When you’re building a home gym the mirrors are often an afterthought. For most situations, it’s a really good idea to get at least one mirror though. Is a normal bathroom mirror big enough or do you need something else? Here’s how big a gym mirror should be and where to put it.
A mirror for a home gym should at least be 36” wide and 60” high. To have the best view of most exercises the mirror should be mounted 1’ or 2’ from the floor so the top is at a height of 7’ from the floor. The best location to hang a mirror in a home gym is behind the power rack or dumbbell rack.
Below you can find why these dimensions and locations are the best and what options you have.
Which Size Gym Mirror Is Right?
Mirrors can make lifting weights alone a lot safer. Installing them before placing all the other equipment is a lot easier since you’ll probably want to hang them behind the equipment. And because you want the mirrors to be pretty large, the equipment would have to be moved out of the way if it’s already in place. But how big should gym mirrors be exactly?
Let’s get into the correct height and width below. Also, don’t forget to think about the right thickness.
How tall should a (garage) gym mirror be?
There are two important dimensions for home gym mirrors; height and width. Let’s look at the necessary height first.
Home gym mirrors should be 5’ to 6’ tall in order to be able to see your whole body during all exercises.
Size is not the only deciding factor for gym mirrors. I’ve written an article about all the factors that go into picking the right workout mirror.
Gym mirrors are there to see yourself and what you’re doing. That means the mirrors have to be tall enough to see your whole body during all the exercises you might want to perform. That means the top of the mirror has to be at least as high as the top of your head. But actually you want it to be a fair bit taller than that. That’s because many people lift weights overhead. When doing that, your arms go above your head and you want to be able to see what your arms are doing there.
That doesn’t mean you need a 7’ or 8’ tall mirror. You actually don’t want the mirror to go down all the way to the floor so a 5’ to 6’ tall mirror sheet will do. It depends a little on how tall you are yourself as well. For shorter people 5’ is good while for taller people 6’ high mirrors are better
Also, the further away you are from the mirror, the smaller you’ll be. That’s why even when you’re lifting weights overhead, a 5’ or 6’ tall mirror is enough.
Don’t want to search? Click here if you want to find some really high-quality, large, and affordable gym mirrors.
How high to mount a gym mirror off the floor?
It’s best not to mount the mirror directly off the floor. Gym mirrors should be mounted 1 or 2 feet off the floor. If you want to stand close to the mirror, 1’ of the floor is good but if you’re further away than about 4’ from the mirror, mounting them 2’ high is fine.
There are a few reasons for that;
- You want the top of the mirror to be at about 7’ high if possible. 7’ tall mirrors are very rare. So to get the top to be at that height, you’ll have to mount them 1’ or 2’ off the floor.
- Power outlets are usually placed at 2’ high. That means they can get in the way and sometimes it’s just more convenient to mount the mirror above the outlet than to change the location.
- Most of the time you’re standing a few feet away from the mirror. That means to see your feet in the mirror, it doesn’t have to go down to the floor because your eyes will see your feet higher up.
- The bottom part is the most vulnerable to things like dumbbells and weight plates rolling into it. Rolling a dumbbell into a mirror will often at least crack it.
The exception is for things like dancing, Pilatus, and yoga. For those types of exercise, you do want the mirrors to go down to the floor.
How wide should a gym mirror be?
Just as with the height, the width of your gym mirrors should be enough to capture your whole body in most situations. For that reason, a gym mirror should be at least 36” wide although 48” is better. Not only do you have to see your whole physique while holding your arms next to your body but also when holding your arms to the side.
I’ve written an article that goes into depth on what the ideal gym mirror width is and why. Click the link if you’re interested.
Of course like with the height, how big you are has an impact on which width mirror works best. For the average person, 36” will work but if you’re significantly bigger than average, 48” wide mirrors probably fit you better. And that’s bigger in width but also in height. The taller you are the longer your arms are and the further they stick out to the side.
With mirrors 36” wide, most people will have their hands cut off the view on exercises where you fully extend your arms to the side. Besides lateral raises, there aren’t that many exercises where this is the case so that’s not that big a deal.
Putting two smaller mirrors next to each other can be an option but it will cause distortions in your view while doing your workout. Having one smooth field of view is much nicer and makes it easier for your brain to comprehend what your body is doing. That’s why you want the mirror to be a sheet of at least 36” wide.
Where To Put a Mirror In a Home Gym?
Gym mirrors are meant to reflect what you’re doing back to you so you can see if something is going wrong. This way you can keep an eye on your exercise form and if both sides of your body are doing the same thing.
That means it’s best to put the gym mirror in front of the position where we will be doing most of our exercises. It also depends on the type of exercise though. With machines, there isn’t all that much to change about the form so a mirror isn’t going to help much.
But the freer the weights are, the more important a mirror becomes. For example, cable exercises are freer because the cables can move in more different directions than a fixed machine. A mirror in front of a cable machine is good although not strictly necessary.
However, if you’re doing anything with completely free weights like dumbbells and barbells it’s a very good idea to have a mirror available. You want those mirrors to be where you can easily look at them. That means straight in front of where you’re doing the exercise. In most cases, this means behind the power rack or dumbbell rack. In small home gyms, one mirror behind the power rack will be enough. Just carry the dumbbells to the power cage and do the exercises there. But, nobody is stopping you from using multiple mirrors.
Of course, there are exceptions to this as well. During a bench press, a mirror is pretty useless for example. Not that form isn’t important on the bench press but it’s very difficult to see yourself in the mirror while lying on a bench. That’s because you don’t want to keep your head/neck in a pretty neutral position during lifts. The heavier you’re lifting, the more important form becomes but also the more important it is to keep your neck neutral. So on most exercises where you’re laying down on a bench, mirrors aren’t necessary.
If you’re not doing free weights but things like yoga or Pilatus, mirrors can also be very useful.
In commercial gyms you’ll see the same thing: There are mirrors in front of the dumbbells and the power cages but most other places won’t have mirrors except the yoga studio. In front of machines or the treadmills, you’ll rarely see mirrors in a commercial gym because it’s just not very useful.