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Garage Gym Setup
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Larry T

North Carolina, USA

I despise commercial gyms, so I'm considering taking half my garage to put in a power rack with high/low pulley, bench, etc. I need input on two things:

1. Heating and cooling. In NC we have relatively cold winters and hot humid summers. I'm not as concerned with heating in the winter, but cooling in the summer is a big issue. How do you guys who train in your garage manage this?

2. The garage floor is graded so that water drains away from the house. The floor drops between 2 and 3 inches over the 20 foot length. That's an eighth of an inch per foot, or 1/2 inch per 4 feet.

Thanks for your thoughts.
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perrymk

I've been working out in my garage for the past few years. Mine is an attached garage, not a separate structure.

For the AC, I open the door to the house and position a fan to blow cool air into the garage. I also have a large circulating fan in the garage. A window AC unit would be nice but it requires a hole be cut in the wall, a unit be purchased, etc. It's just not at the top of the list of things to do right now.

Some other suggestions:

Get large hooks mounted on your garage wall. They're great for holding bench attachments/accessories.

Get the butterfly attachment at newyorkbarbells.com. It looks like it may go out of production soon. It's a compact, inexpensive pec dec.

If you're going to use a leg curl/extension attachment, avoid the bench with with the "U" base. It warps under weight. This bench is a good choice: http://www.deltechfitness.com/...
although you will want another bench for decline work (eg situps).

Short (6 in) pieces of 3/4 inch PVC fit right into the 1in holes of most racks. They are great for holding up to about 25 pounds of plates and much less expensive than purchased plate holders. Use PVC caps to keep the plates from wiggling off when the rack vibrates.

Sports Authority sales and PlayItAgainSports are great stores for deals. For online deals I like newyorkbarbells.com, bayoufitness.com, warehousefitness.com, and jesupgym.com. Call Jesups for deals on BodySolid bench attachments that may not be on the web site.

I could go on and on.
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the_iron_goose

Hey perry how does the butterfly attachment attach ? What type of bench will it work for ? I can't see how one would put anymore than a 25 pounder on there without having the plate hitting the floor at full extension.
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the_iron_goose

Larry T wrote:
I despise commercial gyms, so I'm considering taking half my garage to put in a power rack with high/low pulley, bench, etc. .


So what's your plan after you get half your garage in the rack ?
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HSDAD

Larry T wrote:
I despise commercial gyms, so I'm considering taking half my garage to put in a power rack with high/low pulley, bench, etc. I need input on two things:

1. Heating and cooling. In NC we have relatively cold winters and hot humid summers. I'm not as concerned with heating in the winter, but cooling in the summer is a big issue. How do you guys who train in your garage manage this?

2. The garage floor is graded so that water drains away from the house. The floor drops between 2 and 3 inches over the 20 foot length. That's an eighth of an inch per foot, or 1/2 inch per 4 feet.

Thanks for your thoughts.


You'll be happy you did this. I share your sentiments per gyms. All that equipment is enticing though. . .

As for extremes in temperature, I just live with it. If it's 95 degrees, I open the garage door and hope for breeze. But you're going to sweat, so drink alot.

As I worked out the other day and the temperature in my garage was 26, I thought back wistfully on those "puddle of sweat" days of summer. Then I moved the soloflex in the house and have been lifting in the gameroom. As soon as the weather breaks, it'll be back to the garage.

Overall, I find heat easy to deal with, but cold can just make it too hard. Just loading the plates can make your hands numb. But I don't suppose in NC you have too many days like that.

As for the pitch of the floor, just align your squat rack with the pitch (either face it straight down or straight up hill) and then lift the front the appropriate amount with sheet steel pieces that can be bought at Lowe's (in the same section where you find angle iron and such).

Should make it quite stable if you're meticulous when you do it. I've done the same with wood, but it eventually shreds under the weight. Steel pieces are better. They will rust and stain the floor if you don't protect them, but then I treat my garage like a garage, so I don't bother.

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the_iron_goose

the_iron_goose wrote:
Larry T wrote:
I despise commercial gyms, so I'm considering taking half my garage to put in a power rack with high/low pulley, bench, etc. .

So what's your plan after you get half your garage in the rack ?


Be alot easier to just drive around with your headlights on in protest.
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SpencerG

Larry T wrote:
I despise commercial gyms, so I'm considering taking half my garage to put in a power rack with high/low pulley, bench, etc. I need input on two things:

1. Heating and cooling. In NC we have relatively cold winters and hot humid summers. I'm not as concerned with heating in the winter, but cooling in the summer is a big issue. How do you guys who train in your garage manage this?

