that may also have some training attachments.
Also consider it as a hazard free space, whereby you can move freely as you please.
12. TV or NOT TV
A TV can be a really nice addition if you like doing online follow along classes from the most popular apps. A very simply Amazon stick can help or of course you can go for any of the other broadcasting little gadgets, apple TV, etc. Outside of that before you sit on your bike or treadmill in front of a movie or your favourite football game, consider using either a heart rate app like whoop or myzone or keeping your cardio piece with alerts if you drop off your target zone. Whilst people think that you can just pedal in front of a movie, and you can, keeping an eye on zones can really help for the workout to be a bit more meaningful. Now, we can then enter into the debate of…well, it is better than the couch, but for now lets leave it as, if you are going to have a programme on the TV, just be mindful of the goals of the workout.
From LED in colours controlled by an app, to LED strips, normal dim lights and more. The choice like anything else is vast. To keep it simple, we would say try to get a dimmer if you can so that you can take it up for the workout for example or right down for those mobility or reset moments, in which case a candle is a fabulous add on too, especially if you want to use it as that object that you will concentrate on to get into your meditation space/mind. Now, if you are into your selfies and that means a lot for your banter with your gym buddies, and the ones that are living a journey with you, then maybe consider having a little mobile stand light and mobile holder for those selfie moments, if that is your thing. This could also be as a little attachment to some of the storage so that it is preserving your precious floor space.
Every human is different and therefore, every home gym design is different. It is important to keep in mind how is that space going to help you build robust habits, the ones that keep excuses at bay and the journey enjoyable, so that the space becomes the best investment in you. Remember, with the same habits you will have the same results, with better habits anything is possible!!
Consider the kind of movements that are loved today but also the ones you aspire to have, make it future proof. Stop and think about what can the floor do for you, the walls, the ceiling, and whilst it is important to think about the performance in terms of a workout or a movement please also think about what do you need precisely for the world to stop, so that you too can stop and reset with it, as we say, you can only perform as hard as you are capable to recover. Home gyms, small or big can make a massive difference to your lifestyle and the habit formation for a better quality of life. We can literally keep going, and we are sure we have forgotten lots of details but we hope this can get your inspiration going. If you want us to help you re-engineer your lifestyle by looking at your current or future home spaces book a quick consultation with our team or simply call our office and dial number 2. You don’t need to have a big room or a home renovation full project, even a 2 by 2mts is a good place to start.
About Stronger Wellness
With +20 years of experience in the Fitness Industry @ Stronger Wellness we Design, and build Premium & Functional Training Spaces, across the UK, with services ranging from Consultancy, Gym Flooring & Premium Gym Equipment. Leading some of the world's greatest brands, with the most innovative and exciting award winning products.
For more info on our Home Gym Design Process , you can contact our team for a free consultation. We would love to talk to you about your ideas future projects and any other related enquiry you may have.