Home gym - gravel ground - how to make it even?!

Hey everbody!

Since gyms are closed here I decided to finally get my own workout equipment (squat rack, bench and barbell is all I need anyways). I’ve been wanting to do it for a while, and now is as good as any time (not really, since most of the stock in on backorder and probably marked up quite a bit, but it is what it is…).

I live in a flat in Zurich and while our basement is quite big (3 x 6 meters I guess) it’s is also floored with gravel. So I thought, well I’ll just remove the gravel, I’m sure there’s a floor underneath. And yes, there was!: an uneven one!

Now my question is:

  • Has anybody faced a similar problem? How did you fix it? I can’t put a slab of concrete on the floor since it’s not mine. I thought about getting tile and something like this seems perfect, but I can’t find it in Switzerland. I worry that simple gym mats won’t do either since the floor underneath is uneven.

Any ideas? Thank you!

Is it concrete or earth underneath the gravel? Maybe this helps, not a 5 minute job unfortunately:

Do you have any tips where to buy the dumbbells and bench? I want them too but haven’t done the research yet

I watched that video! Unfortunately the floor is not only slanted but really uneven and wavy, in the end I might have to do something like that to minimize the risk of muscle imbalances and injuries.

At the moment a lot of the stuff is sold out. I had to make some compromises (didn’t buy a olympic barbell and weights for example) and ordered from several stores. I used galaxus.ch, gorillasports.ch, hammer-fitness.ch, fitness-flohmarkt.ch. Only store I wouldn’t recommend is hammer-fitness.ch since the bench I ordered has been “ready to ship, waiting for pickup” for > 10 days with the answer given “we’ll see that it’s being shipped soon”.

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To cheer you up:

I have done the research and also had some negative experiences, and I finally have my own private home gym setup now, so I can share my thoughts on this matter.
Do NOT buy your stuff at Decathlon, the bench and the portable squat rack is terrible. For example the squat rack can only take a maximum of 100KG and many barbells there are very fragile as well. I bought my first setup there when COVID broke out, but sold all of my Decathlon equipment not so long after that.
I highly recommend Gorilla sports:
Gorilla Sports Schweiz - Online-Shop für Bodybuilding und Fitness
They have their warehouse close to the german border, on the Swiss side of it. The shipment of everything went really smooth and I bought a olympic barbell, dumbells, free weights, a free weight stand, a bench, gym mats and best of all their amazing Multi squat rack:
Multi Squat Rack verstellbar kaufen bei Gorilla Sports

On the downside, they have been selling their products like crazy, so many good items are sold out. I would call them and check when they will re-fill their stock of the items and the preorder them. It’s worth the wait and price in my opinion.

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Maybe something like that will absorb floor roughness? You can daisy chain them as well using the included hardware.


I built a home gym base according to these instructions - and the result was good - How to Build a Weightlifting Platform | The Art of Manliness

However, I did not have an uneven floor to deal with.

Good luck and from my experience I don’t think that you will regret building it.

Not trying to scare you but Google for old Swiss buildings and Radon concentration from such „natural basements“. I would not be willing to work out there…

Thank you for the tip @MrCheese - it’s a very good point - I have a very similar setup to the OP (private cellar gym in Zürich) - but the house I live in was built in the 2000s. I have now checked the levels with a meter and luckily in my cellar there are no issues, but of course YMMV.


Ah ok, the issue was more prevalent in the buildings from the 60s thru 80s… so indeed not a concern for such a “modern” house.

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Yes and still feels like a prudent thing to test it. :+1:

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I went ahead and ordered this (20 pieces) without checking them when I went to pick them up: Unfortunately they only have holes to connect on opposites sides, so you are able to make a continous line but not connect to lines together, which is honestly very stupid and sort of misleading when looking at the pictures.

After drilling the holes to connect lines together it’s ok, but still not great, the uneveness of the floor is not totally neutralized. I’ll have to add some wood under there and try to balance it with plywood.

Never realized the holes were in a single direction! (I only have 1 tile)
If you were to use some mortar to flatten the floor, would anyone even notice once the gravel is back all over it? If you ask the owner he might be OK with that.
Do you think pouring sand below the tiles would do the trick?

You’re probably right, nobody will be able to notice :slight_smile: Guess I’ll have to learn how to use mortar :smiley:

I did think about sand, since it’s quite cheap too, but can you actually make it level and keep it from changing shape once you start working out on it?

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