Setting up your Iron Playground

Find helpful equipment reviews over at Garagegymreviews.com.

Bench

Adjustable benches are too complicated to build yourself, but you can build a flat bench yourself (see below).

Dumbbells and weight plates

Some items are heavy, and expensive to ship over long distances. You will have to look at your local market. The COVID-19 pandemic has turned quality home training equipment into a rare and sometimes expensive commodity. This too shall pass...

Carpet or mat

I use an inexpensive carpet from Ikea. I had to evict my rubber mat as the persistent smell of the recycled rubber was bothering me. The carpet does not protect the floor quite as well - so dropping weights is out.

Pull-up / chin-up bar

Doorway chinning bars are easy to find in sporting good stores. At my apartment, I had to build something myself as the doorways are either too narrow or too wide. I also have a "monkey chin" attached to the back wall of my company's warehouse.

DIY Cable Pulley

This works surprisingly well, and doesn't cost too much.

I ordered the parts at Aliexpress: Cable Pulley + Handles (e.g. the 3 or 5 D ring style), metal loading pin - they also offer pulleys. Instead of cable I use some used climbing rope. You can often get this for free from climbers or climbing gyms, if you promise not to use it for climbing.

DIY flat bench

An adjustable bench is too complicated, but you can easily build a rock solid flat bench. Craftsmen please close your eyes...

My design is based on inexpensive 3 ply wood panels used in Europe for concrete formwork (about $25). In America, use a 2x12 and 2x6 instead, or leftover pieces of thick plywood used for floor underlayment. Avoid pressure-treated lumber, the chemicals used could cause skin allergies.

Material and tools needed:

Cut at your DIY store, in a wood shop, or with a track guided saw (if you buy a saw, much more versatile than a table saw):

When using dimensional lumber, use the 2x12 for the upper and side parts, and a piece of 2x6 for the brace.

For a smaller bench, you could shorten the upper part and the brace by 100 mm, and adjust the sides to the length of the lower legs (foot to inside knee).

On the bottom side of the upper part, mark the position of the sides (100 mm from the end). Mark the edges of the brace (300 mm - 27 mm thickness)/2 = 136.5 mm. Clamp scrap pieces to the upper part to hold the brace in position. Turn over, support with the remainder piece.

Mark 3 holes on the midline of the upper - about 15 cm from the ends, and in the center. Make sure that the brace is in the correct position, and square to the upper part. Then drill, countersink and screw.

Mark 2 holes on the upper for the side panels - 100 mm minus half material thickness = 86.5 mm distance from the end. Keep about 35 mm space from the side. Position the side parts so they are snug to the brace. Sit on top so things don't shift, then drill, countersink and screw.

The side panels are connected to the brace with two screws each. Mark the holes with about 35 mm distance from the upper and lower edge of the brace. Drill, countersink and screw.

Finally round all corners and edges with a sander.

Too complicated ? Attach a board on top of two equal size wine crates, plastic containers or similar.


© 2021 Pascal Dornier. All rights reserved.