How to Start a Cheap Garage Gym?

Welcome to the three-part series on becoming a Garage Gym Athlete!!


This is Part 2 of a 3-part series:

“He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.”

-Benjamin Franklin

I don’t have enough time…

I don’t have enough money…

I don’t have the equipment…

I’m REALLY busy…

Welcome to the world. No more excuses, only solutions.

When I was in college a mentor of mine would always express how he hated it when people would present him with or tell him about a problem. He said, if you tell me about a problem, you are just complaining. There are two other options:

Option #1: Present the problem and give two possible solutions.

Option #2: See the problem, fix the problem and don’t tell anyone about it.

That’s always stuck with me. And it’s part of why I think there are no limitations in training with minimal equipment. You just have to get creative with your solutions.

This mindset is just as important in life as it is in training, and garage gyms.

So no more excuses, only solutions! Let’s make a garage gym!

A Garage Gym for Less than $500

First, you are going to need to find the core to your garage gym and that will be a barbell and some plates.

You can find cheap package deals at sporting good stores for just $220, which comes with a barbell and 300 lb of weight. Keep in mind, this is not the highest quality barbell, but when you are trying to cut costs, some sacrifices need to be made!

Plyo Box ($20)

gym 2

The first project is a plyometric box. One sheet of plywood, six cuts to suit the size you need, some glue, and screws and you are done! A plyometric box can be used for box jumps, dips, step-ups, box squats, and any other creative exercise you can think of. It is a very quick and easy project. It will only cost about $20, take you about 30 minutes, and is not very difficult to complete. Click here for the full tutorial.


Power Rack ($100)gym3

The second project is a little more difficult and time consuming: a power rack. However, if you build this project, and take care of it, it will last a long time and give you a great training capability. You will be able to squat with safety bars and make use of a pull-up bar. You can make any modification you like to suit your needs. If this project is too advanced for you, I recommend some cement buckets and 4x4s — you can find that project here. For the full power rack project, check out the instructions here.

Wall Ball ($12)

gym 4


The third project is very quick and easy: a medicine ball. Just cut open a basketball, fill it with pool salt (not sand) and patch it up. Now you have a medicine ball! A medicine ball is great for wall ball shots (squatting with and throwing to a target 10 feet away), weighted sit-ups, medicine ball cleans, and many other exercises. It is a must when starting a garage gym, and you can check out the full instructions here.

Parallettes ($35)


The fourth project is also quick and easy: parallettes. Parallettes are great for deficit push-ups, L-sits, dips, pass throughs, and many other exercises. This project just takes a few cuts of PVC, some PVC cement, and you are good to go. Very easy and a great addition to a garage gym — you can check out that project here.

And BOOM!!

We just spent $387 and we can do a lot of damage in the Garage Gym!!

You could take that extra cash and try and upgrade that barbell 🙂

These projects are just the start, but with a solid foundation and these few items, you will have enough equipment to have a very simple and effective garage gym. As you become more experienced and learn more about how you operate in a garage gym you can slowly expand your DIY arsenal or purchase the additional items you need.

As with any do-it-yourself project, unfamiliarity with the tools and process can be dangerous. If you are at all uncomfortable or inexperienced working on DIY projects (especially projects involving dangerous tools), please reconsider doing the job yourself. It is very possible on any DIY to damage your property, create a hazardous condition, or harm yourself or others. Be careful!

Now, get after it!

About the Author: Jerred Moon

Jerred is a Strength and Conditioning Coach and creator of End of Three Fitness which specializes in simple, effective barbell-centric fitness for the other guy. He is also the author of “The Garage Gym Athlete” which will be released on May 2. To learn more about Garage Gym Athlete, you can go here.




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