Advise on my home gym plans


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I’m building a home gym. I just started drafting plans. I’m looking for any and all feedback and advice. Because I have no idea what I’m doing. 

I’m thinking:

  • 7ft upright 4x4s
  • 4 ft spacer 4x4s
  • 1.5 ft (ish) 45 4x4s (probly gonna remove the corner wedge things)
  • 1 or 2 in. steel pipes for safety bars, pull-up bar, and gym ring suspension bar
  • 4x4 wedges for gym ring suspension bar bracers & some kinda bolt thru bar or some kind of bracket 
  • 1 or 2 in. steel pipe and some type of screw on plate or elbow for squat and press rack hooks


 I’m considering lag bolts or threaded inlays. I want the sides to be easily removable yet secure for weight bearing.

I’ll probably add a dip station somehow. 







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Having built and used a similar design, I recommend choosing one side to be the "back", and add a diagonal brace from corner to corner. These devices experience a great deal of racking force, and the diagonal brace will resist that, saving you from almust certain joint failure. A full plywood back is even better, but limits accesibility.

Also, any schedule 40 pipe used as a grip surface will feel more secure in the hand at 3/4" than 1". The OD is larger than you might think.

Search out some timber framing videos for good ideas on how to make strong joints. Lagged butt joints will disappoint you, eventually.

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Diagonal brace, or X across the back, and also in the top to help stabilize the front.  Safety bars look a little low, but I would guess you've already figured out what you need?

I would rather not have a 4x on the floor at the front.  Maybe a flat 1/8" steel bar to hold the spreading load.

Put plate storage bars on the outside of the rear supports, and the weight will help stabilize it a lot.

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I'm more of a pair of squat stands only guy.  I sold my rack about 10 years ago and now I just have a bar and weights.  If I can't clean it I don't squat it.  Obviously you can press off the stands.

If you train toward failure (which requires a rack) I'd recommend the book, 'Power to the People' instead.  Let volume do the work and put to failure training to rest.  Power to the People by Pavel Tsatsouline provides the DNA to concentrated loading, advanced level of training.  Put the training wheels away.

When you get old you'll thank your joints.  But since you won't heed this advice I wish you luck.  :)


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Training to failure doesn't actually require a rack, or even weights, aside from body weight. Few people can manage more than 5 or 6 reps of something like pushups, when you slow the pace to 60-seconds per rep. The continuous tension will stress the muscle groups to a remarkable degree.

Sorry to the OP for highjacking.

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I use a rack just for safety when doing squats.  I wouldn't feel comfortable using much weight without one.  I only train to failure once a year-week between Christmas and New Years when I won't be doing much else, but talking, anyway.  If I did that more often, I couldn't wear normal jeans, and would need more rest than I normally get.  With Friday being squat day, I still don't wear jeans on the weekend.  I've been doing double body weight squats for decades, but I'm just maintaining, and not trying to grow, so I haven't gone up in max weight over that time.

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I often wake up in the middle of the night with answers to problems that I didn't know existed.  I woke up at 4:43 thinking that the whole bottom needs to be plywood to take care of the spreading load, and not have anything in the way of feet.  I use the bar rests on the inside of the front uprights.  It can't fit tight against the wall with them on the back, and also, with cross bracing in the back, there won't be enough clearance to work with the bar.

But if you're going to use a pullup bar, there needs to be bar rests on the back uprights too, so you can get the bar out of the way easily.  A pullup bar is good for the one ab workout worth doing-hanging leg raises (although a floor roller is the other good one).  

If it's going to be used for bench press too, there probably needs to be another set of uprights, if it's going to fit flat against a wall.  Similar to the Legend 3133       That page gives dimensions too.  Plate storage could go on the middle upright.

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Nice plans! I built something similar a few years back, but used two 2x6's screwed together instead of 4x4's; it ended up cheaper and is still standing after 4 years of decent use. Couple notes:

- You might end up hating having any braces on the floor; I don't think you need them either. Finding the right spot for your bench could be tricky if you habe the brace in the wrong area. I have one side acting as the back of the rack and just have a 2x6 on the top and bottom for bracing. I actually have a pulley system (from an old home gym) at the back of mine too so the bottom 2x6 brace is flat over the frame of the pulley system and screwed into the bottom frame of the rack. Works quite well and there is minimal sway.

- Depending on the height of your ceiling, the pull-up bar could just go through two holes in the top brace. This would give you a few extra inchea of head room at the top of your movements.

- Your top angled braces could just be boards on the outside of the frame. This will allow more area inside the rack, and depending where you put your squat hooks, could free up some room for your fingers, etc.

- Make sure you build it wide enough so that A) your bar fits, and B) when you're re-racking the bar after squats you're not hitting your fingers on the 2x6 or 4x4...lesson learnt.

- make sure your pipe for the rack hooks is the correct length so that you can fit a spacer in between the floor flange (what acts as the hook) and the rack itself. Otherwise when you go to re-rack, you may end up pushing the hook in and almost killing yourself....another lesson learnt. 

I added a couple pics of my set-up and a couple links to what I used as inspiration. It's been working quite well for me. I'm not going to be a power lifter or anything, but this definitely gets the job done.

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All good ideas. I'm sure there are many very good ways to build this. I have found a way, when needed to build outdoor tables or racks.883C973B-F2FC-4F07-B081-4B461B1BEF2A_1_201_a.thumb.jpeg.3259311acf5ffd070c2f19c18d8ca9b8.jpeg

For outdoor I use stainless steel screws and titebond 3. If needed to control rack corner brackets will do the trick. From my experiences I would start as the pic. I might replace the 2x4's with 2x6's

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  • 2 years later...

Hey there! I know this thread is quite old, but as a newbie here, I'd like to revive it with my 2 cents. First of all, I gotta say that your home gym plans sound pretty impressive! You've got some solid ideas there. As for your current plans, I think the steel pipes for safety bars, pull-up bar, and gym ring suspension bar are a great idea. And the 4x4 wedges for gym ring suspension bar bracers seem like they'll do the job nicely. As far as feedback goes, have you considered adding some MMA equipment to your setup? If you're into that kinda thing, you might wanna check out for some cool ideas. I can't really speak to the specifics of the hardware you're planning on using, but I'm sure you'll figure it out. Just make sure everything is secure and weight-bearing! Good luck with your project!

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  • 1 month later...

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