Our New Gym And Some Homemade Equipment

We have a couple of new pieces of gym equipment that my husband made recently, and they were far less expensive than buying ready-made stuff. So I’m sharing details and pictures in case you feel like doing the same thing.

First, he made a calf-raise platform out of scrap lumber that we had left over from finishing our basement.


The whole thing came together very quickly, since it just involved screwing together a couple pieces of 24 and a couple pieces of 26. The only thing we had to buy for this project was the grip tape (made for going on ladder steps or anywhere you need traction). We have lots left over for another project, since this little calf raise platform didn’t need much of it. We put some rug underlay material on the bottom so that it wouldn’t slide around on the floor, and that was it – easy peasy.

We use this either up against a wall (the way it looks in the picture) with free weights, or under our Smith machine with the bar on our shoulders. Either way, it works perfectly and was a great way to use up scrap lumber.

By the way, the Smith machine that’s now in our basement gym was a new Craigslist purchase – we sold the Bowflex for the same price we bought it($200), and bought the Smith machine and lots of weight plates for $225. We also sold the Stair Master for the same price we bought it, and used the proceeds to buy additional weights and a sweet weight tree we found at Goodwill. We like the new setup a lot more, and thanks to the power of buying and selling used, we were able to change things around without spending any additional money. This weight tree was $32 at Goodwill, and it still had its original $200 price sticker on it!


I still do a lot of bodyweight workouts, although now that we have our sweet new setup in the basement, I also find myself doing a lot more weighted workouts too. My husband much prefers lifting heavy weights, so the new gym is perfect for him.

The other little piece of equipment that my husband made is an adjustable kettlebell. It works great, and the total cost for all the supplies was about $16. We can use it with any of our weight plates (or a combination of a couple plates), so it’s very adjustable. Kettlebells are crazy expensive, and harder to come by in the used market than weight plates. Plus, even used, people are usually asking a dollar a pound for them. So ours was a steal. My husband got the inspiration here. The instructions are really simple and the supplies are available at any hardware store, so head over and let Tim Ferriss explain it to you.

Here’s ours:


We added some handlebar padding that we took off of a piece of equipment that we didn’t need anymore, and it fit perfectly. Here’s the kettlebell with a 35 pound plate on it:


The 12 inch stem makes for a killer workout, since the bulk of the weight is shifted out so far from your hands. Kettlebell swings with this thing are a great way to get in a full body workout (including cardio!) in a very short time. We both like it, and we love that we can adjust the weight so easily. And of course the price was right as well.

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