Being fit and strong is pretty damn manly. Also manly is building stuff. Can you guess where I'm going with this?

Lately I've been wanting to build a small home gym that, with a little creativity, will provide the fullest range of exercise for the smallest cost and time/expertise in construction.

My idea is two seven-foot supports about five feet apart, with a bar (wooden or otherwise) between. This would provide for pull-ups which are a great upper body workout that can get most of your muscles. Maybe hanging sit-ups too?

Also I'd like to fix a pulley to the middle of the bar, a rope with knots and a short wooden pole at one end and weights, probably bags filled with dirt, at the other. This could be used for pull-downs etc.

That's about as clear as I can think to describe it. Thoughts, suggestions, or better ideas? Let's hear 'em!

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I'd use iron. I'm not sure what kind of wood you're planning on using, but once you get up to serious weights, the wood won't hold out.

Go to the military surplus and buy sea bags. Fill them with sand. There are tons of sandbag workouts online, but even just cleaning the bag to your shoulder and squatting will work wonders.

Ultimately, what you build will depend on your goals. Strength? Conditioning? Flexibility?
In my old barn I had a pulley mounted to a rafter in the loft. I threaded a rope through it and had 12 milk jugs, 6 filled with sand (12lbs), 3 filled with sand and water (13-14lbs?), and 3 filled with water (8lbs), that I hoisted for lat pull downs, cable wood chop, standing crunches, leg/groin stretching. The problem was that it got to where I couldn't add anymore weight and sometimes I started feeling kind of silly especially tying a bunch of jugs to my waist and doing bear crawls. I then just started doing bodyweight or going to the rec center gym. Oh yeah you can also use the jugs as kettlebells.
Try this link:

It's a Squat cage that allows you to squat, bench press, pull ups, dips. Good compound exercises over isolations.
That sure turned up a lot of good suggestions and resources, just what I was hoping for. I'm in a new town and busy with school but I'll let you all know what I end up creating.
I saw this article today and thought of this thread. He doesn't say how much weight it can handle though. Full plans for a wooden power rack.
I agree... as long as I have a power rack and a squat cage of course, I'll be fine. I will building a home gym someday when I have the money.
This may sound corny, but I saw a pretty decent looking home gym the last time I was in Wal Mart. It was a bench press made by Gold's Gym I think. Can't go wrong with some Olympic sized barbells and some dumbbells: cost effective and versatile.


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