Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Gym in a Closet

This is the home of our home-gym. It is a utility closet with a little extra space. It this closet we store two squat stands (that also act as supports for the bench press), a padded bench, a rubber-plywood platform, and a few weights.
Our bar sleeps behind the couch and some other weights are stored on the brick hearth of our fireplace. All of our equipment, except the bar, weights, and spring collars were made by us in our house. I used the ideas presented on. Homemade Strength. Overall I liked the author’s ideas and plans but I had to change a few details because, I do that. Here is how we set it up for a training session.
The bar is critical in resistance training. It bears the weight that will help get you strong. It is wise to invest in a good bar. A shiny bar is not necessarily a good bar. Go cheap on rusty iron weights. All the weights have to do is sit there. Don’t go cheap on a bar.
The platform provides a solid surface to squat, press, dead-lift, and power-clean from. Lifting weights from a squishy surface, like padded carpet or a peat bog is not good. This is why we included a heavy platform in our essential equipment arsenal.
Squat stands/Bench supports allow for the back squat, front squat, press, and bench press exercises to be included in a training program. The cables you see attached to the squat stands prevent them from tipping when a heavy set is completed and the loaded bar is racked in a non-gentle fashion. It was claimed that the concrete bucket squat stands would not tip easily but I disagree. Plus at the end of a heavy set the last thing you want to do is gingerly set the bark back in the rack. The cables facilitate commonly bar racking emotions and behavior.
We also made nice round spacer plates. Normal plates used in exercises that start at the floor like the power-clean, power-snatch, or dead-lift have a standard diameter of 45 cm (17.7 inch). Usually these plates are quite heavy so we made 4 lb spacer plates from plywood of proper diameter. Spacer plates are important in learning power-cleans, power-snatches, and dead-lifts at weights light enough to learn the movements.

Any questions on the construction or use of the equipment are welcome.


  1. Cool set up! Why the spacer plates? Does this distribute the weight on the bar in some sort of fashion for a correct clean and press or something?

    1. The spacer plates set the bar height for pulls off the floor. If you just used the smaller 25 or 10 pound plates the bar would be a lot lower and dead-lifts would be a lot harder. You would have to adjust your lifting mechanics every time you change to different diameter plates. With the spacer plates light loads can be pulled, as low as 53 lbs for us. If you use standard plates the minimum load would be 135 lbs. Spacer plates are necessary for beginners and novice lifters to work up to the higher weights while still starting from the proper/same position.
      Spacer plates put the bar about 8 inches off the ground. 10 lb plates put the bar about 3 inches off the ground.
      Long reply. Hopefully that clears things up.

    2. I'm very impressed. what kind of music do you listen to for your lifting sessions? and does that annoy the babies?

    3. We haven't incorporated music into the workouts yet. We usually workout at night and the appropriate music volume would indeed annoy the babies, which eventually would annoy the parents. If I were to use music it would be: The Who, Live and Leeds; Van Halen, Van Halen (self titled first album); and Jimi Hendrix, Woodstock. I hate to admit it but some of the modern stuff would be good as well like Muse.

  2. Brian_Broke_LegsJuly 12, 2012 at 3:35 AM

    You are a freaking maniac . . love it . . . .