T Nation

I've Had it With Gyms!!!

O.K., I’ve fuckin’ had it with commercial gyms! I made the mistake of signing up at a new gym in town while it was under construction. I thought a new environment would do me good. I paid for a six-month membership in advance. Much to my dismay, when I went there yesterday for my first workout it was filled with new, high-tech, cardio equipment, women with make-up, and men more interested in posing in front of the mirror than working! The topper–a sign in the rather small free weight area saying “no deadlifting!”.

That’s it, this among other experiences has convinced me that the empty corner in my garage is just begging for a home gym. However, as I’ve never considered this option before I have no idea which internet stores have the best prices and service, nor do I know what brands of cages with lat and low row I should consider.

So, for those of you who have experience in this area --HELP!!! Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!



I recently built my own home gym with a few basic pieces of equipment. Here are some suggestions.

If you want the best quality stuff with great service, go to www.elitefts.com and order a standard power rack with bench and Texas power bar. Then, go to a local sporting goods store and pick up all the Olympic weights you need. Also, look in your newspaper for anyone selling used plates and other equipment to save money. Go to a local Feed store to purchase a few 4’x6’ 3/4" rubber mats to put on the floor. At that point, you will have a fantastic home gym that allows you to do almost everything. Then, you can add dumbbells or other equipment.

I purchased a Body Solid power rack from a local fitness store for $264, as I didn’t have the money for the Elite power rack. However, if I did it over again, I would have paid the extra money for the Elite power rack since it has more pin spacings and a few other features. Mine is good, but the Elite is the best. I also picked up a 300lb Olympic bar and weight set for $115, a flat bench for $60, a weight tree for $30, an EZ curl bar and some mats for the floor. I originally started with those 2x2’ interlocking mats, but they kept “bubbling” up, so I decided to go to the feed store and buy the nice 4x6’ mats. They cost $35 each and are well worth it. Of course, they weigh 100lbs a piece, so getting two of them into my second floor apartment was a bitch!

Anyway, you can put together a great home gym with just a few things. I also have Swiss balls, medicine balls, kbells, jump rope, a few dumbbells and an Elite dragging sled. I plan on purchasing a glute-ham bench next year and a reverse hyper after that.

Other than Elite, check out www.fitnessfactory.com.

Good luck! You’ll love the home set up.

I was in the same situation a few months ago. I shopped around plenty on the internet. New York Barbell seemed to always have good selections and prices, but I got a PowerTech cage from Alpha Fitness Equipment. With shipping (which is where many places will kill you - I couldn’t find anything locally) my total was under $380. I didn’t get the lat/low pulley attachment at the time (figuring I could add on later if need be) but I believe that was another $400 option or so. This isn’t top of the line equipment, but it does the job nicely for the price I paid. If you’ve got the money Elite Fitness now has some sort of combo pack which seems real nice, but you’d still end up paying shipping on alot of weight.

I’ve also bought a couple of 300 lb weight sets from a local sporting good store. Cheap bars, but they work fine for me right now.

Next on my list would be a good bar, some dumbells, and maybe some mats for the floor. Right now I deadlift on a couple pieces of 3/4" plywood which works OK. If interested, PM me and I’ll dig up the links for you.


Hey man. I feel your pain. My gym had a no deadlifting sign for a long time, too. (along with no chalk and a slew of others) I deadlifted anyway. No one ever said anything. On the plus side, despite that sign, chances are none of the employees will know what a DL is anyway. You should at least DL until you get the boot and then demand your money back.

Just my $.02,
Bastard F*ck Guy

Deadlifting? I’m not deadlifting… these are low bar front squats. Isn’t deadlifting bad for your back?

Power rings - portable gymnastics rings for pull-ups, dips, and too many other exercises to list.

Building a home gym is awesome! Not too many gyms play slayer and death metal as loud as you want! I bought my rack and bench from Ny barbell, they’re not as good as elite’s but they do the trick for now. Check eBay out too. I got a GHR from there, and there is a running ad they have for 500 lbs of plates and or dumbbells for 250 bucks. Catch is you have to be near one of there warehouses, which I was.

Good luck dude, and crank up the Slayer!

Check out your local cop shop, they have auctions with siezed weights every once in a while, and they usually have a gym that may have unused equipment kickign around. Just a suggestion though.


