Muscles of Iron

Strength, Health, and Might

Growing a Workshop for Building Strength Equipment

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Almost nothing can make you more proud of your gym than adding a homemade piece of strength equipment to it. Whether you build a simple weight bench or a sophisticated power rack, pride and personal satisfaction will always be associated with your signature training apparatus. If you don’t understand what I’m talking about, then you are really missing something big. Build your first piece of strength equipment and then you’ll see the light – brightly and clearly.

Photo 1

A small workshop in the corner of a garage.

To build great strength equipment, a workshop need not be large or sophisticated. Shown here is my garage woodshop. It is simple and compact, but it gets the job done nicely.

Building your own strength equipment not only helps you build bigger and stronger muscles, it stimulates your brain too. Yep, a little creative work in the wood shop will not only give you the tools you need to get bigger and stronger, doing so will push your creative juices into motion and keep your neurons in top working order. As an added bonus, building strength equipment in the shop is fun too.

Now, some of you may not have a workshop or even know how to use a simple hand saw. Not to worry. The fact is it is relatively easy to establish a good functional shop with limited equipment, and learning how to use basic tools is a task within the reach of any soul who is willing to practice and learn a bit.

Even if you have little money for tools and little available space for a shop, this scenario should not limit your ambitions. Sorry, but lack of time is not a good excuse either. As was stated some years ago in an issue of Mechanix Illustrated,

“Luckily it is just as feasible to establish a good functional shop in a small amount of space and with limited equipment as it is to do the job when you are able to use all the space you need, have all the money you want to equip it, and have all the time you need to set up it.”

The aforementioned quote is one of my favorite sayings ever, and I have committed it to memory. You may want to do the same. It applies not only to building a functional work shop, but to practically everything. A corollary of this quote is that being on a tight budget with limited resources forces you to think smarter and harder. And, when hard work is combined with hard thinking and a burning desire, the outcome almost always transcends what money can buy.

Photo 2

A small workshop in the corner of a basement.

Here’s a new workshop that I am growing in a corner of the family basement. It’s nice and simple, and it will soon be used to build a new wooden power rack.

It is also a simple truth that good things grow from small beginnings. You don’t need to get a bunch of tools all at once to get started building your own strength equipment. Place a simple workbench in the corner of your garage, basement, outdoor shed, or living space. Then, obtain a few basic tools – a hammer, a drill, a hand saw, a steel rule, a few screw drivers – and you are ready to build something really special. If you don’t own a workbench and can’t afford to buy one, no problem; build a workbench for your first project. Your concoction doesn’t need to be sophisticated; something simple will get you going just fine.

In time, as you require special needs, you can add tools and power equipment to your workshop. You may also want to add utilities, such as additional electrical receptacles and improved lighting. But even if you are forced to work under rather barren conditions for a while, you are not really limited. I’ve built quite a few pieces of strength equipment over the years while working under a single 60-watt light bulb and with just a few hand tools.

Yours in strength,
Robert Drucker