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The Ultimate Guide to Building the Perfect Garage Gym – Chapter 2

In chapter one of our Ultimate Guide To Building The Perfect Garage Gym, we informed you of some of the most essential pieces of equipment that any garage gym needs. Whether you are an Olympic weightlifter, power lifter, CrossFit athlete, or simply someone who is just looking to get in great shape by working out, the equipment in the last section were must-haves. Now, we move on to some of the more advanced pieces of training equipment and accessories that you can add to your gym.

Are these things that you need to add right away? No, not necessarily. But as you start your physical journey to achieving your athletic goals, you may decide to add these along the way to create the perfect workout sanctuary and garage gym.

The equipment mentioned here are the next level of exercise accessories. While many of the pieces mentioned in chapter one are great for any athlete and will help you with many aspects of building muscle and becoming a better athlete, the items mentioned in this chapter will help you become more explosive, work to build your supporting muscles, and also prepare yourself more for competitions like CrossFit or Powerlifting events. So without further adieu, lets just dive into chapter two of the Ultimate Guide To Building The Perfect Garage Gym.

Weighted Vest

Rogue Weight vest

Adding a bit more weight to your workouts can prepare you immensely for competing in competitions and events. However, while it is often inconvenient to carry around dumbbells or barbells while doing other workouts, a weighted vest is perfect to put on your body while training.

A weighted vest will not only prepare your muscles for more weight, but it will also make your body work harder to account for the weight. This means that you’ll build more muscles and shred more fat, all while burning more calories and getting your cardiovascular system up as well. All of these elements go into being a better athlete, and a weighted vest is a great way to maximize your efforts.

When looking for the perfect weighted vest, consider a few different aspects. First of all, how does it fit on your body? You will want to have something that is tight and firm, so that it doesn’t bounce all over the place and need constant readjusting, but also something that is comfortable and not constraining.

Another element to consider with a weighted vest is the ability to add and remove weights as necessary. Some weighted vests, those that are typically a bit less expensive, come as is, while others can add and remove additional weight to improve your workout progress.

ZFO Sports Weight Vest_The team over at Rogue Fitness has a top of the line weighted vest that is perfect for the person who is looking to make a full investment into their garage gym equipment. This weighted vest can carry up to 45lbs, which can be changed in 2.5lbs increments with removing or adding weights. The Rogue Fitness weighted vest also looks great, as it comes in both black and camo color options.

While the Rogue Fitness weighted vest is a top of the line option, it also comes with a price tag to match. A different option for those looking to save a bit of money is the ZFOsports 40lbs Adjustable Weighted Vest. It too can have weight added and removed as you desire.

Whether you go with the Rogue Fitness option or the ZFOsports model is up to you. Either way, get ready to increase your explosiveness when you start training with a weighted vest.

Sandbags

Rogue SandBags

Similar to the weight vest, sandbags also help you work on carrying around extra weight during your training. However, while many athletes will train with a weight vest on throughout their exercise, sandbags are typically something that is used throughout different stages of a CrossFit competition. Sandbags are great to add to your garage gym, especially if you are training for obstacle courses.

Another benefit of sandbags is that they really will help work extra muscles, specifically your shoulders, that a weighted vest wont. While a weighted vest is strapped in during the workout, it takes your concentration and focus to assure that you keep that sandbag slung over your shoulder and in place. When you are running through an obstacle course, you’ll quickly learn how difficult it can be to hold it in it’s spot.

For the professionals and advanced athletes reading this, consider the Rogue Fitness Tactical Sandbag options. They come in three different sizes, ranging from medium at 80lbs, large at 160lbs and small at 45lbs. All three of these options are waterproof, which is perfect for courses where you are running through mud or other alternative types of terrain.

sandbagsThose looking to just get a beginner set of sandbags, consider the SKLZ Super Sandbag. This sandbag has a bunch of handles and grips on it, making it easy to grab and sling over your shoulder.

This model also comes with four empty sandbags that each hold 10lbs. That means that you can increase the weight as you go along, to assure that you’re improving as your workouts become more intense. And if you aren’t too crazy about the rough and rugged look of Rogue Fitness equipment, the SKLZ Super Sandbag comes in a good-looking yellow and black material.

 

Don’t get confused. Weighted vests and sandbags have different purposes for athletes. Therefore, it is important to have both of these elements as part of your garage gym.

 

Sledgehammer

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If you’ve spent any time researching CrossFit, which we assume you have if you’ve made it this far with your reading, then it’s likely that you’ve seen athletes hitting sledgehammers against tires in a ferocious manner. If you’ve never done this type of exercise before, you are in for a shock when you take your first swing.

