Muscles of Iron

Strength, Health, and Might

The World’s Smallest Lifting Gym Comes Alive

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Here’s the short version of the story:

A few months ago my wife asked me if I would be willing for us to sell our dream home in Fisherville, Kentucky and move closer to Louisville mainstream. I readily agreed to do so thinking that our house would not sell for at least two years. I was wrong; it sold more like in two weeks leaving us in dire straits to find another house in record time.

Bottom line, we sold our dream home (custom built in 2001) and bought a new house (83 years old!) on the same weekend and with no time to spare. Our new home is located in a prime spot of town, but it is much smaller than the one we had in Fisherville. We went from two garages to one; the new lot is 1/25th the size of the former; and the new basement is 1/3 the size of the one we had, at best. Additionally, my previous garage had 100 amps of electrical service; the new one has a mere 15 amps — just enough power to run a circular saw if you are willing to use a flashlight to see rather than turn on the two available light bulbs.

For weeks after we moved into our new home, I couldn’t free up enough room to put together a gym of any size. This forced me to destroy my home–made power rack of 25 years; it was just too tall and too bulky for the new location. I will build a smaller rack later — likely the Davis Power Rack recently featured on this site.

Finally, I created enough open space in our new basement to establish what must be the world’s smallest lifting gym. Sadly, soon after the world’s smallest gym was established it had to be cut in half to make room for the world’s smallest wood shop. Things are not all bad at the new pad, however; we have seven pizza places and three ice cream shops within walking distance of where we now live. Yummy. There are also two nice parks close by for extra walking activity so that those additional calories can be burned off.

After many weeks without a gym, I’m finally getting back to hard training. During today’s workout, I did deadsquats, one–arm Jowett push–ups, barbell neck curls, and heavy shrugs. Yep, things in the world’s smallest gym are coming alive, and a new stage of development is being planned for the long overdue Operation Home Gym Overhaul.

Below are some photos my “world’s smallest lifting gym.” I took them today just prior to and during my workout. Perhaps seeing them will help you see that good things really can come in small packages.

Yours in strength and health,
Rob Drucker

Photo 1

The “world's smallest gym” prior to a workout with weight bench tucked neatly underneath large work table.

This is how the “world’s smallest gym” looked just minutes before today’s training session; there’s hardly a hint of the high–voltage workout to come. Note gin wheel on wall; this was a gift from Sticks, and it will be used when I finally get around to building the Grimek lat machine that he recently featured on MOI. Also, note how the weight bench is stored under the table for space economy.

Photo 2

The gym with training equipment resting on the floor in preparation for doing dead-squats.

Now we’re talking — the deadsquat apparatus is set-up quickly with a pair of clamps. With this baby, you don’t need a power rack to safely build hugely strong legs and an even stronger back. Nor do you need an expensive trap bar. It functions as a good calf–raise board too. By the way, that’s my dad’s custom built and prized stereo cabinet against the back wall; he would roll over in his grave if he knew it ended up in a bodybuilding gym.

Photo 3

The gym with dead-squat apparatus removed and flat weight bench resting in its place.

My hand-made bench is placed in preparation for one–arm Jowett push-ups. This exercise will torch your pecs and triceps beyond what you can imagine. The table at left, which also functions well as a sturdy workbench and as a work desk, is conveniently used to rest my feet on and to elevate my body while I push upwards against the bench.

Photo 4

A two-by-four secured to a ceiling joist with C-clamps.

The seven–foot–high ceiling is too low to attach a traditional chinning bar. No problem — here is something far superior for building muscular might — a two–by–four clamped to a ceiling joist. No need to drill holes either. Do your chins on this setup and you will not only build a barn–wide back, you will build vise–like finger strength and super strong arms in no time.

Photo 5

A heavy barbell is supported by short wooden barbell stands I call “The Twin Towers”

The gym is quickly set up for one finishing set of heavy barbell shrugs to strengthen the back of the neck. The home-made adjustable barbell stands come in handy for this exercise, and for many others as well. I think they look rather cool too, and I refer to them as “The Twin Towers”.