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Eric's Home Gym

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Finally knuckled down and ordered all the parts of a home gym (except for the weights; still scouring craigslist etc. for cheap used ones).

 

This is what  ordered a few days ago (12th of June of the 26th year of the Heisei period)

Atlas Power Rack; yeah, cheap shit but it hopefully should work fine enough for the centerpiece of the bedroom gym of a n00b lifter.

Just a simple plate tree so I don't toss all my weights on the floor.

Rogue Fitness flat bench, because in this case I was concerned about quality.

Burgener & Rippetoe Men's Bar, because I wanted arguably the most important gym equipment to be one of the best of the best. Looked at about a dozen of them on a handful of review sites that cropped up on a "best/top ten olympic power bars" google search, and I chose this one because unlike most of the others, it had center knurling. And due to my love of black metal, I liked the idea of "lo-fi" bare steel rather than fancy shiny shit.

 

=====

 

Oh, and guess what? Two days after ordering these things, two of four are already here!

 

(Click to enlarge.)

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"Your Gear Has Arrived". Classic. Living in the state next door to Rogue Fitness does have its perks.

 

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HEY WHERE'S MY BENCH-- oh wait.

 

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There it is! Along with my filthy pig sty room that's still in a transition state. And yes, that bench is firm as can be. Shame it lead me to find out my floor isn't perfectly level; I'll need to address this in the near future. But what's that in the background? We're getting ahead of ourselves.

 

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The most important part of my lifting. This thing cost more than my power cage. Speaking of, maybe we should keep our cats in cages so they aren't shitting and pissing all over the floor despite THREE litter boxes for them to choose from...

 

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This will be a pain to open.

 

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And it was, even with help!

 

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Say hello to my new Burgener & Rippetoe Men's Bar! It feels so... mighty. I shall be testing my body against this thing for many, many years (maybe decades) to come.

 

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Blech, I forgot about this thing being made of bare steel, so I gotta be careful. Feels nice in my hands, though, especially that smooth-ass knurling. So much better than the fat, shiny bars at Anytime Fitness.

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great write up so far, keep the pics coming when you get everything set up

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Do a quick test with your B&R bar.  Roll it on the floor.  If the bar wobbles, then it came bent and you'll have to exchange it.  Rogue has a very good return policy, but since you will be friends with that bar for a long time it's best to make sure you got a good one.  For the record, I got a good one, but someone who used to be a regular part of the forum got a bum one.  He opted to exchange his B&R for a Rogue Power Bar which is also very good.

 

The mess on your hands is due to the oil they soaked the bar in.  You'll need to take the excess off, and re-apply regularly.  For bar maintenance you only need two things:

  • A wire brush (pretty cheap at Amazon)
  • 3-in-1 oil

On a regular schedule, you'll want to clean the rust off--and as bare steel it will rust.  Start by using the wire brush to clean off any excess chalk and loose bits.  Then apply oil to the bar and use the wire brush to work it in to the knurl.  Take a non-lint producing cloth or paper towel to remove the excess oil and fine rust.  Repeat once if necessary.  Apply a dab of oil to the bushings and spin the sleeves to re-oil them and make sure the bar remains in good condition.

 

Over time your bar will get a darker patina which is both normal and desirable.  It just means the bar is well loved and used.

 

You are right about how good the B&R bar feels in your hand.  It's probably the best knurling I've personally laid hands on.  It has a good positive grip in your hand without tearing it up.  The rogue bench is also a good buy.  It's competition height, so if you are entertaining the idea of doing a competition you'll have very little to adjust to.

 

If you feel the need to go for an incline bench in the future, I recommend checking out the one they have at MuscleDriverUSA.com as it's the best buy I could find on a new incline bench.  I wouldn't want it as my only bench, just because the padding and leather don't grab my t-shirt as well as the Rogue bench does which makes it hard to arch.

 

Good start on the home gym!  You'll love the freedom it gives you.

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Thanks, guys! It didn't wobble for me, which makes me happy. Need to get a wire brush but already have the 3-in-1. Still a bit annoying even after wiping the thing down with a rag that it still leaves some black crap on my hands, which means I'll need to get used to washing my hands after every time I touch the bar. Which kind of sucks, because I love how that knurling feels. It's my beh-beh, I want to... hold her. Caress her.

