Strength

“…strength drives everything. That’s your foundation, even if you run marathons. How much you develop that foundation will depend on the needs of your sport. For the marathoner, that won’t be extensively; for the competitive CrossFitter, it will be considerably more extensively, although less than a strength athlete like a weightlifter.”

-Greg Everett

Like I said in the last post, the most important biomarker of athletic performance is strength. Being strong enough is your ticket to play. If you’re not strong enough to actually lift the paddle, you can’t play ping-pong.

forrest gump ping pong

Ping Pong Strong

So how does one go about developing the requisite level of strength for his or her sport of choice? Short answer: by imposing demands that cause the body to adapt in a strengthening manner. That is, by exposing the body to resistance which requires near-maximal strength to overcome. Thus, by way of super-compensation, the body gets stronger.

Most of us are limited on training time. We’re desk-jockeys or service-providers, not professional athletes. We cook your meals, we haul your trash, we connect your calls, we drive your ambulances. We guard you while you sleep. So how do we maximize efficiency when training for strength? There are hundreds of muscles, dozens of joints – which movements should we focus on?

Just like we established a brief hierarchy of biomarkers, we can create a similar hierarchy of training movements. Since our primary focus is strength, we want to use movements that accommodate heavy loads. Since our limiting factor is time, we want to utilize as much musculature and as much of the body’s structure as possible.

The beauty here is that these two criteria also coincide with hormonal response desired for strength development: anabolism.

Enough with the Socratic method already – which movements? Squat, deadlift, bench press, press, dips, pull ups, chin ups and cleans. When performed properly, these movements require the vast majority, if not all, of the body’s musculature and structure. As such, they are referred to as complex or multi-joint exercises.

Part two: how much of these exercises? This answer is simple, but complicated. One of the most definitive answers is Prilepin’s Chart. Depending on what training phase (periodization) you’re in, you’ll be training for size, maximal strength, power or strength endurance. The chart clearly tabulates the sets, reps and relative intensities that lead to the desired outcomes.

Given the demands of the exercises and intensities, you’ll want to allow for rest and recovery. It will be optimal to include 36-48 hours between heavy squat sessions, and the same will hold true for most of the other movements. It’s a good idea to then establish your training split by breaking it into upper and lower body, and push and pull groupings. Day one could be both upper and lower body pushes (squat and press), and day two could be upper and lower body pulls (deadlift and chin ups). The cumulative loading would then call for rest and recovery on day three before repeating the push and pull combo (perhaps with different exercises) in the second half of the week.

This brings us essentially full circle. In order to get stronger, we need heavily loaded, complex/multi-joint movements. In turn, our gym needs the equipment to perform those movements. Come back next time to complete the journey with some recommendations on how to choose a program that suits your needs, using the Principles and Elements we’ve covered over the last several posts.

In the meantime, be sure to check out Garage Gym Guy on Facebook for more content!

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Biomarkers

In the last article, we discussed Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands. But what type of demands are we talking about? The answer is simple: What are you training for?

Do you play a sport competitively? Are you a strength trainee exclusively? Are you an endurance athlete? Are you training for a lifestyle of fitness? Some combination of all of the above?

The point is this: your training program needs to Impose the Specific Demands that will cause you to Adapt in such a way that the biomarkers of your performance improve.

Now, which biomarkers are we talking about? In nearly every sport or athletic pursuit, there are particular biomarkers that immediately come to mind: strength, speed, power, agility, flexibility/body control, endurance/stamina, etc.

In the perspective of training, we should be able to craft a hierarchy of those biomarkers which will in turn help us create a priority list that we can use to maximize the efficiency of our training regimen. After all, most of us only have a few hours per week to devote to our training.

I’m not going to beat around the bush. It is obvious to me that strength is the most important biomarker of performance. Strength is the ability to exert force, from which comes speed. Being stronger also means that the rate of exertion for a given movement, relative to absolute strength, is much lower. In vehicle racing, this commonly referred to as the Power to Weight Ratio.

