There are hundreds of benefits of having a home gym. You can finish your workout in the time you would otherwise waste in traffic to reaching your gym club. You don’t have to deal with someone else’s sweat. You don’t need to wait for the machines. And you have the flexibility to work out any time.
But you already know that, right? And yes, we didn’t create this piece to just tell you the advantages of having a garden gym or a home gym in a shed.
In this article, we are going to explain the process of turning a garden shed into a gym, building an outdoor gym, or making a home gym out of any available space.
The process requires some amount of planning, selection, decision making, and execution. We have covered everything. This article can help you as a complete instruction manual for turning a shed into a gym. So, let’s begin.
Can you convert a shed into a gym?
The short answer is, yes, you can turn the shed into a home gym. Most of the garage workout sheds or garden sheds are suitable for converting them and building a workout shed.
But there are a few things to consider before you decide to work on the project. The size of the shed, ventilation, floor type, possibility of alteration of layout, are some of the things that may affect the suitability of the shed for conversion.
How To Turn A Garden Shed/Backyard Shed Into A Gym?
Reclaiming the space in your home which is lying idle or being used for some other purpose, and turning it into a functioning garden gym can be a huge task. But if you break it down into a few smaller steps and follow them in a proper sequence, things will fall into place pretty easily.
The step by step approach for building workout sheds is explained in a sequential manner here. Let’s get into it right away.
Clean Out the Gardening Tools
The first step in turning the garden shed into a gym is to clean out the shed of all the garden equipment. Get rid of all the machines and tools you don’t need; find another storage place for the ones you need.
You can spare some space for the gardening tools and machines in the shed after you are done setting up the garden gym. But you need to clear it out completely in the beginning.
Clearing out will provide you a fair idea about exactly how much floor space you got and what gym machines you can fit in there. Also, when you clear out the wall fittings, you can use any wall to support or fix the racks or other gym equipment.
So, start clearing out the shed before making any purchase for the new home gym you are planning to build.
Gym Shed Size
Now as you have cleared the shed, you can easily measure the length, width, and height. You need to the sizes to know which and how many pieces of equipment you can fit into it.
If you are going to build a gym shed in the empty space you have in your backyard then you can choose shed size considering the pieces of equipment you wish to put into it.
Most probably your shed isn’t as big as your commercial gym club. That means you won’t be able to fit all those machines in your shed. Some of the machines might be longer, wider, or taller than you shed itself.
Thus, you need to extra choosy about the equipment you choose based on your shed size and exercise requirements.
To ease this task, here we are providing the average sizes of the most popular exercise machines. All sizes are mentioned in inches and in length/depth, width, height sequence.
- Power Rack: 48” x 50” x 84”
- Smith Machine: 66” x 80” x 84”
- Dip Station: 36” x 24” x 48”
- Treadmill: 66” x 30” x 60”
- Exercise Bike: 42” x 24” x 42”
- Elliptical Machine: 72” x 30” x 60”
- Rowing Machine: 96” x 30” x 20”
- Space For Deadlifts & Other Exercises: 60” x 96” x 90”
- Bench: 42” x 12” x 18”
- Barbell: 5 to 7 feet long (60” to 84”)
- Dumbbells: 18” x 6” x 6” per dumbbell
- Weights: 16” x 16” x 24” storage area
Some big exercise machines are taller than 84 inches. Many backyard gym sheds have ceiling height equal to or lower than that. That makes it important to measure the height of your shed and know the height of machines you are considering for adding into the gym.
The average heights of the most popular and versatile pieces of gym equipment are mentioned below. If you are starting from scratch, you should build a gym shed that is about a foot or two taller than the tallest equipment you want.
- Power Rack: 84 inches
- Smith Machine: 84 inches
- Dip Station: 48 inches
- Treadmill: 48 – 60 inches
- Exercise Bike: 42 inches
- Elliptical Machine: 60 inches
Shed Gym Floor
The floor of your shed home gym needs to have much better qualities than your regular shed floor. It has to provide cushioning to protect your joints when you are performing jumping jacks or similar type of high-impact exercises.
The gym floor has to support the falling weights while reducing the noise of the fall. It has to be strong enough to handle the impacts weight falling or you jumping over it.
Common concrete floors, marble floor, or glazed tile flooring won’t be suitable for the home shed gym. Here are the recommended floor types for it.
- Artificial turf floor
- Carpet tile on the wooden floor
- Diamond Plate Rubber Flooring Rolls
- Foam covering over concrete
Protect Shed Gym Floor with a Flooring Mat
Changing or altering the whole flooring while building a workout shed might be expensive or infeasible in some cases. But that doesn’t mean you have to make do with the inferior dysfunctional gym shed floor.
There is an option to protect the gym floor using the gym flooring mats. The mats come in various shapes, sizes, and materials.
The heavy-duty, high-density, impact-absorbing, scratch resistant, washable gym mats can protect the floor and the equipment from any damage. At the same time, the mats can help to reduce the noise of the impact of weights falling on the floor.
