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  1. #1
    Registered User Rakshar's Avatar
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    garage gym newbie looking for some guidance regarding equipment selection

    Hello All! As the title says, I am looking for some guidance regarding setting up a garage gym. Due to space limitations, I have been making due with just an adjustable workout bench (XMark FID Ab Combo Weight Bench XM-7628), a set of powerblocks (with stand and expansion up to 90lbs), and a set of ironmasters (with stand and expansion up to 120lbs). I have been relatively consistent working out for slightly less than the past two years and think I could put a garage gym to good use. I am in the process of purchasing a home and will have a roughly a 20x24 foot garage that I plan to convert into a garage gym. I am able to put up to 10k into the gym; however, I don't want to throw my money away either. I am having significant difficulties even thinking of where to start beyond getting a Rogue R-3 power rack. Any guidance would be great. I certainly don't have the budget (and I doubt the space) to choose the top tier stuff in every category out of the cost is no object thread. Any suggestions on nice to have items beyond the power rack (and presumably a great bar)? Thank you!
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    Let's slot floppies keyboardworkout's Avatar
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    $10K should go a long way even if buying some of the stuff new.

    Few thoughts:

    Rack
    Adjustable Bench
    Good Bar/s
    Nice Plates
    Specialty Bar/s
    Lat pulldown w/attachments
    Leg press
    Hammer Strength Row
    Other machines?
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    Originally Posted by Rakshar View Post
    Hello All! As the title says, I am looking for some guidance regarding setting up a garage gym. Due to space limitations, I have been making due with just an adjustable workout bench (XMark FID Ab Combo Weight Bench XM-7628), a set of powerblocks (with stand and expansion up to 90lbs), and a set of ironmasters (with stand and expansion up to 120lbs). I have been relatively consistent working out for slightly less than the past two years and think I could put a garage gym to good use. I am in the process of purchasing a home and will have a roughly a 20x24 foot garage that I plan to convert into a garage gym. I am able to put up to 10k into the gym; however, I don't want to throw my money away either. I am having significant difficulties even thinking of where to start beyond getting a Rogue R-3 power rack. Any guidance would be great. I certainly don't have the budget (and I doubt the space) to choose the top tier stuff in every category out of the cost is no object thread. Any suggestions on nice to have items beyond the power rack (and presumably a great bar)? Thank you!
    I have spent the last 11 months building my garage gym and the best advice I can give is to buy used. You can easily outfit your entire space with top notch equipment with that kind of budget if buying used, but buy new and your budget will quickly vanish into the ether. Also, if you have the time and are not adverse to a little hard work, you can defray the cost by flipping unwanted gear. I've picked up quite a bit of stuff that the seller would only sell as a lot, taken the 1-2 piece(s) I wanted and flipped the rest to bring down my cost, get the retained piece(s) for free, or turn a profit.

    That's plenty of space btw. I have roughly the same area and have plenty of room for everything. At the moment I've got a Rogue RML-490, functional trainer, FID bench, preacher bench, leg press, leg curl/ext, Powerblocks, 4'x8' deadlift platform (to protect my basement floor), 6' Thai heavy bag, Century BOB, and a treadmill. I've still got some room left and would have much more if it wasn't for the space needed for the bags, which I use for martial arts (this means I need a fair bit of space around the bags for kicks, etc.).
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    Used is good advice, but if I were starting again buying new and had $10k, here's what I'd get:

    Legend or Rogue rack
    Rep AB-5000 bench
    Vulcan Absolute Stainless Power Bar
    455 lb+ calibrated plates (Rogue, Troy, etc.)

    Then I'd hold on buying anything else until I get some workouts in and see where my needs/goals lie. If you like your XMark bench, you could keep it and get the Rep FB-5000 flat bench to complement. I had the same XMark bench and it was decent for dumbbell work, but I really didn't like flat benching on it.
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    You’ve gotten some great advice already. Get a 3 post rack with storage.
    What about the floor. Would consider rolled rubber but will eat into your budget.
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    Registered User Rakshar's Avatar
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    Yes, I am very appreciative of all the advice from everyone so far. I was thinking of just going with horse stall mats for the flooring to save $ for the actual equipment.
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    Multi-Platinum User radrd's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Rakshar View Post
    Yes, I am very appreciative of all the advice from everyone so far. I was thinking of just going with horse stall mats for the flooring to save $ for the actual equipment.
    I don't think this is necessarily a mistake, but if I could start over, I would have installed rolled rubber flooring in our basement before we even moved into our house. Now I have mats over carpet and it works, but I don't like it.
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    Originally Posted by Rakshar View Post
    Yes, I am very appreciative of all the advice from everyone so far. I was thinking of just going with horse stall mats for the flooring to save $ for the actual equipment.
    So you will need 20 mats. 600-800. Major pain and they smell. I have mats in my garage, about same size as yours and rolled rubber in a smaller room inside. Check out pricing for rolled
    Rubber on rubberflooring to see what it would cost.
    Buy a new rack, bench, bar, or multiple bars. Find decent weights but I would not spend money on calibrated plates.
    Look for used pulldown and other gear.
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    Registered User Rakshar's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by radrd View Post
    Used is good advice, but if I were starting again buying new and had $10k, here's what I'd get:

    Legend or Rogue rack
    Rep AB-5000 bench
    Vulcan Absolute Stainless Power Bar
    455 lb+ calibrated plates (Rogue, Troy, etc.)

    Then I'd hold on buying anything else until I get some workouts in and see where my needs/goals lie. If you like your XMark bench, you could keep it and get the Rep FB-5000 flat bench to complement. I had the same XMark bench and it was decent for dumbbell work, but I really didn't like flat benching on it.
    Radrd,

    Thank you for the bench suggestion, I was thinking of getting a flat bench. Also, you would recommend calibrated steel weights over bumper plates? I have been vacillating between the two. I don't currently see a need for bumper plates (not planning to do Olympic lifting or drop onto the floor) but have no idea if that may change inbthe future.
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    Multi-Platinum User radrd's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Rakshar View Post
    Radrd,

    Thank you for the bench suggestion, I was thinking of getting a flat bench. Also, you would recommend calibrated steel weights over bumper plates? I have been vacillating between the two. I don't currently see a need for bumper plates (not planning to do Olympic lifting or drop onto the floor) but have no idea if that may change inbthe future.
    If you aren't planning on Olympic lifting, then steel is all you need. Start with some quality steel plates and you can always add bumpers later, but I wouldn't get them right away. I'm a bit OCD and appreciate having calibrated plates, but that's a luxury as well and many wouldn't bother.
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    Registered User Rakshar's Avatar
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    EricAtl,

    Just briefly looked at rubberflooring. I didn't see any rolled rubber 3/4" thick. Concerned that going with less thickness would potentially increase risk of damaging the garage concrete foundation. No idea if it is a valid concern though.
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    Radrd,

    Do you think the rogue calibrated plates are a good choice or is there another website you would recommend? I have looked at the local craigslist (New Orleans area) just for regular iron plates/gear and the selection is pitiful so I am definitely leaning towards biting the extra expense and getting everything new.
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    Originally Posted by Rakshar View Post
    Radrd,

    Do you think the rogue calibrated plates are a good choice or is there another website you would recommend? I have looked at the local craigslist (New Orleans area) just for regular iron plates/gear and the selection is pitiful so I am definitely leaning towards biting the extra expense and getting everything new.
    Here are options I would look at in addition to Rogue:

    https://www.repfitness.com/rep-equal...olympic-plates

    https://www.adamantbarbell.com/92--t...ht-plate-black

    https://amazon.com/Body-Solid-OST255...d=N6LVUL9FJ74G

    I own the Troys and Body Solid. Both are good, but I like Troy a little better, both for the grip/feel and aesthetically (if that matters). I've read good things about the Rep plates. You have to do some math to figure out what's the best deal.

    If you intend to buy a large quantity eventually, you might start with the minimum you need now and wait until Black Friday for discounts.
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    Originally Posted by Rakshar View Post
    EricAtl,

    Just briefly looked at rubberflooring. I didn't see any rolled rubber 3/4" thick. Concerned that going with less thickness would potentially increase risk of damaging the garage concrete foundation. No idea if it is a valid concern though.
    3/8 is all you need. If you want to drop weights on it then build a platform.
    Garage is about the same size as yours. Sorry panorama shot is a bit fuzzy.


    Inside portion with rolled rubber


    I like my legend rack a lot. But if you buy a rogue rack and decide lifting is not for you you can sell it for near full value. Because it says rogue and some cross fitter will buy it. Again, get 6 posts with plate storage.
    Pick a bar or bars.
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    EricAtl,

    Nice setup. What do you like about the legend rack? Haven't looked at those at all.
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    I'll weigh in on the flooring,. I'd sure pop for the rolled rubber before I did on the calibrated plates.

    A) calibrated plates are absurdly expensive and really offer no advantage over a quality +/- 2% accurate plate. Especially if you know what your plates weigh. Unless you compete or just have to have them....skip.

    B) stall mats would have been $400+ vs $800 rolled rubber in my room. And the additional labor of stall mats being transported home, stall mats weigh double of rolled rubber and for what? Extra seams to be irritated about. The rolled rubber was delivered freight to my driveway on convenient rolls that stood up nicely on hand truck and rolled into place.