Furthermore, strength is a hard-earned attribute when compared endurance. Endurance can take as little as a few months to acquire while true strength requires years. “Strength is never a weakness.”

Following strength is its derivative: speed. Even in the endurance sports, the competition is still a race: who is the fastest. Assuming the competitors all have the stamina to complete the race, it is still the most powerful (force divided by time – the one who exerts the most forward propulsion in the elapsed time) one who wins.

What comes after strength? Everything else – for your given sport, you will need some level of endurance, coordination, sport-specific skills, etc. A wrestler will only need a few minutes of stamina, while a triathlete may need a couple of hours. A hockey player will only need to be on the ice for about 30 seconds per shift, but may need to be capable of 30 or more shifts per game.

Garage Gym Girl - Sprint Triathlete

Garage Gym Girl – Sprint Triathlete

For our purposes here, we can see that athletes need to start with strength, transition from maximal strength to strength-endurance, and as the in-season approaches, move from a strength-based template to one that closer-approximates the demands of the sport. The common model of periodization describes this near-perfectly. For more detailed reading, I recommend Periodization Training for Sports by Tudor Bompa. In it, the authors describe, in exhausting detail, the periodization approaches for a wide variety of common sports.

In our next installment, we’ll get into the details of how to maximize efficiency while pursuing training goals. In the meantime, post in the comments or visit us on Facebook to share what sport you participate in, and how you hope to use your garage gym to train for domination!

Adaptation

The first principle is adaptation. We are trying to cause our body to adapt. Technically, we’re looking for Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands (SAID).

In the first chapter of FIT, the authors describe Hans Seyle’s General Adaptation Syndrome. In his experiments, Seyle discovered that in response to a non-lethal stressor, the organism would get stronger. We all know this colloquially now as “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

Stronger

Stronger

Following the general adaptation syndrome, we know that we want to impose stress on our physical capabilities, and in turn we will recover and get stronger. This brings up two important questions. First, how much stress? And second, how much recovery?

What we’re looking for in terms of stress is an effective dose. We’re not trying to push ourselves to the brink of death, rather, we’re trying to be efficient and leave ourselves a margin of error. Going too far leads to illness (rhabdo) and injury.

How much recovery depends on a number of factors such as age, hormone profile, sleep, and nutrition, along with lifestyle factors such as having a stressful job.

When you combine these three concepts – adaptation by way of stress and recovery, a cycle begins to appear. First, we impose stress – our capacity for physical activity decreases, then we rest – our body compensates for the stress, and bolsters it’s capacity in expectation of future stress. We call that second part supercompensation. This is what is going on behind the scenes in every successful training program.

Supercompensation

Supercompensation

At first, the body is not well adapted to our new stresses, and the super-compensation wave happens quickly. The continual process through wave after wave results in rapid adaptation. As the number of passes through that cycle increases, however, the rate of adaptation slows.

John Welbourn and the Power Athlete crew refer to this as “training age.” A person may not be young, but if they have not been exposed to that specific type of training, their training age is young. Strength programs such as Linear Progressions (LP) fit well with this “young” training age and the associated rapid adaptation. Similar programs exist on the endurance side, including Couch to 5K, which is where I started en route to winning a handful of 5K races and Pump n’ Runs. As training age matures, a more complex method of applying stress and recovery is required.

Instead of the cycle completing in a number of hours, the imposed stresses will take days and even weeks to recover form. Planning for this, in conjunction with individual attention to hypertrophy, strength, power and strength endurance, is called Periodization. Balancing stress and recovery over longer periods of time prevents problems such as over-reaching and over-training, which in time can lead to further obstacles like Adrenal Fatigue.

In the next post we’ll get into specific biomarkers and pairing your training with your performance goals. In the meantime, be sure to check out Garage Gym Guy on Facebook!