 

But then again, I'll be able to use chalk for the first time ever, so I'd need to clean my hands anyway! Guess I can leave a damp rag in a bucket in the corner or something, if I feel like, say, doing a few bar-only sets in between episodes on Netflix. The thought tickles me that I'll actually be able to do that! To just stand from my computer desk and take at most three steps and start squatting. Can just be on a whim. Don't have to plan my day around a 2-hour trip to the gym -- including travel to the next town. Damn I'm really wishing I spent an extra $500-$700 for a rack from Rogue Fitness just so it'd be here already, not having to wait until close to the 4th of July! I want that freedom now!!

 

Sorry, done pouting now. Don't worry I'll definitely keep you guys posted!

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It's a good feeling for sure.  The excess oil will mostly come off after your first squat session.  That goes for after your do your bar maintenance as well.  Just as a reminder, where something that can get oily those days.  A t-shirt you don't care about is perfect.  The t-shirt should come clean, but it will be oily.

 

Since I keep my bar in the garage, I have to maintain my bar weekly during the summer.  However, if you keep it indoors, once a month should be OK.

 

For racks, I've got the Rogue S-2 rack ($425 by itself, $655 with free shipping with the bench).  It was a good buy.  Later I got the spotter safeties.

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IT IS HERE! My rack! Wasn't expecting this for another 2-3 weeks!
 

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Which means all the stuff I was putting off -- removing my ceiling fan, buying Olympic barbell plates, constructing a plywood & rubber platform* -- is going to need to be getting done right now.

I'm not gonna be enjoying my next several days off... but it'll be worth it.

 

* I haven't even begun researching how this is done, other than half-remembering what SS:BBT3 said -- put six plywood sheets down, put big-ass rubber thingy on top, done. Now I just need to look up where to get a rubber wossname; hopefully I can just get one at Menard's as I was planning to do with the plywood. When I have time. :(

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You can get a horse stall mat.  Pretty cheap, and you should be able to find that at any Southern States if you are in the US, or online if not.

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Darn, wish I checked IS before shopping today since there's a Tractor Supply Co. ~15 minutes away -- one advantage of living in IRL Farmville, another being $0.99/lbs pork spare ribs. Ah well, I'm still happy since I now have just about everything I need (still waiting for plate tree to deliver, oh and I need a few 2x4s to complete my platform):



You can get a horse stall mat.  Pretty cheap, and you should be able to find that at any Southern States if you are in the US, or online if not.

 

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Yeah I just got a bunch of plates from Sports Authority, and those little puzzle-piece gym floor thingies. Whatever, I got impatient.

 

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Wasn't about to put them ALL in the kitchen, kind of worried about it falling through the floor at this point. :P

 

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The plywood, which I'm leaving in my truck for the time being. Along with a perfectly good mattress I've been trying to get rid of for two months but nobody wants a free bed. *grumbles*

 

About a half-hour ago, for kicks, I put weight on mah bar and deadlifted in my driveway, wearing only my boxers. I did 1x5 135, then 1x5 225, then 1x5 315 (double-overhand, no chalk, paused/reset with each rep). I felt so manly and free. But now I've a small blister forming on my right hand right under my pinky. That's what I get for not working out for almost two weeks...

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+1 on the horde stall mat, got mine from Tractor Supply, $45, and I could drop a 500lb DL on it with iron plates without worries, one of the best purchases I made

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Guess I'll have to check out that horse stall mat, maybe I can put it under my current mat for even more protection:

 

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It's worrisome that the bar sticks out of the sides like that, meaning I'll most likely need to be extra-careful when deadlifting -- especially since I'll only have 24" of space beyond my rack, so I might have to deadlift "backwards" (standing inside the rack facing outwards). But I'm used to confined spaces; it's a miracle I'm not claustrophobic. Don't worry, I plan on moving that computer. I'm NOT risking smashing up a >$2000 piece of hardware!

 

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Not the strongest floor protection around but it should work well enough. The floor already is a bunch of 16"-center 2x4s on top of concrete (this room is a converted garage).

 

On my next day off, I shall begin constructing my rack!

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Looks good so far.  Biggest advice on that is to figure out your bar path with the warmup sets.  Nothing messes a pull up more than the bar snagging on something on one end (been there, done that).  Starting inside the cage isn't a bad idea.  At least you'll have some uprights that will prevent the bar from hitting anything behind it.