A sledgehammer workout will absolutely push your entire upper body to the max while training. Not only does it take a ton of effort in the arms, abs and chest to get up a sledgehammer time and time again to hit a rubber tire, but the recoil that comes after hitting the tire will be absorbed in your upper and lower back. Depending on the weight of the hammer you are using, we are talking some serious training going on here that will help you build a killer upper body. And don’t worry, your lower body will have to compensate for all of that swinging and will require a strong foundation, so you won’t be missing out on the additional quad and glut training as well.

Just holding a sledgehammer makes you feel like you are a superhero, or villain if that’s your thing, that is ready to go into action. Therefore, it makes sense to have a really great looking and sturdy hammer to swing. Our top pick for this is the Rogue War Hammer SISU. This hammer weighs 12lbs and has a removable plate that can add or remove weight. On top of that, it has a 38” handle that is made with reinforced steel. If that’s not enough for you, just taking a look at this sledgehammer will make you want to put it in your hand and swing it a few times.

If you aren’t ready to get something as intense as the War Hammer, you could just head over to your home improvement store and pick up a sledgehammer that is on sale. Better yet, you might even have one hanging out in your shed that you can put to good use. Obviously this isn’t something we would recommend for a great garage gym, but the option is there. We do recommend that you at least check the weight for whatever sledgehammer you are using, so you can compare it to what you might be using once you get into a competition.

Whether you decide to spend $150 on the War Hammer SISU, or use one that you already have, be sure to have this accessory in your garage gym to get an insane upper body and core workout.

Our Beginner Recommendation: Hit Up the Hardware Store

Tires

Tire Training

If you are looking for something to swing that sledgehammer at, be sure that you have a tractor tire as part of your garage gym. However, tractor tires are more than just something to use with your hammer, but also they are perfect for flipping, box jumps, and more.

We already mentioned the recoil that a tire provides when hitting it with a sledgehammer and the effect that has on your upper body. But if you decide to get down and start flipping tires, you can expect this to start working your legs like never before. If you want to avoid hurting yourself, you’ll have to learn real quick that it’s going to take a ton of leg strength to get that tired lifted and flipped.

You’ll also be using your biceps to help you pull the tire up, and your chest to push the tire once it’s been lifted. On your days where you are looking to get more cardio in, stack a few tires on top of each other and perform some box jumps. This will also work your legs, but also help you with the explosiveness that will come in handy during your athletic competitions.

When it comes to getting a tire for your garage gym, you’re going to have to be a bit creative. After all, it might not be logical for the mailman to just pull up with an oversized tire on your doorstep one day. Instead, call around in your area to tractor stores, junkyards, or other places where you think you could find an oversized tractor tire. The best part is that you don’t need anything new, considering you’re going to be beating it up anyways. The more creative you can get with calling around looking for a tire for your garage gym, the more money you can likely save to add this to your accessories.

Our Recommendation: Start Making Calls to Junk Yards and Construction Sites

Sleds

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When it comes to getting a sled for your garage gym, you have two different options. The first option is to go with a carpet sled and the second option is a butcher or dog style sled. Both version of the sled will help you with training for resistance when you are running and making strong forward movements. The difference will depend on what it is that you are looking for and the room that you have available, as well as the type of flooring material that is in your garage gym.

Carpet sled

black-magic-carpet-th1A carpet sled is one that you may have seen with weights that are lying on top of a fabric material. Most often, these are often then strung with a strap attachment that the athlete will wrap over their shoulders. With a carpet sled, the athlete will run forward, with the weights, in the form of bumpers, dragging behind them.

In terms of a carpet sled, the Rogue Fitness Magic Carpet is one of the most rugged and comfortable sleds available. When it comes to purchasing a sled, you should make sure that the quality isn’t something that may fall apart as you are pulling it around after countless sets of working out.

Some carpet sleds have a tendency of coming apart at the seams, making it flimsy and not something you’d be able to rely on for very long. But the Magic Carpet sled by Rogue is made of tough and solid material, that has a capacity of up to four 45lbs bumpers. If this is your first carpet sled purchase, you’ll likely also need to buy an upper body strap as well. For both the Magic Carpet Sled and an attachment, you’re looking at roughly $150 from Rogue.

Dog sled

As for a dog sled, or sometimes referred to as a butcher sled, this is equipment that is a solid stand that you put weight on. Typically you then push the entire platform from the front, rather than pull like with a carpet sled. Dog sleds really work your shoulders and chest, but have the most emphasis on your legs and calves. Considering you can put a ton of weight on a dog sled, you can literally keep pushing your max further.

