How to Build an Epic CrossFit Garage Gym!!!
We started the creation of our epic CrossFit Garage Gym back in 2012 when I was introduced to CrossFit. After drinking the koolaid, my hubby and I were hooked!! Prior to finding CrossFit, I was a gym junkie; I was committed to my fitness, making working out a necessity of my day. As many of you can probably relate, staying consistent with a workout regimen or finding a block of time to get that workout in for the day can be quite challenging when it comes to the balancing act of family, work, relationships and everything else life throws our way.
My time was so precious and I often had to trade either sleep or well more sleep in an effort to get up early enough before work to fit in a workout, which, looking back, was counter productive in terms of recovery and performance. Because of where we lived, I would waste a good hour in my car driving to and from the gym, which was time I really didn’t have to waste. My husband and I began to talk about creating our own gym within our garage to save time and be closer to home. Because if I wasn’t trading precious sleep time, I was trading precious family time, just to get a workout completed. This became very frustrating due to the fact sleep, family and fitness were all extremely important to me; something had to give!!!
So after years of constant struggle for balance between different schedules, child care, work, life and fitness, we decided to create our own home garage gym, which just happened to come about the same time my husband introduced me to CrossFit. CrossFit lead me to find Rogue Fitness! Rogue Fitness, in my humble opinion, makes some of the best fitness equipment available, especially equipment needed for the sport of CrossFit. For the folks that live in Brevard County, Florida, Maverick Athletic Company is a great option as well; they make quality equipment and you’ll save substantially on shipping.
Where to Start – Making a Plan
I’m an all or nothing type of gal, so when I get it in my stubborn mind to do something, well then things are about to get real…lol. I don’t compromise or settle for less than what I set out to achieve.
With that being said, I had grand plans to create a pretty epic garage gym, but understood I would have to build this gym one piece at a time. Good equipment costs money and you’ll need to plan what you’ll need equipment wise, determine how much space you have and how you plan on organizing that space.
You may be thinking, “Well, this sounds great, but what if I don’t have a Garage?” Great news, you don’t necessarily need a garage to create a home gym, just use whatever extra space you have available. It can be done whether it’s a spare room, porch, basement or even maybe your living room, get creative and have fun with this project. Yes you may have some limitations when it comes to certain equipment due to space, but that’s okay, do what you can.
First things firsts, find the area within your residence you plan to create your home gym, then determine the amount of space you have within that area and how you plan to organize that space.
Equipment and What to Purchase First??
What equipment should you buy first for your CrossFit Garage Gym? I believe an Olympic Barbell, bumper plates and squat stand are essential and should be your first purchase. CrossFit is based upon constantly varied, functional movements performed at high intensity. With a squat stand, barbell and plates you are able to perform a wide array of functional movements, including the squat, deadlift, clean & jerk, snatch, bench press and so much more!! Just think…. this is a powerful combination of equipment conveniently located within reach!!
For a minimal investment in equipment purchases, you can perform 80 percent of the WODs on CrossFit.com in your home gym by investing in an Olympic bar, squat stand and bumper plates right away. Then aim for getting a pull-up bar, set of rings and an AbMat.
We started out with an old rusty barbell and iron weights that we purchased cheap from Craigslist. Definitely not the newest and greatest, but our rusty barbell did the job and made us sweat!
For those of you who may not have room or a place to throw a barbell around, kettlebells or dumbbells are also a great alternative, which can be found pretty cheap on craigslist as well. Remember we all have to start somewhere, but if you don’t start it will never happen, don’t wait for the time to be perfect.
The Rogue Bar and High Temp-Bumper plates will last forever and can withstand a ton of beating. We have definitely put them through the test!! Also, if the height of your garage permits, Rogue makes taller squat stands that also have a pull-up bar at the top, saving additional space. We were limited on equipment height due to low ceilings.
We began to slowly add equipment to garage gym every other month or so; you’ll be surprised at what you can do with minimal equipment, you really don’t need a ton of fancy stuff to get rolling!!! Some other inexpensive equipment we purchased early on were: jump ropes, gymnastics rings, Abmats, wooden plyo box (for box jumps) and Medicine Balls.
