Building the Perfect Martial Arts Home Gym
With pandemic restrictions and all-around busy lives, it can be hard to fit in your workouts. Martial arts training takes years of practice and even a few missed sessions can cause you to fall behind. A martial arts home gym can take this pressure off and let you work up a sweat any time of the day or night.
Busy job, long hours, brutal schedule? Fitting in your sessions at the gym can be tough at the best of times. On top of all that, during the COVID-19 pandemic, many gyms and sports centers have remained permanently shut. If you’re dedicated to your martial arts training, you don’t want to feel all your hard work slipping away during the months when you can’t hit the dojo. A home gym can be the perfect solution to this and can help boost your performance even when training elsewhere isn’t an option. Our home gym guide takes you through the basics you’ll need to practice martial arts at home and to hone your fighting style without stepping out of the house.
Where Should I Put My Home Gym?
When it comes to space, you have a few solid options. A basement or a garage is, obviously, ideal, but don’t worry if you’ve only got limited space – we’ve got suggestions for that too. Think about what type of martial arts you want to practice before you start and try to plan your space around this too. For most styles, you’ll want some kind of heavy bag or punching sack, but if you’re into more Jiu Jitsu or Muay Thai you’ll also want plenty of grappling space. Here’s a few home gym hotspots we suggest:
Putting A Home Gym In Your Garage or Shed
When thinking about home gym design ideas, a garage is really the holy grail in terms of layout and space. Solid, ground flooring with no neighbors underneath. Exposed rafters or high ceilings where you can securely hang a bag. Plenty of ventilation if you want to train with the doors open. Not to mention, garages are usually soundproofed, and outdoor sheds tend to be built away from the main building so you can play loud music and really let rip.
Your average garage also holds tons of space for equipment – after all, they’re designed for storage. In fact, just about the only downside of training in your garage or shed is that you lose this storage space when it comes to other household items. Remember to factor this into your planning, and make sure you’ve got an outdoor parking space before you turn your garage into your private home gym.
Putting A Home Gym In Your Basement
Much like the garage, a basement is ideal for a home gym setup. There’s no need to worry about the floors or disturbing people underneath. Basements also come with the added perk that you don’t park your car down there, so you don’t lose that handy space.
Putting A Home Gym On Your Patio
If you’re lacking interior space for a home dojo, you can set up shop on your patio or front porch with nothing but a standing punch bag and a jump rope. Invest in the best gym shorts and training gear for all weathers so you can always get in your workout outdoors. The only downside, other than perhaps the lack of space, is that, if you live on a street, you might feel a bit exposed. Having an audience is good for your confidence, though. Just pretend their spectators as you strut into the ring.
Putting A Home Gym In Your Front Room
Looking for home gym small space ideas? Well, the good news is, you don’t really need any of the above to get a great martial arts workout. If you live in a flat or a house with no outdoor space, you can train in your living room. A hanging speed bag is an ideal option if a heavy bag is too large or too much weight for your ceiling. Or try a small standing bag that you can keep tucked away in the corner and pull out when you want a session.
Home Gym Layout Ideas
When it comes to decorating your home martial arts space, you want to keep things sparse and simple to leave yourself the most room for training. Think about how you want things like your home gym lighting and décor to work for you. If you have a low ceiling, it’s probably best to switch to strip or ceiling lights rather than hanging bulbs. This way, you won’t run the risk of hitting anything during a jump or an overhead lift.
Many gyms and dojos include wall mirrors so you can check your form. If you have wall space free, home gym mirrors can make you feel like your workout space is the real deal. Just be sure to leave space around you so you don’t risk smashing them and leave a gap between the floor and the mirror so weights can’t roll against them.
How to Design Your Home Gym?
