12 Biggest Home And Garage Gym Mistakes: Don’t Make These

There are some mistakes many people make when creating their home gym. Some mistakes are easy to correct while others require a lot of work and effort to correct. So let’s find out what the most common mistakes are and how to prevent them.

If you want a full guide of how to build a home gym from start to finish, check out my eBook!

1.    Not planning ahead

The biggest mistake you can make is to not plan ahead. Just starting to buy, build and throwing things in your future gym isn’t necessarily going to get great results. Which things should you plan for?

  • Which space are you going to use?
  • Who is going to use it?
  • What type of exercise is your gym going to cater to?
  • Which equipment do you absolutely need?

Thinking about what you’re going to do in your gym and how exactly, will prevent a lot of problems down the road. Trying to make a certain space do something it can’t or having a mix of equipment that doesn’t cover all the exercises and lifts you want to do can really prevent you from getting the gym you want.

Some things to plan;

  • Which space you’re going to use
  • Which type of exercise and lifts you have to be able to do in there.
  • Which equipment you need for those lifts.
  • How much space is necessary to use that equipment properly?

Planning ahead can really help you to create the best home gym you can in your home gym.

2.    Not having enough space

You can plan all you want but if you just don’t have the space, your home gym isn’t going to be what you want it to be. Now not having enough space is hardly a mistake unless you bought a house specifically to build a home gym in.

The mistake is that people try to create a home gym in a space that can’t do everything they want. If you want a power rack, treadmill, bench, leg press, dumbbell set, pec deck and rower in a 8 m2 room, that’s not going to work.

Measure how much space you have and think about what you want to do in your home gym. What is the minimal amount of equipment you need to be able to do those exercises? Now check if you’ve got enough space to fit all of that equipment.

If it doesn’t, you can find a different space to build your home gym or choose different equipment. The biggest piece of equipment in most home gym is the power rack. Maybe you’ll have to replace it with a squat rack or replace your treadmill with running outside.

How much space do you actually need for a home gym? Click to find out.

3D of a 200 sq.ft home gym

3.    Forgetting the foundations

It’s easy to get lost in choosing the perfect barbell and best resistance bands. While getting good equipment is important, you shouldn’t forget the things you need before you can actually use those pieces of equipment. There are a few things you have to get right before even thinking about any equipment;

There are a few foundations that you have to think about before buying any equipment. Those things;

  • Ventilation
  • Climate control
  • Floor
  • Lighting
  • Mirrors

Here’s a little more information on those foundations.

4.    Installing ventilation

Ventilation is something that’s often overlooked in home gyms. Bad ventilation can cause health and other problems. It can make your gym too hot/cold/humid/smelly/etc. to be able to have a good workout.

Make sure the space you’ve selected for a home gym is properly ventilated. Read this post to find out more. If you need to create any new ventilation ducts or similar, it’ll be messy and dusty. Doing this before you put anything else in your new gym makes clean up a whole lot easier.

However after it’s done, you’ll have a more comfortable gym without dust and possibly mold.  

Find more information about home gym air quality here.

5.    Climate control

Climate control is related to ventilation but different enough that people forget about it but not ventilation. That’s why I list it here separately. Not everyone lives in a climate that has dry, 75 degree weather year round. Add to that the fact that the vast majority of home gyms is in the garage or basement, climate control can be necessary to be able to comfortably work out year round.

An A/C unit or space heater can really make your workouts a lot more comfortable. Having your hands stick to the barbell because they’re frozen isn’t great. You might warm up quickly enough once you start working out but if it’s super cold in there, you’re less likely to start your workout.

It’s the same with heat. A gym that’s really hot doesn’t feel nice to lift in and might actually make your workout quality go down. It also does the same as cold where you just don’t want to go in there and do anything because it’s too hot.

An added benefit of having some type of climate control in your gym is that you can do something about the humidity. Humidity can cause problems with mold which is really unhealthy in any room but especially in a room where you breathe a lot and deep.

6.  Forgetting  Gym Flooring

After the climate control and ventilation is taken care off, the floor is a good next step. Many people just put their equipment on the bare floor. After that they’ll quickly discover that a bare concrete floor isn’t really the best gym floor. It can damage your equipment much faster and a gym floor absorbs a ton of noise. If you didn’t put in the floor first, you’ll have to take all the equipment out or move it around to be able to put a gym floor down.

A gym floor is super easy to put in when a space is still empty. After all the equipment is in there and installed, it is possible but it’s more complicated and most people will take the easy way out and just put the flooring in the ‘free’ spaces. This can work but doesn’t look as nice and can move around.

A good gym floor will protect your gym equipment and the floor underneath. It also makes your gym a lot quieter. A gym floor is soft so it absorbs a lot of noise and creates less noise when dropping weights on the floor. This makes your home gym a lot more comfortable for yourself but also the other people in your house since they don’t hear as much noise.

Read everything you need about home gym flooring here.