The mats also provide a grippy surface to workout safely and some cushioning to protect your joints. Following are the type of mats that are recommended to be used while building an outdoor gym or a workout shed.
- Rogue Individual Mat
- ProsourceFit Puzzle Exercise Mat
- Premium Extra Large Exercise Mat
- SuperMats High Density Commercial Grade Solid Equipment Mat
Electricity – Power Up Your Garden Shed Gym
You need the electrical power for running some gym machines. So, you need to power up the shed in case it doesn’t have a connection already.
The electrical power supply boxes in your home shed gym should have some extra sockets considering these will be needed for the fixed as well as movable gym installations.
Apart from the machine, you should consider the electrical connection requirements for your cooling fans, lights, exhausts, music, etc. while designing the layout for electrical wiring.
This has to be done after you select the gym machines you are going to install, as it would give you a fair idea about how many power points you will need for the installations and lighting. Have a few extra would cost you a little but would come in handy if you decide to add some equipment at a later stage.
Shed Gym Lighting
One of the prime purposes of building a backyard shed gym is to be able to work out at any time of the day. And that won’t be possible if you don’t have enough light to perform the exercises.
You can add some windows to allow sunlight into your shed so that it would have enough light in the daytime. But for working out in the early morning or in the evening after sunset you would need to install some lights.
The lights shouldn’t be too bright eye scorching or too dim to see your feet. Most of the light sources that you use at your home can be used to light up your shed gym. If you are confused about which one to use, here are some recommendations.
- Track lights
- Recessed LED lights
- Standard soft light bulbs
- Wall or ceiling mounted downward facing lights
- Motion sensor activated ceiling light
- Solar lights
Set Up Air Circulation & Ventilation in Your Workout Shed
The shed is made to store the gardening tools and not for human presence. The ventilation is so poor in some garden sheds that even standing idle can make you uncomfortable.
While working out better air circulation and ventilation is needed as you generate more body heat and breath heavier. So, to be able to use the shed gym for more than a few minutes, you must optimize the air circulation in your workout shed.
Keeping your shed airy and comfortable can help you exercise for a longer duration and expedite the results. Along with keeping the shed naturally and cross-ventilated you can use some air circulation products to better the shed gym environment. Here are some suggestions on the products that would improve the airflow of your shed gym.
- Vornado 660 Large Whole Room Air Circulator Fan with 4 Speeds
- Lasko Portable Electric 42″ Oscillating Tower Fan
- Lasko 20″ High Velocity Quick Mount, Easily Converts from a Floor Wall Fan
- AC Infinity AIRLIFT T12, Shutter Exhaust Fan 12-inch with Temperature Humidity Controller
- iLiving – 16″ Wall Mounted Exhaust Fan with Automatic Shutter
Garden Gym Insulation
Your shed can get too hot or too cold very fast if it isn’t insulated properly. Even if you install high tonnage air conditioning unit in the shed, it will just burn too much power and still won’t be able to condition the temperature without good insulation of the shed walls and ceiling.
You need to install a layer of insulating material that doesn’t conduct heat. Install it all along the walls and ceiling of the shed. If you are planning to cover the flooring with gym mats then the floor doesn’t need to be insulated.
Among the many insulation materials following is the list of products that are easily installable, non-toxic, and last very long.
- Pre-cut rockwool sections
- Fibreglass rolls
- Foam boards
- Loose fill insulation for the gaps
Shed Gym Equipment
The shed is smaller than the big gym club, you can’t fit in too many gym machines in it. But for faster results and to target specific muscle groups you need to perform different exercises, and for that, you need to have the requisite equipment.
The best way to tackle this issue is to get a few versatile pieces of equipment than getting way too many single-function machines. These multi-functional pieces of equipment might take up the space of two or three single-function units but can offer you a platform for tens of exercises.
The most popular multifunctional types of equipment are power cages and power towers. These coupled with some weights and bars can be used to perform a wide range of exercises. Depending on the size of the shed you can go for a full power cage, half rack, or even a smith machine if the shed is big enough.
If you are looking for some suggestions or recommendations for the products in this section, refer to the list below.
- 7 Best Smith Machines
- 10 Best Power Towers
- 10 Best Budget Power Racks & Squat Racks
- 5 Best Folding Wall Mounted Power Racks
- 11 Best Half Racks
- 7 Best Power Racks With Lat Pulldown
- 10 Best Treadmills With TV Screen
- 9 Best Elliptical Bike Combo
- 11 Best Compact Elliptical for Small Spaces
- 9 Best Recumbent Exercise Bike With Moving Arms
Weight Storage Units
If you are thinking you won’t need the weight storage unit as only you will be using the shed gym, then you plain wrong. When you are low on space keeping the weight plates and dumbbells spread all over the place will only create more issues.
The weight storage units not only help you keep the weight plates stored in an aesthetic manner but also makes them easily accessible. The weight storage units also allow you to utilize the spaces which otherwise would go unused.
