How to Build a Home Gym on a Budget (part 2)

Kettlebells are your first purchase in your “level 2” budget home gym space

Couple days ago, we covered the first installment in our “how to build a home gym on a budget” series.

If you missed that one, see it here:

=> How to Build a Home Gym on a Budget (part 1)

Remember, we are breaking down our budget home gym into “levels” – meaning, starting with the most bare-bones of equipment options and cost, and moving up from there. Each level builds on the previous, so that you can assemble your home gym over time, if you wish, starting with just the most critical items first.

To review, level one (under $100 investment) included a dedicated workout space, a deep knowledge of body weight training basics, and a quality interval timer.

Today, we’re on to level 2 …


How to Build a Home Gym on a Budget – Level 2 (under $500)

The first piece of workout equipment you’ll be picking up in level two is … you guessed it … kettlebells! :)

The KB is very versatile. It can be used to train all of your major muscle groups. You can use it for both strength and conditioning applications. That’s why you’ll get a KB or two first thing in level two.

Now a REALLY common question I get is about what size kettlebell to buy when you’re starting out. So much so, in fact, that last year, I did a video on it. See that video here:

=> What Size Kettlebell to Use

An important point that I cover in the above video/post is that you CAN start with a single ‘bell – and in fact I give a recommendation for what size to go with, if you are only going to get one – but that if you really want to start off right, you gotta get at least two, of different sizes. Then, as you get into your training, you can start building, realize what additional sizes you need, if you want to get doubles of the same size, etc.

Another question folks have frequently is what KIND of kettlebell to get. As in, should they invest in a more expensive one, or go with a cheapy from the local superstore. I got the answer to that one for you, too, in this post:

=> The Real Truth About Buying a Kettlebell

Just to be fair, let’s say that you get a couple of high quality ‘bells, and you’ve dropped a couple hundred bucks on ‘em. From level one, you have a dedicated workout space, some body weight training study materials, and a high quality interval timer. So you are down about $300 at this point.

(BTW, horse stall mats are an AWESOME way to go if you need some cheap but high quality gym flooring.  You can get ‘em for 30 or 40 bucks each at a local tractor supply, and they are great. We just put a couple of them in a back workout space we have at our studio, and they are working awesome – and cost about 1/4 of the price of the gym flooring we originally put in! :) )

The next and final thing I would grab in the level 2 phase of building your home gym on a budget would be some kind of body weight pulling apparatus.

Pulling is one movement that you can’t do very well with just your own body weight, and no added equipment of any kind at all … and a body weight – based pull is a great compliment to any pulling moves you do with your KB’s.

It largely depends on your current fitness level, as to what type of body weight pulling “device” you should start with. If you can do a few standard pull ups currently, you should go with a pull up bar. There are quite a few options out there – you could go with a door pull up bar, one that is mounted on the wall, or even one that is free standing.

If you are not at the level of doing pull ups, and really not even close, you should start with a piece of equipment that will allow you to do inverted rows – some kind of suspension trainer, like a TRX, or something like a Lebert Equalizer.

I ultilize both of these devices in my boot camps on a daily basis – they allow for a lot of flexibility and some great work with body weight pulling movements, for folks that haven’t worked up to doing full pull ups for reps yet.

Learn about the TRX here => TRX

Learn about the Lebert Equalizer here => Lebert Equalizer

You are going to spend a couple hundred bucks on a solid pulling device, at least, depending on what you go with. So, now you’re at around $500 …

Hopefully, if you got a good deal on your stuff, you have a few $ left over. And as you know, KNOWLEDGE is king. Learn all you can about how to best utilize your equipment and new training space. You will get SO much more out of it. Get some solid courses on kettlebell training, more body weight stuff, etc.

My own “flagship” program on kettlebell training also includes a lot of info on body weight training – this is a good one to check out if you haven’t yet:

The 10×10 Kettlebell Solution

Okay! That’s about it for today.  You’ve got a solid home workout space built by now, one that will last you for years to come – and you’ve only spent about $500 bucks!

Next time, we’ll be back with our third and final installment of our how to build a home gym on a budget series.  We’ll talk about what to spend the last $500 of your $1000 budget on.

Thanks for reading, and talk to you soon –


4 comments… add one
  • marc

    great to see home gyms being encouraged. personally i would go for weighted medicine ball – add sabd or water to badketball – pullup bar and easy to make ratchet strapvsuspension trainer (why pay $200 when you can make it for $25?!)

  • admin

    Thanks for the input Marc!

    I will say though – I have experimented with making my own suspension trainer – and it has never turned out to be as good of quality, sturdy, etc., as one that is commercially produced.

    Just my two cents 🙂

    Thanks again for reading!


  • Great pointers here in this article…I am on my way to buy myself kettlebells for my home gym

  • admin

    Nice Ann! Glad you liked it!


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