How to Build a Home Gym in Your Shed

Josh Sutchar

Josh Sutchar

As Co-founder and Vice President, Josh has been on his professional journey with TrainHeroic since 2011. Prior to joining TrainHeroic, Josh played football for coach Jim Harbaugh at the University of San Diego. Josh was lucky enough to be coached by strength coach Shannon Turley (Stanford) and Stephane Rochet (US Navy) and realized quickly how impactful strength and conditioning was on human and athletic development. Today, Josh leads TrainHeroic’s Coaching Services Team, learns from TrainHeroic’s internal team, coaches, and customers, and does his best to train like he’s still playing ball. He’s been waiting patiently since 2009 for the phone to ring with the NFL commissioner announcing he’s been drafted and we just don’t have the heart to tell him to give it up…”

How I built my home gym

I’ve always wanted a gym I could call my own — somewhere I could detach from the rest of the world, somewhere I could lift and drop heavy weights without breaking the floor, shaking the house, or waking the neighbors.

I needed enough space to throw a barbell overhead, jump rope, hit a heavy bag, and house a squat rack. I wanted the space to feel open and welcoming enough for my wife and friends to occasionally join in (when I can convince them).

Last March, I built my home gym in a shed on the side of our home in Wheat Ridge, Colorado. It was easier than I thought, and completely worth it.

Here’s how I did it.

shed for home gym

(First, I found room in the garage for the lawnmower and boxes of holiday decorations we had in here.)

I started with three must-haves:

  1. A barbell
  2. Olympic (bumper) plates
  3. Enough open space to stretch and jump around

But that list grew fast. I realized I needed a few more staples to make my home gym completely awesome: flooring, dumbbells, a heavy bag, a bench, a plyo box, slam balls, bands, and a TV to show my programming through the TrainHeroic app on a screen.

I started with a budget that somehow morphed over time, but I’ll get to the total cost at the end. Just know that it was money well spent.

The Essentials

I’d just left my CrossFit gym before making the move from Denver to Wheat Ridge. With the pandemic keeping everyone at home, I asked the gym owner if I could buy a few essentials. He was happy to sell me a couple things to get my home gym started. Here’s what I paid for the used equipment:

  • Again Faster Men’s Olympic Barbell: $100
  • Women’s Olympic Barbell: $100
  • Plyo Box: $30
  • 30# Slam Ball: $20

For a while there, plates were hard to come by – sold out everywhere or crazy expensive on FB Marketplace. But I got lucky with a local shop, Simpson Fitness Supply, and picked up a basic set of plates: four 45lb, four 25lb, and two 10lb. I paid $1/lb, so $300 total.

Flooring

I wanted to be able to drop heavy weight without risking total destruction of the shed floor. I wanted to pull heavy deadlifts or fail a clean if I needed to, so I recruited my handy father-in-law to help lay lumber across the base for reinforcement. Then we threw some solid ⅜” PLAE flooring on top.

flooring home gym

(Everyone needs a handy father-in-law.)

trainheroic home gym

I paid $150 for the lumber and $700 for the PLAE flooring. It was a total game-changer. An essential investment. Good flooring turned every square inch of the space into functional area.

I have room to lay out and prep before training, and the floor is soft enough to absorb a heavy barbell but sturdy enough to support lunging or jumping with weight. It’s perfect.

Weather

With the season changes came the challenge of dealing with extreme temperatures.

Windows on each side of the shed combined with a fan made the hot summer days doable. But once it got cold in Colorado and we got our first snow, I needed to problem-solve. It’s really difficult to train in the cold. Have you ever tried to grip a freezing barbell? I don’t recommend it. 

I scored an amazing find by buying this infrared heater from Heat Storm for $89. I can control it from my phone to heat up the shed in winter. In about 20 minutes, I can take that thing from 30 degrees to 60 degrees, which makes all the difference in the world. 

Having both the fan for summer and the heater for winter turned the shed into something I can comfortably use all year round.

Storage & Other Stuff

Dumbbells are something I like to use almost every day, so I found a set of adjustable dumbbells on Craigslist and paid way too much for them. They’re the kind that end up coming apart if you work them too hard, so I’ll save you the frustration and suggest sticking with a regular set of dumbbells. Or get a Powerblock.

(The interchangeable plates also didn’t fit an Olympic barbell, so I couldn’t use them as change plates either. #liveandlearn)

I found a set of 90lb Powerblock dumbbells at Play-It-Again Sports for $250 and bought ‘em in a heartbeat. Those were the missing pieces for the gym – they save space and have a ton of variable weight settings.

Over time I collected a heavy bag, a bunch of bands, and a couple of jump ropes. As I added more equipment, storage became an issue.

I started by leaning my plates against the rack, but that got old quick. So when a friend offered his weight tree, I snatched it up. It really cleaned up the room to hang my bands on the wall and store my plates/clips vertically.

Before & After

before home gym

(Think I should start charging my buddies a membership fee.)

Worth It

I invested $1,700 total into my home gym and it’s been a full year since the doors opened. 

Over 218 training sessions I’ve lifted 1,114,918 lbs and done 19,816 reps (and counting) thanks to tracking my progress in the TH app.

I couldn’t be happier with the time, money, and energy we put into creating an easily-accessible place to work on my fitness at home.

TAKE YOUR TRAINING

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