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Good advice, I'll keep that in mind.

 

Oh yeah, about an hour after making that, UPS popped over with my last part:

 

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Took maybe 10 minutes to put together. Not loading it up until after my rack is built so I know where I can put it.

 

By the way, I've tripped over the platform no less than five times already. I need to get used to a 2-3" raise in the floor now...

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that mat doesn't look too different from a horse stall mat

dimensions on mine aer 4'x6' and 3/4 inch thick, pretty hard rubber

I DL in my rack, it's not a problem at all, and I doubt your bar hangs very much more over the ends than mine

If you're worried about it, you can cut that sucker ans move each side further out

in fact that's how Adamr did his, with an extra peice of plywood between the two cut pieces, and everything glued together

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Well, Eric you now have a piece I have yet to buy...  Congrats on getting all the stuff.  Now find you some weights to move.

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It is done.

 

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Didn't even have to move my sword racks. Will be removing that ceiling lamp for overhead presses (will seated military press in the mean-time) and that stupid spray-painted door when next I can be arsed. Too bad I found I couldn't move that computer to the side since it's a giant-ass server tower with a door on the front to protect my disc drive, two hard drives, and eight empty drive bays...

 

 

But wait, I keep calling this my bedroom gym, so where's the bed?

 

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Tatami mat + Japanese-style floor futon + my fat ass = sleep tight. Gotta do what you gotta do.

 

Oh, one more little thing, I learned the value of paying attention to where exactly I should put my stuff before bolting it on:

 

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Guess I was too busy stubbornly figuring the logistics of putting this thing together by myself instead of sensibly asking for help. Ah well, it still took less than two hours to put it together.

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Nice set up!  Aside from having to sleep in your power cage, that's a nice efficient use of space and it looks really good.  Congratulations!

 

After you get some weights, there's a couple time saving tips for small gym gadgets:

  • A second pair of J-hooks (if you can buy them) will let you set squat height and bench height.  Not having to move the hooks saves time as you don't have to re-figure it out.
  • Grease pencil to mark where the J-hooks go.  Even with the second pair of J-hooks, this is really cheap and easy to use (less than $2 for the pencil)
  • Mini deadlift jack: when space is at a premium, this little guy will save your back while you load your deadlift (or any other pull from the floor).
  • Solid olympic dumbbell handles.  Cap barbell sells some that aren't too expensive and can handle up to 150 lbs (67.5 kg).  They accept the same plates your barbell uses, so the take up very little space.

I've added to my gym a little at a time, but these are the things I'm most glad I bought.  The good news is that each of these purchases were under $100 each brand new.  I think the deadlift jack was the single most expensive of the items there.

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Yeah I'm already seeing how that grease pencil and second set of J-hooks would come in handy, since I'm already tired of counting holes from the top or bottom each time I want to move the hooks. :)

 

That deadlift jack looks interesting, and I never even thought of dumbbells that could be loaded with Olympic plates.

 

Thanks for all your help and words of encouragement! Now to go back to failing hard at front squats... and back squats... and everything else. Heh. Hope you guys won't mind me posting a spam-storm of form check vids in the near future! Especially since it'd probably take me 10-20 minutes (>30 if Premiere Pro wants to be a dick... again.) to film, process, and upload now.

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what I did with my rack was put masking tape on the inner legs and number each hole, works a treat, especialy when my weight changes enough to affect where the safeties need to be on bench, the grease pencil sounds like a better idea though

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Have you done a proper test to check how straight your bar is, by putting it on the floor with one end next to something like notebook paper or something with a pattern against which you can see tiny movements. Then spin the bar itself, not the sleeves. And if there is movement from the sleeve it means it's bent.

 

York has had issues with the bar in the past and I'm just curious if things are different now. n=1 isn't going to really mean anything but I was just curious.

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@CarlHS, my B&R bar was perfect and Adam Wathan's bar arrived bent.  So this would push it to either 66% or 33%.

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so the height on that bench is listed at 18", is that regulation height? I want to get a better bench

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@Art, it's technically 18.5".  18" is regulation height, and I've not had any issues transitioning from the Rogue bench to competition.

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Thanks FM, my bench is 20 some odd inches, I'm sure it would be a problem transitioning

Also it's too tall for hip thrusts

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