If you are a handy person then you can make a ton of equipment on your own, such as: plyo boxes, altas stones, medicine balls, parallettes and homemade pull-up bars rigs. The following articles from the CrossFit Journal and other blogs are great resources when it come to making your own equipment:
Slam Ball or Medicine Ball
Homemade Pull-Up Bar
My husband, Harlee, who is a genius when it comes to building and creating things, installed our Rogue Pull-Up Bar in the garage, that thing is solid!!! He mounted the bar from within the attic, I think a elephant could swing from that pull up bar!! Below is a link to the CrossFit Message Board, where I shared with the CrossFit Community how he installed this pull up rig, definitely an interesting read with photos:
Harlee’s pull up bar creation, click here.
As you can see, rather inexpensively, you could build a world class strength and conditioning facility in your own garage!!! So don’t let the lack of funds discourage you, there are tons of options to make your garage gym work.
Lets Talk Step Up and Matting
Once you find your space, clear it, clean it and then mat it; rubber matting provides comfort, safety and protects the flooring from slamming barbells and dropped kettlebells, while also providing a better surface for burpees, situps and other floor based exercises. I recommend you not buy the expensive gym mats, but rather find a local horse feed store and purchase some stall mats. The stall mats are 4×6 and typically cover 24 square foot of garage space, costing on average $40 a mat. We had to buy them a few at a time, until be could eventually cover the entire garage floor, but it was definitely worth the wait!!!
The Whiteboard: a Definite Must!!!
The whiteboard was one of the best investments we made for our home garage. Just like a CrossFit Box, the whiteboard is the essential rally point of each day in terms of an organized plan for success, goals, healthy competition, motivational reminders and so much more!!
For me, my whiteboard elicits all kinds of psychological responses, such as: motivation, inspiration, focus, fear, doubt and sometime even pre WOD anxiety…lol, we all know that feeling in our stomach before we start a WOD!!! The whiteboard is a power tool in your training, write your goals on that thing! My goals are in my face daily, which often helps me to push through those mental struggles. It keeps me focused and committed to the course!!
Whiteboards vary from size and price, but you can get a Medium Density Fiber (MDF) board with Melamine Coating (dry erase board) at your local Lowes or Home Depot rather cheap. These boards range from $20-$40, and come in a variety of sizes. Or you could spend a substantial amount and purchase a more professional whiteboard, but regardless of what you choose, both will accomplish the same goal.
Seriously Limited by Funds??
Try your best to find a inexpensive olympic barbell, rubber bumper plates, and a pull-up bar. Those items will be plenty to get started. When looking for these items try and find locate retailers to in your area, that way you avoid high shipping costs. For those that live here in Brevard County, Florida, Maverick Athletic Company makes quality strength and gymnastics equipment, which is rather affordable, not to mention you can feel great by supporting your community.
Also, constantly be on the look out for used equipment: check Craigslist, classifieds, local used sporting goods stores and the internet for used equipment options. You will be surprised at what deals you can find! We have also had a little luck with garage sales / estate sales. While not consistently a source of decent equipment, there are some deals to be found if you know what to look for. Additionally, some equipment manufacturers will offer free shipping deals during holidays; sometimes, those deals can save a substantial amount of money.
As I mentioned previously, be resourceful; make what you can or if you lack the handy man or woman skills, reach out to friends that might be able to help you fabricate equipment for much less. Don’t get discouraged at what you can’t have at the moment, but rather focus on what you can do and be patient. Ultimately is comes down to you, if you want it to happen then it will!
Below is a video of our garage gym, the set-up, and the equipment we have collected over the years. This didn’t happen overnight, it took time, patience, research and determination to make our dream garage gym come true!!
If you have any questions regarding equipment, how to get started, or how we came to the decisions we did when setting up our garage gym, let me know. I would be happy to help. Also, feel free to share some of your home gym ideas! 321…GO!!