Having a dedicated gym space in your home makes working out much more convenient and flexible. Finding the right area in your home is typically a bigger decision than most anticipate. After all it would be an area where you will start spending significantly more time in. There is no rule as to where a home gym must be, but can you put a gym in the basement? And should you?
When planning a home gym for yourself, using the available space in your basement to build your gym is the ideal spot. Basements are usually out of the way from daily traffic, effective in keeping noisy workouts isolated and is cooler in temperature, which is perfect for working out.
However, there are some caveats before proceeding. Or at least things to consider before filling out your basement gym. What types of floor you have in your basement does not restrict you in anyway, but it does play a roll in investing money towards extra gear like rubber mats or foam tiles.
Whether its carpet, tiles, concrete, hard wood. You should always consider putting down an extra layer of protection. If you’re unsure what type of flooring you would get or what is even available, we have an article here that would help you through the floor mat process.
What To Consider Before Installing A Gym In The Basement
There is a wide range of basement conditions where you can make a basement gym work. Whether it is finished or unfinished. Bare walls and concrete floors is often enough but can be more messy and likely to kick up dust and dirt.
If you plan on keeping a home gym space in your basement then there are some option you should consider to make it the best experience for you.
- Flooring – although there isn’t a particular type of flooring you need. You want to cover the floors with rubber mats or foam mats. It doesn’t mater if you have concrete, carpet or anything in between. Add a layer of protection to your equipment, machines and body.
- Lights – You don’t workout in a dungeon, give yourself a bright space when working out. Daylight bulb lights mimic the natural light of the sun and is ideal for basements and working on focussed tasks.
- Space – Give yourself plenty of room. Gym equipment alone already take a plenty of space, give yourself freedom to move around your gym without tripping over your equipment or yourself. A general rule I recommend is enough floor space for all your equipment as well as empty space for body weight exercises, i.e pushups and sit ups. Ideally you want a minimum of 5 x5 feet.
- Ventilation – your basement should have good airflow or at least access to it. Properly working vents, fans and windows that are easily accessed and can open will help circulate the air. Important parts of workouts is your breathing and you will often be taking deep breaths during an exercise. Having clean airflow helps the dirt and particles getting in the lungs.
Why Put A Gym In The Basement?
With all the available area in your home, why should you choose the basement to install a home gym? For starters, you want it to be a personal space. It would mostly be used by you or family members, so it may be considerate for you and guests in keeping it in an area that would be out of the way.
Basements typically have much more open floorspace. Main floors and upper floors of a home are sectioned off into separate rooms like dining room, kitchen, bedrooms etc. Having more floor space allows you freedom in how you can build your home gym and likely more room for where the equipment would go.
When working out you will likely be putting a lot strain on the floors as well. It could be in the form of dropping weights, running on the treadmill or simple warms ups like jumping jacks. Over time any type of workout will start taking its toll on your floors. It is always recommended to have some type of floor mat as we stated earlier in this article.
A thing to note is the ceiling and lighting, basement ceilings can be lower than other areas of the home. And the lights could also be dimmer or sparse. Have your space well lit during a workout. Either by installing brighter lights or adding plug in lamps where available.
If you are wondering how to light your basement gym or how to maximize what you currently have, you can check out this article here that would walk you through it.
You also may be weighing the worth of having a gym in your home, or just getting a gym membership. We talked about having the convenience and flexibility of working out whenever you want. A New York Times article states that according to a study made by the Journal Annals of Behavioural Medicine. “People with home exercise machines were 73 percent more likely to start exercising.”
The cost of owning a gym at home is larger upfront. Setting up your space and putting in all the equipment can make costs add up quickly.
“People with a home exercise machine were 73 percent more likely to start exercising.”New York Times “With the Right Motivation, That Home Gym Makes Sense”
It really comes down to your preferences. Some would rather get out of their home and have their time for an hour or two. Others want to be able to do their workout quickly and efficiently. No commutes, no waiting for machines or dealing with large crowds.
Should You Finish The Basement Before Having A Home Gym?
There are pros and cons to having a finished or unfinished basement when putting in a home gym. With an unfinished one. The bare minimum you would want is to clean up the dust and particles as much as possible before moving everything in. You would likely need to be more consistent with cleaning as to not allow any sediment accumulate on your equipment and workout stations. As stated before, ensure this area is also well ventilated and circulation of air is optimal. Fungus growth and mold that are typically normal in basements. However, when working out, breathing it all in is a higher risk.
Given the options, you would ideally want to finish your basement. During the process, you will be able to identify problem areas that need to be fixed in the basement, as well as the ability to set up your entire home gym the way you want to. Planning and completing your gym beforehand would make any changes later on more difficult.
How Big Or Small Should A Basement Gym Be?
When working out you would want to not feel restricted in movement. The more room the better, however that is not an option for many people. As a general rule of thumb, having 100 square feet of empty space with at least 8 foot ceilings is enough to have cardio and strength training equipment as well as enough height for head room. Be more thoughtful of what type of equipment you use. For example, instead of treadmill, go for a run or walk outside. This saves space for something you would otherwise have no access to.
Something to keep in mind is that you basement gym can change too over time. For those who have very limited space in their basement, we have an article that talks about building an home gym in a small space, along with recommendations of equipment to get.
When it comes to your home gym, what is important is a space that gets you motivated, happy and have a certain level of comfort. You would want a positive experience each time you workout. Staying consistent with workout is already hard enough. Your basement provides a perfect opportunity to do just that. What you do with the entire space is up to you and you can do whatever you like. Other areas in the house would differ because a spare bedroom might be needed for a growing family or converted to a living room, dining room etc.
Control what you can in setting yourself up for success. Make it totally your own personal space. If a basement doesn’t seem like the best place to put your gym. We have an article that can help you find the best place to build your home gym.