Build a Homemade Gym

How to build a homemade gym by building wooden home workout equipment—the inversion machine and sit-up bench—to keep love handles at bay and promote exercise and health.

| November/December 1985

  • 096-090-01-machine-inversio
    Photo of the homemade inversion gym equipment.
  • 096-090-01-a-02
    Diagram of the homemade wooden gym equipment.
  • 096-090-01-sit-up-bench
    Photo of the homemade sit-up bench gym equipment.

  • 096-090-01-machine-inversio
  • 096-090-01-a-02
  • 096-090-01-sit-up-bench

Don't let the joys of the season go to waist—instead build a homemade gym. Now you can indulge (in holiday goodies) and not bulge (in all the obvious places). (See the homemade gym photos and gym diagram in the image gallery.)

Build a Homemade Gym

A year ago last summer, MOTHER's pages featured an eight-piece home fitness center made almost exclusively of dimensional lumber (see MOTHER EARTH NEWS issues 87, page 112, and issue 88, page 98). Designed and used regularly by competition bodybuilder Carlos DeJesus, the wooden gym helped its creator win a few national championships . . . all for an investment of less than $200!

Now, equipment like Carlos's would be ideal for those people who plan to undertake a complete fitness program . . . but the additional investment in plates, bars, and other accessories might be prohibitive to individuals who simply want to maintain physical tone and hold off the assault of extra pounds. Consequently, MOTHER's research staff developed two inexpensive pieces of equipment that are flexible enough to be used with the wooden fitness center or, on their own, as a means of keeping (or attaining) a trim waistline. Like the DeJesus designs, they're straightforward and can be built with common hand tools . . . so what are you waiting for?

Homemade Sit-Up Bench

Our first fitness tool is an inclined platform, complete with a padded foot bar, which allows you to do anatomically correct sit-ups. The bar guarantees that your knees will be in the recommended bent position, while the incline lets gravity be a little harder on you to assure a worthwhile workout.

Start by locating one 16 inch and two 60 inch lengths of 1 inch thinwall conduit, commonly known as electrical metallic tubing (EMT). If you buy it from a contractor's scrap pile, perhaps you'll be able to borrow a conduit bender that'll allow you to make the necessary 50 degree and 70 degree arcs in the tubes that form the legs. (Ideally, the completed bends should be separated by 24 inches of straight tube, and the foot of the bench should be 17 inches, and the head 12 inches, off the floor.)

After the arcs are formed, use 1/4 inch by 2 inch carriage bolts to fasten the 11-1/4 inch by 20 inch platform to the unbent portions of the two pieces of conduit so that about 4 inches of board hangs over the end. The longer legs should be together and parallel and the shorter ones about 9-1/2 inch apart at the top and splayed slightly outward at the bottom. (If you feel you need a wider stance, allow for it when you bend the conduit.) Tie the two leg sections together with 1/4 inch by 2-1/2 inch bolts placed through the adjoining members.


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