Fit to FI: Starting to Build a Home Gym

Disclaimer-Captain DIY and highly recommend exercising extreme caution when attempting DIY projects. Not everybody can do everything, and some things should only be done by professionals. Keep your digits attached, and keep the insurance company off of your back. Do it right or call the right people!

Where can you go when you just want to sit in a nice puddle of someone else’s sweat while people all around you strut and pose at themselves to the soothing chorus of spandex-clad suburbanites grunting like they’re trying to push out a food baby?

Screen Shot 2017-10-06 at 8.51.11 AM
Bro, I think my protein shake is calling me

To the gym, of course!

Did I neglect to mention the exorbitant monthly fee you’ll be paying to get in? Granted there have been some discount gyms popping up these days, but you get what you pay for. Plus it means another trip out in the Chevy Avalanche at 11 MPG to drive to the gym, all so you can find that illustrious puddle.

You may have noticed Captain DIY has a hefty dose of disdain for commercial gyms.

“But Cap,” you say, “I’m trying to stay fit and healthy. Isn’t that one of the best ways to mitigate excessive health and medical costs, thereby furthering my goal of Financial Independence (FI)? How am I supposed to do that without going to the gym? And don’t say running because I hate running!”

Ah, you kids say the darnedest things. Imagine living so unimaginatively as to fail to see the DIY potential bubbling up here! As a reader of this fine blog, you surely have images of different building ideas flashing through your head this very moment, and your hands are starting to twitch toward your tool belt. Fear not, dear reader, for Captain DIY is here with ideas aplenty! For we shall begin today the enjoyable task of Building A Home Gym!

We’re going to start small, so you can get a feel for building exercise equipment. If it ends up being something you like and you find yourself feeling motivated to work out more, keep those eyes open for more posts in the Fit to FI series.

Grip strength is a foundation of almost any exercise, and it comes in handy with just about every DIY project you’ll encounter as well. Luckily, it is incredibly easy and cheap to build an effective grip and wrist strengthening machine with spare stuff you probably have kicking around.

You will need: a piece of pipe about two feet long, preferably between one and two inches thick, a piece of rope or heavy-duty string about four feet long, an empty gallon jug, and something with which to fill it. This could be sand, water, extra money you have laying around because you save so much of it, what ever you want that will give you adequate weight.

Find the rough center of the length of pipe and drill a hole straight through it. If you have a vice or something to hold the pipe while you drill, great. If not, just take your time and watch for fingers on the other side. You’re going to want to keep those in good shape for your exercises later.

Easy does it


Send one end of the rope through the hole and tie it so it is secure, and when you rotate the pipe it should wrap the rope up around it.


Tie the other end of the rope to the jug wherever you can make a solid connection. Remember, this is going to be holding up many pounds of burly strength-building weight, so you need to make sure it won’t come off.

Tying the knot to your gains

Fill the jug with something heavy, and get ready to get all studly and buffed.

I used a roll of wire instead of a jug. 

Holding the pipe level in front of you with both hands, palms facing down, twist the pipe so that you wrap the rope around it. The more you twist, the higher you raise the weight, and the more you risk shattering your shirt sleeves in an explosion of awe-inducing power. Try to twist your hands in and bring it all of the way up, then switch and twist your hands the other way so you work both the flexion and extension of your forearms.

That’s it, you have made your first piece of gym equipment! Go and reap those mighty gains while you mentally prepare for the looks of envy and fear from your foes. Don’t forget to stretch your body and your wallet, those gains will be raining down all over!

Screen Shot 2017-10-06 at 9.04.30 AM
Now that’s my kind of weightlifting

3 thoughts on “Fit to FI: Starting to Build a Home Gym

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