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Article: How to Build an Amazing Home Gym for Under $1,000

How to Build an Amazing Home Gym for Under $1,000

How to Build an Amazing Home Gym for Under $1,000

A home gym can feel like a dream come true.

No membership fees. No Lunk” alarms. No strangers taking selfies in the squat rack.

It’s just you, your equipment, your workouts, and your vibe.

Awesome, right?

Yet one big obstacle prevents many people from enjoying this fitness nirvana — money. Most folks believe home gyms are a luxury reserved solely for the rich. 

While that may have been true once upon a time, things have changed.

Jump Ahead to the Best Home Gym Under $1,000:

Why a Home Gym Under $1,000 is the Ultimate Life Hack

An effective home gym is a stellar investment in your physical and mental health. 

James Clear, self-improvement expert and author of the best-selling book Atomic Habits, believes our habits are a byproduct of friction and convenience.”

The more convenient we make an action, the more likely we are to perform it consistently over time.

A study published in the Wall Street Journal found the closer a person lives to their gym, the more likely they are to visit it frequently — and it doesnt get any closer than right inside your home or apartment.

A home gym instantly eliminates common excuses like you dont have time to train” or “it’s too hard to get to the gym.” The result is typically greater consistency and superior overall results. 

 The long-term return on your money and time can also be remarkable.

The average gym membership adds up to more than $500 a year.

Meanwhile, a home gym is a one-time investment that will pay off for many years (and potentially even decades) to come. Your equipment will also maintain substantial re-sale value over time. It’s akin to owning a home vs. renting an apartment. 

A typical commute to the gym may also take 15 minutes. That’s 30 minutes of your life (15 minutes there, 15 minutes back) every time you train. Say you go to the gym three times a week. That adds up to nearly 80 hours of commuting per year.

The advantages of a home gym are obvious.

But when certain specialty barbells cost over a grand alone, is it really possible to build an effective home gym for under $1,000?


Seven Different Home Gyms Under $1,000

There’s no one-sized-fits-all approach to building a home gym. 

With that in mind, we’ve curated seven different home gym build-outs that cater to a variety of different training goals, fitness levels and space limitations. Each cost under $1,000.

Feel free to utilize an exact build or to use them as a jumping off point for creating the home gym of your dreams!

*Final costs subject to change and do not include shipping & handling costs

Barbell Beast: Home Gym for Under $1,000


  • Squat Stand Pro $299.99
  • 2” Olympic Barbell (7 Foot) $129.99
  • Adjustable Utility Weight Bench $199.99
  • 2 x 45-Pound Olympic Bumper Plates $159.98
  • 2 x 25-Pound Olympic Bumper Plates $114.99
  • 4 x 5-Pound 2” Cast Iron Plates $36
  • 8 x 2.5-Pound 2” Cast Iron Plates $40

    Weight Total (Including Barbell): 225 Pounds

    Total Price: $979.95

    Want to utilize all the various barbell exercises proven to get you strong, fit and healthy?

    The Barbell Beast home gym build is for you.

    This set-up contains all you need to start a consistent barbell-based training regimen (or continue a current regimen) from the comfort of your own home. 

    The HulkFit Squat Stand Pro allows you to perform serious workouts in a compact space. This premium stand supports up to 1,000 pounds and includes high-quality spotter arms and J-hooks for safe, confident training.

    But what really makes the Squat Stand Pro such a phenomenal investment are the standard attachments — every unit features multi-grip pull-up handles, dip bars, a weight plate storage system, and a built-in landmine attachment. 

    The landmine alone adds enormous value.

    Related: The 13 Best Barbell Exercises

    “Landmine training and the countless exercises you can perform (with a landmine) are badass, empowering, and extremely beneficial,” writes Meghan Callaway, certified personal trainer and creator of The Ultimate Landmine Program.

    The HulkFit Adjustable Utility Weight Bench features an ultra-robust frame to support your strongest lifts, while a foldable design and built-in wheels allow for quick and easy adjustments. 

    The 7-foot model of the HulkFit 2” Olympic Barbell delivers a bar that can go toe-to-toe with pricier brands at a fraction the cost. Multiple knurling positions ensure a secure grip and you have your choice of a chrome or black color-way. 

    Top it off with 185 pounds of premium plates (including both 45- and 25-pound bumper plates) and youve got all you need to tackle intense, innovative and effective barbell workouts.

    Bold Beginner: Home Gym for Under $1,000


    Weight Total (Including Barbell): 233 pounds

    Total Price: $995.88

    Still pretty new to this whole ‘working out’ thing?

    This home gym is a wonderful way to start your fitness journey.

    Commercial gyms can be crowded and intimidating. A home gym is a fantastic way to learn, grow and get results on your own terms — provided you own the right equipment.

    The HulkFit 1” Barbell weighs 13 pounds, making it far more manageable for beginners than the standard 45-pound barbell. 

    Don’t mistake that lighter weight for a lack of durability, however — the bar still supports up to 350 pounds, giving you plenty of runaway to build your strength over time.

    If you have a 1” barbell, you need 1” weight plates.

    Otherwise, the plates will shift around during exercise. This leads to dangerous and uncomfortable workouts.

    This build contains 90 pounds of total weight plates. Access to plenty of 2.5-pound plates will help you make steady, gradual progress.

    The HulkFit Squat Stand Lite is the perfect companion to your 1” barbell. It features adjustable J-cups so you can set the bar to the perfect height for your body along with an adjustable pull-up bar. While you may not be able to do an unassisted pull-up quite yet, simply hanging from the bar is an excellent form of exercise.

    A nice selection of dumbbells, a comfortable bench and a quality kettlebell round out this home gym that includes everything required to kickstart your fitness journey.

    Free Weight Freak: Home Gym For Under $1,000


    Weight Total (Including Barbell): 390 pounds

    Total Price: $985.93

    Do you generally prefer to use lighter weights and feel a power rack or squat stand might be overkill for you?

    Would you love a routine that includes a mixture of kettlebell, dumbbell and barbell movements?

    Then the Free Weight Freak home gym build may make perfect sense.

    HulkFit Enamel Coated Cast Iron Kettlebells feature an extra-wide handle to allow confident execution of the full arsenal of kettlebell movements. Their high quality cast iron interior is dipped in durable enamel to deliver maximum comfort and reliability. These are comparable to Rogue’s Rubber Coated Kettlebells, yet about 40% less expensive.

    Related: What Kettlebells Actually Do to Your Body

    HulkFit Rubber Encased Hex Dumbbells feature comfort-contour handles plus hexagon heads that prevent rolling and allow for easy storage.

    Five pairs of dumbbells ranging from 10 all the way to 45 pounds gives you plenty of bandwidth for different training goals, from enhancing muscular endurance to building pure strength.

    The Adjustable Utility Weight Bench helps you fully harness the power of your kettlebell and dumbbell collection. Perform classic exercises like bench presses and chest-supported rows along with innovative moves like the Rear-Foot Elevated Split Squat or BirdDog Row:

    Finally, the 5-foot model of the 2” Olympic Barbell empowers versatile and effective barbell training in a portable package. 

    This is a fantastic home gym build if you crave diversity and like to utilize a range of free weight equipment in your routine.

    Serious Squats: Home Gym For Under $1,000


    Weight Total (Including Barbell): 375 Pounds

    Total Cost: $998.91

    This is an ideal load-out if squatting is your top priority.

    You’ll instantly get your hands on a good barbell, a quality rack and a boatload of weight.

    Four HulkFit 55-pound bumper plates help you add serious load to any movement, while an arsenal of complementary cast iron plates ensure consistent progress towards your next PR.

    It’s completely okay to mix bumper plates and cast iron plates together provided the bumpers are of a larger diameter (which is the case here). This is because, unlike cast iron plates, bumper plates have a high-density rubber exterior designed to withstand drops with minimal bounce. They also tend to be kinder to your floors. 

    You won’t be limited to squats, of course — this affordable set-up also lets you get after it with classic moves like the deadlift, overhead press, bent-over row and hang clean.

    The one catch?

    You don’t have a bench. 

    However, the dip handles and landmine attachment on the squat stand can help you effectively tone up your chest. Athlean-X’s Jeff Cavaliere shares some awesome landmine moves that will hammer your pecs:

    You can also use the lower settings on the Squat Stand Pro to accommodate a Barbell Floor Press.

    The Floor Press is an effective way to target the chest and build explosiveness in your pressing pattern. Many lifters find the reduced range of motion can help them avoid shoulder pain associated with the traditional Bench Press.

    Power Cage Play: Home Gym for Under $1,000


    Weight Total (Including Barbell): 175 Pounds

    Total Price: $991.94

    A quality power cage (also known as a power rack) will instantly become the centerpiece of your home gym.

    By eliminating the need for a human spotter, you can confidently perform lifts without fear of injury or property damage.

    However, a lifting stand with spotter arms can also help you train sans spotter. So why shell out a little more coin for the power cage?

    For a unit like the HulkFit Power Cage, it comes down to three key advantages:

    1. A stronger and wider base of support that eliminates shakiness to deliver an ultra-smooth lifting experience
    2. Durable safety pins that enable intense solo workouts and empower unique training variations like pin presses, rack pulls and overcoming isometrics
    3. Endless potential for further customization

    The HulkFit Power Cage comes equipped with high-quality safety pins, adjustable J-hooks, premium circle dip bars, and multi-grip pull-up handles.

    It’s been battle-tested by thousands of experienced lifters and delivers all the essential features of a pricier rack at a fraction the cost. 

    This haul sets a super strong foundation for your home gym.

    Related: The 13 Best Power Rack Exercises

    You’ve got an awesome power cage, a great barbell, a durable bench, and enough weight to challenge every part of your body. Built-in pull-up and dip handles help round out your routine and provide a chance to mix in some relative strength training, as well.

    Additional investment can be used towards more weight or additional power cage attachments.

    The Three Bar: Home Gym for Under $1,000


    Weight Total (Including Bars): 390 Pounds

    Total Price: $995.89

    This build makes three premium lifting bars the focus of your home gym. 

    The 2” Olympic Barbell and Squat Stand Lite have you covered for heavier squats, lunges, overhead presses and more.

    Meanwhile, your HulkFit Olympic Curl Bar (also known as an EZ Bar) is one of the best bargains in fitness. For under $50, you get a versatile tool that can target key aesthetic muscle groups like the triceps, lats and biceps with pinpoint precision.

    The bar’s zig-zag design allows for more ergonomic grips than a traditional straight bar, making many exercises more comfortable and more effective.

    Curl bars are commonly associated with bicep curls (hence the name), and muscle activation research has found they’re perhaps the best way to perform that type of movement. 

    However, if you believe curl bars are solely for curls, you’re sorely mistaken. 

    They’re also phenomenal for moves like Skull Crushers, Zercher Squats, Front Squats, Front Rack Lunges and Bent-Over Rows:

    The HulkFit 2” Hex Trap Bar equips you with an implement used by many of the world’s fittest people — from Christian McCaffrey to Rory McIlroy to Brie Larson.

    The trap bar first gained popularity as a safer, more effective way to deadlift.

     It allows a lifter to stand inside the bar and, if needed, to utilize a pair of high handles. This changes the biomechanics of the deadlift and frequently eliminates many of the common errors associated with the movement. The result is a powerhouse of an exercise that’s also easy to learn.

     Yet the utility of the trap bar is not limited to deadlifts.

    It’s also a great tool for weighted jumps (an excellent way to develop power), Farmer’s Walks, Overhead Carries, Suitcase Carries, RDLs and even neutral-grip pressing movements (which can help avoid/relieve shoulder pain):

    The remainder of the budget goes towards an impressive array of bumper and cast iron plates that allow you to tackle lifts all the way up to 315 pounds.

    Between the barbell, curl bar and trap bar, this build delivers three fantastic tools that can help you increase full-body strength and muscle.

    Cage and Cable: Home Gym for Under $1,000


    Total Price: $959.96

    This build-out morphs the HulkFit Power Cage into an all-in-one training center for under $1,000.

    First, a little context: many standalone cable machines go for north of $3,000.

    This set-up includes a power cage, two cable machines, and a special lat pulldown/low row cable attachment for under a grand. That’s pretty fantastic value. 

    The HulkFit Cable Crossover Attachment adds two independent cable machines to the wings of your power cage. They’re wide enough so as not to impede performance of barbell-based lifts in the cage, and can be used both for dual-cable movements or simultaneous single-cable movements (such as if two people wanted to perform Tricep Push-Downs at the same time).

    Both feature an adjustable pulley system that pivots to target your muscles from multiple angles. Cable machines are excellent for hypertrophy-based (a.k.a. muscle-building) workouts thanks to their versatility and buttery-smooth resistance. 

    “Most people aren’t even coming close to utilizing the cable machine to its fullest potential … (it can) help you increase strength, burn calories and reduce your risk of an overuse injury,” Pete McCall, CSCS, writes on the American Council on Exercise website. 

    The HulkFit Lat Pull Down and Low Row Attachment is specially designed for pulldown and rowing exercises — two essential movement patterns we rarely get enough of during daily life.

    Adding vertical and horizontal pulls to your routine can fix your posture, address nagging aches and pains, and help you look more aesthetic. The attachment features wide lat and low row handles plus solid textured foot plates to support your strongest pulling positions.

    The Cable Attachment bundle features tricep rope, straight bar, double D (a.k.a. seated row), and V-shaped grip handles. All handles are constructed from high-quality solid steel with a black powder-coated finish. 

    The only catch? You'll need weight plates and a bar.

    But if you already own those or don’t mind the additional investment, this is as close as you can get to replicating the breadth of a commercial gym for under $1,000.

    The Secret to Building a Great Home Gym For Under $1,000

    Still searching for your perfect home gym under $1,000?

    Follow these five keys:

    1. Write down the 5-10 exercises you feel are most important to your fitness success. Rank them in order of importance. 
    2. Write down the weight range (and type of weight in terms of barbell, kettlebell, dumbbell, etc.) you need to get a great workout in with each movement. It can be wise to add ~20% or so to the top end of the weight range to give yourself room to grow.
    3. Write down any equipment you need to support execution of those exercises with those weights.
    4. Identify the pieces of equipment that will empower several of your go-to exercises. It’s generally better to invest in a piece you can use for 5-6 of your favorite movements rather than 1-2. 
    5. Prioritize those pieces during the purchasing process.

    Don’t buy the idea that you can’t create a legit home gym for under $1,000. 

    With the right attitude and a solid game plan, you can easily outfit your house or apartment with amazing equipment that will help you live a healthier, happier life. 

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