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    Originally Posted by chadsalt View Post
    I'll weigh in on the flooring,. I'd sure pop for the rolled rubber before I did on the calibrated plates.

    A) calibrated plates are absurdly expensive and really offer no advantage over a quality +/- 2% accurate plate. Especially if you know what your plates weigh. Unless you compete or just have to have them....skip.

    B) stall mats would have been $400+ vs $800 rolled rubber in my room. And the additional labor of stall mats being transported home, stall mats weigh double of rolled rubber and for what? Extra seams to be irritated about. The rolled rubber was delivered freight to my driveway on convenient rolls that stood up nicely on hand truck and rolled into place.




    This. On spread. I took over the garage slowly. 4 mats, then 6. Rest was play area for children. Then a few more mats, then the entire garage. One day going to have to go rolled rubber. But moving the cable cross will be a challenge.
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    Registered User EricAtl's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Rakshar View Post
    EricAtl,

    Nice setup. What do you like about the legend rack? Haven't looked at those at all.
    If you want legend contact them directll, do not go thru a third party.
    I like the open top but that might not be an advantage. It’s good if tall and you want to press in the rack. Fully welded sides are nice but more of a challenge to move around. Legend is in Tennessee and I’m in Georgia so shipping was not too expensive. I already had the legend adjustable bench, legend dumbbell rack, and legend pulldown low row.
    Rogue has side holes for,attachments which can be nice. Now they offer colors, before it was only black.
    Check out garagegyms for lots of reviews of benches, bars, etc
    https://www.garage-gyms.com
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    OP some great advice in the previous posts. I have 2 Legend racks and wouldn't hesitate to recommend Legend, I replaced 3/4" stall mats with 3/8" rolled rubber last year and wish I'd done it before.

    I'd get my rack, bench and Olympic set in place, then take a little time to consider your options, your goals and lifting preferences should dictate your future purchases.
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    My apologies, what I've been referring to as calibrated steel plates are in fact machined plates within 2% of the stated weight and that's what I recommend. Calibrated within 10 grams isn't worth the extra money
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    Originally Posted by Rakshar View Post
    I have looked at the local craigslist (New Orleans area) just for regular iron plates/gear and the selection is pitiful so I am definitely leaning towards biting the extra expense and getting everything new.
    FB Marketplace has virtually killed Craigslist. Start there.

    https://www.facebook.com/marketplace...3047953664092/

    https://www.facebook.com/marketplace...0336121991682/
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    Registered User EricAtl's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Duplicitous View Post
    First link has what I think is a Cybex incline chest for 250. I would like to find one of those locally.
    OP where are you located.
    I quote with pics. ()---() York Barbell Club #78 (DD) ()---()
    My gym walk thru: https://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?p=1629553623#post1629553623
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    Guys, tell me more about this roll flooring.
    It looks like 4’ wide rolls? Can you seam it together? I have stall mats. They are always expanding and contracting/moving.

    Are they “hard” like stall mats? Meaning, can you bolt a power rack over top? If not, how,easy is this stuff to cut?

    I have a 10 x 24 area.
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    Originally Posted by gym62richard View Post
    OP some great advice in the previous posts. I have 2 Legend racks and wouldn't hesitate to recommend Legend, I replaced 3/4" stall mats with 3/8" rolled rubber last year and wish I'd done it before.

    I'd get my rack, bench and Olympic set in place, then take a little time to consider your options, your goals and lifting preferences should dictate your future purchases.
    EricAtl, Chadsalt, and gym62richard,

    I think you all sold me on the rolled rubber. Thank you for your expertise and knowledge!
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    Registered User Rakshar's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by EricAtl View Post
    First link has what I think is a Cybex incline chest for 250. I would like to find one of those locally.
    OP where are you located.
    I am in New Orleans. I am going to have to check out Duplicitous' recommendation. Thank you Duplicitous!
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    husband, father, trainer KyleAaron's Avatar
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    Honestly, a healthy young person needs only barbell and plates, and maybe a chinup bar, not even a rack. As you get older you need a rack.

    With $10k I'd spend good money on a quality barbell, buy cheapish plates, all for about $1,000. I'd spend $4,000 on coaching and the other $5,000 on good food.

