In your house, there are many rooms. A room to feed your body. A room to rest your body. A room to bathe your body. But is there room to build your body? If not, there should be, or could be, whether you’re rich or poor, have thousands to spend or scarcely a dime.
Health clubs have their advantages, no doubt about it, but when it comes to economy and convenience, nothing beats a home gym.
With a home gym, you don’t have to jump in a car and drive somewhere to exercise. (Oh, the irony of modern life!) You don’t have to see or deal with other people.
(Let’s face it: They can be a pain sometimes.) You don’t have to wait for slowpokes or self-centered narcissists who hog the machines or barbells.
You can work out whenever you want, wearing whatever you want. And, of course, you don’t have to pay membership fees, which can run from $300 to $1,000 a year.
Your home gym needn’t take a lot of space – eight feet by eight feet should suffice – nor a lot of money.
You can build a dandy fitness facility in your own house, whether you’ve got a budget of $5,000, $1000 or 10 cents. Here’s how.
The Ten-Cent Gym
The challenge: to fabricate functional, though rustic, workout equipment using simple tools and scrap material from around the house – without spending more than a dime.
Yes, it can be done. It will not be particularly pretty. It will not be as safe or efficient as a high-tech Nautilus or Cybex machine. But it will do the job, and making it is tons of fun.
First step: Retrieve the exercise equipment from your trash – specifically, all those plastic milk jugs. Save both the half-gallon and the gallon size.
Fill them with water, sand, or dirt and you’ve got some excellent, zero-cost dumbbells or barbell “plates.
” (A half-gallon container filled with water weighs about 4 1/2 pounds; filled with sand, about 7 1/2 pounds; double for the gallon size.) Using these jugs as dumbbells, you can do all sorts of terrific exercises for your arms, chest, and shoulders, such as presses (both flat and overhead), curls, and arm raise.
One of the most popular bodybuilding exercises is the bench press. This is a surefire way to develop your pectoral muscles.
A good set of pecs makes men feel more manly and women look more busty. The bench press, of course, requires a bench.
Here’s how I did it:
In my woodpile, I found a scrap piece of 2-by-10 and sawed it to a length of 5 feet. I placed the board on top of a couple of standard-size cinder blocks, standing on end. Ta-da! One sturdy bench.
Next, I cut a couple of 2-by-4s so they were about 42 inches long. With nails and strips of plywood, I built pockets on both sides of the 2-by-10, through which to insert the 2-by-4s so they stood upright.
On the top end of each went a couple of finishing nails, partway in, to keep my barbell from rolling off.
The barbell? In my case, a weathered tomato stake (a castoff broom or rake handle will do, too), loaded with “bells” or weights consisting of the aforementioned milk jugs.
So, does it really work? You bet. I loaded the bar with four “plates” – two-gallon jugs filled with water, and two filled with sand, for a total weight of nearly 50 pounds. (For safety’s sake, you may want to lash the jugs to the bar with short bungee cords so they don’t slip off.) Then I bench-pressed three sets of 10 reps.
No problems whatsoever, and what a pump! Next, I used my homemade bench and jug “dumbbells” to do some chest-building flies.
By removing one of the cinder blocks and pulling the 2-by-4s out of their pockets, I converted the bench into a slant board.
A loop of rope passed through a couple of bent nails, and kept my feet in place; for cushioning my bottom, a piece of egg-crate foam did the trick.
But what about my laterals? Scrolling up a 2-by-4 six feet long, I notched one end and slipped it into a slot I had made at the end of the bench. Voila! A let tower!
I tied a length of clothesline to a jug filled with sand, passed it through the notch, and tied the other end to a piece of dowel. The payoff: a workout for those back muscles that give the torsos of bodybuilders their distinctive V shape.
Impressed? You should be. Because this fantastic home gym cost only a dime – the value of the nails. More posts like this you can read on the bags for gym blog