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Crossfit Garage Gym

CROSSFIT GARAGE GYM

Are you looking to take your training to the next level? Would you prefer working out at home or on your own schedule? What about when you’re too pressed for time to make it into your local box, would the convenience of a home gym make life easier? Perhaps you decided it’s about time for you and your family to get fit and healthy. Or maybe at this point in your life, going to a box is not financially feasible.

Whatever the reason, you’re here because you’re considering the ultimate feat of awesomeness. You’re about to be the envy of the neighborhood and all your buds; you’re considering a CrossFit Garage Gym my friend.

Let us help you with this important decision from assessing your needs, designing your space, making it look badass, outfitting it with the best Crossfit Equipment on the market, and making sure it’s safe.

So let’s get started on your Crossfit Garage Gym!

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SPACE & LOCATION: 

You don’t need a ton of space or a prime retail location to build an awesome strength and conditioning facility. The extra space at home will suffice and more often than not creates a great place to achieve optimal fitness while remaining inexpensive to set up.

Don’t expect your Crossfit garage gym to look like a million dollar facility (unless you have an extra million dollars laying around). Working out in less than commercial facilities is badass and actually quite respectable. A perfect example: Rocky Balboa. If you’ve seen any of the Rocky movies, you know what exactly I’m talking about! Watching the wildly popular scenes of Rocky Balboa cross training in a meat house, climbing those famous 72 stone steps in Philadelphia, and training with Mickey in a dumpy boxing gym while “eye of the tiger” triumphantly plays in the background…glorious.

The bottom-line: you can work out anywhere and, often, non-traditional locations help to prepare you better than a state of the arc “globo gym” will. In fact, a large number of professional and amateur athletes chose this route and do so with amazing results. 

So what are you’re options at home? You’ll need a ground floor space…so ideally a basement, barn, or garage will do the trick.

The downside to a basement is that it often doesn’t have it’s own entrance and you have to go through the house to get there. This might be a pain in the ass when performing WODs where you’ll be running in between rounds and tracking your sweaty and dirty body throughout the house. But if a basement is your only option, then obviously you have to work with what’s available to you. 

A nice feature of the barn and garage is that the gym is separate from the house. That way you can open up the doors and let some fresh air in on warm spring, summer, and fall days. Plus, if you really want to WOD outside, you can easily carry your equipment outside to soak up some sunshine and beautiful weather.

First, make sure to clear the space. Yes, we know your car and years of accumulated junk is probably filling that space at this moment, but we need to prioritize here! What’s more important; protecting your car from sun, rain, and snow or getting in the best shape of your life? As for the junk, consider a garage sale or donating items you don’t use. You could always erect a cheap shed in the backyard to store the essentials and items you can’t seem to part with.

And lastly, don’t let the small space discourage you! The typical garage is the perfect size for a Crossfit gym for you, your family, and friends. There’s been many functional home fitness centers in 200 square feet or less.

 

NEEDS ASSESSMENT:

Are you training for serious competition or for recreational and general fitness purposes?

If it’s for serious competition and training:

  • You’re going to want to consider higher quality equipment that is going to hold up through repeated use year after year.
  • You’re going to need most, if not all, of the main pieces of Crossfit equipment (keep reading for these essentials).

If it’s for recreation and/or general fitness:

  • You can buy any equipment that suits your budget. If this home gym is going to be used as a supplement to a local box, then you can get away with economy equipment, as it won’t be going through as much continual abuse.
  • You can get away with only the basics for equipment if you don’t have a need for it all or budgetary restrictions hold you back.

How many people will be using the space? Is it primarily for you? Do you want to have enough equipment for yourself and a few lucky friends? Or is this a family space where you’ll need enough equipment to do WODs together? 

  • It depends if you’ll realistically be doing WODs at the same time as other participants.
  • You can always buy enough Crossfit equipment for one and workout in rounds. That way you have the accountability factor, someone to critique your form and judge if you’re performing the movements correctly while saving money on multiple sets of equipment.
  • If you want to be able to work out with a others at the same time, you’re going to need a bar and weight set for each person along with duplicates of other types of equipment.
  • If you’re home gym is going to be used by women, seniors, children, and/or beginners, you might want to consider getting Olympic bars in lighter weight ranges from 15, 25, 35 lbs (a standard Olympic bar being 45lbs), as well as a wide range of weights in regards to Kettlebells, Medicine balls, Dumbells, etc.

