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!


  1. Your post really helped me to understand this. When you use fitness equipment rentals you don't need to make a long term commitment and you won't have the added maitenence, repair or replacement costs that come with purchasing equipment. Your rental fitness equipment can be upgraded or changed should your fitness program needs change.Sports Good

  2. Love this article!
    I wanted to complete my daily workout in my house but I can't afford to buy really expensive equipments; like Treadmill, ab machines etc, so I definitely use your suggestion.


  3. Can someone please tell me how to get the dimensions for that pullup bar? I really want to make one for my back yard and have no idea how.

  4. Thanks for posting my pics up Hobo.

    @Justin, my pullup bar is 9ft high as I like to use my rings with it. Its 4ft wide and the depth is about the same. If you don't plan on moving from your home, just dig some holes and bed some posts into the ground instead.

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  11. This gym looks a lot like the gym I have at my house. I think this gym is really good and I don't think there are any problems with having equipment like this. As long as you are getting a good workout there isn't a problem.

  12. I think gyms like these are the ones where you get the most done. You don't get distracted by all the bells and whistles. It's just the strict basics and you are able to focus on the workout.

    Aaron |

  13. Wow, it looks like you have got quite the set up there! I have been thinking about getting equipment for an at home gym. What are the benefits of actually going to a gym rather than working out at home?
    Holly James |

  14. I was debating on paying a lot of money for a gym up front, or just applying for a gym membership somewhere. After seeing this I really think that I'm going to build one myself! Thanks for the tips!

    Jim Tracy |

  15. Nice hobo gym. My husband is looking into getting back in shape in order for a marathon that's taking place in a few months. What's your workout regime?

  16. How long did it take you to make your "hobo" gym? I just recently spent a lot of money remodeling my entire house and don't have much money to spend on a gym. The guy was the only room that I didn't work on. I need to start working out again because I have added 10 pounds over the last year.

    Brad |

  17. How easy was it for you to build your own gym? If I had even a pull up bar at my house it would make working out easier. Do bring the pull up bar inside when it gets cold or it's raining or do you just tough it out. I would bring it in for fear of pulling a muscle.

  18. This is something i want to have for myself aswell, but need to wait first to move out of here. I already have a plan how it will look and everything :)
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  20. It's pretty impressive that you're able to get just about the same effect from the machines you build as those that are in gyms. I'm trying to get into shape right now and regular body-weight exercises aren't enough anymore. I'm going to have to start building something like this in my yard or find a gym to go to.

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