Saturday, 23 July 2011

Andy Armstrongs hobo gym

I have been training since the age of 15 when I joined the local gym.  The gym back then is what most people would call oldskool.  The multigym was a chrome universal one and one of the benches was made from wood.  But it had loads of plates, a good squat rack, and a proper olympic bench along with plenty of dumbells.  From then on I was hooked.  With a friendly bunch of regulars from beginner to advanced, the gym had a great vibe to it.  
As time moved on the gym manager in all his wisdom decided to buy a load of new 'equipment'.  Shiney and new this was to be a new era for the gym.  It definately was- the stuff was CRAP!  Along with this shiney equipment came a bunch of muppetts that had no idea of gym ettiquete.  They were rude, arrogant mirror posers.  At the age of 20 when I got my first full time job as a fitness instructor I decided with my first pay check to buy some gym equipment. 

I bought a power rack, bench, 150kg olympic weights set, and some bodysolid dip bars.  This was a fantastic set up that allowed me to quit the gym and head into the garage, from then on I never looked back.

Ten years later and this is where I am now.  I built a gym in my back garden.  Unfortunatly the problem with this is that the ceiling height has to be quite low to comply with permited developement regs.  In order to do overhead lifts or pullups I have to go outside. 

Inside the gym I have a full Ironmind set up, 
Approx 400kgs of olympic weights
a bombproof bench that I had fabricated, 
olympic weights, 
2 x 32kg, a 40kg, and a 45kg kettlebells
Trap bar, 
Loading pins, 
Home made pinch grip blocks,
Home made 2 inch thick olympic bars,

Outside I permenantly have a 2 inch thick bar with up to 90kgs of oly weights.  
The pullup was designed and built by me and a mate of mine who is a fabricator.  
The tire is a solid large forklift tire.  
The hammer is a beast and again is another piece I had fabricated.

In my gym I pick the tunes, I pick the time I want to train, and I pick who enters.  I have been without a gym membership for 10 years now so all this kit has then paid for itself.  If you are thinking about taking the plunge and leaving your globo- DO IT!

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Thong Van Cao's Hobo Gym

As some of you may or may not know, I am one of the co-owners of CrossFit Reading (along with some foreign dudes called Paul McCabe and Andy Craig). Anyway, even though I have this 2400sqft box, I still have a hobo.
Why? Several reasons but these are the mains ones:

1) Because its where I started my ' real' training and there's no place like home.
2) I'm married father of two young kids, have a full time at a multinational corporation and some days I just need every spare minute in the day that I can find.
3) I love CFR and the members, but some days, i just want to train by myself and be left the F**k alone to wallow in my own world of personal pain and thoughts.
4) I wanted to be on this web page.
So here's how we hang at my Hobo:


Power cage from powerhouse fitness....I paid £140 for it I think.
Probably one of the most important bits of kit I have for...squat, bench and racking all in relative safety.
Problem is its only got a 140kg capacity....and I aim to surpass that with my squat (which is 122.5kg 1RM at the moment)

York 1 x 20kg 30mm oly bar £120York Hex dumbells with storage rack (2.5kg - 25kg, £500 from Argos several years ago - bargain compared to current prices )
York Bumpers 2 x 20kgs, 2x10kgs
York Change plates 8 x 1.25kgs, 8 x 2.5kgs
Strength shop Bumpers 2 x 20kgs, 2 x 15kgs (Bargain £2 per kg after the UKSPS SE event)
Strength shop 20kgs oly bar (Bargain £50 after the UKSPS SE event)

Jordan 2 x 10kgs, 2 x 5kgs
Powerhouse fitness 2 x 15kgs...TOTAL CRAP
Woody bands, pairs of blue purple, green

Kettlebells, 8,12,14,16,24kgs
(Jordans, London Kettlebells)

Sandbag 20 kg
10KG Weighted vest XL8 (Newitts)
Plyo boxes, 12,18,24,30 inches

Rings x 2

Jump ropes:
Buddy Lee aero speed
Nortech speedster

A Weider flat/incline bence for home (can't take an Oly bar)
A load of bodybuilding style loose bar and plates for barbell curls and stuff like that

And of course the road outside my house for that running thing.

A mish mash of products from different manufacturers...but some I brought over 3 years ago when money was tight and knew a lot less about quality...hence some of the crappy kettlebells...but they do the job.
Cannot fault York gear, but it is more expensive...but its proved its worth so far.

That said I picked up some Strength Shop bumpers from the South East qualifier at CFR of the UKSPS. As value goes,, these are the best value bumpers I've picked up and they are loverrrly. Only had them a short while and..test of time will tell how good they are. But, these I know are going to last me years. Very similar look and feel to the York ones...but nicer colors...highly recommended so far.

Jordan...these bumpers have a bad rap, but they are the cheapest I have and if I was on a very tight budget, would probably still pick these up if they are cheaper then SS bumpers (not checked price since 3 years agao)...because I respect my equipment and look after it more then the average gym member. Jordans will not survive high volume of crossfit gym style abuse.

I have nothing more to say about the yellow weights from Powerhouse beyond what's said above.

And that's it. Small space, but adequate and still where some PBs get smashed, be me myself and I.