T Nation

Home Powerlifting Gym


In September of 2011, Fitness Unlimited (my gym) closed down. It was very power lifting friendly. Finding another power lifting friendly gym was extremely tough. We trained at a gym just down the road from my house called Royal Oak Gym. It was not awesome. They simply didn't have everything we needed, and the equipment sucked.

This is when we decided to build FORTIS (yes, it's in all all caps because it's that sweet). FORTIS (Latin for "strength and/or power") is our home gym. My training partner, Dan, and I have sunk many thousands of dollars into building it. But, we couldn't be happier with it.

After 14+ years of training in commercial gyms, I firmly believe that I deserve this.

No more...

Waiting for machines, racks, or dumbbells (or anything else I'm not thinking of)
Being careful with chalk (or not being able to use chalk)
Paying for memberships
Not liking the equipment
Goofballs that are just banging their heads against the wall instead of actually training
Gym rules (starting to get out of hand, especially Planet Fatness)
Gym hours (FORTIS is open 25 hours per day, 8 days per week, 366 days per year)
Being yelled at for grunting too loud
Being yelled at for banging weights around
Ugly naked guys in the locker room
Smooth jazz playing over the radio

And there are probably dozens of other things I'm not thinking of...

What does FORTIS have?

2 Power Racks (one really heavy duty one made by EliteFTS)
Glute Ham Raise (made by EliteFTS - economy grade, but it's still awesome)
Ironmaster Dumbbells (adjustable dumbbells that go from 5lbs. to 120lbs.)
Olympic Dumbbell Handles (build your own dumbbell with free weights)
Texas Deadlift Bar (7.5 feet long with heavy knurling - made by EliteFTS)
Texas Power Bar (7 feet long with heavy knurling - made by EliteFTS)
All Purpose Olympic Barbell
Lat Tower with High and Low Pulley (plate loaded)
Lat Bar attachment
Cambered Bar attachment
Rope attachment
V-Bar attachment (think triceps pushdowns)
2 Single Arm Handle attachments (think single arm cable curls)
Deadlift Platform with short and long band attachments
Box for Box Squats (13", 14", and 15" in height)
6 Chains (from EliteFTS)
2 Feeder Chains (from EliteFTS)
Full Set of Long Bands (from EliteFTS)
Full Set of Short Bands (from EliteFTS)
1 Board (from EliteFTS)
2 Board (from EliteFTS)
3 Board (from EliteFTS)
4 Board (from EliteFTS)
5 Board (from EliteFTS)
14 45lb Plates
Tons of other plates (there is absolutely no shortage of weight whatsoever)
Chin-Up Bar on one of the power racks
Loads of CHALK
EliteFTS Posters on the walls (to create a sweet atmosphere)
2 White Boards for PRs, Training Splits, etc.
Cambered Bar that takes standard weights (as opposed to olympic)
A bunch of Standard Plates
3 Weight Trees
Chuck Taylors
Ammonia Caps (smelling salts to get you revved up)
Baby Powder (to put on your shins for deadlifts)
Bench with Leg Extension, Leg Curl, and Preacher Curl apparatus
Measuring Tapes (for measuring band tension or whatever else we want)
Ab Wheel
Various Wrist Wraps, Straps, Knee Wraps, etc.
Belts (of the weightlifting variety, of course)
Chalk Stand with chalk bowl bolted down
Table for Training Logs and drinks

More info on the EliteFTS Power Rack...

2 sets of J-hooks
1 set of quick-release pins
1 set of regular pins
Chain and Band storage
Weight Storage
2 Sets of Band Pegs (top and bottom)
Chin-up Bar (straight)
Red and Black (EliteFTS and FORTIS colors)

And I'm sure I'm missing some stuff...

Without further ado, here is FORTIS starting from day 1, all the way to present day...




Its beautiful.


So when can I move in?


Depends on what you're contributing...


Can anyone think of anything we're missing?


You need a sled/Prowler, and maybe a reverse hyper.


We're actually working on trying to find a reverse hyper. We're trying to find one cheap on craigslist. Do you know of anywhere else we could find one? Last time I checked EFS, they weren't selling them anymore...


I believe you can still buy them from westside barbell, but I'm pretty sure they wont be anywhere near cheap. If you know someone that can weld you can probably make one. True reverse hypers have a bearing in them to make them glide smoothly, but you can probably make a ghetto version by putting a rod through holes and bolting it in loosely with some washers to allow it to turn. You would also need some padding for the top so you don't kill your hips. Just a thought.


You, my friend, have built a work of art.


You, my friend, have built a work of art.


colour me jelly!


I don't know about cheap, but Power Lift makes fucking awesome equipment. I gotta mention them because they are headquartered 15 minutes from my hometown, and the son of the owner was my wrestling coach in high school.


And I thought my gym was cool.




Very nice setup you have. I was going to make fun of you and say I have a reverse hyper pro, sled, and prowler! All jesting aside, I rarely use my RH except to set things on. You do need a prowler if you have somewhere nearby to push/pull it. Also, there are RH on ebay occasionally and I have seen them on Craigslist also.

Also, I didn't see a safety squat bar listed (but I could have missed it).


A pair of rings would be cool for pullups etc. Yes you've got the chin-up bars on the power cages, but hanging rings give you pull-up and leg lift options bars just don't. Also, if you ever want to do iso's like an iron cross it's a must have.

Thought about adding some 100 /150 lbs grippers to get your grip up for deadlift?

A hanging rope would be pretty awesome if you're strong enough to climb it.

Got a jump rope?


No safety squat bar yet, but that would be a nice addition. I plan to check craigslist often for a reverse hyper too.


I doubt we'd use the rings. We'd rather put the money toward a reverse hyper. Also, our grip strength on our deadlifts is not an issue at all (at least right now). I love the suggestions though man. Keep 'em coming.