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How to Set Up A Home Gym: Can It Be Done in An HDB Flat?

Eugenia Liew
Congratulations! You’ve survived one year since Singapore’s circuit breaker began.
If, at this point, you’re toying with the idea of setting up a home gym, you’re probably not alone.

Setting Up A Home Gym in Singapore

Since the infamous circuit breaker, we’ve honed our skills of working from home, juggled home-based learning, become excellent home cooks and home bakers, probably Marie Kondo-ed away dozens of our possessions and yes, also started exercising at home.
While businesses such as gyms, spas and soon, karaoke studios, are gradually reopening, the COVID-19 pandemic is still waging war upon the world and we’re not yet out of the woods. In fact, Singapore is still in Phase 3 of reopening, which could last till end-2021; and vaccination is slated to be completed by Q3 2021.
Due to safe-distancing measures, while fitness centres have opened their doors, it’s extremely tough to get a spot in an in-person class. Thus, many gyms have made livestreams of their classes available so that members won’t miss a session.
Meanwhile, others have gotten into the habit of doing their own exercise routine at home, jogging/cycling around their neighbourhood, or getting reacquainted with nature.
But wouldn’t it be nice if we could get our workout fix in the comfort of our own homes? This may be easy for those living in condos equipped with their own fitness gyms, but what about the rest of us in HDB flats?

Benefits of Having A Home Gym

If COVID-19 taught us anything, it’s that lots can be achieved at home. Even those gains and biceps.
Having your own gym at home can bring about so many benefits, including but not limited to:
  • Zero commute time to the gym
  • No need to book a slot in advance (made even more difficult with Covid-19 still around)
  • You’re never late for your booking
  • You can workout to your favourite playlist without others judging you
  • Zero waiting time to use the equipment (unless you’re sharing with your housemate or partner)
  • No need to worry if the equipment is “germy” (it’s your own sweat, anyway)
  • You can store your protein shake or post-workout meal in your own fridge
  • No need to feel awkward if others are watching you do your mightiest to bench 10kg
  • You can just wear your sports bra, the shortest shorts and let your flab hang out because no one’s watching (less laundry to do)
  • You can trust the cleanliness of the bathroom
  • No queueing for the shower
  • And if you really want to, you can get really buff at home so you can pop into the public gym once in awhile to do a vanity workout (ahem)
Of course, there are some downsides as well, such as:
  • No personal trainer to assist you
  • You’ll need to clean and maintain your own gym equipment
  • No motivation from other gym bunnies
  • Some equipment might be too heavy or too big for your home (more on that later)
  • Your bed is just a few steps away
  • You can “ignore” the equipment because there’s less commitment (no need to book a slot, not meeting your personal trainer or workout buddy)
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How Feasible Is It To Set Up A Home Gym?

After considering the “why”, let’s explore the feasibility of having a home gym in your space.
Depending on how elaborate you’d like your home gym to be, you may need anything from a small corner to a whole room devoted to your new fitness hobby. Besides space, you’ll also need to assess if your current living quarters is suitable to house your gym equipment.
For example, you’ll need a wall or corner to put your collection of weights and kettlebells, a sturdy beam to mount your pull-up bar from, an electrical point if you plan to buy a treadmill, and so on.
So yes, if you just want a basic set up, it is possible to have a home gym, even in an HDB flat where you may not have a spare room — like they say, it’s not the size that matters, it’s how you use it.
There are other considerations as well, particularly those around your neighbours and house mates: Is your house a rental? What are your neighbours like? Do you live alone or with others?
If you’re living with someone else, it’s common courtesy to seek permission to set up your home gym, especially if it involves them shifting their stuff to make room for you.
Next, what are your neighbours like? If you’ve ever had a meeting and the office gym is right above your boardroom, you might have heard thumping when there’s a zumba class going on or felt a mini earthquake every time someone does a deadlift and drops the weights onto the floor. Similarly, it’s good manners to be considerate of your neighbours, especially if your workout window tends to be 11pm when you reach home.
However, one key thing to note is the maximum floor loading capacity of your home if you’re keen on doing some serious weightlifting or buying an entire rack of weights. Big equipment, too, can be quite heavy. For a HDB flat, this is 150 kg/m2, including existing fixtures or furniture in your home.

