How to Build a Martial Arts Home Gym

Is it your dream of building a complete martial arts or MMA home gym? Whether you want to train full time from the comfort of your own home or want to put in extra time outside your normal training routine, a martial arts home gym is the perfect way to put in the hours towards your training goals.

While it may seem like a daunting task, building your own home gym is not impossible. It’s actually rather easy. Once you have the right plan, and the right products, you can build a mini facility right in your own home.

The Beginning: Choosing a Space for Your Home Gym

For some people, this is the easy part. For others, choosing the right space in your home for your personal martial arts or MMA training space can be a huge headache. How much space will you need? We recommend having at least a 10’ x 10’ space. This will give you enough room whether you practice grappling or stand-up martial arts disciplines or MMA.

Depending on the size and layout of your home (not to mention the opinions of your significant other and/or roommates), you have several options:

The Garage

Setting up a home gym in a garage is one of the most popular options for several reasons:

  1. It’s a dedicated, out-of-the-way space
  2. You will disturb fewer people in your home while training
  3. They are usually well ventilated (great for hot days and reducing smells)
  4. The size is usually appropriate

The drawbacks to using a garage include:

  1. Losing space for vehicles, tools, outdoor toys, bikes, etc.
  2. They normally aren’t heated, which can make winter training hard

The Basement

Building a home gym in the basement is also a popular option for many of the same reasons as using the garage:

  1. It’s a dedicated, out-of-the-way space
  2. You will disturb fewer people in your home while training
  3. The size is usually appropriate

The advantages of using a basement over the garage are:

  1. Usually more available space
  2. Can be finished easier for temperature control and heated winter training

The disadvantages are:

  1. Usually less ventilated when compared to garages
  2. You can lose out on potential storage space
  3. Can be expensive to finish and insulate
  4. Some houses have flooding and water issues (you will want to take care of any water issues before building your home gym!)

The Extra Room

If you have a spare bedroom in your home (and you don’t expect to fill it with any children), that spare room makes a great place for a home martial arts gym. Some of the advantages are:

  1. It’s already finished
  2. Temperature control and ventilation shouldn’t cause problems

Some of the disadvantages include:

  1. Can become noisy (especially if it’s on the second floor)
  2. Some bedrooms are too small (remember that 10’ x 10’ is ideal)
  3. You may need that bedroom for something else down the line

Four Season Porch/House Extension

If you really want to go big (and have about $30,000 in a budget, you can add an extension in the form of a four (all) season room. While some people use these spaces for hot tubs, game rooms, seating areas, this could be the perfect place for your home gym. It’s finished, out of the way, well ventilated and absolutely the ideal space.

The drawback, did we mention it’s probably going to cost about $30-50k for an expansion on your home? Hey, if you have the budget and want a dream home facility, why not go all out?

Choosing Your Flooring

Choosing the right flooring for your home gym is the most important equipment decision you can make. The right martial arts mats and/or flooring will absolutely make or break your space and your training experience. You have three main options:

  1. Roll out mats
  2. Flat mats
  3. Puzzle mats

Which is right for your space depends on your budget, how you will be using the space and the type of training you do (learn more about these three options in this quick mats guide). Keep in mind that flat mats also come in different thicknesses.

Keep in mind that Zebra offers pre-cut 10’ x 10’ home gym mat areas, which makes it easy for you to get the right amount of flooring for your space. It also makes installation an easy task.

Installing Your Flooring

Installing martial arts flooring is a DIY job that is not that hard to accomplish on your own. You will want to make sure that the floor of your space is clean and level before installing your mats. From there, follow our mats installation guide to get your space set up.

Do You Need Wall Pads?

Depending on the type of training, you may need to install wall padding to your home gym space. The right wall pads are easy to install no matter where you have your training space setup.

Bags and Racks

Locating the studs in your ceiling and walls is the first step before installing and hanging training bags and racks in your space. The method of installation will vary based on your space and the type of bag that you use, but it’s entirely possible to set up a bag training station no matter where your gym is located in your home.


Don’t Forget the Accessories. Zebra has everything you need to make your home martial arts gym the best place to train. Shop home gym accessories today.