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Former Strength Coach Builds Crazy Home Gym for Cheap!

In this edition of Home Gym Builds, meet Dodd. This former strength and conditioning coach has turned his garage into a world-class training facility for less than most spend on a single squat rack.

So, tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Dodd Buie, IV, I'm 27 years old and live in Orangeburg, SC.

What sort of training do you currently do?

I currently do a hybrid of Olympic Weightlifting and Powerlifting.

So, what equipment currently makes up your gym?

Wow, that's quite the assortment. Mind sharing what you've spent?

Total investment to date is around $2.8k, less than most people are spending on one machine.

Dang, talk about hunting for bargains. How did you accumulate so much for so little?

Well, I used to workout with a guy in town who owns the BBQ shop here.  He played football at USC (Gamecocks) back in the 70's.  The stuff belonged to his friend, Steve Courson who was on the team.  Steve had this stuff made for himself, and gave it to the guy I know when he went to play professional football.  Anyways, he had the hamstring curl and that red table made to do leg extensions and various other exercises off of which I eventually got for free.  He said all I needed to do was bring a friend and come by his place to move it and it was mine, free of charge.

My dad had the bench press made a long time ago by a guy in town who made gym equipment for some serious lifters in the area.  There weren't exactly a lot of gym equipment suppliers around then (this was 40 years ago).  Obviously, this piece was free, as well as the Weider international plates he handed down to me.

The dumbbell set was given to me as a gift by my girlfriend, who got them from her parent's house.  They were collecting dust and thankfully found their way to me.  She also purchased that glass dry erase board for me as a birthday gift.

I had wheels and a handle welded onto a bench that came from Clemson University's weight room.  Very nice piece that I picked up for $200 from a guy in Columbia, and it only cost me $35 to get the wheels put on, which is huge because those weight benches are mammoths – they're built to stay put, but I needed it to be mobile, and I wanted a heavy-duty bench all the same – for a low-cost.  There was no option at that price point, so I had to sort of modify this one to suit my needs.

Other than that, I spent a LOT of time researching equipment, trying to get the best deals possible, and only buying exactly what I need to do the workouts I typically do.

Titan also screwed up on my order and I got $60 back on the GHD.

Oh, and American Barbell sent me a 140 kg set instead of the 110 kg set that I actually ordered.  Whoops 🙂

I scored big by buying most of my gear from Carolina Fitness Equipment, where you can get new rubber hex DB's from $0.80 a lb and new bumpers around $1/lb depending on what they're dealing on.  They threw in the change plates and spring clips when I went there to buy most other things.

So, what made you want to build a gym?

The local gym closes before I typically workout, and it doesn’t have the things that I was used to using in my training, so instead of using what they had, I just decided to build my own.

Have you made any mistakes in building the gym?

I've made a couple, as I'm sure most have. First one is I wish I would have purchased a squat stand with a smaller base. The Get RX'd Guillotine Squat Stand is a bit long and takes up quite a bit of space.
I should have spent the extra $1-200 for the American Barbell or Sorinex Squat Stand that have a much more compact base.

Is there any piece of equipment that you'd consider your favorite?

Definitely the American Barbell Cerakote Bar. Love the corrosion resistance, spin, and look of the bar.

It's obvious you have a lot of equipment, but do you have any plans for future purchases?

Of course, a home gym is never done. I'd like to add a Lat Pulldown/Low Row Tower, Prowler,  and climbing rope. In addition to that, I'd like some kettlebells and heavy dumbbells.

Although purchasing equipment is what most people end up doing, are there any modifications or DIY projects you've done?

I’ve welded wheels and a handle to my adjustable bench to make it easier to move around. It’s a massive bench and as such is difficult to move. I’ve also refinished some of my old rusted iron plates.

What advice would you give to someone starting their own home gym build?

Stick to the basics. You don't need much more than a good barbell, plates, some dumbbells, bands, and gymnastic rings. You can add to your gym over time as your budget and needs grow.

About Coop

Hello fellow fitness fanatics and equipment fueled fiends. I'm Coop and when not training I can be found mostly operating other entrepreneurial ventures including my gym Intentional Fitness & Performance, spending time with my Wife and family, and worshipping my risen Savior. You can find more about me here.