I wasn't an athlete. Neither was I the sports-minded fellow who took up ball sports (basketball and volleyball) as easily as my peers. About the only ball game that I liked to do back then was football.
And no, I'm not referring to the football where Americans don full battle gear just to play. I refer to the most popular spectator sport worldwide where the ball is passed by using the foot.
Football seemed relatively easy to me because you supposedly just ran around and kicked a ball.
My uncle who is a doctor kept reminding me about exercise so I knew the importance of keeping fit and strong. That's why I became interested with fitness equipment.
Improvised Exercise Equipment
When I was in high school, I remember making some exercise bands made of cut pieces of scrap PVC pipe and thick bands of rubber. You could think of these as primitive forms of exercise stretch cords. The rubber provided the tension and the cut PVC pipes served as the smooth handles.
Weights back then meant getting some of the concrete mixture left over by laborers and pouring them into a couple of big milk tin cans. A long steel pipe in between the two formed concrete weights became the bar for this improvised barbell. It's ugly, but effective for building arm, shoulder, back and leg muscles.
In college, recreational running for endurance became my primary focus for fitness. But I also managed to sneak in a bit of weight training. And this is with the help of an improvised barbell that I devised in a secret gym.
Fast forward to life after college. With the euphoria accompanying the very first few paychecks of my first job, I became a member in a gym just near my workplace.
Many of the gym members there worked at the office where I was employed. So I was with in good company most of the time.
The gym membership fee was cheap. At least it seemed to me then because, being single, I didn't have much expenses. Plus, it was also very convenient. I hardly took showers in that gym after my workouts because it was so close to my boarding place.
It was so close that I walked home. So I didn't have the hassle of queing up the showers. I just went home and took my shower at my boarding place.
Equipment for Weight Training
More fast forward to family life. Being practical is now the name of the game due to time and budget constraints. Training in a gym has its drawbacks and I decided to train at home instead.
So I began accumulating barbell bars, dumbbell bars and varying sizes of weight plates at home. I have 2 kinds of barbell bars: the regular long bar and the ez-curl bar.
I used the long bar mostly for exercises like deadlifts, bench presses, squats. The ez-curl bar is for bicep curls, lying tricep extensions and close-grip bench presses. It's been a long while since I've done the exercises but I clearly remember them.
Apart from these store-bought weight equipment, I also built a few weight training equipment like a couple of wooden squat stands, a couple of multi-functional bench press stands and a wooden bench for bench pressing.
Weight Rack for the Weight Plates
Lastly, I also built a weight and dumbbell rack where I store all my weight plates.
The weight plates were getting too many to just stack on the floor and I thought of a way to safely and conveniently store them. The weight rack idea was just right for me to be able to keep the heavy weight plates neatly hung on hooks.
Getting weight plates and returning them after use became so much easier and safer. The weight rack also has a built-in stand for the ez-curl bar and a simple dumbbell rack.
Building my own gym equipment made sense for many reasons. I'll be discussing more of these exercise equipment and accessories in future posts.