What kind of equipment do you need to turn your driveway into a gym? Equipment you can store inside and then move outside on a nice day to get a good workout.
A basic setup of barbell, bumper plates, barbell stands and bench can easily be used in the driveway. A plate tree on wheels makes the weight plates mobile. It’s also a good idea to get a big rubber mat to protect your driveway and equipment from damage and reduce noise
Which equipment is easy to move around and which add-ons can you get to make this setup even better? Keep reading to find out.
Driveway Workout Equipment Setup
There is some equipment that you’ll need to work out outside regardless of what training style you have. Because we don’t want too much equipment to move around but it still has to be flexible enough to do a full body workout.
That means the best driveway gym consists of a barbell and weight plates setup with some supporting equipment. Don’t expect a full gym with many machines because that’s just not feasible to easily carry outside and back in when you’re done.
Here’s what you need for a driveway gym.
- Barbell + Bumper Weight plates: A barbell and weight plates allow you to do all the main movements to train the whole body. Bumper plates are good for outside since they don’t rust, are quiet and are less vulnerable to shocks.
- Squat Stands: To keep the barbell at the correct height so you can get under it.
- Bench: Most pushing exercises with a barbell require a bench.
- Plate Tree: To make moving weight plates around easier, a plate tree on wheel is excellent.
- Mat: A large rubber mat gives extra grip and protects your equipment and driveway.
These are the absolute basics. It allows you to do many barbell exercises like; squat, deadlift, overhead press, curls, good morning, clean & jerk, rows, etc. That is enough to build a lot of strength and a good physique. The bench allows you to do many pushing exercises like the bench press. The plate tree is necessary to make the weight plates easy to move around.
The good thing: This basic setup can also easily be used indoors. So if you store your equipment in the garage, you can easily use it there too if the weather isn’t great.
If you want some other exercise options you can add;
- Kettlebells: Great for cardio workouts or dumbbell replacement.
- Truck tire: Tire flipping is a great whole body strength builder and outdoors is the perfect place for it.
- Adjustable dumbbells: If you want to use dumbbells, an adjustable pair is much easier to move around.
- Sled: Pushing/pulling a sled is an awesome way to do cardio and build muscle at the same time.
- Battle Ropes: Great cardio and upper body strength tool.
- Farmers walk handles: Farmers walks are great for building grip/trap strength and outside is a good place for it.
- Atlas stone and platform: Want to train for strongman disciplines? Atlas stones and a platform are indispensable.
You can pick and choose what you want from the list above. As long as you’ve got a barbell, weight plates and squat stands, you’ve got the basics you need.
Recommended Equipment For a Driveway Gym
Above you can see the types of equipment you can use to build an outdoor gym that’s easily moved around.
- Barbell: The same barbell as used indoors is recommended here.
- Weight plates: A set of bumper plates with enough different weights to progressively load the weight. Fringe sports make a good bumper plate starter set with different weight plates.
- Weight Plate Tree: A weight plate rack that can handle enough weight for your workout and has wheels under it to move it around. XMark makes a sturdy rack with wheels that fits bumper plates, 2 barbells and has wheels that can lock so it doesn’t move when you don’t want it to.
- Bench: A light bench or one with wheels makes moving much easier. The CAP deluxe utility bench is sturdy and has wheels while not being too heavy.
- Barbell stands: Get some stands that are separate per side. That makes them less stable but easier to move and store. YaheeTech makes some simple barbell stands that are adjustable in height and comes with spotter arms. They only weigh about 2 lbs. a piece so are easily to move.
- Rubber mat: You want to cover a space of roughly 6’x8’ with rubber. Usually rubber mats are 4’ wide and can be bought in different lengths. So 2 mats of 6’x4’ are going to give you enough surface area while not being too heavy to move regularly. American Floor Mats make rubber mats in different lengths so you can get exactly what you need.
|Barbell||XMark||CrowBar||Buy on Amazon|
|Bumper plates||Fringe Sports||Milspec Bumper Plate||Buy on Amazon|
|Plate tree||XMark||XM-9057 Bumper Plate Tree||Buy on Amazon|
|Barbell stands||YaheeTech||Adjustable Squat Rack Standard 44-70 Inch||Buy on Amazon|
|Bench||CAP Barbell||Deluxe Adjustable Utility Bench||Buy on Amazon|
|Rubber mat||American Floor Mats||1/2in (12mm) Thick Solid Black 4' x 6' Heavy Duty Rubber Rolls||Buy on Amazon|
- Battle ropes
- Farmers walk handles
- Log bar
- Atlas stone and platform
|Sled||Titan Fitness||Low Bar Push Pull Drag Sled||Buy on Amazon|
|Yoke||Valor Fitness||BD-21 Strongman Yoke||Buy on Amazon|
|Battle Ropes||Yes4All||Battle Exercise Training Rope with Protective Cover||Buy on Amazon|
|Kettlebells||Yes4All||Vinyl Coated Kettlebells||Buy on Amazon|
|Log Bar||Titan Fitness||8 inch Rackable Strongman Log Bar||Buy on Amazon|
|Farmers walk handles||Synergee||Compact Farmer Walk Handles||Buy on Amazon|
|Atlas stone||Garage Fit||Heavy Duty Workout Sandbags for Training, Fitness, Cross-Training & Strongman Exercises||Buy on Amazon|
Potential Driveway Gym Problems
What are some potential problems you can run into when working out in your driveway? There are a few things you should keep in mind especially compared to working out inside. Here are the biggest issues.
