Garage Gym (2): Smart Shopping

By April 27, 2011No Comments

As I wrote in a previous post, my desire to consistently do CrossFit workouts despite my low budget led me to research what it would cost to outfit my garage with the necessary pieces of equipment.  The possibility that I could invite friends and my students to do CrossFit with me  solidified my desire to pull the trigger and make it happen.

But wouldn’t spending money on gym equipment mean a greater cash outlay on fitness, which was the problem in the first place?  To solve this, I had a couple of options:

1) put the money for the equipment up front, and eliminate my monthly fitness spending for the next 5-6 months.

2)  use my credit card points (I had about $575 worth), and spend my monthly fitness budget for other things.  This would mean no new laptop computer, which is what they had been accumulating towards.

I opted for the second option and redeemed my points.  This gave me a $575 budget to work with.

$575.  How could I stretch that amount to buy the things I needed?

That’s when I came across this excellent article by Matthew Hall, “Smart Shopping for Your Home Gym”.  Hall went through all the CrossFit mainsite WODS for 18 months and then broke down each exercise by the required equipment.  His findings:

If you’re outfitting your home gym, invest in a bar, squat stand and bumper plates right away. Buy those rings. Get a pull-up bar and an AbMat. Put dumbbells, kettlebells, a Concept2 rower and a GHD machine at the bottom of your priority list.

Based on Hall’s excellent research, as well as some of my own, I decided that my priority list would run exactly as he said:

1) Bar, bumper plates, and flooring – This would allow me to do to the olympic lifts (snatch + clean&jerk), my current favorite part of CrossFit.

2) Pull-up bar – a solid one that would allow kipping pullups.  This also enables things like knees-to-elbows, and toes-to-bar, which are about exactly as they read.

3) Gymnastics rings – this would allow me to do ring push-ups, ring dips, and even muscle ups.  These have been the most valuable piece of equipment so far.

4) Squat rack – this would allow me to do front and back squats, as well as the push jerks from the rack position.

I got a good deal on an introductory bumper plate set from a local outlet store called Fitness Factory.  $299 got me a solid bar, plus 160 lbs of rubber plates (45s, 25s, 10s) and collars.  I almost spent $150 more on a better set from Rogue Fitness, but $150 is a lot when you’re working with $575.

I spent $200 on the Rogue P-4 pull-up system and the Rogue rings (at the top of the post).

I got a solid squat half-rack and an thick 4’x 6′ x 1.5′ floor mat off Craigslist for $70.

Here’s the (un)finished space.

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  • Aaron Gaily says:

    Nice Justin. I have contemplated the same thing, but am planning on doing crossfit for awhile in the gym with the unlimited membership until I really become proficient at the Oly lifts etc. I have worked out at home for years, but do find the motivation of going to the box improves my consistency of workouts and intensity of workouts. Still reality may set in where I can save money by investing at home and have some friends join me. We’ll see. I enjoyed your post. I am blogging my crossfit experience on my blog at http://www.chiropractorsmonterey.com/chiropractic-blog if you’re interested. Take care, God bless. Did you see the new games post from Becky Conzelman? Another top tier CrossFitter proclaiming Christ, interesting…

    • I did see that on Becky, there’s also a short testimony by Rich Froning in the latest Open Roadtrip video. I loved what Becky had to say about exercising as a form of worship (love the Lord with all your strength!). Good luck on your challenge. I think you’ll see some amazing results. Hopefully I can keep up working out primarily in my garage! We’ll see.

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