Thanks for your thoughts.


Larry,

I can only comment on the first problem. I live in the Biloxi MS area so I know what you mean about extreme heat in the summertime.

My Cheap and Easy-To-Do suggestions are below:

A. I am not too bothered by the cold but in the winter on the few days when it is really cold down here I just wash a load of clothes and run the dryer-- when the dryer is done I leave its door open to empty the residual heat into the garage.

If you need more heat you can buy one of those dryer heat diverters from a hardware store or the Amazon links below for about ten bucks and capture ALL of the heat from the drying clothes. Or you can put a portable heater in the garage about an hour earlier and it will do the trick.

http://www.amazon.com/...33547225&sr=8-1

http://www.amazon.com/...33547225&sr=8-2

B. In the summer I run a high speed fan in the garage while working out. It helps a lot! I have looked at those "Swamp A/C Units" that are basically an Igloo cooler with a fan that you put ice into-- cheap but they don't work well in a high humidity environment (like the American South).

My more Extreme and Expensive solutions are below:

You can buy a portable A/C unit that sits on your floor (I assume that you don't have a window to put a window unit in) but they are expensive and you have to find a place to vent the hot air that they produce.

What I really want to do is to install a Hotel AC/Heat unit in the wall of my garage. They aren't too expensive, run only when I need them to, and do a good job of handling the temperature in that sized room. That may work better for you than for me since my garage is made of brick.

Your problem is a common one for garage gyms so others may have better ideas. I have to replace my whole a/c system this year so I will be talking to the A/C man about the problem.

It may just be easier for me to have him extend a duct to the garage or (more difficult but effective) to install a second system to put air in places that rarely need it (garage/Sunroom/sleeping areas at night). We shall see.

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james pate

Ontario, CAN

Hi Larry

Summer time I just open the doors and run a fan. During the really hot muggy days either workout early morning or late at night. If it get into those very rare 100 degree plus days, I simply take a break. A rest can be just as good as a workout from time to time.

Winter I run a small industrial electric heater, just enough to keep the frost out of the steel. Plus, I take a little time on some warmups to get the blood flowing and the heart pumping. Light squats, haanging leg raises etc.

Congratulations on making the decision to build your own little gym. I have never looked back since putting mine together.

Regards
James
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perrymk

the_iron_goose wrote:
Hey perry how does the butterfly attachment attach ? What type of bench will it work for ? I can't see how one would put anymore than a 25 pounder on there without having the plate hitting the floor at full extension.


Most good quality benches have a ~2 inch tube at the end to accept attachments. This size is standardized so attachments from one manufacturer will work on another brand. The butterfly fits into this 2in attachment slot.

How big a plate one can load on will depend on how ones bench is off the ground. There is plenty of room to load multiple plates.

NYBarbell butterfly on BodySolid bench
http://i233.photobucket.com/...pg?t=1233527297

hooks on wall for attachments
http://i233.photobucket.com/...pg?t=1233527331

plate holder on rack
http://i233.photobucket.com/...pg?t=1233527386






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BIO-FORCE

California, USA

perrymk wrote:
I've been working out in my garage for the past few years. Mine is an attached garage, not a separate structure.

For the AC, I open the door to the house and position a fan to blow cool air into the garage. I also have a large circulating fan in the garage. A window AC unit would be nice but it requires a hole be cut in the wall, a unit be purchased, etc. It's just not at the top of the list of things to do right now.

Some other suggestions:

Get large hooks mounted on your garage wall. They're great for holding bench attachments/accessories.

Get the butterfly attachment at newyorkbarbells.com. It looks like it may go out of production soon. It's a compact, inexpensive pec dec.

If you're going to use a leg curl/extension attachment, avoid the bench with with the "U" base. It warps under weight. This bench is a good choice: http://www.deltechfitness.com/...
although you will want another bench for decline work (eg situps).

Short (6 in) pieces of 3/4 inch PVC fit right into the 1in holes of most racks. They are great for holding up to about 25 pounds of plates and much less expensive than purchased plate holders. Use PVC caps to keep the plates from wiggling off when the rack vibrates.

Sports Authority sales and PlayItAgainSports are great stores for deals. For online deals I like newyorkbarbells.com, bayoufitness.com, warehousefitness.com, and jesupgym.com. Call Jesups for deals on BodySolid bench attachments that may not be on the web site.

I could go on and on.


Hi Perry,

Thanks for pointing out that "NEW YORK BB" pec dec attachment.

