Mirrors are already a detail of the home gym many people forget. How big mirrors should be and how high to mount them is certainly a detail many people overlook.
How tall should gym mirrors be? Gym mirrors are ideally 5’ to 6’ tall and at least 36” wide. A gym mirror should be mounted 2′ from the floor which means the top of the mirror is at 7′ to 8′ high. This is perfect for weightlifting and most other workouts. For Yoga and similar exercises mirrors should go down to the floor.
That’s not all that can be said about the size of gym mirrors. There are a couple more details you should really know before you run to the shop and buy a random shiny piece of glass.
Gym mirror size
To be able to do everything a gym mirror has to do (more on that later), you want the mirror to be at least 5 foot tall. This is important because you want to see your whole body and everything you’re holding, even when your arms are above your head.
You might think that 5 feet isn’t tall enough to do that. Well it wouldn’t be if you stood against the mirror. You don’t do that though. Most people tend to stand at least 4’-5’ away from the mirror. Being further away makes you look smaller and that means you fit in the mirror.
Another point is that you want the mirror to be mounted at a height of 7”. Why is that necessary? Because there are plenty of things you do above your head. Overhead pressing and pull ups, just to name to big ones.
You still want to be able to see what you’re doing above your head so you want to make sure that the mirror covers it. Since most mirrors aren’t 8’ tall, you’ll have a gap at the bottom. This is no problem and actually a benefit. When you drop a pair of dumbbells or a barbell, it tends to roll away. If a weight rolls into a mirror, there is a good chance it will break. Having a gap at the bottom prevents this.
Of course if you’re doing a lot of exercises on the floor, like yoga, you want your mirrors to further down. How low depends on how close you are to the mirror when doing your workout. If you’re sitting very close (2’ or less), you want it to go all the way down. If you’re not working with weights, the risk of damaging the mirrors is much lower so there is no drawback of having a mirror all the way to the floor.
We’ve covered the height, but what about the width? It’s quite simple; it has to fit the width of the person looking at him/herself. It’s quite irritating to be standing In the middle of a seam between two mirrors. It’s like you’re being cut in half and you’ll have a funny shape.
That’s fun at the fair but at the gym it’s a distraction you don’t need. 36” is the size that will contain most people without being spread out over two mirrors.
Are your home gym ceilings high enough? Find out here.
Why are mirrors in the gym important?
Why is it important to have mirrors in a gym you might wonder? That’s a good question and the answer won’t be completely clear to beginners.
It’s important to realize what mirrors are used for. Aren’t mirrors in the gym just for the insecure guy that has to check his biceps everywhere? Or the girl just taking “suggestive” selfies for Instagram? No, believe it or not but there are other good reasons why every gym has mirrors.
Sure, bodybuilders use the mirrors to practice their posing to prepare for going on stage. For most people who work out, joining a bodybuilding competition is not something they want to do though. Most people just want to get in shape and have no interest in becoming a professional bodybuilder.
A mirror in the gym is very important to see what you are doing. How your body looks in a certain position and if that is correct. A mirror is there so you can check your exercise form. Doing exercise with bad posture and form can lead to injuries pretty quickly. Injuries can keep you out of the gym for a while and nobody wants that to happen.
In the mirror you can check if everything looks good, remember the tips your trainer gave you or maybe even compare yourself to what you’ve seen on YouTube. You can also use it to check your consistency over time. If you just do what feels comfortable, you might not be doing it right.
When you’re stretching, it can also be really useful to check yourself in the mirror. You can see if one side is tighter than the other and if you make any movements you shouldn’t be.
Mirrors are not in the gym just to please vain people. Use them!! They’re there for your benefit.
Are mirrors necessary in a home gym?
The most important use for mirrors is to check the form of your exercise. Especially if you’re working with free weights, it’s important to have some visual of what is going on. This is just as important in a home gym as in a commercial gym.
In a home gym it might be even more important since you don’t have any people around that can correct you if you’re doing something wrong. In a home gym, you’re by yourself and you’re free to make your own mistakes. You have to do everything right from your own knowledge, experience and senses. The visual feedback you get from a mirror is great for this reason.
That’s why it’s not a good idea to have a home gym that’s completely void of mirrors.
Unless you really, really hate to look at yourself, there is no downside to having mirrors in your own gym. And if you really do hate looking at yourself, keep working out!
Do I need mirrors everywhere in my gym?
No, it’s not necessary to fill every last piece of wall, ceiling and floor with mirrors. Think about the purpose of the gym mirror. It’s to check your form. You don’t have to do this on every exercise. When you’re on the treadmill, there’s not that much use for a mirror. When benching, you shouldn’t be looking in the mirror.
The mirror is useful for a group of exercises where you’re standing or seated. Laying down or on a treadmill, a mirror isn’t of much use.
The place where it’s important to have a mirror is the area where you perform strength exercises and especially if you perform them with free weights. So the location where it’s most useful to have mirrors is where you do exercises with barbells and dumbbells.
Behind the power rack is a place where you definitely need a mirror. Monitoring your squat, deadlift and other big lifts is very important. Those are the exercises that have the biggest consequences if performed wrong. And it’s also fun to look at your own face at the top of a heavy deadlift.
Other places to put mirrors are where you stretch and do exercises with dumbbells. This can still be in or in front of the power rack so you use the same mirror.
So, if you put a mirror behind your power rack, you’ll likely have enough for a home gym. You’re alone after all. You can only use one mirror at a time.
Are glassless mirrors good for gyms? Yes, glassless mirrors are great for gyms. They’re made from acrylic sheets and have a tough coating. They have some great benefits over traditional mirrors. Glassless mirrors are;
This makes them perfect for gyms.
Do gym mirrors make you look bigger? In some gyms, the top of the mirror is pointing slightly downward. This makes your upper body look bigger and your belly smaller. Not all gyms do this but it could be why you look bigger and better in the gym than at home.
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