Adding a TV to your exercise room or home gym can be an excellent idea for several reasons:
- It helps pass the time, making your routine more enjoyable
- It allows you to multi-task with audio/visual content
- You can stream exercise classes & lessons with Smart TV features
Buying a TV for your exercise room isn’t the same as buying a TV for other rooms. Different purpose, different concerns, and different considerations. We’ll help you make sense of the situation by covering the most important topics when picking a TV for your home gym:
- TV Placement for Exercise
- TV Size for Home Gyms
- TV Mount vs. TV Stand
- TV Viewing Angle & Room Size
- TV Specs & Best Models
- Upgrading Audio
TV Placement for Exercise
Before you can calculate the best TV size, you’ll need to know where you’re placing the TV:
- Behind a treadmill?
- In front of free weights?
- Next to a rowing machine?
- For use with a yoga mat?
If you only have one piece of equipment, like a treadmill, it’s easy: place the TV slightly above eye level at a direct, head-on angle. If you’ve got more than one piece of equipment, and/or do a variety of exercises, you’ll need to make a tough decision.
Where will the TV enjoy the most frequent direct viewing? This is probably the best place for the TV: constantly craning your neck to look at a TV while exercising is uncomfortable at best and in the worst case scenario could cause serious injury.
If there isn’t one obvious place to put your Home Gym TV, consider dividing your budget and buying two or more smaller TVs that are each optimally placed. This is especially effective for treadmills and other cardio equipment, allowing you to place a small TV for close, direct viewing while placing another TV for weights or general room enjoyment.
If you’d prefer a single TV, consider placing it further from straight ahead long-duration equipment like treadmills. Although it’s tempting to place it as close as possible, putting distance between a treadmill and a decidedly larger TV allows it to serve multiple workout stations, viewing angles, and viewing distances.
Best TV Size for Home Gyms
Once you’ve decided whether to buy a single TV for the entire room or multiple smaller TVs for different stations, you’ll need to calculate the best size for each TV.
To calculate the best TV size for your home gym:
- Measure the distance (in inches) between your exercise location and the TV
- Divide by 1.8 for the suggested TV Size
- Divide by 2.0 for the smallest suggested TV Size
- Divide by 1.6 for the largest suggested TV Size
So for example, if the distance between your TV location and exercise spot is 9 feet:
- Divide 9 feet by 12 to convert into inches, yielding 108
- Divide 108 by 1.8 to get 60 inches
- You should buy a 60-inch TV for your gym
These calculations intentionally produce smaller suggested TV sizes than living rooms and media rooms and for good reason: creating an immersive TV experience while exercising can cause dizziness and motion sickness. Let the workout remain the focal point and accept that a slightly smaller TV is better for your health, which is why you’re exercising in the first place.
TV Mount vs. TV Stand
Wherever you decide to put the TV in your home gym, you’ll almost always want to mount it to the wall instead of using a TV stand. That’s because TVs for exercise should be positioned between eye level and 15 degrees above eye level for comfortable viewing.
It’s possible to find a tall piece of furniture that would meet these needs, but the best TV mounts are also able to swivel, turn, move up, down, out, in, and adjust in lots of different ways to accommodate the various exercises, equipment, and viewing angles in your room.
TV Mounting Height
The best guideline to use for TV Mounting Height is to place the middle of the TV 65-inches above the ground. This is accurate for all TV sizes because it measures the distance to the TV’s center, rather than the top or bottom of the TV. But don’t hang your TV on the wall just yet!
How to Calculate TV Mounting Height
If you’ll be the primary person using the home gym, you’ll want to cater the TV mounting height to your personal preference and equipment. Are you especially tall or short? Your TV Height should reflect these differences.
To determine the optimal TV Mounting height for your home gym:
- Determine eye level by taking your height and subtracting 5-inches: this is where the CENTER of your TV should be mounted
- Determine the height of your TV by multiplying the TV Size (diagonal measurement) by 0.87
- Divide the height by 2 and measure above and below your preferred eye level to determine where the TOP and BOTTOM of your TV should be mounted
4 Pitfalls to Avoid
Tall & Short People
If the gym will serve multiple people, average their heights and subtract 5 inches to ascertain average eye level. Place the middle of the TV slightly above this point to best accommodate the majority.
Machines add height
Don’t forget: your “eye-level” will change if you’re standing on a treadmill, sitting on a bike, or using equipment that requires a step-up or seated position!
Follow the TV mount instructions
It’s likely that your TV mount isn’t in the exact center of your TV, so to make sure it sits at the perfect height once you’ve hung it on the wall, follow the directions that come with your specific TV mounting hardware.
If you’ve got a low ceiling and a large TV, make sure to measure several times. It’s possible that your perfect TV height places the top of your TV through the roof- which should be avoided for obvious reasons. In this case you’ll most likely need to choose a smaller TV.
Gym Size & TV Viewing Angle
If you’re only putting 1 TV in your home gym and you’ve got multiple pieces of workout equipment and stations, you’ll want that single TV to be viewable from many different angles.
TV Mounts that Swivel/Turn/Rotate
The easiest way to accommodate wide viewing angles is to buy one of the best TV mounts for wide angles since you’ll most likely be mounting your TV. This works especially well for small rooms where only 1 or 2 people will be working out.
TVs with Good Viewing Angles
If you’ve got a large room or numerous people working out simultaneously, you might find that a rotating TV mount doesn’t suffice. Constantly having to reposition the screen while half the room can’t see the screen isn’t the best case scenario.
In this case, you’ll want to buy a TV with screen technology that has great viewing angles out of the box. OLEDs have the best viewing angles, followed by QLED, and lastly LED-LCD TVs.
The last option sounds more expensive but it doesn’t have to be: purchasing multiple smaller TVs is a great way to get the optimal viewing experience at various locations in your home gym without having to compromise.
Unlike a living room where the focal point should be on the viewing experience, home gym TVs are secondary to exercising, so settling for less than cutting-edge technology is not only acceptable- it’s recommended.
TV Specs & Best Models
You might be inclined to buy a TV based on the advice we provide in our comprehensive TV Buying Guide, but buying a TV for your home gym is a bit different.
If you insist, go ahead and get the biggest and best TV possible, but we’d argue that in your home gym more than anywhere else, the goal should be to find a TV that provides good value.
Here are specs to keep an eye on:
- Bigger isn’t better
- 4K is preferred for close viewing
- 1080p will suffice for far viewing
- 60Hz is good enough
- You don’t need HDMI 2.1
- LED-LCD is the best affordable option
- QLED is the best value option
- OLED is the best high-end option
- Make sure it’s a Smart TV
Thinner and thinner TVs means less and less space for audio components, which has led to a sub-par audio experience from even today’s best TVs. Fitness enthusiasts often want to jam out to music videos, blast play-by-play for a sports game, or crank the volume to whatever level drowns out the noise of their exercise.
Three great options to consider:
- Bluetooth headphones (with Smart TV)
- Full Home Audio System
We don’t personally enjoy wearing headphones while we exercise (unless absolutely necessary), and for most people a full home audio system is overkill; we recommend investing in a plug-and-play soundbar like Sonos which will look great, sound great, and offer a level of simplicity that most people prefer.