As expected, Rogue Fitness makes a Dog Sled that is perfect for nearly any surface that you have on your garage gym floor. This particular dog sled has a 3-foot upright push bar, which is perfect for low or high push stances. You’ve never had an anterior and posterior workout like this, until you’ve started pushing around a sled with hundreds of pounds of weight on it. The Rogue Fitness dog sled runs around $250, which is well worth it consider how sturdy of a machine it is.

 

Another option that we’ve come across is the CFF Gen 3 Sled. This sled is heavy duty and has plenty of positioning for you to throw bumpers on, but one nifty addition is that it comes with a strapped jacket attachment. This is perfect for not only pushing with the bars on the front, but you can also strap in and begin pulling exercises as well. The CFF Gen 3 is a bit bulkier than the Rouge Fitness Dog Sled, so be sure to consider that with the size of your garage gym. However, it also comes in at $200, which is a steal considering all that it does.

 

Parallettes

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Next up on the list of accessories to add to your garage gym is a set of sturdy parallettes. Depending on the size of the parallettes that you have, you can do a bunch of different work out variations. While some people have smaller parallettes that allow them to do varied pushups, larger parallettes will allow you to also do exercises like dips and inverted pushups.

Typically, parallettes are going to help you when it comes to working your upper body. But when done right, you can get some serious gains and powerful strength with the exercise options available.

Rogue Parallettes are heavy duty and sturdy. They come with an 11-Gauge Steel tube that is roughly 12”high. This is perfect for doing swing-through or weighted handstand pushups. Parallettes are a simple piece of equipment that don’t need a lot of extra’s to be efficient. As a matter of fact, when other companies try to add extras to parallettes, they typically look more clunky and take up more room in your garage gym.

 

Another options for parallettes is to make your own. Using just some PVC piping and a few other pieces of equipment you may already have laying around the house, you can make a sturdy set of parallettes that’ll save you some serious cash.

Our Beginner Recommendation: Time to get Creative and Build Something

Conditioning Ropes

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If you hate doing cardio, we have the perfect exercise for you to change things up and work your arms like crazy at the same time. Getting a set of conditioning ropes will help you boost your upper body muscles, while also training you to do longer amounts of physical exertion and building your cardiovascular stamina in the process. The great thing that we really like about conditioning ropes is that it really doesn’t feel like you are doing cardio when you are in the process of flinging the ropes up and down, but after you’ve completed, you can tell that your body just went through an insane workout.

Our top choice for conditioning ropes are the Rogue Fitness Bulldog Ropes. These two ropes are both 45’ in length and 1.5” in diameter. They also look much nicer than other ropes, as they display the Rogue Fitness logo throughout the length of the rop. They also have two handles at the end of each rope, making easier for grip.

CFF RopeCFF, the same company that made that really neat sled mentioned above, also makes a set of polypropylene ropes as well. Their models are 50’ in length and don’t have the same fancy exterior like the Rogue Bulldogs. Instead, these babies look just like any other ropes that you would have, except for the fact that they offer about 1,500lbs of break strength.

We like to believe that if you’re anything like us, you’re going to enjoy doing cardio again once you start using conditioning ropes. There is something added to the element of being able to give your arms an insane workout, but also be getting a great cardio workout at the same time.

 

Climbing Rope

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Another rope to add to your garage gym is going to be a climbing rope. Now, this could be tricky depending on the size of the ceiling in your garage. However, a climbing rope is a necessity for CrossFit competitions and will help you build forearm and back strength, while also utilizing your leg and abdominal muscles. There are a lot of great athletes out there who can’t even get a few feet up on a climbing rope, and that’s because it works muscles that simply lifting weights don’t.

Rogue Fitness makes a braided eyelet rope that doesn’t require much in terms of installation. However, it still provides a ton of support and will allow you to climb with the peace of mind that your rope wont fall apart on you. The material that Rogue climbing ropes are made of consist of a manila material that won’t slip when you are trying to make your way to the top of a platform.

Obviously, you can head over to a hardware store and pick up a simple rope and add that to your garage gym instead of a braided eyelet rope from Rogue. However, this won’t nearly be the same material you are looking for and it won’t be optimized for CrossFit climbing. It can be done, but consider the downsides of it as well.

Our Beginner Recommendation: Hardware Store (be careful about the quality of Rope you get)

 

Atlas Stone

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Atlas Stones were first popularized with strongman competitions held around the world. It takes serious core strength and serious grip to be able to wrap your arms around an Atlas Stone and carry it for an extended amount of distance. Not only is it extremely heavy, but it’s also not the easiest to grab on to due to its shape. Atlas Stones are still important for strongman competitions, but they also help out power lifters looking to gain more strength and they are also a vital part of CrossFit training as well.

