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Home Gym Setup: Power Rack, Plates, Sledgehammer, Sled?

Hi all,

I’m in the process of building up my home gym…

What I have:
Every Iron Woody Band
2 compex EMS units
2 Bowflex 1090 DB’s that go to 90lbs each
A barbell/kettlebell converter for said dumbbells.
Pretty good Adjustable bench
Basebar Pro pull-up bar
Baseblocks trainer dip bar
MaxiClimber XL 2000

What I want?:
A power rack, a barbell, floor mats, plates (500ish lbs?), sand bags. The plan is to have a boarderline “real gym” in my basement and perhaps eventually just workout down there.

What I’m working with space and $ wise:

Ceilings, 86 inches. Floor east to west/North to South 16x 16 feet. Goes a touch larger but then you’re cutting into washer/dryer etc.

$ wise I have a wedding coming up, so for the rack itself I’m thinking 500 max? Hiking ideally to find one with a pull-up/Chin-up bar attachment and I’ll sell my current pull-up bar. I’d also cut my dip bar as the vectra has one too. I’m reading reviews on the T-2 power series rack, maybe that’s decent?

Floor mats that can withstand weight dripping would be helpful too. Especially since my better 1/2 wants to redo the floors and basement in 2 years

Any help/suggestions appreciated!

For floor mats I would consider Horse Stall mats. Typically they come in 4’x6’x3/4” or 3’x4’x1/2”. You can find them at a Tractor Supply store or other similar places for about $40 a mat.

I would look up on how to make a DIY Olympic Platform. Pretty easy to do on your own.

Lots of ways to do this but maybe most basic and practical is to make a 8’x6’ platform that is two layers thick consisting of:
-4’x8’ 3/4” x qty 2 ply wood / particle board (whatever is cheap) as bottom layer and cut down to 4’x6’
-4’x6’ 3/4” x qty 1 horse stall mat (cut it in half into 2’ x 6’ strips. I have found that a box cutter works best here and a saw will not work as it gets bound up by the rubber.
-4’x8’ 3/4” x qty 1 MDF or nice Ply Wood piece you cut down to 6’ for a nice looking top board to the platform.

In a pinch you could just buy 1 or 2 stall mats and just use those as your flooring for a while. I would avoid all manners of the foam puzzle piece kiddy play pen mats you sometimes see people using in a home gym.

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I have the T-3, I got the 82" high, 36" deep version with plate holders, and safety straps for ~700 (including 10.1% sales tax). Happy to recommend all of it. I’ll second what @mechinos said about horse stall mats, too.

I created a thread a bit over a year ago when I was buying stuff initially, you might find some of it valuable.

Thanks! So you’d refdomend the T3 @72 inches? Cause I’m aboht 5’11 200lbs and wanted to be sure it could support me doing pull-ups. Plus, you haven’t had an issue stacking above 500lbs on the bars?

I have a Titan X3 short/36" deep and I love it. T-3 is very similar. I would also recommend the homemade lifting platform, especially since you have more than enough space for it.

I used:
2 layers 3/4" MDF, laid opposite so that the two layers lock into one solid platform when screwed together
1 sheet 3/4" solid plywood for center of platform
2 strips of 3/4" horse stall mat - 8’ long x 2’ wide

Yeah I thought about doing it myself, but I’m not great mechanically so I’m going to opt for a pre made one. And I wouldn’t be opposed to short, but I want to be able to do pull-ups/chin-ups on my new one!

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I’m 6’5ish and about 290 and do pull-ups on the 84” one, my legs are tucked but think that’s going to be true for pretty much any home gym set up.

Not exactly sure what you mean here. I’ve done rack pulls with close to that weight on the straps, have had 400+ on the j-hooks, and keep 400ish on the weight posts on the sides of my rack. Nowhere close to testing the limits of the equipment.

I’d you’re talking about the actual barbell I bought the rogue power bar, super solid bar, pretty stiff, pretty aggressive knurling. I got the unfinished version, I wouldn’t do that again but the rest of it is great.