Image of gym flooring tiles

7.   No Proper Lighting

Going from the bottom to the top, lighting is another important part of your gym that’s a good idea to put in before any of the equipment. Lighting is usually put in/on the ceiling. Not all ceilings have wiring and spaces from the get go. That means you have to DIY some things or a contractor has to install the lights. This is just much easier when the space is still empty.

Lighting is important to get in your home gym for several reasons. The first reason is that home gyms are often in the garage or basement. Two spaces that usually don’t have great lighting. The second reason is that you want to see what you’re doing. Having better light can also help you stay in a good mood which will probably improve your workouts as well.

Here is a complete guide on lighting in your home gym. It’ll tell you everything you need to know.

8.    No Mirrors

You don’t need many mirrors in a home gym. Commercial gyms often have so many because there are many people who want to use them at the same time (and it makes the gym look bigger).

In a home gym you don’t necessarily need many mirrors. Just one in the correct location is enough for most people.

A gym mirror is mainly used to check your form on certain exercises. Having good form is very important to not get injured. In a home gym there are no trainers or training buddies that can correct your form it’s especially important to see what you’re doing.

If you’re wondering what size mirrors you need, what type and where you should mount them, click here to find out.

9. Not Budgeting

While a home gym doesn’t have to be super expensive, it’s usually not free either. Some pieces of the equipment are more expensive than other’s and you can spend a lot on some things.

But without a budget, you might start buying things that are way too expensive and discover later on that you don’t actually have enough money to complete your projects. For that reason it’s a good idea to have a budget ready before you buy anything. Sure, you can spend $800 on a great barbell, but if that means you can’t buy a sturdy power rack, that’s not the right way to spend your money.

You can make your own decisions on what you want to spend on each part of your home gym. Just make a budget before you start and make sure you’ve got enough money to finish your home gym before you start. There’s nothing worse than starting something and not having the money to finish the project. Having a dumbbell there staring at you without being able to do everything you want with it.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve got a ton of money available for a home gym or not, having a budget and sticking to it is always a good idea.

Image of a multi-gym in a home gym

10. Buying Low Quality Equipment

Buy cheap buy twice. While you could get lucky with cheap equipment, more often than not, it’ll be disappointing in some way. I’m not saying everyone needs to buy the absolute most expensive equipment they can find. This is unnecessary. But buying good stuff that will last you for a long time can really help.

Creating a home gym is not something you do for 3 months. It should be something you’re going to use for a long time. And if you buy good stuff, it’ll last for at least a decade. Having higher quality items makes your gym more comfortable to use and for longer. In the end that results in you reaching your goals.

Of course people have different budgets. Some budgets don’t allow for the best stuff. That’s OK, you can get high quality stuff for less than the top level equipment. You might have to make some sacrifices on features and looks to get the quality you’re looking for.

Another option is to go slow. Start with high quality essentials, and get a few cheap pieces of equipment to stay within your budget. Then use them for a while and replace them once you can afford to. And who knows you might get lucky and find a gem that’s cheap and high quality.

Check out the recommended equipment pages to find equipment that has great value for money.

11. Buying Equipment you don’t need

There are a ton of cool pieces of gym equipment that promise the world but don’t do much and just end up in a corner, cluttering your gym. I’m not saying you shouldn’t buy anything but the basics but buying tons extra things for your gym, probably isn’t what you need.

Starting with the basics is fine. If after a while you feel the need to buy some kind of attachment or tool because it allows you to do a certain exercise that you can’t with the basics, that’s fine of course. Just buy as you go and feel the need to. There’s absolutely no need to create a home gym that has everything you can imagine from the beginning.

There will be things you discover you need after a while of using your new gym. Go get them then and not earlier. Looking at a gym full of stuff you never use isn’t a great feeling and might even be a bit demotivating. That’s the last thing you want in the gym.

Don’t forget to check out my eBook!

12.                    Not using it

The final and maybe worst mistake you can possibly make with your home gym: not using it. Why go through all the trouble, money and use a room in your house if you’re not going to do anything with it? Sure, life can get in the way sometimes. There are things that are more important than working out. Most people can still find some time in a day where they can fit a workout in even if it’s just 45 minutes a day.

The biggest reason people don’t work out is just because they don’t feel like it. What can you do to get over it and still go and work out?

  • Realize you’ve paid for all the equipment in your home gym and it’s going to waste if you don’t use it.
  • All you need is in your house, there is no travel time. A basic workout can be done in 45 minutes and you can lie down on the couch.
  • Work out before you go to work or immediately after you come home. Once you sit down, it’s likely you won’t want to get up again.
  • Put up some pictures of the physique you’re trying to obtain in your gym. Or possibly people that have accomplished what you want to accomplish. This can provide some motivation to keep going.
  • Getting a workout buddy. This could be anyone in your house or a friend. It doesn’t matter. Having someone show up to work out with you will surely get you off your buttocks.


Hey, I'm Matt. Welcome to HomeGymResource.com. After working out in many different gyms for almost 20 years and helping people build their own home gyms, i've learned a few things i'd like to share with you.

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