 Your CrossFit equipment is just as important as the workouts you use them for, so don't cut corners on the planning aspect of your new garage gym adventure. Cover everything ahead of time and you can't go wrong!

DESIGNING YOUR CROSSFIT GARAGE GYM:

Floor:

Once you clear out your space you’ll want to consider either getting yourself a Lifting Platform or installing rubber mats. Lifting platforms are great for smaller spaces or for an area where you can’t completely replace the floor with rubber. While mats are not absolutely necessary because they’re expensive and those on a budget might not be able to afford them, we highly recommend it. It provides comfort but more importantly, safety. The rubber will absorb more sound from dropping weights. It will protect you from a slip or fall as well as the unforeseen chance you’ll need to bail from a lift and end up hitting the floor. An accidental slip or fall on a hard concrete floor could cause serious injuries and/or a concussion.

I suggest you calculate the square footage of your garage gym ahead of time and double check your math to make sure you’re getting enough mats to cover the floor as returns will most likely be costly if not purchasing locally. If you have budgetary constraints, you can always buy a few mats and add new ones over time or mat part of the space instead of the whole thing, or again consider a couple Lifting Platforms which require no measuring and cutting to fit your space.

Draw your floor space out to scale and arrange your mats. Try to lay as many down as possible without cutting. Cutting the rubber mats is a cumbersome process. Also when drawing the lines to make your cuts, extend the line and extra ¼ of an inch. This will allow for a tight, seamless fit due to the compressibility of the mats.

You’ll need:

  • Knife or saw
  • Straight edge metal yardstick
  • Chalk
  • Plywood

Measuring:

  • Place your straight edge on the rubber mats where you need to make your measurements and draw a line with the chalk to mark where your cuts will be.
  • Allow an extra ¼ inch for a seamless fit of the mats.
  • Place plywood or some kind of buffer under the mat where you’ll be cutting to ensure you won’t ruin the surface you’re cutting on.

Cutting with a Utility Knife (safest and highly recommended option):

*NOTE: this is the safest method for cutting rubber mats, it a tedious job, but if you move slowly you can ensure no drastic mistakes are made.

  • It’s recommended to use a non retractable utility knife
  • Make sure to put a fresh blade in your utility knife and have extras. New, sharp blades will make the process quicker and will help alleviate struggling while scoring the rubber.
  • While holding your straight edge firmly on the chalk line, run the utility knife the along the premeasured line about 3 times to score the rubber mat.
  • Afterwards, bend the rubber mat to break open the score line.
  • Proceed to run your knife along the line as needed to complete the cut.

Cutting with a Hack Saw:

Some people have had success and faster results using a hacksaw

  • Make sure to use a hand held hacksaw with a very fine edged blade.
  • After you measure and make your chalk lines, run over the line first with your utility knife while holding the mats.
  • Follow the cut lines with the hacksaw.

Cutting with a Circular Saw:

*NOTE: power saws are not recommended on rubber mats, but there have been accounts of people who have successfully used them.

  • Be wary, power saws can result in fire, smoke and create a smell and mess that may be hard to clean up.
  • If you’re decided to go this route, a circular saw might be your best option.
  • Be sure to use a high quality, powerful saw. Don’t attempt this with a cheap saw.
  • Check with your local home improvement store to see if there are any saw blades better suited for cutting rubber.
  • Mark your mats with chalk and place a piece of wood under the mat along the line you will be cutting.
  • Be sure to set your saw blade to drop deep enough so that you cut into the wood below the mat a little bit.
  • Have a partner gently pull apart the two halves as you’re cutting to prevent the rubber from binding up the blade and causing the common heat, smoke and smell referred to above.

Storage and Stands:

As you plan out your space, consider the importance of proper storage of your equipment. Bar and weight racks are beneficial as it keeps your space neat, clean, and organized. Equipment racks also keep your equipment safely aside. Bars, medicine balls and other equipment can roll and can be dangerous if it rolls into you mid workout. Also be aware of older homes. They may have basements, garages and barns with unleveled floors, which will also make equipment storage more of a priority to stay safe. Not to mention, proper storage will extend the life of your beloved equipment. 