I also had a T3 rack for a while and it worked great. Sold it to a friend and upgraded but it was a great purchase that I didn’t regret. If I were in the market for a new rack today I would consider something that you can expand upon in the future as this is a good way to bring in more training variables/possibilities.

My thoughts would be to consider if you can find a way to add a cable pulley system (Titan has these among others), consider purchasing Y-Dip bar attachment (like rogue matador …Titan, etc), and finally if you have the space for a 6-post setup which may be better for plate storage rather than the typical 4-post where the weight posts may get in your way on certain lifts.

One thing to make you aware of is the space between uprights (inside measurements) on different vendors equipment. Rogue is 43”, Titan is 42”, and REP is 41”. If you get a 3x3 vs a 2x3 rack you are then adding another inch on each side which ultimately makes for less space on your barbell between J-Cup and Sleeve when re-racking the bar. For this reason I actually prefer a 2x3, but a 3x3 just “looks” better I guess. You may discover that some specialty bars are extremely close to the J-Cups on either side of your bar if you rack it in a Rogue 3x3 for instance. It is annoying to have to think about that kind of stuff when you are lifting relatively heavy weights.

Also, vendors will use different sized bolts/hardware as well which makes it not entirely simple to mix and match attachments in the future if you want to add something new. Titan is metric, if memory serves correctly, but slightly smaller diameter than Rogue so you can use some Titan attachments on a Rogue rack but maybe not the other way around…not 100% I got that part right but a quick Google search can sort that out for you.

One of the most helpful items I bought for my home gym was a used A-Frame plate tree to get all of the weights off my rack and floor. Definitely an overlooked piece of gym equipment imho.

Good luck; any rack is better than no rack.

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I’m 5’9 and just keep my knees bent. Kinda nice because i can really get a good grip on the bar before the set!

Forgive my stupidity, but what’s meant by a 2x3 and 3x3 rack?

Size of the square posts in inches (length x width).

For Titan racks: T2 rack is 2” x 2” square post. T3 is 2” x 3”. X3 is 3” x 3”.

A larger post is generally going to be a stronger design but from a practical standpoint it is unlikely any of us will be strong enough to ever require anything more than a 2”x2”.

It becomes more a matter of what attachments you plan to use in the future as it seems most “new” designs are tending toward 2”x3” and 3”x3”. Essentially a 2”x2” rack may not have as many bells and whistles to add on, but will work fine as far as strength training is concerned.

We just got one.
Steel gauge, hole spacing, height for us was limiting, can you expend it, free standing or does it need to be bolted to the ground.
We would have like a Titan but they don’t ship here, Rogue are out of price and come in too tall or was short for us.

We got a light commercial from a smaller name that is 84" tall, good hole spacing (our old one suck at that) and it fit on 1 stall mat, flat foot, gauge 12.
It was not cheap but reasonable compare to a Rogue.

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Thanks for the help everyone! I ended up going with the T2 Titan 72’ rack. And @flipcollar I’m in the orders of ordering Repfitness Sandbags XL (125-200lbs). I was curious as to if you knew of any, “adjustable”, sandbag brands etc that went higher than the 125-200 range…I.E. 150-300

Also if anyone has any plate recommendations I’m all ears. I have pairs of 25/10/5 plates that are golds gym metal ones that j bought at Walmart a few years ago.

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Hi All,

So this is a continuation on my power rack thread, I decided to go with Titan T-2 series 72 inch rack btw, thanks for the help all!

So what am I seeking help/opinions on now?:

A-Plates/Barbell:

I have 25(2) 10(2) and 5 (2) golds gym metal plates I got from Walmart. I’m probably looking to add about 400lbs to that. Although I guess I’d look like a lunatic if I mixed and matched metal plates with clearly diff ones (bumper, etc)? Also, as long as the barbell is 45lbs and 72 inches (normal oly BB height?) does brand etc matter as much?

B- Sledgehammer vs maceball:

I’ve always been a fan of sledgehammers, and although I’ve never used a maceball I’m told I could theoretically do more with them? I’m hoping to ideally get one I don’t need a tire or anything for, and I’ve read some reviews on the MostFit Core Hammer. Sounds great in that I wouldn’t need a tire for, I can just use on my cement (theoretically even wood) basement floors and not have a worry about causing damage to them:

https://most-fit.com › products › mo…MostFit® Core Hammer | Sledgehammer Workouts Without A …

Only problem is the price seems high. Wondering if anyone new anything similar in the sledgehammer/maceball realm?

