Should You Make Your Own Gym Equipment?


Unless you’re the ultimate McGuyver like handyman and you truly enjoy doing it, there’s rarely a time that it’s worth building your own equipment.

It’s like saving twenty bucks at the car wash and doing it yourself.

It takes you two hours to do a good job. So now it cost you ten bucks an hour.

Surely your time is worth more than that. And you could have done something more productive.

It’s a mindset shift that can make a huge difference in your life.

Save money on material possessions, yes. I’m all for that. Buy cheaper clothes, drive a less expensive car, shop at farmers markets.

But never save when you have to sacrifice your time. It’s too precious.

By changing your mindset about things like this you will be more successful, make more money and live a happier life.

If you can afford to pay someone to cut the grass, clean the gutters, do your homework (just kidding, that only worked for me) do it.

If you can afford a pair of rings from Rogue get them. They’re an essential part of an all around good strength training program so you should definitely have a pair.

But don’t be putzing around in the basement and at Home Depot trying to build your own when you could use the two or three hours to read a great book or do something that will improve your life.

You’ve always got to look at your time and decide what it’s worth to you. Is it $20 an hour? Is $100 an hour? Whatever it is you need to decide then know that anything you waste time doing for less than that is taking you away from a happier, more successful life.

Here’s what long time Renegade Inner Circle member, Kyle Matthews had to share on the subject:

“Fletch and I made this mistake with a lot of different shit. 

We built a sled. It cost $113 in metal and probably about $30 in paint. Then, it took 2-3 long days of cutting, sanding, welding, grinding, and painting to finish. They’re only $285 from Rogue. Looking back that was a gigantic waste of time.”

And my friend and colleague, Alwn Cosgrove puts it like this:

“Doctors don’t try to make a stethoscope that is just as good or better than one a professional designed, so what makes people think they can replicate training gear in their garage and make a superior product?”

To me it’s silly and represents a failure mindset.

If you want to start doing thick grip training don’t waste time with finding hard foam and four rolls of Duck tape. Order a pair of Fat Gripz. Instead of hammering together some wooden squat stands buy a good pair from Rogue that will last.



We could all have more knowledge, a greater skill set, better relationships, etc. if we really understood how precious time is and how little of it we can afford to waste. 



The bottom line is this: Always buy the highest quality stuff and pay for the highest quality services you can afford.

Then do something life changing with your free time.

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13 Responses to Should You Make Your Own Gym Equipment?

  1. Jim November 21, 2012 at 9:23 am #

    Right on man. I got a sled from Rogue instead of trying to rig one up. So glad I did!

  2. William November 21, 2012 at 9:29 am #

    Good read Jason! I love using random things around the house or yard for a good workout but when it comes to big projects like a sled or squat rack…I always talk myself out of it and end up using that time on something more important.

  3. Mark November 21, 2012 at 9:35 am #

    I’ve done a little building and had two results: the first one is stated in this article. I wasted my time and money. I learned a lot about the stuff in my garage gym at the same time, so that it wasn’t a complete loss. Of course, I also made a few things that I still use and have saved myself from purchasing it online for a few hundred dollars.

    Squat racks, though, I was going to try until I found one at a garage sale for 20 bucks. As much as I’d like to learn how to put one together … that was just too good a deal. The sled idea is my next project, but I just found one on Kijiji for less than the cost of the materials I was going to use.

    Keep you options and eyes open!

  4. chuck November 21, 2012 at 9:42 am #

    i agree with you to an extent. i’ve made a lot of my own equipment. i enjoy doing it but i can quickly do the math and determine whether it is worth my time or not. the basic foundation of a good weight room cannot be fabricated by the average guy with average tools. but let’s face it, many people are sitting around on their ass watching TV. working with their hands and brain to make something that can build their strength is a worthy pursuit in my opinion.

    also, doing labor around the house is a worthy use of time. get outside and get dirty every once in a while. we are ending up up with a country of people who don’t know the first thing about self sufficiency. there is no better way to learn than doing. you cannot get that from a book.

    • Jim November 21, 2012 at 10:27 am #

      Some good points Chuck. Getting outside and dirty is always a good choice.

  5. John Phung November 21, 2012 at 2:37 pm #

    Totally agree with this post. Not only is it a potential waste of time and money, but there could be safety issues with the homemade equipment. ex. Personally I wouldn’t trust a diy wooden power rack.

  6. Doug November 21, 2012 at 6:17 pm #

    I had my sled made by the tech students at the high school I work at. They did it for a party tray…still good after 2 years. But I agree about 99% of all the equipment out there..best to get the real deal…

  7. chuck November 21, 2012 at 7:54 pm #

    i made a sled out of an of car tire, some left over construction material, and some i bought from lowes. cost me about $11 and 45 minutes of time. when walking or running with it behind me, cannot tell the difference between it and the steel deals i’ve trained with elsewhere. gravity and friction are something my ass and hammies cannot distinguish between $11 piece of equipment and $150 piece of equipment.

  8. Jeff November 21, 2012 at 9:25 pm #

    I agree and disagree.

    I have the tools to make a lot of different workout equipment…but…things I would never try to make: Squat Rack and Bench.

    Things that I have made:

    - 4 Plyo Boxes 8″, 12″, 18″ 26″ and saved hundreds of dollars and they’re a thicker gauge steel than most you’d buy…they’re heavy duty and with steel plated tops…impossible to hurt them.

    - Various Cable attachments that I’ve seen go for a lot more on many websites

    - Sled which again cost way less than a store bought one

    - Various Grip Attachments I saw on Rogue’s website.

    Things I plan on making with some leftover steel I have:

    - Prowler, but I may make it so it can fit the replaceable ski pads (or whatever they’re called)…and it will be a very minimalist Prowler and not as pretty as Elitefts’s, but it’ll do the same job…

    - Farmer Walk Handles, the plate loaded kind with plates at each end

    - Landmine thing I saw on Rogue’s website, kind that is anchored by 45 lbs plates

    - And I saw Zach Evan Esh had a cool looking Zercher implement that looked easy enough to make

    All of these things will save me $100′s of dollars, and I get to play in the garage and be loud…all pluses to me!

  9. Brian November 22, 2012 at 6:08 am #

    Totally agree. The same logic applies to food. Yes, grass fed beef is $8/lb instead of $4/lb. But, when an inpatient hospital stay costs $2,000 per day when you are sick and diseased, you pay more in the long run.

  10. Dave November 24, 2012 at 10:22 am #

    I once made a power rack. I think it cost me nealry as much as if I had just gone out and bought one (which I eventually did anyway!).

  11. Alex Juel November 24, 2012 at 10:24 am #

    I also agree and disagree. It depends on the person but for me personally, I enjoy spending time in the garage building things. Saving money is a bonus. I won’t waste time on a project that I don’t find interesting just to save money though.

  12. jonathan January 3, 2013 at 12:56 pm #

    ross enamait will hate you! but seriously I understand and agree with your point to an extent but for certain things it is cost effective, i built my own squat rack out of wood and an old driveshaft and i’ve dropped 400 lb’s so its pretty safe and it cost £90 which better than something more expensive IMO.

    The money I save goes toward food/heating/books which is a plus in my books!