Introduction: Bodyweight Fitness / Calisthenics Gym
My son convinced me to do a 1-year challenge. After some research, he found Bodyweight Fitness (BWF) on Reddit. The support materials and videos are impressive. One of the great things about BWF is that it does not require weights. However, it does require a place to do a few exercises. I was surprised that I could not find a simple plan to build a gym for these exercises. So we decided to make one!
My goals in building this gym were:
- Inexpensive (I went through several designs and kept simplifying them. Eight 2x4s and two 3 foot 1" cast iron pipes along with fasteners are all you need)
- Compact (my wife permitted me to put in our bedroom. We don't have a lot of space)
- Easy to build and easy to use!
The total build time was about 3 hours. (Don't let all the steps fool you. The build was easy!)
P.S. If you want to check out our one year challenge we have a website and blog that will be updated throughout the year here. If you want to look more into BWF and the Recommended Routine we are doing it's here. Cheers!
Step 1: Buy Your Supplies
Eight (8) 2 x 4 x 8 ft.
Two (2) 36" cast iron pipes.
Fasteners (I used 3" wood screws and 3.5" long 1/4" bolts. You don't need to use the bolts if you want to save money. Just add a few more screws!)
Twelve (12) 3.5" long 1/4" bolts and 12 lock nuts. 24 1/4" washers (we used slightly oversized washers).
Step 2: Understand the Measurements and Mark the Wood
This diagram shows all the measurements. The photo is another reference (since I'm not a great artist).
Step 3: Cut the Wood
I cut all the wood at the same time. Lay it out first to make sure all the pieces fit. I ended up with some scrap which I used to brace the corners (see the "details" section - final step)
Step 4: Measure Hole Placement and Cut Holes for Dip Bar
After some research and measuring my grip width, I decided that 19" wide dip bars (on center) were ideal for me. The web says anything between 18" and 22" works.
I used a 1.5" hole saw.
I used scrap 1/4" plywood to hold the two boards together so the holes matched for both sides.
We're cutting only half of a hole in each side of the board so the pipe rests in it. By temporarily holding them together, you can make sure the holes align on both pieces of wood.
Step 5: Cut Hole for Pull Up Bar
I followed the same procedure as I did for the dip bar.
I wanted the half hole to start 3/4" from the edge so I marked the center of the hole at 1.5" from the edge of the board.
Step 6: Move All the Wood to Your Build Site
I waited until the wife was out shopping. This is one corner of our bedroom :-)
Step 7: Build the Front and Back Sides First
I pre-drilled all the holes using a counter sink bit to avoid the wood cracking.
I started at the bottom with the 30" pieces. Then we put the 33" pieces at the top. Look at the picture for details.
Step 8: Add the Feet
This is a two person job. We added the 42" feet to both sides. The feet tie the front and back together.
Step 9: Add the Dip Bar/row Bar Holders
We measured 32" from the base wood (33.5" from the floor) to the bottom of the 2x4. You can pick the height you think is best. We did use a level for this step. It's not 100% necessary, but if you have access to one, it makes it a bit easier. If not, just make sure your measurements from the floor are precise.
This step (and the entire build) only takes two people. My dad heard my son and I having fun, so he came to join us :-)
Step 10: Add Pull-up Bar Arms
We followed a similar procedure as the dip bar supports. However, you just align these with the top of your vertical sides. We used a level again to ensure our pull-up bar would be perfectly level.
Step 11: Admire Your Work
This shows the placement of the pull-up bar.
Step 12: Try Out Your Dip Bar
Step 13: Try Out the Inverted Row
It works too!!
Step 14: A Few of the Build Details...
Picture one shows me pre-drilling so the wood does not split.
Picture two and three show the bolts. We put one bolt through every major connection. Again, it's not necessary but a nice detail.
Picture four shows 1/4" plywood scrap used for end caps so the pull-up bar can't slide out.
Picture five shows the addition of the 45 degree corner supports on the base. We used the scrap wood for these. It's not necessary but it did make the gym a bit more stable.
Picture six shows the original rough sketch.