Principles

“As to methods there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Now that we’ve established a training space and the basic elements for exercise, let’s discuss what we’re training for, and how we’ll achieve those goals. A few years back, I found myself on a bus from the hotel to the convention center for the Arnold Sports Festival. It just so happened that I was seated next to John Gleneicki. We struck up conversation about the variety of events taking place at the “Arnie,” and he concluded with a statement that resonated and stuck with me. He said something to the effect of “there’s a lot of room in physical culture. It’s not so important what sport you’re in; it’s simply important that you’re in.” I agree whole-heartedly.

In line with Emerson’s quote above, there are a few principles that lead to athletic development. A quick glance through the Sports/Health/Fitness section of Barnes & Noble, or simply browsing the internet will confirm that there is no shortage of methods derived form those principles (and some not).

If you can grasp the principles, you can better understand and choose the method(s) that will work best for you. Furthermore, the program that you can stick to will be the one that’s most effective for you – in the business world we call this “engagement” or “buy-in.” You have to know your principles and believe in the method, because none of this is easy. Anyone who says otherwise is lying.

To once again borrow from my favorite fitness author: “I welcome you to the community of people for whom good enough will no longer suffice!”

In the next few posts I’ll go into more detail on what the principles are, and after that, how we can use those principles to select good methods for training. While you’re waiting, Like us on Facebook!

Elements

The five Elements posts I’ve written were created together and in the order they were presented for a reason: they represent the common core pieces of any/all solid training systems. Whether you are training for strength, size, speed or athleticism, your program will call for heavy, compound barbell movements and bodyweight/calisthenic movements. These five Elements will allow you to perform these core exercises, and establish a foundation from which your gym can grow to meet your specialized equipment needs. Additionally, they lay out a plan for building a garage or home gym literally from the ground up.

The Barbell

The barbell and weights are one of the most tried-and-true methods for building strength and athleticism. Countless athletes have utilized these tools to build strength and size. The ability to progressively and precisely load the barbell means that it can be used for a variety of movements and resistances. Squats, deadlifts, presses, cleans, jerks and snatches develop strength, size and speed, all with a single tool that can be used over the entire lifespan of an athlete.

barbell

The Iron is the great reference point, the all-knowing perspective giver. – Henry Rollins

The Platform

A platform is vital for a number of reasons. First and foremost, the platform will protect your floor from the impact of falling weights. Second, it provides a foundation to attach a rack or stands to.  It also helps to define your gym space, which is nice for those of us who have a tendency to sprawl.

Firm Foundation

Firm Foundation

The Rack/Stands

Put simply, it’s hard to Squat or Bench Press without a rack or at least stands. For a garage gym, I recommend a rack because it adds a margin of safety that only a highly-competent set of spotters could rival.

11 Guage Steel - Garage Gym Dog Approved!

Everybody chill – I got this!

The Pull Up Bar

Pull ups and chin ups are an important ingredient in training the upper body. Many racks include such a bar, but this post is for those that chose not to use a rack or who want an additional pull up bar outside the rack.

The Bench

While some recent fitness trends have tried to downplay how essential it is to bench press, it remains an important part of a solid strength-based program. A flat bench, therefore, must be part of the garage gym.

bench after

How Much Ya Bench?

With the items above, you’re free to begin pursuit of the training path of your choice: Powerlifting, Strongman, Strength & Conditioning for Sports Performance, Weightlifting, Bodybuilding, CrossFit, Military/Law Enforcement Fitness Tests, etc.

Post in the comments to let me know what training path you’re on, and what equipment you’d like to build for your garage gym!

Refurbish a Bench

“Since we all want big chesticles, we have to put some pec in it, ok? Chesticles are why we bench press, after all!”

