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Ralph and his dad Curt have built a home gym that would make even the nicest setups envious. Not only is the surrounding structure epic, but the equipment inside is essentially a Rogue Fitness showroom with their latest and greatest creations.
Recently, during our 2019 Garage Gym Tour we were able to visit Ralph and Curt, talk about their training which is focused on CrossFit (Curt is a CrossFit Games Masters Athlete, NBD) and learn more about why they have a home gym and what makes it special. The bond this father and son have is special and they were a joy to be around.
You can follow Ralph on Instagram @ralphie.thebulldog
Here is the equipment that makes up Ralph's Barn Gym.
The Dunns have two squat racks in their gym that are daisy chained together via a single pull-up bar.
Their racks of choice are the Rogue SML-2C Squat Stands with a Satin Clear powder coat color. We've reviewed these in-depth in the past and they were also chosen as our Top Pick for the Best Squat Stand for Most People.
Although they said that they'd prefer power racks that were bolted down, one of their issues is that they have heating throughout the floor and if they drilled into the ground, they could damage it. Definitely a nice "problem" to have.
Although the stands do shake a bit when used for kipping pull-ups and the like, they're sturdy enough for just about anything else you want to do and chaining them together definitely makes them more stable.
As with any home gym where people actually train, there are a variety of barbells.
Ralph and Curt, due to their main focus being CrossFit, focus on general training bars.
The bar that likely gets the most use is the Rogue Castro Bar. The Castro Bar is very comparable to the Rogue Ohio Bar or Rogue 2.0 Bar and features the same 190K tensile strength steel, bronze bushings, dual knurl marks, and a lifetime warranty. The big difference is it has a bare steel shaft and bare steel sleeves that do develop a patina over time pretty much regardless of whether you take great care of it or not.
Other than the Castro Bar, the Rogue Ohio Bar - Cerakote gets the most use. The cerakote finish is feels great on the hands, looks great, and is extremely long lasting.
In addition to the Castro Bar, they have a Rogue Bella Bar coated in purple Cerakote for the ladies that come over to workout, a training bar for technique and younger kids, an Eleiko WL Bar (my personal favorite), a Rogue Stubby Axle Bar, and an XMark Chisel Curl Bar that we've reviewed due to it's unique attribute of bearings in the sleeves.
All of these bars are placed in the only Titan Fitness piece of equipment in their gym, the Titan 9 Bar Barbell Holder.
Unsurprisingly, the plates of choice for this gym are bumper plates.
For most people working out at home, bumper plates are the best option. They're more pricey, but they last a long time, protect your equipment, your flooring, and make a lot less noise than iron plates.
Ralph and Curtis decided to go with a large set of Rogue HG 2.0 Bumper Plates. These are actually the first set of plates I ever bought for my garage gym and they still perform like new.
All of these plates are stored on plate posts that have been bolted to a large beam that runs along their staircase. The way they're organized looks great and makes them easily accessible. I really like this idea.
A CrossFit gym isn't a CrossFit gym without a whole lot of conditioning equipment that no one actually likes using, but uses it anyways.
Ralph and Curt happen to have the holy trinity of conditioning equipment, the Assault AirBike, Concept 2 Model D Rower, and Assault Air Runner.
The Assault Air Bike, also dubbed the devil's tricycle has to be one of the most effective conditioning tools on the market. It's brutally effective. Ralph was kind enough to display it's difficulty through a 10 min AMRAP that featured burpees, air bike cals, and kettlebell swings.
The Concept 2 Rower is likely the piece that gets used most considering it's so popular in CrossFit gyms and is great for both short and long duration training. We're big fans of the Concept 2 Rower both for it's usefulness as well as it's bomb-proof nature.
One piece of equipment that you rarely see in garage gyms is the Assault AirRunner.
The AirRunner is a curved, non-motorized treadmill that has been used at the CrossFit Games and many other competitions. It's not our favorite motorized treadmill (we prefer the TrueForm Runner,) but it is the best value.
The rest of the gym is filled with all kinds of goodies that we've reviewed.
One that really stood out was the Rogue Rhino Belt Squat.
We've tested and reviewed the Rhino and have said it many times, it's one of our favorite pieces of equipment that Rogue has come out with to date.
Ralph said he uses the belt squat mainly for squats as well as marches. The motivation to buy it came from having an injury and wanting to work around it.
We love the belt squat and would like to see more people add them to their gyms. They're just that good.
A variety of tools are stored under the stairs including the ever-popular Rogue Echo Sled.
We really like this sled for the value you offered. It's very durable and just works at a lower price than the heavier Rogue Dog Sled 1.2.
Next to the sled are some farmers carry handles from the now defunct company, Pure Strength (RIP), and some Rogue Parallettes.
One thing we were surprised to see due to their focus being CrossFit was a Rogue Monster Bench with a Thompson Fat Pad attached.
Although the Thompson Fat Pad was initially made for someone much larger, we've gotten great use out of the pad. It's helped with shoulder stiffness and just overall shoulder health.
Ralph got it due to some shoulder issues and he said it's definitely helped.
To close it off, they have a variety of Rogue OSO Collars that look and perform great.
There's a Strongman Sandbag, change plates, gymnastic rings, a climbing rope, and an Echo GHD from Rogue that's quite popular among those in the garage gym community.
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