I would not describe myself as particularly athletic or someone with a high level of physical prowess, but I do like to try and stay relatively healthy and fit through exercise.
I’ve owned a variety of workout equipment over the years. Unfortunately, all the stuff I could ever afford was fairly cheap and of poor quality, so when I decided I needed a squat rack, it didn’t take long for me to realize I wanted to make it myself.
A day later I had built the Squat Rack version 1.0. The supports were too narrow (not allowing me to grab the bar where I wanted to) so I widened it from 3 to 4 feet. With that change I had created version 2.0 seen here in my old house:
I chiseled the word “Today” into the crossbeam, so that I’d see it right before I unracked the bar. This was a favorite mantra of the Franciscan monks of the Medieval period, and since adopting it I’ve found that, like a good horoscope, it applies to almost any situation.
The design of the 2.0 was very sturdy and, though larger, it’s actually much lighter than its steel-framed counterpart. The only problem I had was from a shearing motion which was solved quickly with a pair of diagonal wires tightened with turnbuckles (thus giving me Squat Rack Version 2.1…a reliable model I’ve used without a hitch for years).
Recently, I’ve decided to incorporate the bench press into my workouts. All I’d need to do is make a bench and add a new set of lower pegs to hold the bar.
The previous owners of my new house left a bunch of stuff on the property, and in cob-webby corner of a barn out back I found some short sections of heavy wood timbers:
I threw a spray-paint can into the picture for scale. To get my bench the right size I looked up the official equipment specifications for olympic power-lifting. Based on those regulations I ended up picking out the 4-foot long 4-by-11-inch piece just to the left of the can.
I wanted my bench to match the faux-heavy-timber-joinery style of the squat rack, so the first thing I did was cut out some slots for the first pair of legs:
Then I attached the legs with some heavy lag bolts. These were actually leftover 4×4’s that were used as the cross-beams on the old version 1.0…
I was about to add some more legs when I came up with an idea that would allow me to do both a bench press AND an incline press. It’s kind of difficult to describe what I did to make this possible, so I made a really short video of how the rack can switch from one mode to the next. Just click on this link to see it:
Basically I upgraded my Version 2.3 Squat Rack (2.2 was added support, 2.3 was additional space to hang plates) into an all-new, totally revamped, transforming, total body workout apparatus…or the TBWA 3.0.
No, I don’t really call it that.
Bench press mode:
Incline bench press mode:
I was considering adding some padding to the bench; I even bought a thick 1/2-inch yoga mat to cut and nail to the top, but I liked the look of that chunky slab of old weathered wood so much that I just left it. Without the pad it looks like something that Rocky would have trained on before the Drago fight in Rocky IV.
Padded benches are for spineless commies.
…now the trick is convincing myself to actually use it, but if I can change….and you can change….EVERYBODY can change!!!!
ROCKY! ROCKY! ROCKY! ROCKY!!
Thanks for stopping by,