Summer is almost here and long days at out in the sun are just around the corner. If getting fit for the beach is a priority for you, consider converting a portion of your garage into a home gym. You can avoid all the sign-up fees, grunting bodybuilders and annoying patrons chatting on their phones. Setting up a home gym in your garage isn't hard at all. You just need a little planning and some direction. Here's how to get started:

Install the essentials
Whether you've been hitting the gym since high school or just getting into weightlifting as an adult, every home workout space builds on a few basic items. First, invest in a few sets of dumbbells and a dumbbell rack. The number of exercises you can do with these are limited only by your imagination. Look for hexagon-shaped dumbbells that are covered in a black rubber coating. These will last a lot longer and are more comfortable to use than metal weights. Consider purchasing at least three to five sets of dumbbells that range in weight and can accommodate different exercises.

Kettlebells are also very versatile in the home gym and allow you to perform many weightlifting exercises that would be difficult to do with traditional dumbbells. Like the dumbbell set, your kettlebell set should have a range in weight. Look for the type of kettlebells that have large, smooth handles and are not covered in paint.

If you don't like the idea of a bulky rack standing in the way of your exercises, think about installing a wall mount system that can support your dumbbell or kettlebell sets.

Another home gym essential is a power rack. With this single tool, you can perform dozens of exercises, from pullups, chinups and arm hangs to reverse band work, bench presses, deadlifts and squats. Quality power racks are made of solid steel and are customizable, allowing you to assemble the rack based on your height and size requirements.   

Make sure you have proper home gym flooring
Most garages are made of concrete and cement. When you are lifting weights, there is a tendency to drop them on the ground due to fatigue. If you don't have the proper flooring in your workout space, you can damage your garage floor and your weights, or even injure yourself by trying to slowly lower a heavy weight. Proper flooring is also necessary to reduce the amount of sound generated by dumbbells and barbells hitting the ground. For the first layer of your gym floor, you will need two to three layers of plywood. Add some carpet on top of this if you require additional protection. Next, lay down a couple of square feet of rubber mats. You can buy these at your local farm supply store. These are especially helpful when doing deadlifts.


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