Home-made equipment

I have two great pieces of equipment in my garage / gym.

One is a power rack. This is a big four post rack that allows you to do just about any barbell exercise you need to do. It’s got a pull up bar and you can make or buy all sorts of attachments for it. It cost $750.

The other is a Slosh tube. It’s a ten foot piece of three inch PVC pipe capped on both ends. It’s half full of water. With a little creativity you can perform almost any barbell movement with it. It only weighs thirty pounds, but once that water starts moving (immediately) it forces you to work overtime to keep it stable. It cost $12.

I love Home-made equipment. There’s something primal about making something you workout with. It’s like the hero in a bad fantasy movie crafting his own sword. My sled, my farmer’s walk buckets, my dip station, my medicine balls and most of my throwing implements are home-made. All of them are sturdy and have stood up to numerous abuses well. The most complicated of them, the dip station, took no more average carpentry skill.

The dip and grip 9000. Fancy.

I guess what I’m after is the cost to benefit ratio. A $700 dollar power rack is a great tool to have. But you can get a great workout from a $12 Slosh pipe too. So many people seem to feel that they have to go to a gym or purchase a huge piece of equipment to get fit. More often the investment doesn’t equal results. I bought a $200 bench I use for three exercises, mostly I sit on it between sets. I could have gotten the same utility out of some 4 x4 ‘s and plywood. Expensive equipment isn’t a necessity. You can work your ass off for $12. It works even better for people who are just working out for fitness. If you’re not involved in a sport that benefits from barbell training why not try a cheap an easy alternative? What do you have to lose? $12?

Can’t make it to the gym on the weekends? Slosh pipe. If you need it heavier, fill it with marbles and water. While you’re at the hardware store pick up some sand bags, rope and a few other odds and ends. Get an old tire and make a sled out of it with the rope and an eye bolt. Throw a piece of plywood on top of it, toss a sand bag on there and get dragging. Squat with two of the bags on your shoulders. do farmer’s walks with the sand bags.

Need a complete home gym? Craigslist. Find a 310 pound Olympic weight set. You might invest $200 in it if you’re careless and in a hurry. They run about that in sporting goods stores. Google “wooden power rack”. It’s been done. It works. You won’t be lifting enough weight to break it for a while. Trust me. If that contraption pictured above can support my weight then 4×4 lumber, bolts and iron pipe can more than handle your 135 pound squat.

You can follow my route and drop $900 on a power rack and a bench. Or you can get creative. Everything I’ve mentioned can be done by anyone semi-competent at home repair. If you can build a picnic table you can do anything I’ve suggested. All it takes is a circular saw, a rafter square, a power drill and a few wrenches.

Frankly you may not need that much effort. I’d be surprised if your Craigslist search for the bar and weight didn’t turn up a decent rack and bench combo somewhere. But from there, you can decide what else you need. A pull up bar, a dip station or anything you can dream up.

Again cost to benefit ratio. $15 a month for a gym membership or a one time charge of $12 (15 if you put some marbles in it) for a Slosh pipe. Thousands for a bowflex vs. a few hundred for a rack and weights.

You decide which is crazier.

  1. Rufus Pickett says:

    Could you list the items and measurements you used to make your dip station

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