“The Office”. Our squat rack in all it’s glory.

Last year my wife and I decided to pull the trigger and buy a squat rack for our home. Prior to the purchase, we would frequent our local gym whenever we wanted to get under a barbell. Unfortunately, often times obtaining a rack would be difficult when the gym floor was busy. Moreover, we were a bit intimidated by the power racks in the club during our lifting infancy. To address both issues initially, we started only lifting once a week, early on Sunday mornings, while the gym was relatively quiet.

We quickly became much more comfortable using the power racks, however we still had the issue of often not being able to secure one for our use. And even when it wasn’t too busy and we would get a rack, we often wouldn’t perform the workout the way we intended, feeling pressure to move through the exercises quickly so the next person in line could access the equipment. Of course, occasionally someone would work in with us (or us, them), but this wasn’t always possible. And the fact that you often need long rest periods between heavy barbell lifts, means you might just be sitting around a busy gym, seemingly occupying a rack someone else could be using (yes, I overthink these things).

Ultimately, for peace of mind and convenience, we cleaned out our garage, and installed our own rack. Our garage is now almost exclusively used as a home gym. Given it’s only a one-car garage, and we live in a cold and snowy climate, this dedicated space came at the cost of a clean and warm car during the winter months (thanks Babe!)

Our home gym is fairly sparse, but more than sufficient for our purposes. Currently, we have the following equipment:

  • Squat rack with safety’s
  • Standard, 45 lb Olympic barbell
  • Just over 400 lbs of bumper plates
  • Flat bench
  • Dip/Pull-up belt
  • Rings
  • A few bands
  • 35 lb kettlebell
  • A few light dumbbells

We made a commitment to first see if we would survive a winter using the garage gym before we added too much equipment. We wanted to determine if we’d actually use the space on frigid January mornings. I’m happy to report the space was in fact used regularly, though it could definitely use some added insulation. A little bit warmer would be nice.

We survived the winter, and we’ve really been enjoying the space through the summer months. Since the garage gym is working well, we’ll likely pick up a few additional pieces of equipment at some point. Although not required, here are a few items I’d personally like to add:

  • Perhaps one day replace the squat rack with a full-fledged power rack
  • Additional, heavier kettlebells
  • Add an additional Olympic bar
  • Trap bar (especially to perform loaded walks in the backyard during the summer)
  • Incline bench

I’ll continue to share updates about our garage gym as we make changes. So far, the experiment has been a success, and we’re very happy we decided to do it. Now all we need to do is figure out how to keep the barbell warmer in January!