How I Built my Garage Gym for $1500

Garage Gym 1.0 - August 2018

It's now been one week since I've owned my garage gym and I am absolutely loving it. I've always wanted to build one and doing so was one of my goals for the 2nd half of 2018. I want to share with you which items I bought, which ones I considered and why I was looking at these. My goal going into this was to spend less than $2000. I'm currently under this number BUT there are a few more things I want/need (mostly want). It seems like a lot but I wanted to get the highest quality equipment I could get for the best bang-for-buck I could find.


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The Main Pieces

Since my background is in strength training, I knew that I needed a rack, a good bar, weights, mats and a bench. These were the 5 main items on my list. I shopped both new and used, I compared items between multiple websites and manufacturers, I made multiple lists and went to see all of the equipment in person before I bought anything. I highly recommend going out and trying equipment before purchasing if possible. For me, I like to see how well it is made, how easy it is to use and how much space it takes up.

I ended up with these:

1. Crossbox Squat Stands - $225 Used ($230 New)

I bought the squat stands, barbell and bumper plates all from the same person. It was $675 total for those 3 things. I rented a cargo van and off I went.

The squat stand is amazing. It's a very solid piece that is clearly built to last. I like the look of their power racks too. I bought a landmine and a pullup attachment for the rack. I'll outline the other items below. At first, I was shopping for a power rack but these squat stands were super impressive and they are very well-priced.


2. Rogue Echo Bar - $225 Used ($290 New)

Enjoying this bar so far. It is well made and it looks like its brand new. The stands, bar and plates were all in brand new condition. Keep your eyes on those used ads! I'm still shopping around right now for a few more pieces...

3. 365 lbs Northern Lights Bumper Set -  $225 New ($350 New)

Love the look of these. Some bumpers can be VERY thick and you won't be able to fit 405+ on the bar with them. These are a great size and they are so sleek. I bought the red 45's from someone else.


4. Xtreme Monkey FID Bench - $250 Used ($370 New)

This bench is the bomb. So much so that I would pay full price for it if it came to that. This is the FID bench we use at Myodetox Performance and I've fallen in love with it. Over the years, I've just learned to appreciate quality equipment that is easy to use and built to last.That is the winning combo right there! Anyway, this bench is freaking awesome. It has a small footprint, thick enough padding and it's very strong. I was very happy to find this used.

5. Rubber Mats - $50/Piece x 6 = $300 New

Standard horse stall mats. 4' x 6' and 3/4" thick. I bought 6 of them. I could use another 4-6 eventually to fill out the rest of the garage. These are heavy AF. Whatever day you decide to grab these and set them up, it's gonna be forearm day.


Total - $1225


Other Purchases

  1. Northern Lights 50lb Kettlebell - $45

  2. Crossbox Pullup Attachment - $50

  3. Crossbox Landmine Attachment - $40

  4. Skipping Rope - $5

  5. V-Grip - $12

  6. Used Bands - $30

  7. Used SteelFlex 45lb Plate x 2 - $70

Total - $254


Grand Total (so far) - $1500



But what else do I want/need?

  1. A second, cheaper barbell

  2. 4 x 45 lb plates

  3. Ab wheel

  4. Sandbag(s)

I think with those 4 items, that would complete my garage gym - for now. Can I do it for under $500? I believe so.



Items I considered but didn't end up purchasing:

  1. Northern Lights Power Rack - $300 New (not bad but not digging the yellow)

  2. Xtreme Monkey 365 Rack -$800 New (solid rack but pricey)

  3. XTC Fitness Super Bench - $350 New (solid bench but very heavy or I'm just weak)

  4. Stealth Super Bench - $280 New (solid bench but ease-of-use was not there. Also, large footprint)

These were some other options I was looking at for a rack and a bench. I went into this pretty flexible about the bar/plates but I knew I would have to pick the right rack and bench. Lifting at many different gyms gave me a good idea of what I liked and disliked. I knew I couldn't rush it and settle for less than what I knew I wanted. Ultimately, being patient on facebook marketplace, kijiji and craigslist has paid off for me. I am still on the prowl for the things I mentioned above...

My biggest piece of advice is to know how you prefer to train and what you need in order to do so. I chose to start fairly minimal because I wanted to train in the garage first and eventually learn what I use, what I don't use and what I wish I had. This will hopefully guide me with my next purchases. I will keep a record of things as I go. Until then, thank you for reading and I hope I was able to help in some way. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at or hit me on IG @theodore.lim. Peace!