DIY Fitness: Can You Build Your Own Workout Equipment?


As well as fitness, another hobby that can be practical, enjoyable, and healthy is woodworking. What’s more, there are plenty of opportunities to combine the two (and no, we’re not talking about attempting to do DIY while exercising at the same time — we don’t advise trying that!).

More and more people are choosing to exercise from home. In addition to saving money on gym memberships, this can also allow you the freedom to customise your fitness space however you like. A home (or garden) gym is the perfect place to feature a variety of unique and functional fitness-related woodworking projects. Here are a few ideas to spark inspiration.

Note: Protective measures such as safety glasses, face masks, and ear protectors are advised for all DIY woodworking projects.

Plyometric Jump Box

Plyometric Jump Box
DIY Fitness: Can You Build Your Own Workout Equipment? (Source: Pixabay)

Plyometric jump boxes are cube-shaped boxes used for plyometric exercises, which are great for developing strength and agility. Jump boxes come in various heights, so you can adjust the intensity of your workout. Before building one, why not use one at your local gym to determine the ideal dimensions for your perfect workout?

All you need for this project are strong plywood, wood screws, wood glue (typically polyurethane or PVA glue), and standard tools like a saw, drill, and tape measure. As well as the PVA glue holding the sheets of plywood together so that they can be screwed into place, it’s also an extremely strong adhesive itself. The combination of correctly shaped wooden pieces, strong PVA glue, and carefully placed wood screws makes the box strong enough to withstand all kinds of jumps and bodyweights.

For more details and guided steps, this Medium article gives instructions on how to build a plyometric jump box.

Balance Board

Balance Board
DIY Fitness: Can You Build Your Own Workout Equipment? (Source: Unsplash)

Balance boards are used to improve stability, core strength, and overall balance. They can come in various shapes and sizes, but most involve a flat board that sits on a fulcrum or rounded bottom. You can use a balance board for squats, rocking exercises, and in conjunction with other exercises.

For this project, you’ll need a plywood, grip tape, screws, oil, a saw (a jigsaw is recommended), a drill with a countersink, a multi-sander with a sanding sheet, and the usual protective measures.

This guide by Bosch gives detailed steps on building a wooden balance board.

Workout Bench

A workout bench is one of the most popular pieces of fitness equipment. At its most simple, it can be a basic, four-legged bench. However, adjustable incline benches and all-in-one bench and weight rack solutions are also very common. Workout benches are usually used for barbell and dumbbell weightlifting exercises, like the traditional chest and shoulder press exercises. You can also use them for bodyweight exercises like step-ups!

You can use a workout bench in conjunction with weight racks (mentioned later in this article), or even design an all-in-one bench and rack solution. As long as you follow correct safety procedures (in building and using the bench and/or rack), you can really use your imagination with this project and customise it to suit you specifically.

There are many popular workout bench designs out there, so why not check out a few and work out what’s best for you? This adjustable incline weight bench project by Autodesk Instructables is just one example of many.

Racks and Holders

If you want your home gym space to look organised and functional, you’ll probably want racks and holders for dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, and other equipment like medicine balls and yoga mats. You can choose from wall-mounted or freestanding racks and holders.

With racks and holders, you can experiment with designs and customise them to suit your physical space, aesthetic preferences, and the specific size, shape and weight of the equipment you own. The important thing is to make sure that your racks and holders will take the weight of the equipment, so it’s worth doing some research here.

Frames and Parallettes

DIY Fitness: Can You Build Your Own Workout Equipment? (Source: Pixabay)

Parallettes are used for bodyweight exercises like push-ups and dips and can be customised to your preferred height and dimensions. These can be as simple as two freestanding wooden bars, or can even make up a larger frame design. You could even build a wooden frame to hang gymnastic rings from, for upper body exercises like pull-ups and ring dips.

A Final Note

When carrying out these projects, it’s essential to prioritise safety. Not only do you need to use protective equipment like safety glasses, ear defenders, and face masks where appropriate, but you also need to do the research needed to make sure your finished projects are safe to use and will support the weights that they were built to. With the right steps, you can build fitness equipment that rivals that of your local gym!

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