Once you’ve got your space arranged, you can start to think about your home gym design. One of the most crucial elements of this is making sure that you have suitable flooring. For grappling or for rolls and jumps, you want to make sure your floor is padded and will protect your joints from impact. In fact, this is a good idea for any workout space, or even if you are just doing jump rope or bodyweight cardio. Repetitive weight-bearing motions can be hard on the feet and knees, and extra layering on the floor can really help with this.
If you plan to lift heavy or have free standing weights in your gym, you also need to ensure that they don’t do floor damage when you drop them. Bar and kettlebells can also create grooves or marks on the floor if left sitting for long periods. Luckily, there are a few cheap and easily installable floor options you can consider.
Puzzle Mats For A Home Gym
You don’t need to completely renovate your space to create perfect flooring. Rubber or vinyl puzzle mats lock together at the seams and can be easily stacked in the corner when not in use. As they are not all one unit, you can lay out as many as you need for your space. Maybe keep a few permanently out under your home weight set and put down more on your open space when you want to practice your Muay Thai footwork.
Fold-Down Rubber Mat
A fold-down rubber mat is also great if you want a portable floor option to soften falls and cushion your landings. Rubber mats come in all sizes and are usually easy to store. You can even pick multiple mats of varying thickness for when you want serious padding for wrestling moves, when you just want to dampen floor sound, or for stretching out.
Carpet Squares In The Home Gym
Carpet squares are cheap, easy to move, and can protect your floor from weight damage. Though carpets can add padding, they can cause friction burns during floorwork. Investing in knee and elbow guards are a good option if your home gym is carpeted.
If you’re engaging in seriously intense grappling and combat sparring with a partner, padded walls will serve you well. Rubber mats that hang on the wall are probably your cheapest and least work-intensive bet in terms of remodeling your space. Of course, if you do have extra cash, you could also invest in fully padded walls as part of your home gym renovation.
Home Gym Necessities
Before you start your home martial arts training, there are certain home gym essentials that you shouldn’t be without. Regardless of space, you need to ensure that your home gym allows you to perfect certain moves. This way, when you do get back in the dojo or back to your classes, you won’t have fallen behind. Here are the pieces of home gym equipment that we absolutely recommend you purchase.
You can get any type of training bag you want to suit your needs. While a large, heavy bag may work best for kickboxing or MMA, there are targeted bags on the market for practicing precise karate strikes. A speed bag is also ideal if you want to up your stamina and endurance.
Work on your roundhouse with a reflex bag. Adjustable height features mean you can drop or raise your reflex bag to practice both low and high kicks. These small, portable home gym accessories are unbeatable for working your lower body.
Boxers and martial arts pros swear by jump rope as the best form of cardio to keep you lean and light on your feet. Jump ropes are cheap and can be used anywhere. Use your jump rope to get you loose and work up a sweat before hitting the bag. If you’ve got space, you could also invest in a treadmill to get in some extra cardio on your recovery days.
A grappling dummy makes the perfect substitute partner for days when you train alone. The weighted figure can help you develop a range of grappling and submission moves. Plus, it gives you a feel for the strength you need with a partner.
Weights For Your Home Gym
Whether you go for small, free weights or a traditional bar and rack, a home weight set can be a lifesaver when it comes to building strength. Even just a quick, daily set of trap and shoulder exercises can add power to your punches and protect you from injury when you jab and duck. If you have the room, a pull-down bench will make all the difference in your home gym.
Conclusion On How To Put In A Home Gym
A home gym is one of those remodeling ideas that people rarely regret. From improving overall fitness to allowing you to maximize your martial arts training, you’ll have no excuse to miss a session. We hope our martial arts gym design ideas have given you a head start so you can get back in the dojo and boost your performance.
Final Call: Do you have a home gym that you love training in? How did you design your gym for your specific martial arts? What equipment do you love training with? Let us know in the comments!
Kevin is a content writer for about 3 years. He studied Design and Arts at College in Pennsylvania. A fan of home interior design and, he has taken it upon himself to spread his love for decorating homes by informing people on some of his ideas through his articles.