You won’t be sorry. I picked up a rack and weights just a few weeks ago and it’s great. Nate has some good suggestions on the rubber mats - local feed stores sell these cheap.

Next on my to do list is to order a Texas Power Bar from Elite.


This statement is gonna sound like a dumb question. Why won’t they let you deadlift? It has to be the most functional lift on the planet for an average person. Deadlifts work the entire body and teach you great lifting mechanics for real life.

Slayer is awesome lifting music

Yeah, I know your pain. I joined a World Gym 5 minutes from work and loved it. It was a true had core gym. Some of the strongest guys in town lifted there, and it had plenty of space. Sadly, 3 months after I paid my year up front, it closed.

They ‘referred’ me to another World Gym 12 miles away. The drive isn’t as bad as the crowd. It’s definitely a world apart- no pun intended. This one is unmistakably a yuppie gym.

Fortunately, I put in a nice home gym when my son was born earlier this year.

OFF TOPIC*** you have been warned of the stupidity about to come.

Iluminatae… you bastard, you stole my sign off!!! I will get you back for this if it is the last thing I do!!!


dude, home gym is the way to go baby! i have only been to one gym that i would never leave, which was diamond gym - but, after 7 years the distance was too much, it was 30 minutes away w/no traffic

another story, a great gym in my town was hard core, tons of bodybuilders there, and jacked power lifters - the owner had 2 gyms, he closed one of them down, then started changing this gym that we all loved - he started by removing the tape deck(yea, it was a while ago, hence the tape deck) - then he changed the brown equipment, painted it white and got some cute turquoise padding -

no more rock, talk show radio,rules started getting posted like: no work boots, no chalk, replace weights or have membership revoked, bla bla bla

i once dropped a bar, and he walked up & said, don’t do that, you’re gonan bend the bar

eventually i left - it was horrible, the place would zap the energy out of me!

now diamond gym - that’s another world - dark and loud pumping house music - never the radio, no commercials - the music is so loud it’s like a club - it also discourages talking since u cna barely hear what ur partner says

when they change cd’s, all you hear is weights slamming and people grunting to finish the last aching reps

tons of black & white photos wrap around the entire gym, some dating back from the golden era and up until present time

you’ll see guys DLing 500 lbs and dropping the bar every set - NOONE says not to drop the weight!

it’s all about training ur ass off over there, bottom line!

best bet nowadays is build your own gym - get it used from e bay - look for some solid commercial stuff - be patient and u’ll get lucky and find everything u need! get out of those coffee shop type gyms - they’ll make you nauseated, trust me!

that was your first mistake.


I did the same thing that bailey_run did and bought 2 Olympic sets. It was cheaper than buying extra plates plus I now have 2 bars, which comes in handy. If you can wait a few months, hit the sporting goods stores around January because that’s when they have sales for all the New Years resolution folks looking to buy fitness equipment.

Home gym is the way to go.

Yup, home gym is definitely the way to go - best thing I ever bought.

Just as an alternative, if you’re stuck for space/portability Ironmind sell a great alternative to a power rack called the Pillars of Power (check out their Vulcan Racks aswell). I bought the version of this which is available in the UK from Pullum Sports called the Squat Safety Rack and I f-ing love it.

  • just an idea.

Everyone, thanks for your help! I knew I could count on ya’. Anyway, I’ve made up my mind that I’m going to put together a home gym over the next few months.


[quote]ShortDave wrote:
OFF TOPIC*** you have been warned of the stupidity about to come.

Iluminatae… you bastard, you stole my sign off!!! I will get you back for this if it is the last thing I do!!!


mwwwaahhahaaaa !!

---->>>> -Dave <<<<-----

Has anyone ever heard of the “Body-Solid Powerlift”? It’s a free-weight LEVERAGE gym. It has three work stations that allow you to use free weights on leverage machines. It has gotten very good reviews, and it looks complete and well built.

It’s just that I’m unsure if I could get a really effective workout from this–although it seems so. I have to say my interests lie primarily in the area of body-building type training these days.

Do you guys think this unit (which you can see at www.factoryfitness.com), coupled with an olmpyic bar and powerbloc selectorized dumbells would give me a good home gym?