How to equip the gym at home? You only need one neck, several pairs of pancakes, a rack or power frame, a bench and a self-made platform!
Author: Mark Rippeto
Not everyone who wants to practice power training can make training in the gym part of his lifestyle. Shortage of time, high cost of subscription, problems with trips from home or office, lack of gyms in the city with good equipment or simple rejection of the atmosphere of the commercial hall – these reasons force many people to invest in a home gym.
A full home gym for training with a bar does not require huge investments, and it's quite easy to assemble it. A bar, several pairs of pancakes, a power frame or bar racks for squats and presses, a standard horizontal bench for bench press, a platform for deadlift – that's all the equipment you need. For power jerks and pushes, rubber pancakes will be useful, but there is no need for them.
The equipment is quite primitive, and not necessarily expensive, you just need to know some subtleties and nuances.
Saving on the fretboard is a bad idea. Of all the components of the gym, the quality of the neck is of paramount importance. Pancakes simply hang on the bar, the platform just lies under your feet, but the neck acts as a connecting link between you and the force that counteracts you – gravity.
Sometimes the savings are justified. For example, generic drugs are cheaper than brand analogs, although the active substance in them is the same. On the Olympic neck this can not be said. In most cases, you get exactly what you paid. Unless you are lucky enough to find a good and cheap used bar, but today, in the era of rapid growth in interest in training with the barbell, such luck should not be counted particularly. Prepare to lay out for a good neck about 15 000 rubles.
Why so expensive? Because metal is expensive, good production equipment is worth the money, and storing vultures in warehouses is also an expensive pleasure. The cheap vulture will bend, and the folding neck is junk. Scrap metal. The neck, which bends no more than 3 mm, is considered straight, and if the deflection angle from the straight line is more than 4-5 mm, the neck is considered bent.
Load such a bar with pancakes, and it starts playing in your hands – the neck will "level" itself, the ends of the bar go down, and in the central part an arc will form. For squats still far from anywhere, especially if notches on the neck allow you to take it from the stops in a stable position. But if you remove the bar from the stops for sit-ups, press down, lift it from the ground for traction in an unstable position, the bar will start spinning in your hands or on your back. This is not very good, because when performing the exercise there will be problems with security.
In most commercial halls there are a few vultures, and usually all of them bend, because the owners of the halls buy cheap junk, do not know which bar is better, or simply they do not care about this case. Vultures in gyms are bent also because visitors who did not buy equipment for their money, toss them on the floor, on the bench or in the power frame. Even the expensive neck will bend under the weight of 150 kg, if you throw it across the bench. But the cheap neck is bent even when the bar is simply forgotten to be dismantled at the end of the day.
You can check the straightness of the neck, putting it on the floor and turning on the center (if the bushings are not brewed). If the bushes are walking, the neck is not straight. Or you can check it by rotating it in the power frame – the end of the curved neck describes a circle whose diameter is larger than the seating sleeve, and the center of the neck moves forward and backward with the maximum deviation at the bend point. One of the advantages of a home gym is that you can always train with a perfectly straight neck.
On sale there are bars of different diameters. The Olympic Weightlifting Federation requires that the neck diameter be 28 mm, while the International Powerlifting Federation requires that the diameter be between 28 and 29 mm. The standard length of the neck is 2,2 meters, the diameter of the landing sleeve for pancakes is 50 mm, and the weight is 20 kg. The thicker the neck, the stronger it is, therefore in weightlifting with sharp jerks and jerks the "soft" 28 mm neck is used, and the powerlifters need a harder neck, because they work with more weight and perform exercises more slowly.
The Olympic Federation has a special 25 mm standard for women's weightlifting (smaller hands need a smaller neck). Competitors need to take all this into account. For the home gym the best fit is the 28,5 or 29 mm, it is the most durable and resistant to wear. Never buy an 32 mm neck. This is a special bar for sit-ups, which in the home gym is useless. Usually they are all so-so. Another heap of scrap metal.
