T Nation

Need Your Advice for My Home Gym!

Hey guys,

Just a brief intro:
I’ve been working out in my home gym in my basement now for over 2 years and absolutely love it. My training goals have changed over time from bodybuilding oriented training, to weightlifting and now finally to strongman.

I have been in contact with a group of local strongmen and plan on competing in the spring. I also just sold one of my ATV’s yesterday so I have a little spare change kicking around and am looking to upgrade my weight room!

I’m 5’8" 210lbs with the following lifts (in case this makes a difference in your suggestions):
Bench: 340lbs
Squat: 475lbs
Deadlift: 565lbs
OHP: 225lbs

My current setup is all I really NEED, but I’m looking for the optimal setup with any suggestions you guys have.

Currently I have:

  1. A cheap flimsy power rack similar to this:
  2. A Northern Lights universal cable machine (pic from google):
  3. Powertec Strength Olympic Bench Press

My goal is to sell all 3 of these units and get one piece of equipment to replace them. I need to downsize a little bit as I acquire more strongman implements. I only use the cable machine for the odd tricep extension, straight arm pulldowns or hamstring curls, but all can be substituted by something else in terms of my current goals.

One idea was to get this and just slide my extra adjustable bench in there for bench movements:


I could add on dip handles, landmines, etc to cover the basics. This way I would have the option for bands, neutral grip pullups and I could get rid of a couple of my plate racks that are taking up floor space.

I have a few friends who have purchased the cheapest racks from fitness ave and have been pleasantly surprised with quality for the price. This store is near my in-laws where I will be tomorrow for Thanksgiving. So if you’re bored and have any other suggestions from their site I would appreciate it as I could be pulling the trigger on this rack and a set of bumper plates tomorrow!

I do live in Ontario, Canada and it seems like shipping will kill me for most of the “name brand” racks. Trying to keep things as minimalist as possible while getting the most bang for my buck.

ANY help/suggestions would be appreciated, as I only have experience with my current setup!

I have been using a rack like your current one (the cheap one) since 2008. I’ve squatted 500+ on it, along with a bunch of other silly feats, and it’s still held up. It’s super wobbly, but it does the job.

Honestly, if your goal is strongman and you want a consolidated home gym, I’d consider something like this

You get a yoke (which is an invaluable piece of strongman equipment) and a rack/stands which takes up a pretty small footprint.

Don’t get me wrong though; the rack you’re looking at is pretty sweet.

Honestly a BIG thank you for the reply. I reply appreciate the time. I definitely agree that the rack I have does the job. I’ve squatted 475lbs on it while hanging on it for a little spinal decomp between sets. Super wobbly? you bet…but she is still standing!

That is a pretty epic piece of versatility you linked there! I haven’t seen the yoke/squat stand before and it is a very interesting idea. The only problem is I workout in my basement, which is quite big enough to yoke walk and I would have to take it apart to take it upstairs/outside to use as a yoke. (Although this could be pretty quick to pop the cross member off then carry the 3 pieces upstairs.

I’m glad you also think the rack I’m looking at looks like it will do the job, but I am definitely pondering the piece you linked now…I like the idea.


Might be pulling the trigger on the unit I posted.

Do you think the one I posted would be preferable over this one?


How often do you find yourself using/wanting to use a high/low pulley for your workouts for strongman?

Thanks man!

High pulley I use about once a week. My elbows get beat up pretty good, and pull downs give me a break from chins.

I rarely use the low pulley when I am healthy, but it is very helpful whenever I am injured and can’t perform rows with a barbell or dumbbell. And in strongman, that happens a lot, haha.

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Fair enough, I would hate to “upgrade” my home gym just to leave voids in my training to wish I had my old equipment back. But I’m keeping my eyes peeled for a couple other things like a reverse hyper (or possibly a DIY makeshift one).

I’m bad at picturing the ideal gym…just like any house reno I do, never have a clue what colour paint or tile will look good until it is installed…and too late.

I’m thinking as long as I can perform my big compound lifts, chins and dips I should be OK. I also have a log, some sandbags, a keg, farmers walk handles, a tractor tire (only ~200lbs…), and a tire sled.

A set of dumbbells would be helpful, but that is a very large expense in itself, so that might be my next upgrade…eventually.

All that being said, would you be leaning to the half rack with the pulley system? I did see in @Koestrizer 's log that he got himself a nice half rack and @TX_iron mentioned that he liked the half racks better than the full cages.

Just looking for opinions, as I’m cheap and will be very unhappy if I drop the $500+ on something I’m not satisfied with.

The main reason for this upgrade is really the fact that my basement has too much clutter with this equipment, so I’m trying to reach a smaller footprint without sacrificing my workouts. I need to use my limited space a little more efficiently, tired of tripping over equipment during my workouts.

Thanks again!

I would prefer a half rack over a full rack for the simple reason that you aren’t hindered when you want to overhead press your log out of the rack. I am 6’2 (188 cm) and normal full rack is too low for me to overhead press in. That is the main reason I got a half rack. Plus they are cheaper and offer all the options full rack do (there even are ones with space for reverse band).
The problem I see with the half rack you posted is the short length of the safety catchers. You want your safeties to be long enough socit offers enough safety when you squat and press and so you can use your log out of the rack if you wish to do so.
Also it gives you a nice option for weight over bar training with your sandbag.
So far I am very satisfied with my purchase.

Thanks for the reply @Koestrizer! Where did you get yours / cost of yours? (if you don’t mind me asking)

The company is called Capital Sports and it seems like you get a lot for your money with this company.
My rack cost me 350 € (shipping included). That is very good in my opinion.
I have no idea where the company originates though and if they ship oversee (don’t forget that I am in Europe/ Germany).

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Ah I looked it up, Capital Sports does only deliver its products in Germany. :confused: Pretty weird that their side first loads in English … Too bad as it seems like a good company.

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Howdy @littlesleeper

Man, I like the half rack just because it’s so much easier to move the bar around than it is with a full rack. Plus with dynamic movements like cleans and jerks you’re always running the risk of bumping into something when in the cage. Only issue is a little less stability of the pins, but I’m sure a quality 1/2 would solve that. Rouge came out with a cool 1/2 rack that folds inward to save space when mounted on a wall. I’ve no idea as to the quality, but is sure looked handy!

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With a full rack can’t you just put the pins on the outer posts for stuff like OHP?

I have a half rack and like it, unless you are moving some serious weight where you really need the safety pins. I think the only limitation might be if you want to do some reverse band stuff. It really depends on your space, a half rack allows a little more especially if you want to do stuff outside of a full cage then its just wasted depth.

Yes for sure, this is what I have been doing up until now.

I did in fact purchase this rack:

I just assembled it last night and it seem even more sturdy than I expected. Tonight I’ll be giving it a trial run.
I bought some heavy bands, a dip bar and landmine attachments for it as well.

Thanks for the help guys!