Proper Atlas Stone training is going to work every muscle in your body, and most noticeably your back, legs and forearms. Furthermore, you’ll also notice that your grip will get stronger with Atlas Stone training, which will come in handy when doing other exercises.

Atlas Stone’s vary in weight. However, consider they can weigh several hundred pounds, they, like the tractor tires mentioned earlier, are not something that you’ll likely to have shipped to you. Instead, the best option is to actually order an Atlas Stone kit.

One particular brand is Hybrid Athletics. These stone mold kits come in the mail and you can create a perfectly shaped Atlas Stone from your home. These kits are typically also adjustable, so you can make different sized stones if necessary. The other option is to try and contact someone in your area who makes Atlas Stones, or find a quarry that has stones for sale. However, it might make the most sense to go with an Atlas Stone kit, as that will help you create a perfectly symmetrical and weighed Atlas Stone for your preference.

Our Beginner Recommendation: Skip the Atlas Stones and keep training for now

Agility Ladder

ladder-th

Being ready for a competition isn’t just about how much weight you can lift or how ripped your body looks. Instead, being nimble and light on your feet is a vital aspect that should go into any athletes regimen. A great way to work on this footwork is through exercises on an agility ladder.

Agility ladders are perfect for working on staying on the balls of your feet, which can be the difference between getting explosive power in your lift, or simply falling flat footed and unable to lift as much as you had hoped. Also, in CrossFit and Strong Man events, you are going to need to be quick on your feet if you are hoping to make it through a course faster than anyone else.

When it comes to agility ladders, there are a few different options. One option is a hard-framed ladder that you’ll set in place in your garage gym. This accessory can be placed down when you need it, and stored away when you don’t.

ladderThe second option is a ladder that is made of rope and has piping that separates each quadrant on the ladder. These types of rope ladders are the most common, as they are sturdy and also convenient when it comes to being stored away. Another option is a roll-out flat style agility ladder. These are typically made on a mat and have tape that sections off each section of the ladder. These are convenient and save a ton of space; however, sometimes they can be less effective when training, considering you don’t have to actively step over anything like you would with the other ladder options.

Rouge Fitness offers a Web Agility Ladder, which is about 15’ in length. This rope ladder falls into is long enough and sturdy enough to be exactly what you need for to get some agility exercises in while warming up.

There are other options, like that made by SKLZ. This model is heavy duty as well, and also comes in a great bright yellow color that could potentially match the SKLZ Sandbags mentioned earlier. The most important thing to consider when looking for agility ladders is the material. You want something that is sturdy, therefore if you happen to touch it, it doesn’t get out of position and require you to stop your exercise just to reposition it.

Our Recommended Professional Ladder

Cones

Garage Gym cones

Cones are another option for working on footwork and agility. Setting up a cone course in your garage gym will help you maneuver through different elements and work on your strength during the process.

When it comes to cones, keep in mind the same advice as with the agility ladder. Look for something that is durable and sturdy, so you aren’t kicking it out of the way. However, it’s unlikely that you should invest a load of money into cones that you’re simply using for agility exercises.

 

Inversion Table

iron man Inversion Tables

Champ Inversion TablesAll that exercise and hard work is going to take a toll on your body. Therefore, an added accessory that should be a part of your garage gym is an inverted table.

To use an inverted table, you get into the table in an upright position and slide your feet into the space for them.

Then, you will slowly rotate backwards until you are in an inverted position with your head toward the ground and your feet in the air.

 

Inverted therapy is considered to offer therapeutic benefits that will help stretch your body and relax your mind after a good workout.

The pull of gravity when your body is upside down will decompress the joints, which should have major benefits on your overall feeling after a workout.

Definitely add an inversion table to your garage gym, as it’ll be the perfect post-workout stretching routine to get your body ready for the next days workout.

 

 

 

Well, there you have it

Chapter two of the Ultimate Guide To Building The Perfect Garage Gym is complete. After chapter one, you had the tools to make a gym that would be the envy of all of your friends. Now, with the advanced training equipment mentioned here, you are ready to start preparing to take your athletic training to the next level. Remember, you don’t have to buy everything at one time. But if you are looking to maximize your abilities, you should certainly consider adding all of the equipment mentioned in this guide.

Next, we’ll talk about the a few accessories for your garage gym that are immensely important and shouldn’t be overlooked.

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