You want to have a home gym but your car shouldn’t sleep outside. It’s a difficult dilemma since usually both things can’t be true at the same time. I’ve found a solution to this problem.
It is possible to create a home gym in your garage and still park your car in it. An average sized garage with a mid-sized sedan parked in it has enough space left over to build a simple but complete free weights home gym. In most cases there is enough space for a cardio machine as well.
Want to know how to do it exactly? Keep reading to find out all the little details you need to know to get it just right.
Garage and car sizes
Since this whole thing revolves around the available space and how much of it each part uses, let’s first take a look at how big the average garage and car is.
The average one car garage is about 12’ x 22’. Of course not every garage is the same size but that’s the average so I’ll use it for the purposes of this post.
I’m also going to assume that your garage is empty except for the car. There probably is a whole bunch of stuff in there since a lot of people use their garage for storage but you might have to find a different place for those things.
Cars vary even more in size than garages. We need something to work with so let’s take the sizes of a Toyota Camry. A pretty average car, size and otherwise.
A 2019 Camry measures 192.7” x 72.4” (w/o mirrors). Or about 16’ by 6’.
To get in and out of your car you’ll need some space on both sides. So the width of the garage next to the car can’t really be used for anything gym related.
That means we have a space of 12’ x 6’ left inside the garage while the car is parked inside. Can we fit a home gym in that amount of space? Let’s see.
Which equipment do you need to build a gym in the garage?
First let’s see what we have to fit in the single car garage to have a complete gym and car.
In this case we’re going for a weightlifting gym with possibly a cardio machine. To do this we need;
- Power rack
- Weight plates
- Cardio machine
That will build a complete home gym. So let’s see how we can fit all of that and the car in a single garage and still be able to use it.
How much space does a home gym need?
Now we know how much space you need for the car. How much space does a home gym need?
I’ve already covered in another post how much space a home gym needs. Read it here if you want to know exactly how and what. That post covers a weightlifting gym with power rack, bench, weights and dumbbells.
The summary of that post is that you need a space of at least 8’ by 8’ while 10’ x 8’ can also give you space for a cardio machine. So as you can see those dimensions are a little bit different than the space we have left in our garage.
Garage space left: 12’ x 6’ =72ft2
Minimum weightlifting gym: 8’ x 8’ = 64 ft2
The minimum space you need is smaller than the available space in the garage. There is no 8’ of width available however. Does that mean we can still make it work?
How to lay out your garage gym
Now how can we fit all of those things into a single garage? It is possible but it requires a little different layout than just a home gym in another space. Why? Because of the space constraints. Yes the total floor space available is enough but the dimensions are different than I’ve outlined in the post earlier.
The biggest problem is doing deadlifts. A standard barbell is 7’ long. Since you need some space to put on weight plates, you’ll need at least 8’ of width to just lay down a barbell. Now to be able to comfortably do the lift you’ll need 4’ -5’ of depth. Usually you do this in front of your power rack. A power rack is 3’-4’ deep. That means you need more depth than the 6’ we’ve got left.
What that means
It means we need to move our deadlift area (and area for other exercises like with dumbbells or stretching) to next to the power rack instead of in front of it. Use the power rack with a shorter barbell so it fits in the 6’ width. Then next to the rack we have a space for deadlifting and other exercises. Check out the floor plan for a more visual explanation.
The car in the picture isn’t a Camry since i couldn’t find the correct picture but, the sizes have been adjusted to match a 2019 Camry. As you can see it’s not a giant space to work out in but you can make it work. This gym includes a Titan T-3 power rack, bench, Dumbbells and 7′ barbell.
If you’ve got a bigger car, you might not be able to execute the plan as stated above. A Camry is a pretty average car but medium sized pickups are the best selling vehicles in the United States with the Ford F-150 being the most popular.
The F-150 Supercrew with a 5.5’ bed has a total length of 19.3’. That means you have 3.7’ of length left in an average garage. There is no way that, you can fit you gym equipment in that amount of space let alone use it. So we have to look for another solution.
What’s the next best thing after fitting a home gym and a car in your garage at the same time? Fitting them in at different times. Leave the car outside while you work out, and when you’re done, move your car inside. It shouldn’t be a big problem to leave you vehicle outside for a few hours a day in most locations.
Leaving your car outside creates more than enough space for the workout but what about the equipment? There are some awesome solutions available. Even a smaller power rack like the Titan T-3 has a depth of 44 3/4”. That means it’ll be very pretty much impossible to put your truck inside and close the door. A treadmill is about 35” wide so you could fit one but that would leave very little space for anything else.
The solution is fold-able equipment. Especially the power rack and the treadmill since they take up the most amount of space. Being able to fold them away will make a big difference.
Fold away power rack
Fixed power racks use a whole lot of floor space and they use it all the time. It’s difficult to move them as well so you can’t easily move it out of the way to be able to park your car.
A fold away power rack is the solution. Once you’re done lifting, you can fold the rack so all the tubing is parallel to the wall. That means that it only protrudes about 5” into your garage. That’s a very big difference versus a fixed rack.
The drawback is that the functionality is somewhat limited. You can’t leave weights or bars on the rack when folded. That means you’ll have to put those items somewhere else.
Fold away treadmill
A fold away treadmill can provide great space savings compared to a fixed one. You’ll be able to fold away the deck you walk on. Since that is the biggest part, the used floors pace is a whole lot smaller than when folded down.
Is a foldable power rack just as good as a fixed one? A fold away power rack is more limited in functionality compared to a fixed power rack. You can’t leave weights and a bar on the rack while folded away. It’s also not advisable to lift inside the rack so you’ll have to lift in front of it. This can be less safe when alone.
Is a fold away treadmill just as good as a fixed one? There is no difference in functionality between a fixed and fold away treadmill. Fixed treadmills do tend to be bigger and heavier and can therefore be stronger. For people with space constraints the difference is worth the space savings however.
Favorite home gym tools
Many people often forget a few important pieces of their home gym that isn’t directly gym equipment. Here are my favorite home gym tools.
- Interval timer: To time your intervals and all types of other workouts, the GymNext Flex is easily the best and easiest to use.
- Mirrors: Fab & Glass (Amazon link) makes the best large mirror sheets so you can see your exercise form.
- Flooring: American Floor Mats gym flooring (Amazon) or equipment mats make your gym quieter, easier to clean and keeps your floor and equipment safe.
- Fan: The Rowenta VU5670 (Amazon) is a great way to stay cool while working out.