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Equipment Outfitting a serious gym. Vendors & suppliers. Devices & equipment

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Old 07-27-2004, 02:49 PM   #1
Paul M
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Hey All,

Over the weekend, I'm moving into a rental house that comes with an unattached garage. I was thinking about a garage gym as soon as I saw the place, but I have a couple of concerns that I thought I'd ask about:

1) Ceiling space. The ceiling is low enough that any overhead lifting inside the garage would be impossible (its about 7 ft.) Of course, when the weather permits, I could easily do that outside. But, with only 7 feet of space, would rings be out of the question?

2) Heating, etc. Since its unattached, it won't even get indirect heat from the house. I live near DC, which has fairly mild winters, but there'd still be quite a few days that it might be too cold. Anyone have luck with space heaters?

3) Costs. The dominant theme on the equipment board is that its generally worth it to buy a good bar and bumper plates, while many other equipment pieces can be made on the cheap. While bumper plates might fit my budget, the recommended bars are far out of my price range. I also would hate to feel the need to buy an expensive O-lifting bar AND an expensive powerlifting bar. What's the minimum I can get away with? Will the generic $100 or so sets from Sports Authority work or be a waste of money? My top deadlift, for example, is currently around 420, and I clean somewhere near 200 lbs. Those numbers are on the way up. Also, aside from bumper plates, is there any difference at all in the weights?

Alright, so that being said, I'm still pretty excited about the possibility. I've also found a classified ad in town where a guy is selling a power cage, adjustable bench, and a standard bar with some plates for $150. The cage looks to be decent - the sides are welded together and the front and back pieces bolt on. I see the bar (and dumbell bars) as a throw-in and would probably quickly purchase an Olympic barbell set - hopefully something that functions "ok" for both olympic lifts and the powerlifts.

What does everyone think? And before anyone mentions it, I already placed an order for the Home Gym issue of the Crossfit Journal. One of the more exciting prospects for a home gym (besides being allowed to use chalk, for example) are all the possibilities for "odd" stuff (parallettes, sand bags, etc.)

Thanks!
Paul
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Old 07-27-2004, 03:23 PM   #2
Brian Hand
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Paul, I do some of my workouts in a detatched garage, it is great.

The 7' ceiling might not allow muscle ups, but you'll be able to do other ring work - chins, dips, pushups. You can hang the rings on the power cage. Note that if you aren't going to do muscle ups, you don't have to use a false grip, so improvised rings aren't going to hold you back much.

The heat will probably not be a problem. I have trained in a much colder climate in an unheated garage. Wear a hat, sweats, and warm up good, and you'll be fine - in fact if it's above freezing you'll be stripping off the sweats most of the time. Space heaters work great, the kerosene "torpedo" heaters in particular work well, but one of those little ceramic heaters can take the edge off too.

Keep in mind that bumper plates save the floor. If you want to sacrifice the platform, you can work with metal plates. I'd go for a better bar if possible. If you can find a used older York bar, they used to all spin well. I do know a guy that spruced up a cheapo bar and made it spin like an expensive bar, but he has some machine shop skills.

As for the power bar versus the olympic bar, as long as it spins freely, I think any bar will be fine for Crossfit. I use a Texas power bar all the time for o-lifts. It is a little stiff and beefy, but I'm not nearly technical enough for it to make a difference.
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Old 07-28-2004, 08:15 AM   #3
David Werner
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Paul

Crossfit North started with Nick, Robb and myself working out in my very small garage, you're going to have fun!

My rafters were also very low, we lifted between them until I got around to raising the rafters. The rings were attached to the peak of the roof and allowed just enough room for muscle-ups - if you ducked your head a bit at the top.

A cheap bar is far from ideal but we got by with some $50 bodybuilding bars for quite a while, bumper plates are a must. We just worked on the concrete for a long time. When Rob was doing heavy deadlifting once and dropping the bumper plates on the concrete, my neighbors rushed over all worried about the booming - it sounded like a T-Rex effect in Jurrasic park. Our first cage was an old rusted mess that I rebuilt and painted.

The nicest thing is when you can round up a workout partner or two to use your garage with. Robb and I had many good workouts at 6am here in Seattle. In the winter the mornings were pretty cold in the unheated gargage. At least we thought so until a few people posted about garages in Illinois and Wisconsin!

Good Luck

Dave Werner
Crossfit North
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Old 07-28-2004, 09:13 AM   #4
Gary Ullery
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Paul,

To echo some of the advice you have already received, here in MN, the attached, unheated, garage has been as low as 18 degrees F. During the winter, I bring in any bar that I want to actually touch with my hands (no gloves). That way the bars are nicer to hold (still a bit cold!). Gloves are used to load the plates and keep the hands warm during the workout. I typically just wear a sweat shirt, sometimes two, but it comes off pretty quick. A hat is a must, sometimes I even go with a full face mask. I find that my face is usually the coldest of all. I warm up with an easy set on the jump rope, some stretches and away I go. Wouldn't trade it for the world (although having a partner would be nice!)
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Old 07-28-2004, 09:35 AM   #5
Christopher Sommer
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Hanging with your knees bent, or even pulled into your chest if necessary, should give you enough room to work muscleups - even with a seven foot ceiling.

Yours in Fitness,
Coach Sommer
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Old 07-29-2004, 07:10 AM   #6
Paul M
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Hey Everyone,

Thanks for all the advice and encouragement. I think I just needed a little nudge to push me over the top. I'm not really worried about the cold, but I do have exercise induced asthma, so huffing and puffing in cold air is sometimes a problem for me. But I'll figure something out. The advantages of an even tiny home gym far outweigh the disadvantages - especially compared to the commercial gyms that I've been able to find around here.

The bumper plates will probably have to be a gradual thing for me to purchase now - I don't think I could buy a complete set. What would you think is a bare minimum?

Paul
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Old 07-29-2004, 10:29 AM   #7
Lincoln Brigham
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A pair of 10kg and a pair of 20kg bumpers will go a long, long way.

I have a full set of bumpers and I use the 10s and 15s the most, by far. If I only had a partial set, I'd want the 10s and the 20s.
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Old 07-29-2004, 03:51 PM   #8
Paul M
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Thanks, Lincoln. I think I could get by with just the 10s and 20s for quite long time. It looks like the total cost (from either BFS or BSOlympic) of the 2 pairs, though, would be somewhere in the $300 range, which is more than I can afford right now. If I get just one pair, it'd probably be the 10s.

This home gym is going to be a very gradual process for me. After a minimal initial startup, I think I'm going to set aside the $50/month that my current gym membership costs for an equipment fund, so it might take me a few months to get very much stuff. Of course, I'm going to keep scanning the classifieds and looking into cheap ways of making equipment.

Thanks again for your help,
Paul
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Old 07-30-2004, 09:40 AM   #9
Lincoln Brigham
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10s are very, very useful. The most useful size, I'd say. Just don't load them up with too much iron, because 10s are also the most fragile of the bumpers because they are the thinnest. Keep the total weight on the bar below 60kg, if you plan on dropping the 10s.
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Old 07-30-2004, 10:56 AM   #10
elizabeth bradley
 
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lincoln,,,i am going to buy some bumper plates for my roommate and myself. in another post , you recommended the bfs website and their 126$ 25lb bumper plates. if i load these up with some iron that i have,,,(2-25#s, 2-10#s, 2-5#s) can they take the drop? also,,are the bfs bumper plates better than the hampton plates you mentioned were not very good quality? thanks
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