The Most Commonly Asked Questions About Building a Home Gym

Building a home gym may seem like a large undertaking, but it’s actually a lot more doable than most people imagine. Even if you are a novice student of martial arts, building your own home gym won’t take long. It also doesn’t require any extensive skills or knowledge; you don’t have to be a professional to build out the space or install the products. 

Are you just getting started on researching what you need for a home gym? You’re not alone. A lot of people have done what you are about to do, and a lot more are already in the process. Over the years, we’ve been asked a lot of questions about getting started putting together a martial arts home gym. These are the most common questions and some quick answers. 

Your home gym building process starts now. 

Where Should I Build a Home Gym?

Depending on the layout of your home, you will either have a lot or only a few spaces that will make for a suitable home gym space. In general, these are the most common areas where people will build out their training space: 

  • The garage 
  • The basement 
  • A spare bedroom 
  • An attic 
  • Four season porch 
  • An extra space in a larger area (e.g. living room, etc.) 

What are the pros and cons of setting up in each space? Here’s a quick guide on choosing the right home gym space. 

What Mats Do I Need for My Home Gym?

The mats are the most important part of your home gym. For most people, this is where a majority of the training will take place. Choosing the right type of mat, their surface, and the thickness will make all the difference in your training. Zebra offers three thicknesses of martial arts mats to choose from: 

  • 1” 
  • 1.5” 
  • 2” 

The thicker the mat, the more protective the surface will be against slams, takedowns, and falls. If you practice striking arts like muay thai or taekwondo, a 1” mat will likely be the right thickness for you. If you practice BJJ, MMA, or any other style that includes on groundwork or takedowns, thicker mats will be necessary.  

For more on choosing the right mat thickness, see this guide. 

Additionally, there are two surface styles of mats: 

  • Smooth 
  • Tatami 

For more on choosing between smooth and tatami mats see this guide. (link to What is Tatami blog post) 

Are Wall Pads Necessary for Home Gyms?

Wall pads are not necessary for a home gym space, but they are highly recommended. Whether your home gym space is in an unfinished area like a basement or a finished area like a spare room, wall padding will help protect you and the walls they are attached to. Hitting a concrete wall while training is not going to be pretty and, while hitting a surface covered in drywall is likely to hurt less, you’ll be replacing a whole lot of drywall in your home gym space if it’s left unprotected. 

Do yourself, and your home, a favor and invest in good quality wall pads for your gym space. 


Is there anything else you need for your home gym? From heavy bags and racks to cleaning supplies, fitness equipment, and everything in between, Zebra is your go-to source for pro-level home gym training equipment.