How Much to Set Up A Home Gym

You’ll notice that so far, we have not discussed the costs. Here’s why: A home gym can be as simple or as complicated as you desire. You can start with as little as an exercise mat, some dumbbells, a resistance band and a pull-up bar. Bodyweight exercises on their own are very effective too!
If you’d like to go the whole hog and invest in equipment such as a full set of weights, kettlebells, a bench, rack, barbell, battle ropes, a stepboard, special flooring, full length mirrors, treadmill or even a punching bag, the sky’s the limit.
In general, you can expect to spend anywhere from a few hundred to a few grand on your home gym — which can be cheaper than an annual gym membership. Another tip is to build your gym in stages, rather than buy everything from the get go. This way, it’s easier on your wallet.
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Types of Home Gym Equipment

To begin building your home gym, here’s a quick “starter kit” of 10 items. We’ve also included their prices.
1
Exercise mat
$15 to $250
2
Dumbbell set
$50 to $150
3
Kettlebell set
$25 to $500
4
Training bench
$70 to $300
5
Pull-up bar
$15 to $150
6
Exercise ball
$12 to $63
7
Resistance band
$10 to $50
8
Ab wheel
$10 to $50
9
Barbell set
$60 to $200
10
Pull-down bar
$15 to $300
You may also want to invest in a foam roller (about $10 to $30) to help soothe those sore post-workout muscles as well.
If you need inspiration on the types of workouts you can do with limited equipment, YouTube is your best friend. There are even videos on exercises that only require a set of dumbbells!

Where to Buy Home Gym Equipment in Singapore

If you’re now motivated and raring to buy your first set of dumbbells, here are some places that stock affordable home gym equipment.

1. Decathlon

No prizes for guessing that the first store that comes to mind is Decathlon. After all, the international French sporting goods retailer has 12 stores islandwide and caters to a wide array of sports (5,000 products from over 60 sports, it proclaims). Prices are affordable too, and the store has an online site with a delivery service — you’ll never need to leave home!
  • Decathlon website: www.decathlon.sg
  • Decathlon address: Islandwide
  • Decathlon opening hours: Daily, 10am to 9pm (some stores have extended hours)

2. HomeGym

Another online store is HomeGym, one of the highest rated home gym stores on Google. Unlike Decathlon, it’s specifically for home gym enthusiasts, and carries more specialised equipment. There’s also slightly more premium and advanced equipment, such as the Vigor G8 all-in-one gym.
  • HomeGym website: homegym.sg
  • HomeGym showroom: Kitchener Complex, 809 French Road, #02-45, Singapore 200809
  • HomeGym opening hours: By appointment only

3. AIBI Fitness

You’ve probably come across this homegrown brand, because it was established over 35 years ago. Today, AIBI has a presence in Southeast Asia and Australia. AIBI produces and distributes health, beauty and fitness products that include elliptical trainers, inversion machines, treadmills. Its stores also carry brands like Life Fitness, Reebok, Slendertone and Adidas.
  • AIBI website: aibifitness.com
  • AIBI stores: Located at IMM, Parkway Parade, Plaza Singapura, VivoCity and Yishun
  • AIBI opening hours: Daily 11am to 10pm (Yishun store closes at 9pm)

Final Tips for Making Your Home Gym Dream Come to Life

All set? Before you run off to prep for your new home project, here are some additional tips that may help you in your journey:
  • Utilise vertical wall space for racks to hang your equipment from, brackets to mount your TV or tablet, etc (but do make sure it’s a solid wall and not the partition used in the newer HDB flats)
  • Instead of getting a free-standing pull-up station, mount the bar from your ceiling or at the top of a doorframe
  • Get a floor mat to protect your floor and to act as impact absorbers to protect your body (interlocking mats can save a bunch of space and are easier to clean)
  • Need to constantly observe your form? No need to invest in a full length mirror and call a contractor; all you need are some mirror stick-on tiles that you can probably purchase online cheaply
  • On a tight budget? Consider buying fromTaobao or other online stores. But do read all the comments to ensure you’re getting good quality equipment, else you run the risk of injury
  • Make sure there’s no clutter in your home gym space, as you could trip on the items or smash something valuable with your heavy weights (sweaty hands can be slippery, buy some gloves if you need)
  • Similarly, make sure you cordon off the area, especially if you have pets and/or young children. You don’t want your kid to run towards you from behind as you’re deadlifting a 50kg weight.
Lastly, always consult a medical professional when embarking on a new form of exercise regime or diet. Good luck!
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This article was written by Mary Wu, who hopes to share what she’s learnt from her home-buying and renovation journey with PropertyGuru readers. When she’s not writing, she’s usually baking up a storm or checking out a new cafe in town.