Building a budget home gym

This week I cycled over 250 km commuting to work and back. Next week I will probably be doing the same and then riding an additional 160 km in a sportive with a couple of friends next Sunday. I can be quite susceptible to over-exterting myself and getting injured so I decided to be sensible and stay off the bike this weekend. One of the great things about our new house in the countryside is the abundance of local walks, so my wife and I went out walking to enjoy the fresh air and laugh at all the grumpy cows who all stare menacingly as you walk through their fields.

One of the disadvantages of living in the sticks is that I am nowhere near the gym where I still have two months left on my annual membership. Like most other global mega gyms, the terms and conditions of the contract do not allow you to cancel when you move house and can’t get to the gym any more.

The problem with exercising on a bicycle alone is that you may quickly end up with the impressive legs of a rhinoceros and the equally unimpressive upper body of an infant. When you add sharp tan lines across your biceps which are thinner than your wrists then some people might feel that this isn’t an aspirational fitness goal for a normal person not competing in the Tour de France. With all of this in mind, this weekend I decided to cobble together a home gym in the garage using a mixture of scrap materials and a few bits and pieces from the local hardware shop. Today I embarked on a project to build some dipping bars.

Cricket bat grips, table legs and a steel bar

I am also hoping to build a chin up bar which will require the steel bar and 2 of the grips above. However, this will largely depend of the success of the first project.

Our new house came with a workbench and vice already in the garage. This clinched the deal for one of the house members

Attach table legs to wall and pull on cricket bat grips.

Consider Hooke’s Law of Cantilever Beams and the resulting stresses on the table leg baseplates and then promptly install a couple of timber props beneath the bars to prevent the possible outcome of smashing one’s head into the wall mid-dip

Add a timber block for easy access and get ready to take the first dip of faith …


The total cost of this first piece of equipment was £4 for the two bat grips and £6 for the table legs. The timber and fixings were all stuff I already had, but are unlikely to cost more than a few quid. In terms of durability it may require some sort of brace to prevent sideways movement, but for now I’m relying on the wall fixings.

Happy dipping

First on this week’s To Do List is to cancel my redundant gym membership. To complicate things I may need to give three months written notice which only starts from the first day of the month following receipt of the letter. I probably ought to check the terms & conditions and see whether I need to seal the envelope using one or two different bottles of fairy’s tears.

6 thoughts on “Building a budget home gym

  1. bgddyjim says:

    That’s a great idea brother! For the gym, if they won’t work with you on moving and try to soak you for three extra months, cancel their ability to pull funds from your account with your bank. You’ll have to deal with some annoying phone calls, but they should drop it. If they do something stupid, like sending it to a collection agency, ask your boss if you can have the corporate lawyer draft a note to the gym to drop it (or do this beforehand). You’ll be amazed at how pliable companies become once lawyers are involved. On the other hand, if you have the cheddar, you might jus pay up. Me, I’m not paying for something I can’t use – no matter how much the persons due to receive a free handout would like me to.

    Awesome job on the 160+ miles. That’s a long way to go in a week for a working fella.

    • bikevcar says:

      Thanks. It’s not a huge monthly fee so I think it’s easier to pay up than have a debt collecting agency hassle me for months and black-list my credit rating. But I hear what you’re saying.

  2. traumfahrrad says:

    wen i started commuting from bristol to churchill a few years back it changed my riding radically. by the weekend i was pretty tired so tended to not go out. I’d already got between 120 and 180 miles in the bank. had to adjust my eating, hydration, all sorts. took about 3-4 months to get used to it. went through a phase of doing it 4 or 5 times a week. nowadays i’ve reduced that to 3 or 4 and timetable it more carefully around the weekend. Essentially, it’s all the training i tend to do.

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