My Garage Gym…Thanks to the Art of Manliness

I just finished reading a blog on The Art of Manliness website about home gyms and thought I’d do a short profile on mine.

Once you finish, don’t forget to check out the original post on their site- Turning Your Garage Into a Home Gym.

After years of joining gyms off and on and trying to make my way there at just the right time when it’s not too crowded, the traffic’s not too bad, or the staff aren’t all on their periods at the same time I decided to just go ahead and deck out my own home gym. The previous owners of the house we bought had split the two-car garage into two spaces with a wall down the middle, so it was already set up great for both a workout space and a laundry room.

My wife finished out the workout space with new paint, repaired the walls, and did some beautiful trim all around the base. That’s right, I said “my wife”. She’s great with remodeling work and really enjoys it, and I’d rather spend time doing other things, like working out. If you think I should lose my Man Card over that, you’re welcome to come visit me in my home dojo and we’ll talk about it.

We have a workable garage gym/dojo that’s good for working out with the weights, doing videos like P90X, and martial arts classes with my kids. We actually incorporate the physical fitness and fighting classes into our kids’ homeschool curriculum.



We padded the floor with some really great 2″ thick padding. It’s firm and not too bouncy. The only drawback was that it rubs away easy with any amount of friction. To fix this we added 1/2″ interlocking rubber mats over it. This made the floor suitable for both workouts and martial arts practice.

Weight Equipment-

I’m both sentimental and practical about my weights. Most of my free weight equipment was given to me by my grandfather and is original Weider brand equipment that’s well over 50 years old. It’s still holding up. The pic below is my grandpa boxing. Dudes used to travel from several towns over just to fight him.

Henry & Bill copy

My other weights came to me from many different sources, including gifts from my dad, garage sales, or people giving them away. My wife and parents got together and bought me a set of adjustable dumbbells as a gift.

My homemade kettlebell is a la 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferriss. I wrote a blog about them HERE.

I’m pretty proud of my weight bench. I talked the local sporting goods store into a hefty discount if I bought the floor model and carried it right out. Not only was it cheaper, but I didn’t have to assemble it.


Martial Arts Equipment-

I keep several full sets of martial arts pads and fighting gear easily accessible on the pegboard. After a workout or sparring session we hang it up so it can dry well and not get a funkiness about it. I also do quite a bit of swordfighting, so there are plenty of foam, wood, and bamboo practice swords available.

In addition to the pads, I also have a heavy bag with a 200# sand-filled base, a smaller hanging punch bag, and a heavy bag that sits on the floor. The one on the floor is for simulated practice beating on someone on the ground.


Audiovisual Setup-

I have a television, DVD player, and a radio for training videos, music, or to entertain the kids when I banish them to the dojo from the main house. In the cabinet under the electronics I have a collection of workout programs and martial arts books.


For decoration I have my collection of autographed posters from fighters, a few pics of my grandpa, several Fight Club posters, and a few items from a strongman event I attended.


Next Steps- My dad’s company installs these awesome garage door screens. They act like a screen door when the garage door is up to keep bugs and snakes out and the kids in. I originally had them done with regular screen, but my dad’s company also carries a privacy screen that you can see out of and people can’t see in. I’m going to switch the screens into these. Then I could work out naked and no one would know.

This message was written by Dr. David Powers. You can always find me at Thanks for reading!


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