-Mark Rippetoe

The first step in refurbishing a bench is to actually acquire one. Quite frequently, a bench could be picked up along with a barbell and some plates via Craigslist or a garage sale. I have one from each of those, and a third that I acquired when purchasing my current house.

bench before

Bench (Before)

You don’t need to worry about what condition the upholstery (typically vinyl, and often cracked or torn) is in. Check the structural parts of the bench, and understand that the bench will need to hold your weight, plus all the weight that you put on the bar. When benching properly, the vast majority of that weight will be focused on the area where your upper back comes in contact with the bench.

Step two is to tear everything apart. Pull off the upholstery and inspect the structure of the bench. My bench had a label stating the load limits, which I found to be quite helpful.

bench disassembly

Bench Disassembly

bench label

Bench Label

bench fully disassembled

Bench Fully Disassembled

If it needs it or you’d like to do it, this is a great time to prime and paint the bench. Wipe down all of the pieces so the primer doesn’t cause dirt or dust to stick. Apply the primer, and use a second coat if necessary. After the primer has dried (I waited a full day between coats of primer and coats of paint), spray on the paint color of your choice. I went with a matte black color to match my Rogue rack.

add primer

Add Primer

add paint

Add Paint

While I had everything disassembled, I gathered all the bolts and took them to the hardware store. The bolts that were on the bench were black, and I wanted to replace them with traditional hardware to match with the rack. Be sure to match threads where applicable.

bolts

Old Bolts and New Bolts

With the painted parts and the fresh bolts, begin reassembly of the bench. If the bench is made of particle board or if it’s not of sufficiently-sturdy construction, remove it. On a different bench, I replaced an old, worn out particle board bench with a new board, which significantly improved its strength and stability. Most quality benches are 12 inches wide, with some over-sized benches reaching as high as 14 inches.

bench reassembly

Bench Reassembly

Most benches have thin, feeble foam cushioning. Here is your opportunity to customize the compression of your bench. Some like a big plush cushion, while others prefer a firmer surface. Either way, make sure it’s stable and allows you to establish a solid base from which to bench. Most fabric and craft stores carry a variety of upholstery foams.

With the foam cut to shape, it’s time to add fabric. My favorite color is orange, so I got a couple yards of heavy weight (essentially denim) fabric from the fabric shop. Wrap the fabric over the bench, and cut it roughly to size. Start by stapling one of the long sides of the fabric to the underside of the bench. Pull the other side over the bench so it’s taught (not so tight that it compresses the cushion), and staple along the other side. Finish by stapling the ends of the fabric to the head and foot of the bench.

fabric stapled to bench

Fabric Stapled to Bench

To protect the knurling on the bar, I added some “grippers.” These grippers are a piece of rubber with an adhesive backing, meant for preventing furniture from sliding on smooth floors.

grippers

Grippers

grippers installed to protect knurling

Grippers Installed to Protect Knurling

Your bench is now complete. Load up the bar and get pressing!

bench after

Bench (After)

As usual, post comments, questions or feedback to the comments.

Get Your Pull!

If you chose to go the route of squat stands, or if you just want an additional chin/pull up station, then this post is for you! After the basic barbell exercises, the pull up & chin up are some of the most effective exercises for training the upper body.

In the last post, I strongly advised against a do-it-yourself option for the sake of safety. Today’s subject is in a gray area. If you’re not confident in your building abilities, there are some good options available. Don’t be one of these! However, if you’re secure enough in your building abilities to build something from which to suspend yourself against the ever-present pull of gravity, here’s some commentary from my experience.

Foresight tells us that we want a bar that’s mounted firmly enough to hold our bodyweight and then some – weighted chin-ups, muscle ups, kipping pull-ups. The bar needs to be secure, not just vertically, but laterally as well. To accomplish this, you’ll need triangular bracing.

Looking at the options available from Rogue, Again Faster and Christian’s Fitness Factory, I devised a way to mimic their offerings with commonly-available hardware. While I did not actually build what I will describe below, I did verify that it’s possible, and calculated the associated price of materials.