Pancakes just hang. They are made of cast iron, and they add rod weight. Pancakes do not have to be new, because the old and new cast iron weighs the same. The only thing that should bother you is the weight of the pancakes, and how tightly they sit on the firing posts of the neck. If you find second-hand pancakes, buy. Today this is a rarity, but sometimes they can be found in commissions or in the section of private ads. Used labeled pancakes will cost 30-60 rubles per kilogram, while new ones will cost twice as much. After simple calculations on the calculator, you will start looking for used pancakes with great zeal.
In cheap low-quality pancakes, the diameter of the hole may be too large for the seating bushings. Pancakes with an internal diameter of 52 mm or more will hang out on the bar. It would seem that the problem is not great, but this is until you put the bar on the floor for deadlift. In this case, the vulture will be lying on pancakes, and not the pancakes to hang on the fretboard, and the dangling discs will roll over on their sides. As a result, you will have to tightly fix them with locks or clamps, so that the bar does not turn into a disorderly heap of disks. But even in sit-ups, pancake-dangling pancakes will be distracting when you step back, so you'll always have to use clamps to hold them in place.
The weight of the best pancakes is exactly as indicated on the marking. And they are expensive. The weight of a cheap pancake can be anything. I came across 20 kg pancakes, which weighed 18 kg and 25 kg. As long as you know exactly the weight of the bar, you can hang the same weight on the right and left, and that's fine. It is impossible to estimate the weight of the projectile approximately or by eye.
Depending on your power capabilities – or on what indicators you want to achieve – you will need from 2 to 6 pairs 20 kg pancakes. Pancakes of less weight are very important to properly dose the load. You should be able to hang on the bar exactly as much as necessary. Weight should always be the same, and weight gain – accurate and small, so you can adapt to it and do not build up weight at seven-mile pace.
You will need one pair of 10 kg, two pairs of 5 kg, one pair of 2,5 kg and a set of "mini pancakes" that will allow you to increase the weight of the bar by less than 5 kg. You will not find second-hand mini-pancakes, and they can be expensive in a new set, but they can be made from several 5 cm flat nuts that can be bought at a hardware store.
If you plan to make jerks and jerks, it is much more convenient to use pancakes with "depreciation" in these exercises. Long ago we just caught the bar after completing the exercise and smoothly lowered it to the platform – and only at the competitions threw it to the ground, because the platform was the problem of the organizers, not ours. Today there are rubber pancakes that allow you to throw the bar on the ground without much risk to destroy the surface.
I must say, this changed the nature of the exercise. Since you do not have to lower the projectile under control, half of the work can not be done. But once we have rubber pancakes at our disposal, they should be used, because they reduce the wear of the rod and platform. They are always expensive, even second-hand, which is almost impossible to find nowadays.
Most likely, you will have to buy new ones, but the good news is that you only need three pairs – a pair of 10 kg, a pair of 15 kg and a pair of 20 kg. You will notice that 10 kg pancakes are great for warming up before deadlift because they are not too heavy, although the outer diameter is the same – 45 cm – like the iron 20 kg pancakes. As a result, the distance from the ground to the neck will be the same, but the weight of the shell will be only 40 kg. If you do not plan to engage in Olympic lifts, just buy a pair of rubber pancakes for 10 kg to hang on the bar less weight in the deadlift.
In squats, various presses and bench press you can not do without rod racks. They will relieve you of the need to lift the bar from the floor to the starting position – the process is dangerous, and it limits the working weight that you can use. Racks allow you to advance the projectile from the ground to a comfortable height, substituting hooks on each side of the bar, which reliably hold the weight.
There are a great many racks, from a pair of simple and unconnected to huge welded monsters the size of a garage, which can be found in expensive gyms. Separated racks are dangerous for their instability; if you are not too experienced, a training accident becomes a matter of time. A more suitable option is a small frame for squats, which is similar to the two pillars connected at the bottom. In some frames, it is possible to adjust the height of the stops and even the distance between the hooks, and they are much more stable than the insulated racks.
