But for weight or strength training, a modest selection of free weights equipment or maybe weight machines is a must.
Now, there's a variety of ways to do this. You could buy weight training gear used or new.
There are certain specifications to keep in mind though. Commercial weight plates and barbell bars, for example, come in two hole sizes - standard and olympic size.
Nonetheless, uninterrupted and and progressive workouts require you to have many pairs of weight plates with varying poundages. And for this reason, I suggest you buy weight plates used rather than new.
For other gym or weight exercise gear at home, you could actually just build them.
I only have basic woodworking skills, mind you. I've built several equipment, some of them from wood and others from metal, and none of them required any welding equipment. There are links to several weight exercise and gym gear I built at the end of this article.
Reasons for Building your Gym or Weight Exercise Gear
- Minimal costs
You provide free labor (yours) to build gear using scrap or near scrap materials. About the only hardware that I generally buy are joining materials like nails, screws, bolts and adhesives, and finishing materials like paint, sandpaper and the like.
I didn't have all my tools at the start. I bought them when I needed them.
- You can be creative yet resourceful
Any project where you build stuff allows you to release your creative juices when designing, building and assembling the components. You can be inventive yet not break the bank. You always need to take costs into consideration.
- It's a learning experience
Projects like these allow me to learn best (and not so best) practices around the world. With the internet, especially its multimedia, I'm able to discover how other people have done homemade gym equipment in their part of the globe.
- Allows you to customize
Because you're building it yourself, you have the freedom to incorporate your preferences into the gym gear. How durable do you want it to be (load capacity, weatherproofing)?
How pretty do you want it to be (color, finish)? If you're the only person who will be using it, you could also take your body's dimensions (height, torso length, etc.) into consideration when measuring out the specifications.
- An exercise by itself
The entire process of building gym gear takes some time. There's a lot of elbow grease involved when fabricating the parts and then assembling them.
For instance, I've spent a few weeks working on the adjustable safety squat racks. It's hard work which I simply justified as physical exercise. Imagine, getting exercise for building exercise equipment!
After seeing the pictures of my home gym gear, a friend of mine chided me once for having that much patience for building "just exercise gear". I simply brushed that comment aside.
I'm proud of my gym gear and the process to build them has been a rewarding and enjoyable experience. I'll continue to workout at home and build more gym fitness gear in the future.
Besides, the last time I heard, he STILL pays horrendous gym membership AND monthly fees to the posh commercial gym he joined.
Links to my homemade gym and exercise equipment:
(with photos and how-to instructions)
- Squat Stands
Made from wood and metal fasteners. With three barbell catches.
- Weight Plates and Dumbbell Rack
Made from wood. Features a curling bar stand and sit-up bar
- Parallel Grip Pull Bar
Multi-purpose and all-metal construction. No welding required.
- Adjustable Metal Safety Squat Racks
Height-adjustable squat racks for multiple exercises. No welding required.
- Thick Bar Handles for Barbell or Dumbbells (Fat Grips)
Easy to assemble from pvc. Ideal for strong grip training.
- Physical Therapy Dumbbell Bar
Made from pvc. Accepts standard light weight plates for therapy or rehab.
- Wrist Roller
Tips for wrist, forearm and elbow therapy exercises.
This list is growing so be sure to come back!