Your Home Gym Needs These Underrated Upgrades

I have been training at home since March, and during that time I have become quite familiar with my home gym (aka “a few piles of rusty stuff in my garage”). Aside from the obvious – weight and the like – it turns out there are a few little things that can make a garage look more like a real gym.

Stable rug

You can install a fancy floor, you can buy square gym mats, or you can simply head to your local farm store and buy a four-by-six-foot stable mat for about $ 40. You can use one mat or buy two and place them side by side for a 6×8 platform.

They are great for tough work that you might fall off, like deadlifts. The mat is also flatter and harder than most soft gym floors, which means it can serve as a good stable platform for Olympic lifts or anything else where you need the ground to be firm under your feet. (I haul mine out onto a pretty flat area on my otherwise uneven, gravel road.)


Many gyms do not have chalk because they are dirty. People cover all equipment with it, they do not clean it, leaving stripes on the ground. But when you are in your own space, you know you will take care of it.

Chalk is great for securing the grip to a deadlift bar, chin bar, or anywhere you might need extra help when your hands are sweaty. However, this is not a sidewalk or a chalkboard: look for “gymnastics” or “weightlifting” chalk, which comes in the form of blocks. Break the block into a resealable plastic container and then you can rub the pieces with your hands or dip your hands in the dust underneath.


Why listen to music with headphones when everything is at your disposal to blast whatever you want? It’s worth getting a good bluetooth speaker or digging up an old rod to listen to music without having to carry headphones around all the time.

Charts and chalkboards

In a home gym, even the walls are yours. Why not post a chart of your best exercises or training times on the board? You can also post your favorite workouts or look-up tables to convert kilograms to pounds or calculate percentages of your best lifts (this is handy if you are following a percentage program).

I hadn’t hung the chalkboard yet, but I let my son write my best pulls on a piece of cardboard on the wall. I also have a crappy thermometer chart that I fill out when I get a little closer to one of my main goals. Hey, this is my gym, so why not?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *