Minimalist Home Gym – Part One

I think I promised this a while back.  Here’s part one of a tour of my home gym (i.e. the back of my garage).  I’ve spent the last few years collecting, scrounging, building, and stealing a good amount of training equipment.  Here’s some of what I have so far and how I use it.

Home Gym--Front Wide Shot

A 10' x 15' Space

I took these shots with my iPhone, so I couldn’t get a wide enough angle to include everything.  I’ll break down some of the spaces.  One thing to note in this picture is the fitness flooring.  I used to work out on the concrete floor before I sprung for the 2′ x 2′ tiles.  They can be a bit slippery with sweat, but overall they’re a good investment to protect joints from impact and for light grappling practice.

Home Gym--Right Side

Right Side--Tower, Dumbbells, Jump Ropes, Gloves, Bands, Sweat Towel, Conditioning Bars, Bench, Clock, Sledgehammer, Bike, Snow Shoes, Wall of Fame (in progress)

In this picture you’ll see my #1 piece of equipment–the power tower.  This is for pull-ups, dips, pushups, and abs.  It’s also essential for hanging and airing out sweaty clothes.  Conditioning bars consist of a broken shovel handles.  I used them for body pounding before moving on to other exercises.

Home Gym--Left Side Front

Left Side--Free Standing Heavy Bag, Balance Ball, Cinderblocks, "Arnold" the Grappling Dummy, Mirror, Obligatory Video Game Movie Poster

A lot of this is self-explanatory, but here are a few details.  I love the freestanding bag because I can practice shooting on it too.  I built the dummy about a year ago out of industrial wire, stuffing, pool noodles, and LOTS of duct tape.  For a design, see:  The mirror cost $3 at Walmart and is awesome to spot check form for katas and lifts.  Cinderblocks are used for wall presses after clearing everything out of the way.

Home Gym -- "Shed"

A "shed" for miscellaneous equipment.

This picture serves as a reminder to make the most of available space.  Waste not, want not.

Writing this post is a nice retrospective for me.  A marriage, a move, and a career change brought me away from my home dojo and my gym.  Circumstances greatly changed my views of training and fitness.  Instead of lumbering around weight rooms and plodding through roadwork, I became much more self-sufficient and creative in my approaches.  I can get more done in less time than in the dojo or the gym, using way less space (10’x 15′).  I urge anyone interested in martial arts or fitness to design and implement a minimalist home gym of their own–for when you’re in a rush to work out at the very least.

There’s more to follow in part two where I’ll discuss additional equipment and specific exercises.  For now, do you have tools or tips for working out at home?  Advice and comments are always welcome.

About moaimartialarts

Lucky enough to grow up with the martial arts, I have felt their positive influence throughout my life and am especially interested in sharing these experiences with others. I enjoy working with youth and adults to give back some of what I've received. If you would like to learn more about Uechi-Ryu/Shohei-Ryu Karate, or if you want to find people to train with, please contact me. I am the head karate instructor for the Meriden Martial Arts Club.
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4 Responses to Minimalist Home Gym – Part One

  1. Matt says:

    Great use of space. I find this to be more true to the core and history of karate training than anything fancy and elaborate.

    I personally like the training floor mats as well. Concrete and other unforgiving flooring can be tough on the joints after awhile, and is especially unpleasant for any grappling work like you mentioned.

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