Power Athlete Garage Gym

Hey John,

Thought it would be badass to have an article on setting up a cffb garage gym.

Thank you,



Thanks for the suggestion. I read your question a few weeks ago, thought it over and agree there should be a equipment list for a CFFB garage gym.

The gym should have basic useful equipment with no frills. Let's assume you won't have a ton a room, so everything needs to be multi-purpose.

I feel you should ask yourself one question when selecting equipment.

Would Conan or Rocky has used this in their training?


- I think the most versatile piece of equipment out there is the Base Station/Yoke of Goergen from Sorinex or the Yoke from Rogue...it reminds me of the wheel Conan pushes. You can squat, bench, press, do pull ups & chin ups, use it as a push/pull sled, as a yoke and for farmer’s carries. You can attach a platform for box jumps, attach a dip bar and attach bands for dynamic work. This single piece of equipment covers about 80% of what you will need.

- Adjustable utility bench.

- Texas Power Bar + a good bar with bearings that spin. You don’t have buy an Eleiko bar, but something that spins is a good idea when doing the Olympic lifts.

- 400 lbs of rubber weights + 300 lbs of iron weights.

- Pair of adjustable dumbbell handles (this is where the 25 lbs iron plates come in handy, as you can make your own dumbbells) for DB bench, single arm DB rows, ect.

- The Prowler Sled or Dog Sled. There are several different types on the Internet or you can find some to weld one up. They are pretty basic and are great for pushing and even better for dragging.

- One 2-pood Kettlebell.

- Concept 2 rower or Aerodyne bike. The aerodyne takes up less room than the C2. Both are great pieces of equipment.

- 1 green 50 pound ball slam from Muscle Driver. They have a 5 year warranty.

- 12-20 lbs sledge hammer from Home Depot and a big tractor tire. The tires can be found for free, just takes some searching.

- 4 sheets of plywood and 3-4 rubber stall mats. The wood can be found at Home Depot and the stall mats can be found at a local livery supply store. While you are there pick up a large horse trough, great for taking an ice bath on hot days.

That is about all you will need to accomplish 99% of the workouts and about all a person could possibly need. One piece to remember is a GHD machine, it is extremely useful for training the posterior chain.

My goal, is to one day have my own backyard gym. Since I live in sunny Southern California, there is no need to fill up the garage with equipment, as the weather is good all year around. Even though, I own my own gym, I have long wished to have weights in the backyard. Now I just need to get a backyard.


Posted in Aggressive, Lifting Weights, Talk to Me Johnnie, Training | Tagged , , , , , , | 15 Comments

15 Responses to Power Athlete Garage Gym

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  2. John,
    thank you for the great article. Since the CrossFit Gyms in Germany are very very rare, I started to build my own gym in my garage a while ago.
    I was thinking about getting a new barbell bar. There are different sizes available, ranging from 160cm to 220 cm. What difference does the length make and which size should I go for?


  3. Um you forgot the shake weight and the iGallop.

  4. adamfromjapan

    Great article, and it totally makes sense.

    What would you recommend for a gym that is trying to start up? I’m a few years away from it myself, but I know that I would be starting out with just the basics for awhile, and would want to maximize efficiency in training space and equipment. The yoke makes a lot of sense in order to be able to train a variety of things without taking up too much of a footprint or needing to buy a ton of stuff.

  5. Jonas P

    Awesome stuff John!
    This equipment will be a big part of my wishlist for starting up a gym!

    P.s. Thanks for an incredible cert. in Denmark this summer!

    Best regards,

  6. Big Josh

    Great post, I’d only add that I’ve been training in my garage for over 10 years and I have everything on the list (and a few other items) and it’s totally paid for itself. Take the $60-100 that you pay in gym fees every month and you can pay for a home gym very quickly (especially if you score on Craig’s list) and nobody curls in my squat rack anymore….

  7. All true Big Josh. But you like to train naked and I am not sure there are any places outside of your garage or Berkeley that would welcome you.

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  10. Big Josh

    True, but I don’t do shrugs naked…….anymore.

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  12. Mitch

    Hi John, good to see an article recommending legit equipment and not 10 lb dumbbells for curls and a shakeweight. I haven’t done anything to my backyard yet but I wanted to know about the flooring. I was wondering if there’s anyway to get away from pouring a huge concrete slab, and I saw that you recommended plywood and mats. Would those need to go over cement or could I do it over blocks, or even the dirt? I’m a newb so hopefully this isn’t a ridiculous question. Thanks in advance.

  13. Ben L.

    what about a tug toner?

  14. Greg

    Great post. However I’m confused because all the workouts use the 40# slam ball, but you;re recommending the 50? Which is better to get.

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