Weightlifting creates noise. Noises you make inside your house will be dampened by the walls and roof. Outside the noises are free to go into your neighbors ears without impediment.
You can do a few things to minimize the noise;
- Use bumper plates
- Have a rubber mat under the place where plates hit the floor
- Don’t grunt like a caveman
- Lower the weights in a controlled manner
If you do all the things above, the noise will be minimal although there will always be some.
Iron on concrete or asphalt is going to damage both. Repairing a driveway can get expensive quite quickly and that doesn’t take into account the damage to the equipment.
Bumper plates will help a lot with this. They are made of rubber which is a lot easier on your driveway. However, the concrete can still damage the plates. Chunks of rubber might start getting ripped out of the plates.
For that reason it’s a good idea to have a thick rubber mat you can put on the driveway to protect both it and your equipment.
Driveways are rarely completely level. There usually is some incline or decline on a driveway. That means heavy weights on barbell stands could become unstable. Barbells could also roll away.
Finally, being on a slope can throw off your exercise form. This can actually be pretty dangerous. Especially if the height is different from left to right. This means your spine and all the joints won’t be aligned straight so there is a lot more danger for injuries.
Try to find the most level spot in your driveway. It will be the easiest and safest. If it’s really bad in your driveway and there is no good spot, some plywood shims and rubber tiles with a rubber mat on top can help even things out.
Weather changes. It depends on where you live how often and quickly that happens but it does. Even if the weather looks great it can change by the end of your workout.
That not only ruins your workout but can also be a problem for the equipment. Not all equipment will be bothered too much by some water but there are some that can definitely corrode. Especially if there are any cavities or crevices where water can gather and not easily get out.
The sleeves of a barbell and the inside of a barbell stand are prime candidates The water gets in, starts corroding things with bad long term results.
The weather can also just be not great to work out. Too cold, too hot, too wet, etc. That limits the use of outdoor gym equipment.
Sometimes you do everything you can to limit noise and other things that could tick off your neighbors but it’s not enough. Some neighbors are never going to be happy with whatever you do.
While it’s not illegal in any way (although it could be a problem according to HOA rules) weightlifting in the driveway is one of those things that is sure to tick off those types of neighbors. It’s always best to find some compromise both parties are happy with. Sometimes that’s not going to be easy so if you know you have difficult neighbors. It’s up to you how you want to proceed with that in mind.
Moving and Storage Of Driveway Gym Equipment
One important thing to touch is how people tend to use a driveway gym. You don’t really leave your equipment out there forever. You probably want to use your driveway for other things, the neighbors won’t be very happy with it and often the equipment will just ‘disappear’ when you leave it out there.
Also, in most places you can’t work out outdoors year round so you wouldn’t want some equipment clogging up your driveway with equipment you don’t use for several months out of the year.
That means you want equipment that you can easily move around. On top of that, you need a place to store that equipment.
For most people, the garage is at the end of the driveway. That’s the most logical place to store all your equipment. A garage door is easy to open and get big things through. Also, most people will have some space for gym equipment in their garage so it just makes sense.
If you don’t have a garage, things do get a bit more complicated. You’ll have to get the equipment through the front door which is more of a hassle. It’s also unlikely you have enough space/want to store the equipment next to the front door. So you’ll have to find another space in the house and drag everything through the house to get it outdoors.
If you don’t have a garage, a small shed just for storage could be an option but if that’s possible really depends on your situation.
So before you start buying equipment, think about where you’re going to store everything because the effort to get everything outside might not be worth it which means you’ll actually use it less often.
If you have a driveway, you’ll likely have a garage so storage isn’t a big issue. Something to think about is what you want to do with the equipment when you can’t use it in the driveway.
Do you want to NOT work out when the weather is bad? Maybe you’ll go to a commercial gym nearby when you can’t work out outside. However, it seems like a waste to buy equipment you can only use when the weather is good enough.
Just for efficiency, it’s a good idea to get equipment you could also use inside the garage. Of course you still need enough space in the garage to actually work out there but usually just parking the car outside will free up enough space to work out inside.
If you don’t want to have a permanent garage gym setup that’s fine. If you get equipment you can easily move outside, it’s easy to set up inside as well.
So that brings us to the equipment we need;
- Equipment that’s easy to move around
- Equipment that can be used inside as well as outside
- Equipment that’s easy to set up
Let’s take a look at what the best equipment for different goals is.