Some storage units can be installed on the wall or hanged to the ceiling to save on the floor space. You choose any one among the thousands of weight storage racks available on the internet or can just save some time and choose one among the best ones mentioned below.
- Rogue Universal Storage System
- Rogue 3 Bar Gun Rack
- Rogue 3-Tier Mass Storage System
- YAHEETECH 2in Weight Plate Rack Tree
- Marcy 3-Tier Dumbbell Rack Multilevel Weight Storage Organizer
Secure your garden shed gym
Once you are done with all the steps right from clearing out the clutter to installing the last piece of equipment, it is time to secure your investment.
Those machines and the weights in your gym don’t come cheap. You will recover the investment in a year or so if you compare it against the cost of a gym membership, but if you keep losing the pieces of equipment to theft every month, you’ll be losing money, time, and eventually your interest in maintaining the shed gym and working out in it.
To avoid all these unpleasant things, you need to secure the shed as firmly as you can. The products listed below would help you do just that at a very small cost.
- Dingchi Sliding Bolt Gate Latch
- Berlin Modisch Entrance Lever Door Handle
- Brinks 673-70001 Commercial Discus Lock with Stainless Steel Shackle
- SCHLAGE 994831 Solid Steel Round Padlock
DIY Designing Home Gym Shed
A home gym can be anything. It can just be a single barbell and a mat or a really comprehensive setup that is having a power rack, cable pulleys, cardio equipment, and much more.
Depending on your budget, space availability, and fitness goals, you can choose the extent of home gym capabilities you want to install. And that would be the first step towards designing the shed gym yourself.
If you are doing anything like this for the first time, then it may seem like a big, confusing task. This DIY design for building a gym shed can be made easily by developing a checklist that takes care of every requirement of the space, equipment, and access management.
If you just have an open backyard, you will be starting from scratch for building an outdoor gym shed. In such a case, you have the opportunity to just pick any shed gym layout available on the internet and just follow it. Many such backyard gym shed ideas are included in this article too.
You just need to measure the available plane area, pick a design and layout that suits your requirement and can be fit into the available area, and done, you have a design. In this case, you can use the checklist given below just to compare and make sure that the design you got fulfills the basic needs of the gym shed.
If you already have a shed and want to do a DIY design for fitting the gym in it, then it’s not as easy as picking any of the shed gym ideas and following it. You need to utilize the available space and convert it to functionable shed gym without making too many alterations.
There are many opportunities for mistakes in this endeavor. These mistakes can make your home gym in a shed dysfunctional. So, if you don’t want to waste your investment you need to make sure that you are not making any such mistakes.
To help you avoid screwing up the design of the shed, we are giving a checklist to follow. It covers everything, make sure your design checks out each parameter mentioned in the list.
- Ceiling height clearance should accommodate the tallest machine you are buying
- Measure the size of the floor area and check the average size of the equipment mentioned earlier in the article.
- Each gym equipment location should be planned on to the scale floor layout to check the feasibility of fitting the equipment in.
- Tall equipment like racks should be placed along the wall
- There should be enough floor space left after installing all the gym machines for movement and free weight exercises
- Design the electrical wiring according to the equipment locations
- Decide on the location of the light sources with reference to your standing position and direction while working out
- Mirrors, windows should be at least 20 inches off the ground
- Flooring should be tough enough to take the impact of falling weights and at the same time shouldn’t be hard on the joints
- All electrical points should be grounded
- Consider the door swing area while deciding on the layout
DIY Shed Gym Ideas
There is a little chance that even after going through the whole article you aren’t able to picture your storage shed turned into a garden gym. The disbelief is understandable. How can the ugly storage shed become a functioning shed home gym?
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself for trying to visualize it. We have some pictures to help you with this task.
We have included some of the backyard gym shed ideas in the pictorial form below. These small shed gym ideas have been implemented by people in their backyard shed.
These pictures of well-organized and aesthetic backyard gym sheds will inspire you to turn the shed into a gym like these people did. You can also find some ideas that you can alter to suit your specific requirement and use them to improve your gym shed design.
Chris Haywood’s Shed Gym
Emma Cresswell’s Garden Shed Gym
Laura Canner’s Shed Gym
JJ’s shed gym with a wall mounted rack
Josh & Lauren’s Garden Shed Gym
Sim Mellor’s Garden Shed Gym
Another Shed Gym Idea
Wardy’s Shed Gym
Another Garden Gym Idea
Nick Gibbard’s Shed Gym
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Nicola Matilda’s Garden Shed Gym
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Tyler’s Kettlebell Garden Shed Gym
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Noorinn’s Shed Gym
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Marcus John Pearce’s Shed Gym
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The herculean task of turning a shed into a gym won’t seem so tedious if you use this article as a guide. If you have gone through the whole article, you already know what obstacles you will be facing in this project and how to tackle them.
The stepwise approach would help you work efficiently and allow you to finish building an outdoor gym shed much faster. So, if you have some space and want to convert it into a shed gym for having a workout at home setup, then let’s get working towards building a gym shed.