Steel Tube Pull Up Bar

Perforated Square Steel Tubing for a Pull-Up Bar

 

Ceiling Mount

Hardware List:

-(4) pieces of 1”x4’ Perforated Square Steel Tube ($18.99 each)

-(2) 1.5” U-Bolts ($1.14 each)

-(2) 5/16”x3.5” Bolts with flat washers, lock washers and nuts

-(10) 5/16”x2.5” Bolts with flat washers, lock washers and nuts

-(1) 1”x48” Black Pipe ($11.24)

-(4) 5/16”x3” Lag Bolts with flat washers

Pull Up Bar

Ceiling Mounted Pull-Up Bar

Bolts, washers and nuts are typically sold by weight, and would only cost a few dollars for this project. Total cost is approximately $95 plus tax.

Begin by cutting one of the 1” square steel tubes into two 24” lengths. These will be the horizontal pieces (“beams”) that get mounted to the ceiling. Next, take another piece of steel and cut two 18” lengths. These will be the vertical pieces (“risers”) that drop down and mount directly to the bar. From the third and fourth pieces of steel, cut four 16” lengths. These will be the angle braces. From the remaining cut-offs, cut two 6” lengths. These will be the mending braces that attach the vertical pieces to the horizontal pieces.

With the pieces cut, it’s time to start assembling. Using the mending braces, attach a beam to a riser, using the hole just past center. Put a 2.5” bolt through the beam, into the mending brace, then add the flat washer, lock washer and nut. Hand tighten the nut. Put two 2.5” bolts through two of the holes near the top of the riser, then into mending brace, followed by flat washers, lock washers and nuts. Hand tighten the nuts.

Now we need to add the angle braces. Put a 2.5” bolt through the beam, at the second hole from the front. Put the bolt through first hole of the angle brace, then add the flat washer, lock washer and nut. Hand tighten.

Flip the entire assembly over. Put a 2.5” bolt through the first hole of a second angle brace, then through the last hole in the beam. Add the flat washer, lock washer and nut, and hand tighten.

The free ends of the angle braces should now be rotated into place, and the last hole of the angle braces should intersect with the riser at the 10th hole down from the beam. Push a 3.5” bolt through all three pieces. Add a flat washer, lock washer and the nut, and hand tighten.

With all the pieces in place, use wrenches to tighten all of the nuts. They should be tightened enough to fully compress the lock washers. This completes one side. Assembly of the opposite side is exactly the same.

Pull Up Bar One Side

Ceiling Mounted Pull-Up Bar – One Side

When both sides are finished, they can be mounted to the ceiling. You can use lag screws to mount the rig directly to ceiling joists, however, I would recommend placing 2×6’s screwed to multiple joists to further distribute the load. The rig is then bolted or lag screwed to the 2×6’s.

Install the U-Bolts onto the risers loosely. Insert the black pipe by sliding it into one of the u-bolts, then into the other. Tighten the u-bolts until the pipe is held firmly in place.

 

Wall Mount

Hardware List:

-(3) pieces of 1”x4’ Perforated Square Steel Tube ($18.99 each)

-(2) 1.5” U-Bolts ($1.14 each)

-(10) 5/16”x2.5” Bolts with flat washers, lock washers and nuts

-(1) 1”x48” Black Pipe ($11.24)

-(4) 5/16”x3” Lag Bolts with flat washers

 

Wall Mount Pull Up Bar

Wall Mounted Pull-Up Bar

Bolts, washers and nuts are typically sold by weight, and would only cost a few dollars for this project. Total cost is approximately $75 plus tax.

Begin by cutting two of the square steel tubes into four 18” lengths. Two of these lengths will be the risers (vertical pieces) that will attach to the wall; two of them will be the beams (horizontal pieces) that will hold the pull up bar. Cut the remaining 12” piece into two 6” pieces. These will be the mending braces that tie the risers to the beams. Cut the third steel tube piece into two 16” pieces, and set the remaining 16” piece to the side for some other DIY project.

