The Spartan Guide to Building a Simple (and Cheap) At-Home Gym

The Spartan Guide to Building a Simple (and Cheap) At-Home Gym
Presented by Spartan Training®

By Sam Stauffer, Spartan Director of Training

Creating an at-home workout experience has many challenges, but when pulled off, it’s your ticket out of a gym membership and into a great lifestyle.

We’ve all shared the same high hopes of owning a treadmill and crushing the miles, only to find it more useful as a coat rack. A kettlebell soon turns into doorstop, and the strength bands you ordered from Amazon end up in a "workout box" that never gets opened. So what’s the deal? Point blank, it comes down to three things: priorities, accountability, and motivation — and in that order.

Step 1: Make Fitness a Priority

Understanding that fitness is a lifestyle choice, and is more important than most things you place ahead of it, is step one. Your health should ALWAYS be your No. 1 priority. Without it, you can’t work, you can't look after your family, and you can’t do any of the other things you’ve chosen to prioritize ahead of it. Your first goal in building an at-home gym is to rework your priorities and be a tad selfish about your own health.

Step 2: Hold Yourself Accountable

Most people who train with a trainer, or do aerobic classes, do so in a 60-minute time block. This doesn’t have to be the standard. While you can accomplish an entire holistic training session in 60 minutes, don’t let the workout time be what stops you from getting started. Figure out how to hold yourself accountable. A workout buddy typically does the trick.

Related: The Bodyweight Workout You Can Do Anywhere

Step 3: Find Your Motivation

The last key step is motivation. Motivation is a momentum game. Such things as a motivational clip on YouTube that gives you chills, or a poster on your wall that lifts your spirits, only work temporarily. You are your own ticket to your motivation, and here’s how to get there.

Related: Hit Every Muscle, Top to Bottom, in 30 Minutes With This Intense At-Home Workout

To start, accomplish 5, 10, 15, or 20-minute workout "snacks." This amount of time is easy to wrap your head around, and is more feasible to fit into a busy schedule. Moreover, start with only a handful of bodyweight exercises and shoot for a number of reps and rounds that is attainable.

Try the example below.

Morning Workout Snack

Do this right when you wake up, and perform 3 rounds (depending on your fitness level).

10 Bodyweight Squats 15-Second Plank 5 Burpees

This example keeps it simple with three, easy-to-master exercises that can be done fairly quickly, and by anybody. The rep count is small, so you can accomplish them at a quicker pace and get the small dopamine hit that comes along with completing the task. This will encourage you to do more. Once you start and create the habit of smaller workouts, the momentum will begin to build and the habit will begin to take hold. The key takeaway here is to start small and build into it. We know that it takes at least 20 days to create a habit. Eventually, a morning workout before you head to work will become a part of your routine. In the words of Spartan founder and CEO Joe De Sena, waking up and knocking out a few burpees is a great way to create a habit.

Now, let’s build your at-home gym.

Space is your biggest commodity when it comes to creating an at-home gym. That said, you don't need a ton of it. Furthermore, bodyweight training is your best piece of training equipment, and it’s completely free. It is, however, nice to have some toys to amp things up when you’re ready. If you have the means to order the following, I highly suggest doing so.

Build Your At-Home Gym With This Equipment

Resistance Loops 

Get one with light resistance and another with medium resistance. Typically, the hardest resistance is not necessary.

Related: The Spartan Guide to Resistance Loops (Plus a Workout to Blast Your Core)

Strength Bands

These have the same resistances as the loops, mentioned above.

A Kettlebell (or Two)

You'll want a mid-range kettlebell and something slightly heavier that you can deadlift or squat with.

Wooden Rings or a Pull-Up Bar 

Something to fire up the posterior chain (backside of the body) is paramount.

Spartan Pancake 

A 20-pound and 40-pound Spartan pancake is the perfect mix.

Related: The Pancake Conditioning Workout to Challenge Your Core


The 33-pound and 55-pound RAMrollers complement each other nicely. For most overhead exercises, it’s nice to have a lighter RAM. For more powerful movements, such as squats and deadlifts, it’s nice to have a heavier RAM. 


Furniture can be a great substitute for more traditional training modalities.

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