Finishing a Basement: Planning a Basement Gym

Exercise equipment
  • 5-50 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 2,000-15,000

Many people are considering a basement gym to avoid the ever-rising cost of a gym membership.

They also like the idea of having their own fitness center in their basement so they can go whenever they find the time and can play any music they like, as loud as they would like.

Creating a basement gym does mean some initial planning before you start hauling in the heavy-weight equipment.

Before you can think about finishing the basement area, you must know how much room you have with which to work.

A basement gym that is cramped does not allow for a full set of equipment and hinders the type of exercises you can do. It will not be something you can use a lot.

A basement gym should have at least 400 square feet to accommodate several pieces of equipment and provide room to use it. Ceiling height is also important for taller equipment and jumping exercises.

Materials to Be Used

When creating a basement gym, there are certain materials you should use. You want a fresh environment that is clean, does not hold moisture, is easily wiped off, and is kept looking new.

Plan the type of materials to be used on the ceiling, the walls, as a vapor barrier, and the floor. Egress windows should be planned, as well as a door if you want to access from outside.

Drop ceilings, waterproof concrete sealant, drywall, and an industrial rug with hard rubber mats are some materials to consider.

Lighting for Basement Gym

A basement that is dark is not a place where you will want to spend much time.

As part of the planning, you must decide on proper lighting for a brighter basement gym. Track lights, fluorescent lights, and recessed lights are better options for a basement gym.

Electrical Outlets

A basement gym is going to need several electrical outlets. Plan them six-feet apart along the floor line as you are thinking about wiring the room to avoid having to rely on extension cords.


A basement gym without ventilation is going to be hot, humid, and uncomfortable. Plan for a system to remove the stagnant air and deliver fresh, cool air.

Determine Equipment to Be Used

weight bench in a room

A basement gym is a great alternative to joining a large gym. However, to ensure the same quality of workouts, you should have some complimentary workout equipment.

Determine whether you will use free weights, dumbbells, machines, or a likely combination of each. There are plenty of self-contained workout machines to choose from.

Depending on what type of workouts and which parts/muscles of the body you want to work at, how much room you have, and last but not least, how much flexibility your budget can afford you, choose equipment that will enable you to have a quality workout.

If video and audio equipment is not an immediate priority because of budget restrictions, you should still do some basic layout planning for eventual additions.

Determine Location of Equipment

man drinking water while working out with weights

After choosing the equipment, you need to figure out where it will be positioned in the basement gym. Graph paper and a pencil are instrumental in this process.

For large pieces, you want plenty of room around the apparatus. Free weights also need plenty of room for efficient use. Draw out different scenarios with your equipment until you find something you like.

From your layout, you can plan for the extra wiring you may need to add audio/video equipment to your setup.