But the best choice would be a power frame or a "cage", a system of four or six vertical columns. Power frame allows you to place the bar both inside and outside, and at any height. In a good power frame, the base is tightly connected to the carcass, and in the center of the base is a steel cross, covered with a thick plywood shield. A welded frame can be tighter than a collapsible one, but the second is much cheaper, easier to transport and assemble.
A good power frame, a horizontal bench and a platform will provide conditions for the safe execution of all exercises with the bar in the privacy of your home gym. Set the safety bars within the range of motion for squats or bench press, and they will save you from the need for a partner whose absence in the home gym often becomes the main limiting factor.
A steep power frame will cost about 60 000 rubles, but they can be found in the secondary market, so start looking there first. In my opinion, the best power frames are obtained from a C-shaped metal profile, but for vertical columns, a U-shaped profile is more often used. It is these frames that can be found in most gyms. In the power frame there should be both hooks and safety bars so that the bar can be placed inside or outside, depending on the exercise and the presence of the insurer.
If you plan to perform bench press, you will have to lie on something. The horizontal bench will become a reliable support in the exercises, which are performed lying on the back with the bar in the power frame or on the racks. Your horizontal bench should be extremely simple, but damn stable, and at the same time light enough that it can be dragged along the garage, until you do a bench press. By the way, the power frame makes completely useless shops with heavy vertical uprights, which are used in the competitions in powerlifting.
The standard dimensions of the bench are 30 cm width, 120 cm length, 43 height see. Buy this shop because higher / long / short / narrow / wide is not as convenient as a standard bench. The shop should be made of metal tubes or rectangular steel profile, with a full length spacer from the top and another spacer in the middle between the top and legs. The width of the legs should be the same as the width of the top, with a strong metal surface. The metal top will add an unnecessary weight; The boards are strong enough to withstand the working weight at the world record level, so that they will suit you too. My shop is covered with upholstery fabric because the fabric is 15 times stronger than artificial leather and does not become slippery under any circumstances.
This useful thing will help you not to break the floor. The size of the platform depends on how much free space is at your disposal, but the more it is available, the better. You will have enough space to work in front of the power frame. Screw the platform out of 4×8 plywood sheets. Arranging them in six pieces in three layers – each at an angle of 90 degrees to the previous one for greater reliability – you will get an excellent square platform. The platform should be flush with the base of the power frame, so it is the height of the base of the power frame that will determine the total thickness of the plywood sheets.
I emphasize that the platform should go level with the surface of the base of the power frame. Otherwise, you will sooner or later stumble, so measure it seven times. Many offend the platform and the base of the power frame with a rubber floor covering to protect the wood from destruction and make the surface not slippery. In this case, you have to cut the rubber – use a clerical knife and soap solution to simplify the pruning, save time and save nerves.
The platform, which lies on the concrete floor, will have to be turned from time to time. How often? Depends on the humidity in the room. The lower surface absorbs moisture and deforms, while the upper one dries. In the end, the surface becomes convex. You will notice this if you stand on the edge of the platform and it starts to rock. Rubber coating can reduce this effect – here's another reason to use it. If the platform needs to be turned over, be sure to fasten it with special screws on both sides so that they hold it while moving. To turn around, you need two people, so make an appointment with your friends.
Having spent no more than 150 000 rubles – five years of membership in a fitness club or even less – you will assemble a home gym of world level in an area about 15-20 square meters. You can train whenever you want, and with shells, the quality and safety of which is completely under your control. For many, this determines the difference between good training with full concentration and irritation from the need to communicate with unpleasant people, work with lousy shells and spend time traveling to the hall. Invest smartly, and you will never regret having become the owner of quality equipment, or about the independence that your own gym gives.