With the pieces cut, it’s time to start assembling. Using the mending braces, attach a beam to a riser, using the fourth hole down from the top of riser. Place a 2.5” bolt through the fourth hole, then through the first hole of the mending brace. Add a flat washer, lock washer and nut, and hand tighten. Place a 2.5” bolt through the first and third holes in the beam, then put them through the second and fourth holes in the mending brace. Add flat washers, lock washers and nuts, and hand tighten.

Next, place a 2.5” bolt through the 11th hole in the beam, then through the first hole in the angle brace. Place a 2.5” bolt through the riser at the 11th hole down from the mending brace, and push it through the last hole of the angle brace. Add flat washers, lock washers and nuts, and hand tighten.

With all the pieces in place, use wrenches to tighten all of the nuts. They should be tightened enough to fully compress the lock washers. This completes one side. Assembly of the opposite side is exactly the same.

Wall Mount Pull Up Bar Side

Wall Mounted Pull Up Bar – One Side

When both sides are finished, they can be mounted to the wall. You can use lag screws to mount the rig directly to studs, however, I would recommend placing 2×6’s screwed to multiple studs to further distribute the load. The rig is then bolted or lag screwed to the 2×6’s.

Install the U-Bolts onto the beams loosely. Insert the black pipe by sliding it into one of the u-bolts, then into the other. Tighten the u-bolts until the pipe is held firmly in place.

 

Wood

Hardware List:

-(1) 1”x48” Black Pipe ($11.24)

-(2) Flanges for Black Pipe

-A few pieces of 2×4

-Triangular piece of ½” plywood

-Wood glue and Screws

-(8) Lag Screws

It’s been a while since I built this, and much of it was constructed using materials I already had. I’d estimate the total cost to be somewhere around $35.

There is a third option for an even lower price: wood. While it costs less, gaining the same strength and stability takes a bit more experience with woodworking, and is more labor-intensive with a lower margin for error.

I went back to my residential construction days for the pull up bar I put in my first garage gym, since it seemed to fit better with the construction of the garage.

For my first chin up bar, I started with a threaded piece of 1” diameter black pipe and two flanges. I added a length of 2×4 to an existing stud to make a double stud. The double stud provided a solid mount for the wall-end of the bar. The other side got a little more complicated.

The other end of the bar did not land directly below a roof truss (in a basement, the same may be true for a floor joist). I framed in a “floating” 2×4 beam utilizing cross members reinforced by hurricane clips.

With the beam now in place, we need to tackle a triangulated mount for the other end of the bar. I measured (to ensure that the bar would be level) a vertically-mounted 2×4 to drop from the beam to the end of the bar. To brace it, I added another 2×4 on an angle up to the beam. I then pieced it all together with a gusset of ½” plywood, glued and screwed to the 2×4’s.

Plywood Gusset

Plywood Gusset

Plywood Gusset

Plywood Gusset

To finish it up, I held the bar, with the flanges threaded on, in place so I could mark the screw holes. I then drilled pilot holes and mounted the bar using eight lag screws.

Portable

Hardware List

-(1) 1”x48” Black Pipe ($11.24)

-(1) 2-pack of Cinch Straps ($6.88)

-(2) U-Bolts ($2.28)

Total cost is $20.40.

Drill holes in the black pipe so that you can insert the two u-bolts, one on each end. Loop the cinch straps over a sturdy structure, then through the u-bolts. Adjust the straps to level the bar. Grab on, pull up!

 

So here you have four options, each a little different, and each with a different price tag. However, you’ll find that each is priced a little below the retail price of a pre-fabricated unit, and any of the do-it-yourself options come with the satisfaction of knowing you created it from the basic raw materials. It’s a very rewarding feeling!

As usual, post questions, feedback or suggestions to the comments! Come back soon to learn how to refurbish a bench!

Nice Rack!

