A DIY Home Gym You Can Afford

Brent Pittman —  09/08/2015
Lego CrossFit Gym. Credit

Lego CrossFit Gym. Credit JeffGamble

I’ve become intrigued with making a DIY home gym.

Why? Maybe it’s because I’m nearing my 35 birthday and a year of sitting and blogging has paid its toll to my physique.

Maybe its because I wrote an article last year called CrossFit Your Finances that began my fascination with CrossFit.

I’m cheap and unwilling  to pony up the cash to join a CrossFit gym or pay for expensive equipment.

Why couldn’t I just do it myself?

Gym Memberships Are Expensive and Sweaty

Unless you are my friend who locked in his $1 a month L.A. fitness membership for life when he was in 8th grade…gym memberships are expensive.

I rather like going to gyms, but then there is the other thing: people with their egos, lingering on equipment, sweating, and ogling each other.

Plus going to a gym takes time, preparation, and energy to travel each day.

If you are going to engage in any sort of grunting or throwing weights around–you’ll get kicked out a gym in 10 days or less. 

Since you’ve been kicked out of your gym or if you’re just too cheap to pay for one (like me) then it’s time to look at DIY home gym options.

The Advantages to an at Home Gym

If you have the space, then a home gym could be a real option.

Even if you are a cramped urbanite, there could be space in your parking garage/lot, nearby park, or friends house where you can have a small portable gym.

I believe there are many advantages to having a gym at home (besides money):

  • Location Location Location– Hey you can’t complain about traffic when your workout is only steps away. 
  • You Make the Rules- You can’t get kicked out of your own home gym. You make the rules, so if you want to yell and grunt you are the boss (as long as you don’t wake the wife and kids of course).
  • You’re Only Limited by Your Creativity- No money isn’t a huge factor in a home gym (ready below), and if you want to have a gym or system…you can build it.
  • If You Build it They Will Come- If you build a killer home gym, your friends will inviting themselves over and you’ll have no shortage of lifting partners + you can kick them out if they don’t follow your rules 🙂

DIY Home Gym Questions

Now that we have motivation established for creating a home gym, let’s look at a few important questions.

Where you good at legos as a kid? If you weren’t then maybe building a DIY home gym might not be an option and you’ll need to purchase most of your equipment.

What are your fitness goals? Fitness goals will drive the equipment and design of your at home gym.

Did you talk with your spouse, roommates, or landlord? Ensure you have the legal right and permission to build a home gym. If you plan on sharing the home gym–agreement on equipment and design is essential.

Do It Yourself Home Gym Resources

I’ve been scouring the interwebs for DIY home gym resources and how to make exercise equipment DIY style with a crossFit focus.

Hopefully, I’ll be making some of this equipment and expanding my space soon–a corner of an old warehouse–with some of the below DIY equipment.

End of Three Fitness- Jerred has created and tested all of this equipment at End of Three Fitness with several cool DIY exercise equipment designs:

  • Parellettos out of PVC pipe
  • Power Rack out of wood and pipe – I love this design!
  • CrossFit Rings out of PVC pipe and lots of glue and tape.
  • Plyo Boxes
  • Wall Ball
  • Squat and Benchpress
  • DIY Prowler Sled
  • DIY Kettlebells
  • Pull up bar out of your attic trap door–smart!

Kettle Bells

More DIY options for homemade Kettle bells Link 1 Link 2


Make your own sandbags to carry around and get strong from Nerdfitness (guide and workout).

More Resources for Home Gyms

I hope to have links to my home gym soon with a few pieces of homemade equipment.

Have you built a home gym before? Please share tips, advice, and resources below in the comments!

Brent Pittman

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Brent is a financial coach and writer looking for the perfect donut. He believes personal finance should be both fun and accessible to anyone willing to learn.
  • Mitchell

    Great article! I have not tried having a home gym. I will occasionally do P90x yoga at home but it is difficult for me to get motivated in the place where I know to rest and relax. I like the resources and suggestions. Perhaps one day I will need to consider this option or the option of a mixed gym home routine.

    • Send a picture when you get it set up! @ontargetcoach

  • I actually had a home gym at one point….but it wasn’t DIY. I bought a treadmill, weight bench with “professional” grade weights, and a universal like machine. All together it probably cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $1500 (all on credit cards of course). I actually used it a lot…..in spurts. Then I’d get bored and stop using it for periods of time. when the kids came, we really needed the room for other things and sold it all. My justification was that even though it was pretty spendy, I would save money because gym memberships need to be paid for each year. The funny thing is, I’m in much better health because I do belong to a gym…paying for something all the time motivates me to go. Having a wide variety of equipment lets me mix up my workouts. Being around other people working out, and making working out an event in my day actually helps keep the motivation going as well. Of course, my gym is 2 minutes from my house, and it’s only $20 a month, so it’s pretty hard to beat (except for your friend who has $1 a month….wow!)

    • It’s tough to beat $1. If I join a gym it would be a part-time membership to a crossFit “box”, but there aren’t any in my small town.

  • krantcents

    Unfortunately I have very little or no DIY skills. I bought my equipment about 14 years ago. I got a cage with free weights, dumb bells, treadmill, bicycle trainer and bicycle for under $500. It is still holding up well. I use the treadmill when it is too cold (yes, even in southern California) and use the weights several times a week. I prefer riding my bike outside for aerobic activity.

    • Looks like a pretty good setup. Do you listen to music or watch TV when you exercise?

      • krantcents

        I can watch TV or listen to my iTunes on my computer.