I am a NEW YORK BARBELL DEALER, and I didn't even know that was available.

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BIO-FORCE

California, USA

Larry T wrote:
I despise commercial gyms, so I'm considering taking half my garage to put in a power rack with high/low pulley, bench, etc. I need input on two things:

1. Heating and cooling. In NC we have relatively cold winters and hot humid summers. I'm not as concerned with heating in the winter, but cooling in the summer is a big issue. How do you guys who train in your garage manage this?

2. The garage floor is graded so that water drains away from the house. The floor drops between 2 and 3 inches over the 20 foot length. That's an eighth of an inch per foot, or 1/2 inch per 4 feet.

Thanks for your thoughts.


Hi Larry,

As you know I agree with the HOME GYM move.

I think the suggestions made so far are good.

1) A good fan(s) in the Summer goes a long way, as well as adequate hydration.

2) For winter training a good space heater like the ones they sell at Costo or Wallmart will go a long way in taking the Chill off.

3) Dress accordingly: In the summer obviously lighter clothing with good "wicking" properties. In the winter layers of clothing and sweat clothing is good, and I always wear lifting gloves which keep the hands warmer.

Over the years I have trained in many "dungeon" like environments and outside gyms and they all are generally preferable to "glitzy" clubs.

I have trained in garages, barns, basements, bomb shelters, converted silos, box cars, semi-truck trailers, quonset huts, sheds, chicken coups, patios, sheds, roof tops, tents, and any number of strange places with various levels of environmental sheilds.

Some of my most memorable workouts have been in these DUNGEONS.

Even my own patio GYM as rustic as it is, I wouldn't trade for the best Health Club. There is nothing so "primal" as to hit heavy sets of 20 rep squats in the pouring night rain, and see the steam rising from your forehead in the mirror as you recover.

I mean it is just SICK!!! (in a good context)

The DRYER idea was also great, so you do your laundry and train at the same time. Multi-tasking at its finest.

One caution however is if you train outdoors don't train during an electrical storm LOL!!!





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the_iron_goose

perrymk wrote:
the_iron_goose wrote:
Hey perry how does the butterfly attachment attach ? What type of bench will it work for ? I can't see how one would put anymore than a 25 pounder on there without having the plate hitting the floor at full extension.

Most good quality benches have a ~2 inch tube at the end to accept attachments. This size is standardized so attachments from one manufacturer will work on another brand. The butterfly fits into this 2in attachment slot.

How big a plate one can load on will depend on how ones bench is off the ground. There is plenty of room to load multiple plates.

NYBarbell butterfly on BodySolid bench
http://i233.photobucket.com/...pg?t=1233527297

hooks on wall for attachments
http://i233.photobucket.com/...pg?t=1233527331

plate holder on rack
http://i233.photobucket.com/...pg?t=1233527386








My bench does accept attachments, but it is an older model bench. The attachment recptacle is not tubular, it's square. So do you really mean tube or do you mean square ?
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the_iron_goose

I've been thinking maybe to install an amphibious assualt ship in my garage cause I've heard they have great gym setups in them....that and a small portable remote control ocean so I don't run her aground...run the ocean a few inches ahead of the ship...can't beat it.
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Larry T

North Carolina, USA

Thanks for your opinions so far. The heating and cooling I think I can manage. The floor pitch is more problematic. I measure again, and the floor is pitched 2 inches over 200 inches of length, or 1/2 inch every 4 feet.

If I orient a rack facing the slope, it's not as much a problem. I can squat facing "downhill" and bench either way. The rack will be lower on the downhill side by at least 1/2 inch. Is that too much, or does it need to be perfectly level?

The more efficient orientation would be against a side wall, but then if I have a 3 foot width doing squats, one foot is between a quarter and half inch lower than the other. I'm not sure if that will be noticeable squatting or benching, but I already have it in my mind that it will. I agree with HSDAD about using wood to level the rack not being a long-term solution.

John, you suggested a while back to build up the low side with a thin sheet of plywood. If I put plywood inside the rack under rubber matting, would I notice the "seam" under the matting?

Again, thanks for the help, guys.
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perrymk

It's a square tube. Sorry for the confusion.

The inside measurement is 1 13/16 in. The outside dimensions of attachments measure 1 3/4 inches. Thus the 1 3/4 OD slides in to the 1 13/16 ID.
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davise

I'm really fortunate in that I just open a vent and my garage is either heated or cooled. I still have a large fan I use for the summers though to supplement it.