Décor:

The great thing about a custom home garage gym is that you can decorate it any way you wish!

  • Search for Crossfit and fitness inspired artwork, paintings, pictures and posters.
  • Consider stencils and paint/spray paint to decorate the walls as you see fit.
  • Paint walls colors of your choice.
  • You could also finish all or some of the walls in ¾” plywood. If you lag bolt the plywood to studs, it becomes a perfect medium for mounting items on the wall.
  • No Crossfit garage gym is complete without marker boards for recording WODs, PRs, motivation, and other achievements.
  • Audio source.

 

CROSSFIT EQUIPMENT

Olympic Bar

  • An absolute necessity, you’ll need at least 1 Olympic bar (standard – 45lbs).
  • If seniors, women, children, and/or beginners will be working out with you consider bars in lighter weight ranges (15lbs, 25lbs, 35lbs).
  • Make sure to have enough bars for the amount of people you’d like to work out with simultaneously.
  • Consider a quality bar, it might be expensive upfront but will last a lifetime and different bars are meant for different things. Like we said, a good Olympic bar is an absolutely necessary piece of CrossFit Equipment.

Bumper Plates

  • We recommend solid rubber bumper plates, as they are safer and less noisy. The higher the quality, the longer they will last.
  • As for how many bumper plates and in which weight increments to order, it will depend on the individual.
  • We recommend calculating your 1RM deadlift and buy at least that much weight. You’ll most likely want to buy more so you can improve upon that number.
  • Consider buying a few metal plates in 1lb, 2.5lb, and 5lbs increments for slowly increasing weight in workouts. 

Dumbbells

  • While not necessary for basic home setups or for those on a budget, dumbbells provide the flexibility to perform a wide range of exercises.
  • Consider those that you’ll be working out with and buy weight ranges that are appropriate for all participants.

Pull Up Station

  • A pull-up station is essential for your Crossfit garage gym, as it will allow you to do most Crossfit exercises on the bar.
  • You can go with a freestanding pull-up station or a Squat Stand/Rack with a built in pull-up bar. The only drawbacks are they take up valuable floor space but are perfect for those that cannot safety mount pull-up stations in their allotted space.
  • Another option is wall mounted pull-up bar stations, which save space and are often more secure.
  • If you want to reach a different level of awesome, install your own custom Modular Unit.

Benches and Racks

  • A flat bench is needed in order to perform bench presses.
  • Consider a squat rack or power rack for assisting in various lifts.
  • Squat racks are traditionally used for squats and bench presses.
  • Squat racks are better for tight spaces.
  • Power racks are designed to house the lifter inside and provide a protective barrier and are great for lifting alone.
  • The only drawback is the power rack takes up more space.

Cardio Equipment

  • Other than a pair of sneakers for hitting some quick runs and sprints, there isn’t much in the way of cardio equipment needed.
  • Jump rope.
  • Rower (Concept II Rower stores upright on it’s end to save space).
  • Plyometric boxes

Gymnastics & Climbing Equipment

  • Parallettes (short parallel bar) are necessary for performing deficit (below parallel) handstand pushups, pirouettes, L-holds and V-holds, to name a few.
  • Gymnastic Rings for muscle ups, ring dips, ring rows, ring push-ups, etc.
  • Rings can be hung from a beam on a high vaulted ceiling, from a mounted pull up bar station, from your Modular Unit, or the nearest sturdy tree limb.
  • Rope for rope climbs, however you can really only take advantage of a rope if you have tall ceilings (15-20 feet and up) or can make double use of your sturdy tree limb.
  • If your ceilings are on the tall side but still shorter than a standard rope height, you could always hang a rope and start your rope climbs in a seated position.
  • You might also want to think about getting a few foldable gymnastic landing mats for practicing handstands and other more dangerous moves. Safety first kids.

