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Making our garage into a gym

We had always kept all of our gym equipment in our basement. Then my wife became a personal trainer and pointed out that there was no way she would ever take on a client and try to train them in our basement. Not only was it an awkward space, but it was full of our kids toys (which often weren’t very tidy). Then she showed me several YouTube videos of people who had turned their one-car garages into a gym. Well, we have a two-car garage, so I figured we could keep one half of the garage open for one of our cars and storage and turn the other half into a gym (or a ‘box’ as the crossfitters call it).

We figured we needed a few basics: a pull up bar with rings, our squat rack, our row machine, a place to do wall balls, a place to do wall climbs/handstand push-ups and enough space to do push-ups, sit-ups, burpees, etc.

Flooring was key, so I did a fair amount of research. Basically everything I read said to go with at least a 1/2 inch mat. I tried two different types and I like them both. CAP Barbell mats from Amazon are less expensive, but a little more spongy, so I use Fitness Gear mats from Dick’s as the base layer. I found, however, that neither type of mat could withstand dropping a barbell without damaging the mat. So, when we’re using the barbell, we lay the CAP Barbell mats down on top of the base layer to absorb the impact of the barbell. Here are links to the two types of mats.

CAP Barbell Puzzle Mat (6 piece)

Fitness Gear Mats

Fitness Gear Puzzle Mat

Next we had to get the spacing down. The Olympic barbell is 7-feet across, so we had to position that first to make sure that we had enough room for it. We had previously purchased a Powerline Squat Rack off of Amazon. Definitely the best combination of quality versus price for our needs. The key for me was having it be all one piece – makes is a lot more sturdy than the two-piece versions (not as sturdy as a cage, but a lot less expensive and a lot more space-efficient). Here’s what we bought:

PowerLine PSS60X Squat Rack

Here’s what it looks like in the garage:


Next was our rowing machine. We’ve had this for a while – we bought it secondhand off of Craigslist. We wanted one with a pull chain rather than one with handles, and we were able to eventually get one pretty inexpensively. Here’s where we situated it:


A pull-up bar and rings were essential as well. I had previously made one out of steel piping from Lowe’s that sits in a large door jamb, but this time I wanted one that would be against the wall and would extend far enough outward to have a good range of motion. The other things that were important to me were the overall width and how wide the actual bar itself was. I decided on a pull-up bar on Amazon. Reasonably priced, sits 30″ from the wall, is 48″ wide and has a grip that’s about a 1″ diameter. I’ve found that anything more than a 1″ diameter makes it more difficult to grip. I also bought the rings off of Amazon. I was looking for some basic rings that would preform well, and these fit the bill. Here’s what they look like in our gym


Here’s the link to the pull-up bar and rings on Amazon:

CFF Wall/Ceiling Mounted Pull Up Bar w/300 lb Capacity

ProSource Exercise Fitness Gymnastic Rings

As you can see from the pictures, I also put up a couple of mirrors in front of the squat rack (definitely use Craigslist for this. People give away large mirrors all the time. I got these two for free). We’ve got a space to do wall balls and wall climbs. The last thing I did was to build a plyo box. Check out my post about it here

Here’s what the final product looked like. As you can see, I had to put the pull-up bar on the other side of the garage in order to fit everything. Let me know if you give this a try. Post any questions in the comments.

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