This post is sponsored by The Home Depot
Building a home gym wasn’t something that I had considered before the pandemic. With most businesses closing their doors, it was quite challenging to find any gym to go to. The one positive here was I already had weights from way back, but unfortunately, I got rid of everything else. I needed space for my woodworking shop. So I figured why not build a homemade gym. I don’t consider myself a good welder, so I stuck to what I was more comfortable with, and that’s wood. Wood is stable even though some may disagree, especially for this type of project.
I have no plans to be a bodybuilder; I just enjoy working out. For my needs, this fits the bill and will allow me to work out until I’m ready to go back to a public gym!
I have a set of plans to go along with this build with greater in-depth detail. You could check that out here.
Step 1. Cut the lumber
Start by cutting off the end of each lumber. Now that you have a straight edge, you can go ahead and cut all your boards to the final length. Most of these cuts can be done with a circular saw.
Step 2. Build the frame for the DIY gym
The standing frames are made of two layers of 2 by 6 lumber. To build the first frame I constructed it using pocket hole joinery. To keep the pocket holes hidden I did it on the outside of the inner frame.
Then I built another frame around that. Using wood glue and clamps to hold as the glue set up. I also added a brace at the bottom.
Then I wrapped the inner frame with the outer frame.
Step 3. Build the cross member for the DIY gym
I had a leftover steel angle that I cut down to create brackets, and I made these as wide as the 2 by 6. Then I drilled two holes, one per side.
I did my best to center the holes on each bracket for consistency. This way, each bracket is identical. I also filed the edges off to remove the sharpness.
I located the center of bracket, on both side. Then, I marked and drilled the holes out. If you drill hard steel like this before, you know these can eat up a bit. For this project, I tried out the Red Helix cobalt bit set from Milwaukee, by far the best option I tried.
Next, I used the brackets to mark the holes on each end of the 2 by 6. After drilling out the holes, I inserted threaded nuts into the 2 by 6. Then I lined up the bracket, and secured it with the screw. I repeated the same thing on each end.
You will need three of these cross braces.
Step 4. Assemble the frame for the home gym
Now that the cross braces are created, clamp them to the frame and transfer the holes from the bracket to the frame. Then remove the cross brace, drill the holes, and insert the threaded nut. Finally, install the brace using the screws. Do this for the front top, the back top, and the back bottom.
Step 5. Add the pull-up bar for the home gym
I use steel galvanized pipe to create a pull up bar. After assembling and tightening the bar, it lines up perfectly with the frame. I turned the flange so that two of the holes land on the frame and two of the holes land on the cross brace.
The two holes in the frame used threaded nuts and the two holes in the cross brace use tea nuts. I drilled the necessary holes and secured the pull-up bar to the frame.
Step 6. Build the frame for the weight storage and attach it to the frame
To do pull-ups on this safe weight needs to be applied to the back of the weight rack. Otherwise, it could tip over. There are two anchoring solutions for this, securing direct to the wall or anchoring it to the floor. If you would rather have the rack free-standing, then weight needs to be applied. For this, you will need to build weight storage that connects to the frame so you can store weight plates on it.
After building the frame to the storage, I added a steel pipe to it. That way, I could store the weight plates when not in use. This is a dual-purpose solution because of storage, and also it anchors the weight rack down. The storage is secured to the frame with two bolts.
Step 7. make the bar holder for the DIY gym
I used plywood to make the bar holder. I felt this would be more durable than the 2 by 6 lumber. I laminated 2 parts of 3/4 inch plywood using wood glue. Then I created a template using a quarter inch sheet of hardboard, but a quarter inch sheet of plywood could work as well.
Making a template will be a huge timesaver. Doing the work once, then using it to make the bar holder will save you a lot of frustration and time. Once the template is created, you can use that to mark and cut out the hooks. I used the jigsaw first to remove most of the materials. Then I use a router with a flush-trim bit to ride along with the template and deliver a perfect finish.
Now, drill the mounting holes through the bar holder and into the frame. I drilled a total of five holes and then installed insert nuts. Now you can easily remove and attach the bar holder.
Step 8. Drill out the hole for the square bar
Now we’re making progress! Make a template to drill out the holes for the safety bars. Again, templates are your friend! It will make your life easy and save you a ton of time. There is this saying: ‘anytime you need to do something more than once make a jig.’ Use the template to drill the holes in each post.
Add as many holes as you feel you may need. The best time to drill the holes is right now, so if you plan on adding more holes later, drill them now! Even if you may not use them.
Finally, I used the router to clean up and round over the holes.
Step 9: Sand, Paint, and Assemble
Sand the entire rack down, and don’t miss the holes or any sharp edges. Then paint the rack whatever color that suits your taste. I kept it simple an add a touch of black.
Step 10: Make the squat bar section
To make the safety bar, cut down a 10-foot steel bar with threaded ends. I kept the two ends so I can put end caps on them. There are probably a few ways to go about making the bar holder, but I created this with a threaded nipple, a 90, (2) end caps, and a PVC for spacing. As long as you tighten this, there should be no worries about this hook twisting.
Step 11: Glamor shots
Here are some of the finished shots from the project. You can find greater detail between the video and the set of plans. The plans cover all of the measurements and materials needed, guiding you from start to finish.
Check out the workout bench
To go along with the weight rack, I also created this modern style weight bench. You can check that video out here as well as the plans.