T Nation

Home Gym Creativity


I have been lurking here for a couple of years and have loved the results from the tips garnered. I finally have something worth posting about.

Recently I have taken to lifting in my garage. I love the flexibility that it affords me with a busy schedule, but the difficult thing has been using the limited equipment that I have to do some of the excercises prescribed here that would normally be done in the gym.

I have a bench that extends up to allow me to do squats. It also allows me to do flat/incline/decline work. I have a olympic barbell and a curl bar. I also have 300+ pounds of weight from 2.5 up to 45 lb plates.

So what else should be in my home gym. What pieces have you rigged up. Anyone got some suggestions? I don't have a lot of money... Another reason for working out in the gym...



i got one good idea for you, then i'll get outta your thread

you need a pull up bar

i made mine by attaching 2 C-clamps to the the steel beam going across the center of my garage. just slide a barbell through the clamps and there ya go.


Sandbags, kegs, and sleds.


I've got my own home gym myself.
Sand bags,squat rack,dumbbell rack,barbell rack,tree logs(very huge),pull up bar,pads,etc..All you really need are some free weights.


Same here, the only way to go! My main thing is a good squat cage. You can do everything, safely. So far I've MADE a glute/ham raise bench, 4-board 3-board and 2-boards for benching, calf raise device, wheel barrow/donkey press for legs, plate load helper, hanging ab slings and a few other little things. Home Depot loves me. But it's cheap. The ab slings, which you've seen for about $60, I found an old weight belt at Goodwill. I made 2 loops from rope and hung over the top of the squat cage, then looped my weight belt in one and the other weight belt in the other. That cost me $3. I found a crane company in town and bought my 3 sets of chain for $5.99/ft. Cost around $180. Elitefitness price would be around $255. My friend at work was remodeling his bedroom and gave me his sliding mirror doors. Big Lots has the interlocking floor padding for $8 for 4 - 24"x24". Any other sports/hardware store would be around $20. Get creative, you don't have to have high dollar stuff to get really strong.


BMRSNR I really like your idea of the interlocking floor padding. I wanted to do more powerlifting excercises but don't want to create huge cracks and wear holes in the floor. When I lifted in high school (long time ago) they have those recycled tire door mats that we used to put under the weights. I'll have to check that out too.

I want a chin up bar but the ceilings in the garage are 20+ feet high... any ideas there?


make a pair of power rings.
get two heavy duty tie down straps, slide a six inch piece of pvc pipe onto each one for a handle, make a big loop out of each, and suspend them. I used 2.5" black abs pipe, and sanded the edges round so they don't wear through the straps. Get two sets of adjustable straps, and you can make two big adjustable length loops, so you can do suspended push ups or pull ups.


get rings, it'll allow you to vary your grip and do other exercises as well. Also they come with long straps and worst case scenario get long straps or chains to set it at the right height.


Try to find a training partner. Its hard to create the motivating gym environment in your garage or basement. A training partner will help. Also, if the partner has consistent access to the garage he/she may buy additional equipment.


I have a home gym all I have is the bench, Squat rack/dip station 600+ pounds of free weights, an oly bar, curl bar and few other things (gripper, wrist roller, heavy bag)



I made my Ab Sling by hooking up an old motorcycle tiedown to my pull up bar. I got about 79 cents invested in my home gym. The rest I either borrowed from someone, already had, or made it outta iron & wood i had lying around.

I'm a carpenter, but any idiot can build a home gym. Just get creative. It don't take alot of skill to put some exercise contraption together.


stuff I've made for mine are sled and log (both free steel from the surplus yard at my work) and a 160 atlas stone. Going to make a bigger one soon, it's just such a messy pain in the ass....

good luck, home training kicks ass!


Screw the training partner at home.
At the gym its nice.

But, at home i like to lock the basement door, crank up Metallica until the windows are about ready to explode, and strangle anyone who tries to disturb my workout.

The only peaceful part of my day is when i'm sweating to death and completlly spent from a "muscle against forces of nature battle"

I cant win that battle with some peckerwood asking me to spot him, or asking me how many reps he should do to peak his biceps.

distracting my concentration when i'm prepared to go another round with gravity and iron.


good training partners are indispensible, no matter where you train.

Necessary, no. Would I give mine up, fuck no.


Also, don't forget used equipment! All of my plates/dumbbells are used, and if you're on any kind of budget, weight is weight. Check around if there's any exercise equipment shops that buy/sell used gear.

Check-out http://www.craigslist.org/about/cities.html and look under 'Sporting'. There will usually be a few good pieces of exercise gear there, depending on how large the city you live in is.

Look for garage sales too, lots of people buy a bunch of gear, and then only use their weight bench to hang clothes on. They'll often let it go for cheap too, as just seeing the pile of weights on the floor reminds them of their own failure, you too can benefit from the shattered dreams of others!


Craigs List kicks ass for used stuff. I got over 2000 lbs of 45 plates for $150 off there...




For deadlifting, I had some old metal shelving. I took 2 of the shelves, turned them over, cut out some 3/4" plywood and put that inside the shelf, then topped it with a layer of the interlocking padding. A couple wraps of duct tape and I have a deadlift platform. I put heavy cotton rope in the ends so I could pick them up and hang them up. The difference in height is about the same as the competition plates are much taller than standard 45's. I have a 2x6 I stand on for elevated dead's.


OBVIOUSLY you'd want to find a training partner with similar goals that you could work with.

It probably wouldnt be a good idea for a powerlifter thats 25 to lift with his grandmother, I just assumed that went without saying.

I guess I assumed too much.



My point was this.
At home, you can get crazy and get alot accomplished without a training partner.

At the gym, there are so many distractions, you can barely get a decent workout. Maybe your partner at the gym can help you stay focused. Seriously, I can't be listening to Celine Dion and Brittney Spears at the gym and try going ballistic to that shit. Worse than that, they got the foom full of fatasses doing step-aerobics with all that electronic techno noise thumping in my head. Not to mention the 35 high schoolers bumping into me every 5 seconds looking for tips because i happen to have a build that they so desire. Seriously, try doing a a heavy back squat with 5RM weight on there, with "papa don't preach" on the loudspeaker and some 17 year old newbie waiting for you to finish so he can get a tip on how to train his chest or peak his biceps.

I'm outta my elements with a training partner or trying to get a workout at the gym.

Maybe its just me.