Mrs. Hess gave me a sweet segue into this post from her “legs day” It’s cheap and easy to assemble, plus if you’re cramped on space this is a must… So I thought I would lay it out for you.

Two years ago I wanted to really get serious lifting weights. I didn’t have a way to load for squats and only had a standard weight bench with a 7ft Olympic bar. If you ever had to “bar shift load” weights like this, you know how unsafe and a pain in the ass it can be. So like always I asked Elisha, if I could buy a Power Rack. This was before she started working out and she said the same drill as always” Sell one of my toys to get a toy”. That is one of the qualities I love about Mrs. Hess, she keeps me grounded. With one kid and one on the way, like most young parents I needed to be a little reserved on my spending. Plus I was still licking my wounds from buying a full carbon road bike after trashing my last one (whole other ego bruse and story) with all that, I started searching online for solutions and with a little tweaking, plus a trip to Lowes, I came up with this design.

IMG_1356Now you can use this for just Squats, but I took it a few steps further. If you notices, it tiers down. This lets me cover bench pressing as well as squats. With the use of a utility workout bench I was able to make this accommodate incline, flat, and decline bench pressing. (other uses I’ve found is racking for military press/behind neck press, and rack pulls.) It just so happened the buckets/stands can hold plate weights as well. seen in picture.

Heres what you will need:

  • 8 2x4x6
  • 2 bags Quickcrete concrete
  • 2 buckets
  • 2 packets of steel corner connectors (I used as bar stays)
  • screws or nails plus tool to drive them
  • saw
  • string and some way to weight the end (to use as plumb-bob)
  • tape measure

Take String, hold over the bar and with bent knees (keep in mind you don’t want to load the bar after squatting on your tippy toes) let string hit floorIMG_1357

Now take the string to your tape measure to get lengthIMG_1359Repeat while laying on your bench to gather rest of your heights for incline, flat, and decline bench. Once you have all your measurements cut all the boards to length. When boards are cut stack in order start securing board on top of board. This will depend on how long or what you use to fasten together your 2×4. (I like 4 inch decking screws but if you have a nail gun… “go to town”)

after you have made your post, mix up concrete using instructions labeled on the bag. This could be a work out in its own right, depending on how you go about it. Once concrete is mixed go ahead and stand your posts in the buckets, then add your concrete. If you are on level ground it should set right up, but might want to put a level on it to check. A little gravel or sand in the bottom can help if needed. Note: garage floors are not level do to code.

I would let stand over night but I didn’t have the patience to wait and it was fine after a few hours.

If you don’t want that gym membership and want to start working out at home, this is a great starter with a little help finding good buys online like Craigs List for cheap weights you to can have your very own gym. Note: if buying used weights base price is $1per lb if new .50per lb if used. at garage sales I find weights .15cents a lb happy hunting. FYI you can scrap Iron for more than that.


Once I stared getting heavy loads and pushing myself I built out-riggers to support me as a spotter ,so that I wouldn’t staple myself to the floor when doing squats. If your T-level is getting high and you want to take it up a notch please invest in a Power Rack. However I did the 20 rep squat program with my home-made stands and I think it help me mentally.

Quote to leave you with. Who can tell me which movie it is from… without Googling it?

“Fire and wind come from the sky, from the gods of the sky, but Crom is your god. Crom, and he lives in the earth. Once giants lived in the earth,  and in the darkness of chaos, they fooled Crom, and they took from him the enigma of steel. Crom was angered, and the earth shook, and fire and wind struck down these giants, and they threw their bodies into the waters. But in their rage, the gods forgot the secret of steel and left it on the battlefield, and we who found it. We are just men, not gods, not giants, just men. And the secret of steel has always carried with it a mystery. You must learn its riddle, you must learn its discipline, for no one, no one in this world can you trust, not men, not women, not beasts… This you can trust. [points to his sword”

I always have loved this quote because no mater what or how hard the day has been, you put 200lb steel on a bar and it will always be the same, and we must master how to move such weight.


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