Ab/Trunk Development Equipment

Kettlebells

  • Another Crossfit garage gym must…consider a wide range of Kettlebell weights for various exercises.
  • Have a couple standard weights in which you’ll use for American and Russian swings.
  • You might want to consider lighter weight variations for Turkish getups, one armed swings, snatches, and cleans.
  • Look for Kettlebells with a flat bottom if you plan to do pushups and similar exercises off of the bell.
  • Check Kettlebells for protruding writing or engraving on the bell as it can irritate your arm, especially in moves like snatches or cleans where the bell is making contact with your skin.

Miscellaneous

 


EQUIPMENT CHECKLIST:

[ ] Rubber Mats

[ ] Lifting Stand

[ ] Olympic Bar

[ ] Rubber Bumper Plates

[ ] Small Metal Plates

[ ] Kettlebells

[ ] Medicine Balls   

[ ] Dumbbells

[ ] Pull Up Bar

[ ] Flat Bench

[ ] Squat Stand

[ ] Power Rack

[ ] Jump Rope

[ ] Rower

[ ] Parallettes

[ ] Gymnastic Rings

[ ] Climbing Rope

[ ] Gymnastic Landing Mat

[ ] Abmat

[ ] GHD

[ ] Plyo boxes

[ ] Agility Ladder

[ ] Sand bags

[ ] Prowler

[ ] Foam Roller

[ ] Resistance Bands

[ ] Lacrosse Balls

[ ] Weight Belts

[ ] Weighted Vests

 

STORAGE CHECKLIST: 

[ ] Bumper Plate Racks

[ ] Plate Tree

[ ] Vertical Ball Holder

[ ] Medicine Ball Rack

[ ] Dumbbell Rack

[ ] Kettlebell Rack

[ ] Various hanging hooks for jump ropes/bands

[ ] Shelving for various items (Abmats, foam rollers, etc)

 

OTHER SUPPLIES CHECKLIST:

[ ] Spring Clips

[ ] Chalk

[ ] Whiteboard

[ ] Erasable Markers

[ ] Clock Gone Bad Timer

[ ] First Aid Kit

[ ] Athletic Tape

[ ] Disinfectant Sprays

[ ] Cleaning Supplies

 

HELP,  I’M ON A BUDGET:

If you’re on a budget, no need to worry. You can perform a wide variety of Crossfit exercises with merely an Olympic weight set and pull-up bar.

If you absolutely cannot afford to buy new (which is a good option as equipment hasn’t been used or abused and often comes with some form of warranty) you can shop around for used gym equipment. Check Play It Again Sports or other used sporting good stores, Craigslist, eBay, Amazon, Want Ad Digest, other classifieds, and local garage sales.

Just be sure you know exactly what type of equipment you need. There are a lot of places online advertising Olympic weight lifting bars for under $100 and unfortunately they are not regulation Olympic bars in terms of weight, grips, and bar width. They also could be potentially unsafe and might break. If you’re going to splurge on any one item, it should definitely be a quality Olympic Bar.

Be resourceful in finding/fabricating equipment.

  • You can always check with a local welder to make wall mounted pull up bars. Just make sure they’re safe and secure
  • Look at a local horse feed/tack store for rubber mats. They’re commonly used as horse stall mats
  • Visit Home Depot or a home improvement store for sandbags and material to make your own equipment
  • Scrap yards to find large used tires and other strong man type equipment

Make Equipment if you can. Here are some great pages that will walk you through making some equipment:

 

SAFETY:

Please keep safety in mind when designing and outfitting your new Crossfit garage gym. Always contact a professional to determine safe weight loads for all equipment hanging from walls or ceilings.

Always practice safe lifting techniques. Being in the comfort of one’s own home often means a lifter is more likely to try exercises with heavy weight or inverted type exercises they might be too shy to try in their local gym. PLEASE do not try anything potential dangerous without a friend and spotter with you. Remember if you workout alone and are injured, there is no on there to help you.

 

ENJOY!

Lastly, please enjoy your new Crossfit Garage Gym! You’ve worked hard designing and outfitting the space to be a top-notch home strength and conditioning facility. New pieces of equipment and additional modifications can always be added over time to complete your home garage gym. Enjoy the newfound satisfaction and pride in your accomplishments by sharing this new garage gym with friends and family members!