C- Sled/Prowler

More specially, something like Torque Tank M1, in that it won’t scrape the concrete floors and is quiet.

Thanks again for all the help in my other threads! Looking forward to putting this together and will send pics!

I have bumper plates and also need metal plates for my home gym. Bumper plates so I don’t destroy the floor in the garage, but metal plates so I can have enough weight on the bar.

Don’t have much more insight than that tbh, except that who’s going to judge you for what YOU do in YOUR garage gym? lol, do whatever makes sense, not what looks good.

EDIT:

This is very individual. I like having 2 bars, but I don’t do any sort of olympic/powerlifting competitions so as long as I have my “bench” bar and “squat/deadlift” bar, I’m happy. The bench bars are typically a little more stiff and have knurling in the center, while squat/deadlift bars have a smooth surface to sit on your shoulders. Still, one could do just fine with the “squat/deadlift” bars - even though they are a little more bendy.

Nothing wrong with mixing bumpers and steel plates.

You’re gonna be really hard pressed to get more than about 450 on the bar with bumpers. I’ve gotten 475 but it was like playing jenga and not good for reps and not easy lol.

I don’t like cheap bars but I don’t know if it’s because I can feel a difference or I like to pretend I’m a pretentious ass hole.

I have a ball bearing and a bushing barbell and prefer the bushing but don’t do any Olympic stuff. The hall bearing spins so easy it actually is noticeable and kinda throws me off balance.
I also prefer center knurl bars for squats.

You didn’t ask but I followed the DIY squat platform you see all over the Internet and it came out amazing. I used higher quality wood then they suggested though, worthwhile upgrade I e believe.

I would spend $ to get a good barbell. Plates don’t matter much if you go the iron plate route and that plus a platform is the least expensive way to protect your floor. Unless you plan to drop the barbell after having done an olympic lift – the only acceptable time to drop a barbell barring injury – I’d get basic metal plates and then build yourself a platform if you need it. There are major differences between a good barbell and the junk you can get for $100 or so. Spend the money to get a good one. American Barbell, Rogue, EliteFTS, and Rep Fitness all sell good bars.

I have the Tank sled you posted and I bought it for the same reasons you did – didn’t want to mess the surface it was going on up. It is great for pushing and has settings that work great for me for both cardio and heavier sled pushes. I’d say it is only so-so for dragging, especially if you’re dragging it backward. Even if dragging it forward, you still have to turn it when you get to the end of whatever space you have – I’ve tried just walking around to the other side of the sled and pulling and that does not work well. All that said, I’d still buy mine again.

Is it true that due to the resistance level settings, you don’t have to load it as heavily as you would a normal sled? I.E. you don’t need to put 400lbs on this to get the same effect as you would loading a prowler/sled with 400lbs?

I will say, a mix of rubber and steel plates works well for me. Crumb rubber is too thick, loads the bar too quickly for me, and I can’t fit enough weight on. The comp rubber plates are amazing, but no way im buying those on government salary lol. I went with some rogue echo rubber plates, capped off with just some stander 45lb iron plates, and it’s served me pretty well. The rubber plates are thinner than crumb, but still fairly affordable. Any brand offering “mil-spec” for the new army CFT is fairly the same offering, all decent for my needs anyway.

I’d say, the one place I would really drop some money on would be a quality barbell. The difference between a $100 bar and a $300 bar is definitely worthwhile. The rogue graveyard bars are a great deal if you aren’t worried about a warranty, I’ve been very pleased with mine. Ohio Bar or Ohio Power Bar depending on your tastes

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Yes. The weight you load on it is really relevant only to preventing the wheel from skidding. If you were to put it on setting number 3 and then only put one 45 pound plate on it, the tire would likely skid. But with 3-4 45s there is no skidding. I don’t even bother recording the weight on the sled in my log, just the resistance setting.