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The DIY Home Gym



Every fitness enthusiast has their personal preference when it comes to where they choose to get the job done.  Some do the gym route, whereas I like to get up at a sickening 5:30am and migrate to my basement.  That’s where my magic happens, and where I want to take you on a tour to maybe give some inspiration on what you can do given similar resources.

Before we get into the details, realize that my house is a monstrous renovation work-in-progress.  So try and forgive the unfinished drywall and insulation hanging from the ceiling.  I’m getting to it already!

In all her disorganized glory.

She might look a little primitive, but believe me, it’s come a long way from the bare concrete and stud walls when we moved in a couple years back.  Still, it’s functional as all get out.  Often times the opportunity to add interesting equipment is best when you don’t have a perfectly finished basement in your way.

Starting Point

This is where I begin.  Most of my workouts are predetermined weeks in advance on my whiteboard.  That way when I shuffle half-dead into the room at an ungodly hour of the morning, I don’t spend 10 minutes wasting time trying to figure out what to do.

Home to my original Power Stands. You can pry them from my cold, dead fingers.

This is also a good spot for resistance bands.  The karate decor helps give the area a “dojo” vibe since I still train in the way of the fist, a skill very suitable to a sedentary office lifestyle.

The Wall

The main focal point

This is the main viewing area.  It’s a simple 32″ flat-screen, so it’s not going to win any home theater awards, but it more than does the job.  And of course, you have Mary-Ann, my Stratocaster.  I remember years ago wanting a better guitar but not having enough money due to the stork dropping off a third baby.  So I instead collected cans until I had enough to buy it.  I often joke it’s really made of aluminum.

The sound system is admittedly, very low-tech.  Some computer speakers take care of the audio while my main technology need is the AppleTV.  I run iTunes off a Windows 10 media server so a ton of workout videos are a click away.  Whether streaming from my phone or server, this appliance is a must have.

A DVD player? How early 2000's.


Having exposed joists does have definite advantages, not the least of which is securing a DIY pull-up bar.

The Home Depot special.

The iron pipe at a local home repair store will create a near indestructible pull-up bar for a fraction of the cost of what you can expect to pay for a regular one.  Just be sure to use proper bolts to secure it.  As for hand grips, I use pipe insulation cut to size.   Yeah, and that hanging insulation is a work in progress.  Really, my reno list is a mile long folks.

Can't have a gym without weights.

And of course, weights.  I was able to get a ton of weights when my previous job’s gym was clearing out old stock.  I have sets going from 5 to 50lb which pretty much covers all the bases.  You’re probably also wondering about that thing on the wall.  It’s a makiwara.  Many karate practitioners build one in the same tradition that Jedi’s build their own light-sabers.  It’s just a thing.  If you want to make one ( hey, you never know ), I made a post for that here.


Simple laminate flooring is the base.  From there I added a foam and yoga mat for plyo work.  Eventually I’d like to get a large rubber mat to replace the foam as it tends to be prone to sliding and doesn’t handle dropping of heavy weights.

yoga mat on top of foam.

Outside the frame of these photos are other tools.  An adjustable bench for doing presses, and a treadmill that does an outstanding job holding laundry and collecting dust.  There’s also a plyo-box but it’s holding my tools at the moment.  When constructing your gym, be sure to take an inventory of things you need and go for those first.  Get the “maybe’s” and the “wants” later once resources become available.  With any luck, I’ve given you some inspiration to either build a gym or get cracking on your home renovation projects.

John Paul Parrot ( aka. The Dysfunctional Parrot ) is a disgruntled Systems Analyst who wanders the Canadian wastelands saving small villages with the power of Kung Fu.  His chair is also a little too close to the twenty year old microwave.  As you can well imagine, this has had certain side effects.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Manas Patankar

    February 21, 2020 at

    Long time follower of your site…. Thanks to you I’ve been doing quite a few rounds of Tony H and Shaun T programs….
    Planning to add a ceiling mount pull up bar…. Wondering whether I should go for rings instead… Easier and cheaper to install… Any suggestions on pro and cons will be appreciated

    Thank you

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