Serious weightlifters, whether bodybuilders, powerlifters or strength sports athletes like football players and fighters, know that two of the most critical pieces of equipment in any gym are the weight bench and power cage, or squat cage. With the popularity of the CrossFit “box” gym concept, the popularity of homemade equipment has skyrocketed. For the serious strength athlete or “CrossFitter” interested in homemade equipment, there are several sets of plans available online for building these two critical pieces of equipment.
Home workshop craft site CraftsmanSpace.com offers two sets of plans for weight benches, one with removable uprights, allowing it to be used for barbell and dumbbell exercises, as well as in a squat cage. Requiring a solid foundation in welding and metal fabrication skills, these plans are useful for any home athlete with basic welding equipment, a source for metal products and the knowledge to use them safely. By itself, the CraftsmanSpace.com plan for the flat bench, available as a free PDF download, is suitable for most of what a strength athlete or CrossFitter will need, for bench pressing, squatting and overhead presses. In many ways, the removable uprights fill the role of a squat cage, with a much smaller “footprint.”
CraftsmanSpace Plan Two
The second set of plans from CraftsmanSpace.com includes a flat bench with integral upright supports. Like the first set of plans, it is available for free in PDF format. The benefits of the attached uprights is increased support and balance when re-racking heavy barbells during bench presses and other exercises. Setting a 300-lb. barbell on a rack overhead, only to have the racks fall, and the barbell crash into your chest is generally recognized as a drawback to removable uprights.
An additional benefit of this plan is the inclusion of plans for building your own barbell and plates. With this plan, an athlete who knows his way around a workshop can actually construct an entire home gym for the cost of materials.
Joe Skopec Squat Cage
While plans for homemade power racks are scarce online, British powerlifter and CrossFit athlete Joe Skopec features the plans used by another British strength athlete, John Owens. Owens' plan used builder’s scaffolding such as that used by bricklayer’s and roofers. With the use of scaffolding, pipe couplers and extra pipe, you can build your power cage to fit whatever dimensions you need, using the Owens Plan featured by Joe Skopec.