    My home gym has 10 barbells, from an 8kg to a safety squat bar, power bars and weightlifting bars, a set of stands, a fixed bench and two power racks. But I train others here and lots are older and/or beat up, so I need more than most. It's cost me about $10k over five years - I started with very little and then bought things as I needed them. About $1,800 was just the rubber matting.
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    Originally Posted by KyleAaron View Post
    Honestly, a healthy young person needs only barbell and plates, and maybe a chinup bar, not even a rack. As you get older you need a rack.
    OK, I'll bite ... Why does a healthy young person not need a rack? Is safety unimportant when you're young and healthy? Or is it simply that young healthy people are more likely to have young healthy people to spot them? Or are young people not supposed to be benching? Or not lifting to failure? OK, so I'm clearly just tossing out random ridiculous ****. Do tell ... Why does a healthy young person not need a rack?
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    Originally Posted by Duplicitous View Post
    OK, I'll bite ... Why does a healthy young person not need a rack?
    With just a barbell and plates they can do, among other exercises

    - clean & press
    - clean & push press
    - clean & squat/split jerk
    - clean & front squat
    - rows
    - snatches
    - deadlifts, including the variations of Romanian, sumo and snatch grip
    - curls, tricep extensions, etc

    All done on their feet with no need for a rack, as any weight too heavy for them is simply dropped to the floor. If they want to lie down on the floor with their barbell they can do pullovers and floor press. And of course they can still do pushups and situps and planks and chinups and so on, too.

    They'll be missing out on back squats and bench press, but if they're doing all the above for years and years I don't think it's a big deal. They'll get good physical development of strength, joint mobility and so on with just the above.

    Now, if they are unhealthy - dodgy shoulder or whatever - then they can't do cleans or snatches, so to get the bar high enough for a press or front/back squat they need a rack. And older folk who are previously untrained shouldn't do the quick lifts. But if they're young and healthy then they can get a complete workout with just a barbell and plates.

    It's nice to have more, but there's what's what you want, and what you need. Different things. That's why I mentioned spending some money on coaching, since many people have gear, but few people use it well. I could buy $10,000 of the finest paints and canvas and I still wouldn't be a good painter. Whether we're talking about gym stuff or painting or carpentry or whatever, $1,000 of tools plus $1,000 of instruction will get you better results than $2,000 of tools.
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    Originally Posted by KyleAaron View Post
    With just a barbell and plates they can do, among other exercises

    - clean & press
    - clean & push press
    - clean & squat/split jerk
    - clean & front squat
    - rows
    - snatches
    - deadlifts, including the variations of Romanian, sumo and snatch grip
    - curls, tricep extensions, etc

    All done on their feet with no need for a rack, as any weight too heavy for them is simply dropped to the floor. If they want to lie down on the floor with their barbell they can do pullovers and floor press. And of course they can still do pushups and situps and planks and chinups and so on, too.

    They'll be missing out on back squats and bench press, but if they're doing all the above for years and years I don't think it's a big deal. They'll get good physical development of strength, joint mobility and so on with just the above.

    Now, if they are unhealthy - dodgy shoulder or whatever - then they can't do cleans or snatches, so to get the bar high enough for a press or front/back squat they need a rack. And older folk who are previously untrained shouldn't do the quick lifts. But if they're young and healthy then they can get a complete workout with just a barbell and plates.

    It's nice to have more, but there's what's what you want, and what you need. Different things. That's why I mentioned spending some money on coaching, since many people have gear, but few people use it well. I could buy $10,000 of the finest paints and canvas and I still wouldn't be a good painter. Whether we're talking about gym stuff or painting or carpentry or whatever, $1,000 of tools plus $1,000 of instruction will get you better results than $2,000 of tools.

    Of course you're correct, but this is "equipment forum".
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    OG Duplicitous's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by KyleAaron View Post
    With just a barbell and plates they can do, among other exercises

    - clean & press
    - clean & push press
    - clean & squat/split jerk
    - clean & front squat
    - rows
    - snatches
    - deadlifts, including the variations of Romanian, sumo and snatch grip
    - curls, tricep extensions, etc

    All done on their feet with no need for a rack, as any weight too heavy for them is simply dropped to the floor. If they want to lie down on the floor with their barbell they can do pullovers and floor press. And of course they can still do pushups and situps and planks and chinups and so on, too.

    They'll be missing out on back squats and bench press, but if they're doing all the above for years and years I don't think it's a big deal. They'll get good physical development of strength, joint mobility and so on with just the above.

    Now, if they are unhealthy - dodgy shoulder or whatever - then they can't do cleans or snatches, so to get the bar high enough for a press or front/back squat they need a rack. And older folk who are previously untrained shouldn't do the quick lifts. But if they're young and healthy then they can get a complete workout with just a barbell and plates.
    OK, but that reasoning would apply to any age. Most Crossfit gyms are largely comprised of middle-aged and above people doing all of those same lifts. btw the OP is 49, so I'm not sure how you even reached this "young and healthy" detour.
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