Had to put in a french drain outside because my pool would overfill during a rainstorm and water would seep in under the door getting a third of the garage soaked.
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the_iron_goose

So can you put olympic 45's on yours or standard 50's?

How many on each side without modification ?
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the_iron_goose

And how many feet, lol, I mean inches of padding do you have to put on your bench so that there is not too much space between you and the arm rests and put olympic 45's or standard 50's without the plates touching ground with this apparatus mounted at the highest level ?
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Professor Chaos

I miss my garage gym :(. I recently moved from my house into an apartment and am hating having to go to a commercial gym again.

My favorite part about garage training is that you can use whatever equipment you want... In addition to the standard power rack, I had sandbags, kettlebells, clubbells, a wheelbarrow I'd load up, and a Dan John inspired slosh pipe. It made for some really fun GPP workouts with my friends. Other fun additions that I never got around to include a tractor tire and a pulling sled.

I recommend you keep the cars outside and devote your entire garage to it ;).
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the_iron_goose

Oh be serious he already keeps the cars outside, he's moving the squat rack into the living room so he can watch tv while squatting...have a cup of tea in between sets...
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perrymk

the_iron_goose wrote:
So can you put olympic 45's on yours or standard 50's?

How many on each side without modification ?


I have it set as low as possible to get full stretch on the movement. I can load a 45lb standard plate and it just barely clears, but it clears. The loading sleeve is 9 inches so I guess 9 plates that are 1 inch thick can be loaded. I won't be loading that much (smile).

My only suggestion for those that purchase this piece is to have some washers available. I had to add a few washers as some of the joints were a little loose and washers filled in the gaps.
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entsminger

Virginia, USA

My home gym is in my 12 x 16 barn shapped shed and it is neither heated or cooled. Some of my tougher machines like the bench and dip bars etc, are actually out side in my " muscle beach area" next to the pool. It's brisk in winter but invigorating. In summer it's great because you can plunge into the pool quickly after the workout to relax!

Now in winter I wear sweaters and gloves and turn on a small space heater in the shed which pretty much does zilch though. In summer I sweat alot but it's actually not too hot as the concrete floor stay relatively cool from the shade. I guess I could put in an window airconditioner but I really don't need it. I live In Northern Va.

Scott
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the_iron_goose

perrymk wrote:
the_iron_goose wrote:
So can you put olympic 45's on yours or standard 50's?

How many on each side without modification ?


I have it set as low as possible to get full stretch on the movement. I can load a 45lb standard plate and it just barely clears, but it clears. The loading sleeve is 9 inches so I guess 9 plates that are 1 inch thick can be loaded. I won't be loading that much (smile).

My only suggestion for those that purchase this piece is to have some washers available. I had to add a few washers as some of the joints were a little loose and washers filled in the gaps.


I think an olympic 45 lb plate is 1.375 inches thick - so 6 plates on each side or 540 lb. Doesn't sound possible. Even if it were, this device looks too flimsy to sustain 540 lbs through movement.

On your bench how high is the top of the loading receptacle *tube* and how high is the bolt-hole in it from the ground?

On the pec deck, I assume there is at least one whole for a bolt on the piece that fits in the loading receptacle tube on the bench - how many inches is the bottom hole on the piece which you insert ( on the pec deck ) to the end of the piece which you insert (on the pec deck - no misprint, both points on the pecdeck )?
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stevecollins33

Hi Larry

I've never managed more than a large office fan in summer - and that seems only to feel like a hairdryer blowing warm air at you!
I therefore latch onto Dr Fred Hatfield's advice that taining should be done in such environments since it lends itself to a release in HGH. So it's not all bad!

In winter, which is most of the year in Scotland, I dispense with any heating and instead learned to dress for a workout in my hill-walking gear, i.e. good wicking base layer, couple of light fleeces, etc. This enables me to train comfortably without any chills and despite sub-zero temps and skin sticking to DBs!

A wooden platform for the power rack base is a must - you don't want to train on bare concrete.
Plumber's insulation pipe coverings is also a good addition to the rack pins to lessen metal to metal clang, slippage, etc.

Good luck mate - you'll never look back. I would struggle to go back to a gym now!
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the_iron_goose

the_iron_goose wrote:
On the pec deck, I assume there is at least one whole for a bolt on the piece that fits in the loading receptacle tube on the bench - how many inches is the bottom hole on the piece which you insert ( on the pec deck ) to the end of the piece which you insert (on the pec deck - no misprint, both points on the pecdeck )?


I mean from the pec deck mounting hole on the pec tube which is inserted to the bottom of that tube on the pec deck, not the top.

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