In our last post, we put together the lifting platform. In addition to protecting the floor, the platform also helps to define our workout space. As you’ll see below, the platform also becomes a functional element for securing the rack or squat stands.

I know this is a DIY blog, but lifting weights comes with some risks and we have to factor in personal safety. While some DIY racks or stands might be ok, it has been my experience that there is no substitute for a quality squat rack. I, therefore, recommend that you find the right rack or stands to suit your budget, space and training goals.

When I first started, I was focused on my budget. My strength was not at a level where I was terribly concerned about a failed bench press or squat, and so I opted for the Powerline PS60X squat stands. They had a footprint that matched my training space, and were rated up to 300 lbs. – in excess of my maximal strength at the time.

Other, more substantial squat stands are available, and if that’s the right piece of equipment for you, then the more substantial options would be my recommendation. For those of you interested in Olympic Weightlifting, Catalyst Athletics makes use of the Werksan Portable Squat Stand.

Fast forward through a few months of CFFB’s aggressive Amateur program, and I was starting to become concerned about the weights I was squatting and pressing under. Since I did most of my lifting alone, without a spotter, I knew I needed to compensate.

Still working with a tight budget, I crafted, using common lumber and steel pipe from the hardware store, some spotter bars which attached to the squat stands.

Squat Stands with DIY Spotter Bars

Squat Stands with DIY Spotter Bars

Fast forward a few more months (and several PRs in the major lifts) and I faced another conundrum. Garage Gym Girl and I needed to move in order for her to pursue a new job. The new space was a similar size, but could not have a suitable space for the pull up bar. And, given the effectiveness of the CFFB program, I needed a safer place to squat and bench press.

By now, the iron bug had bitten and I knew that this was a hobby that was not soon to be given up. It all added up to one simple solution: a power rack. I weighed my options (and there are many – Rogue, Elite FTS, etc) and chose a Rogue R3 Bolt-Together.

squat rack

Rogue R3 Bolt Together

When choosing a rack, consider the availability of both replacement parts and ad-on accessories (dip bars, alternate pull/chin up bars, etc.). I chose the bolt together option to make it easier to dismantle and move, in addition the wide variety of extras available from Rogue.

Regardless of your particular choice of rack or stands, we’ll need to tie it back in to the platform. The Rogue rack came with feet, pre-drilled for just this purpose. With the rack assembled and in position on the platform, I marked and drilled holes to bolt the rack to the platform. I then removed the rack from the platform, and disassembled the plywood in order to get carriage bolts installed. The use of carriage bolts is primarily for the flat, rounded head which will not elevate the platform, but will still provide a firm connection. I put the bolts, heads-down, up through the holes in the bottom layer of the platform. I then re-assembled the platform by lining up the remaining holes with the shafts of the bolts. Finally, I placed the rack back over the top, added flat washers and tightened the nuts onto the bolts.

Carriage Bolt in Rack Foot

Carriage Bolt in Rack Foot

The squat stands did not have feet, and were therefore a little trickier. In that case I purchased some U-bolt plates from the hardware store, along with eight carriage bolts. I placed the stands in position on the platform. I then marked and drilled holes in line with the U-bolt plates. I removed the stands and disassembled the plywood in order to get carriage bolts installed. I put the bolts, heads-down, up through the holes in the bottom layer of the platform. I then re-assembled the platform by lining up the remaining holes with the shafts of the bolts. Finally, I placed the stands back over the top, added flat washers and tightened the nuts onto the bolts.

Squat Stands Bolted to the Platform

Squat Stands Bolted to the Platform

Evaluate your current strength level and training goals; consider your budget and the space you have for training. Do your research, and find a rack or stands that work for you.

11 Guage Steel - Garage Gym Dog Approved!

11 Guage Steel – Garage Gym Dog Approved!

Come back for future posts where we’ll discuss refurbishing a flat bench and how to install chin up bars for those of you that go with stands instead of a rack.