Adventures with Suspension Training in My Garage Gym

Designing My Own Cheap Version

I admit it, I'm not a big fan of gyms, commercial gyms specifically. It's a personal preference. I like solitude when I workout or at least small groups. I also like to choose my own music (if any,)perform unusual and dangerous exercises, and let the dog hang out. Oh, and leave the air conditioning off, I'll take hot and steamy, thanks. For those reasons and others I workout 90% of the time at my house, and usually in the garage. Besides the usual barbells and dumbbells, I suspended a pull-up bar from the ceiling, made some 'clubs' out of galvanized steel pipe, and a slosh stick out of pvc pipe filled with water. What I had always wanted to include was suspension training. The TRX, with its fancy yellow nylon webbing, it's quick adjustments and glowing hard body models demonstrating new and interesting exercises, captured my imagination. Now don't be silly, I wasn't about to shell out $150+ dollars when I could attempt to make my own version of suspension training!
The solution was simple: I had suspended a capped iron bar from the ceiling using eye hooks screwed into the joists. This was my pull-up bar, and it was suspended by rope bought at Home Depot. Then I tied knots to the eye hooks, and tied those knots into knots, then on the other end I had to tie knots to the bar, and re-tie knots to get the measurements correct, until I was really sick of tying knots. My plan for the suspension trainer was the same, suspend rope from the eye hooks screwed into the ceiling. For handles, I had some 1 1/2" pvc pipe I ran the rope through. Presto!
Of course, we're back to tying knots, and retying, and with these sumbitches, because each rope hung from its own hook, I had to adjust a lot to get the height even. It was at this point I began dreaming about that shiny yellow nylon webbing. I imagined how easy it would be to anchor it to the ceiling. Maybe even easier now that I had already installed eye hooks! But no! I'm a man, I love my green rope and pve pipe substitute! So I kept adjusting until I was satisfied.

Flaws in the Design

I wouldn't say there were flaws in the design, it just wasn't the TRX. My invention wasn't even gymnastics rings. Now it worked alright. I mean hell I only had one ugly knot-loosening incident. Fortunately I wasn't hanging upside down when that happened. I could do all kinds of exercises including rows from several angles, inversions, and various push-ups and dips with the aid of a step-stool or ladder. However, not being able to quickly adjust the ropes made the tool much less versatile than even basic gymnastics rings. Let alone that commercial contraption with the pretty yellow nylon webbing.
I hung on to the dream a little longer. In place of the additional strap that hangs down like a stirrup from the TRX handles, I put my own little strap. So glad I kept that extra green rope! It hung from the PVC pipe handle just like a stirrup. Not right away, though. First I had to adjust it by tying, re-tying, you know the drill.
I was so proud of my genius that I invited one of my friends and trainees to try it. He was somewhat skeptical. He stared at the roughly chopped pipe handles, and his eyes traveled to the ceiling to study the attachment process. "Don't worry, you're not even going to be putting your full weight on it. Just stick your feet in here, no down more, whoops, look out, maybe you should let me help you..."

I was soon the only user of my suspension trainer. Although I still find it very useful, it hangs there looking like an outdated relic. I sense that it knows its fate. It stares out across the garage at the failed PVC pipe and green rope trapeze experiment, now laying in a pile in a dark and dusty corner.

I'm going to miss my various contraptions. After all, the TRX can be taken anywhere, and well, I'm sick of tying knots. The fact is, the weather in Arizona is beautiful. This is the best time of year to be outside here, for the sane people anyway. In a few short months the temperature will be topping 100, and I will scurry indoors to continue using my new workout tools. Shoot, look at the time. I have got to go! I found a concrete-filled parking post out in the middle of the desert that someone left behind. Now I know I can do something with that!

For more information, or to shop the TRX, read the post "Buy TRX Suspension Trainer Online," or click on the link below:

http://www.fitnessanywhere.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=SFNT&Store_Code=buy-trx&AFFIL=y5tybUv8






   Don't forget the padding.

4 comments:

Vicky said...

Wish I could see a picture of this contraption! I could let you know if there may be some OSHA regulation issues :). But yes, it's true, who wants to spend a couple of hundred dollars on some workout device? Not me, thanks! Since I live in the Chicago and don't have a garage, I am one of those suckers who goes to the gym in the winter, where sweaty people and un-sanitzed machines can be found. Not very pleasing, but I guess it does the job.

ChrisMo said...

VickyJo,

I'll be sure and suspend some hooks from your apartment ceiling when we visit!

Anonymous said...

where can I buy the pvc pipe part?

ChrisMo said...

This is PVC pipe carried at any home improvement store. Find the diameter comfortable for your hands and cut off pieces about four six inches long for the handles. Have fun!