The Garage Gym

By Greg Glassman

In Basics, Classic, CrossFit, Equipment

September 01, 2002

PDF Article

In this early article from the CrossFit Journal Coach Greg Glassman discussed how garages could be transformed into gyms. This classic article inspired many CrossFitters to do just that.

Your average neighborhood health club or gym is predicated on a low to minimum wage, skill-less staff supervising hapless members. The idea is to fill the space with machines, staff it with high school kids and let Muscle and Fitness provide the technical guidance. The predominant model in commercial facilities is the bodybuilding model: all machines and isolation work.

When you look at the sea of worthless machines that make up a commercial facility, the idea of developing a garage gym may seem daunting. Just remember, we’re building strength and conditioning facility, not a bodybuilding gym. The garage gym tradition is revered and respected. The number of athletes training in garages, barns, and abandoned buildings is legion. Many of these are world dominant in their sport.

You’ll want an Olympic Bar and Olympic Bumper Plate holder. The bar holders that hold the bars on end take up little space. If you only had a bar and a place to do pull-ups you could do an acceptable variant of the CrossFit Program. With this minimal amount of equipment you could do deadlifts, squats, push-press, push-ups, cleans, and pull-ups. A squat rack would be next on the priority list. Also desirable are benches, dumbbells, kettlebells, jump ropes and a C2 rower.

If your budget is seriously limited, make what you can. If you’ve the skill (or know someone with the talents) much of our equipment can be fabricated for less. Failing that, shop around. Buy used. Gym equipment goes for pennies on the dollar at garage sales.

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17 Comments on “The Garage Gym”

1

wrote …

You can spend a ton of money on floor mats, but if you're on a budget, Costco sells puzzle mats that will do a decent job. I covered my basement gym with mats for under $80. They're not great, but if they get ruined they are cheap to replace.

2

wrote …

Exactly what I needed to get started.

Thanks, Mutha'

3

wrote …

Try tractor supply for horse stall matting. It's 3/4" thick rubber in sections that adds up to a 12 ny 12 mat. Hard to cut, but tough and relatively cheap

4

wrote …

Actually if you use a jig saw with a course blade it is easy to cut the stall mats

5

wrote …

I attempted to download and view this PDF but it is prompting me for a password. How do I open this document?

6

This should be fixed. Don't know why the PDF suddenly started asking for a password to open.

7

Joey Lajoie wrote …

I LOVED the how to get kicked out of your gym in ten days or less article! I work out at the South Park St YMCA in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. And my fellow Crossfitters and I do or have done everything on your list except for taking off our shirts and writing on the walls! We absolutely love our gym but I still can't wait until I can put together my own garage gym.

8

wrote …

I actually wrote all over my gym with a marker, no one has seen me so i'm still working out at the same gym

9

wrote …

I'm new to cross fit. Anyone have any suitable substitute exercises for workouts involving the rowing machine.

10

wrote …

I'm new to cross fit. Anyone have any suitable substitute exercises for workouts involving the rowing machine.


Seated rows on a cable pull.

11

wrote …

Sumo deadlift high pull using 45# bar.
For 2K row do 200SDHP's
For 1K row do 100SDHP's
For 500M row do 50SDHP's and so on.

12

wrote …

I RECENTLY CLOSED ON MY FIRST HOUSE AND AM LOOKING AT BUILDING MY OWN HOME GYM WITH CROSSFIT IN MIND. MY BACK YARD IS PLENTY BIG ENOUGH BUT I HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO FIND ANY ARTICLES ON THE BUILDING SIDE OF THINGS THAT WILL BE STURDY ENOUGH FOR THE WORKOUTS BUT NOT BE AN EYESORE. MAYBE I AM ASKING TOO MUCH BUT THOUGHT I WOULD THROW IT OUT THERE. THX.

13

wrote …

This article is dated, but still has great info!

14

wrote …

Can anyone recommend a great site or place to look for an Olympic bar and bumper plates? I mean, other than a Craig's List type of thing. I'm in the Toronto area.

Thx!

Steph

15

wrote …

Treadmill factory sells everything?? This is where I bought my oly bar and plates.

16

wrote …

What about ROGUE? Can anyone tell me about this manufacturer? I've read your arlticle but ROGUE is not mentioned anywhere...
Can anyone help me or recommend it ?

17

wrote …

Julio, Rogue is awesome... just realize they're expensive. Personally I love their stuff. www.roguefitness.com

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