Occasionally I like to mix up my workouts and do a whole body routine, circuit style. I set up every station before I start my workout, so I don’t have any set up time in between exercises. But, if you don’t have space for many types of machines, or the budget, circuit routines can be hard to do at home.
This is one of the challenges of working out at home vs. working out at a commercial gym with all of the various machines and multiple benches, etc.
For instance, take a look at this photo:
I set this up to do dumbbell shoulder presses and it works great for this exercise. But, do you notice the problem? The dumbbells are hanging from my Olympic bar, so now I can’t use the bar unless I remove the dumbbells and set the rack pins/Olympic bar up for my next exercise of a barbell shoulder press, or whatever the next exercise would happen to be.
Here's another example. Say I'm doing a heavy chest workout. I want to do a barbell bench press immediately followed by a dumbbell incline bench press. Since I'm going heavy with the dumbbells, I need to use my power hooks. Here's a set up I came up with:
What I did was make a second set of homemade power rack pins out of 3/4 black pipe fittings and a piece of 3/4 black pipe going across the rack. In the photo the Olympic bar is set up to do a barbell bench press. Once I finish my reps, I just put the bench on an incline and now I'm ready to do incline dumbbell bench presses.
I'm doing a whole body circuit routine right now where I do front squats in the power rack, take a 60 second rest, and then turn around and do standing dumbbell military presses. This set up can work with many combinations of exercises. Even if you don't do circuit training, this set up can be useful when doing a tri-set or super set routine.
Using the homemade power rack pins, my powertec rack can now be set up to do an exercise with an Olympic bar; followed by dumbbells hanging from a 3/4" pipe; then on to either a high/low cable exercise, with little or no rest in between. Depending on where the saber spotters are set up, I can even utilize my calf raise machine in the circuit.
These homemade power rack pins were simple to make. The powertec power rack uprights are 2 3/8" square, so a 3/4" x 4" black pipe nipple worked perfectly. A 3/4" pipe flange on one side, and a cap on the other finished the assembly.
I put red lock tight on the threads that went into the pipe flange, and the caps on the other side are left loose for taking the assembly on and off.
All of the fittings for this project including the spray paint cost around $28.
The 3/4" pipe going across is even sturdy enough to be used as a straight pull-up bar. However, if you are going to use this set up for pull-ups on a continual basis, and since the pipe is not supported in the middle, I would use one inch pipe going across the rack for more support. If you use a one inch pipe, you should use 3/4" x 4 1/2" or 5" nipple for the rack pins to take into account the thicker outer diameter of the one inch pipe.
Even with a limited budget and by using a little ingenuity, you can do any type of exercise routine at home by just slightly modifying your existing equipment. This extra set of rack pins are easily stored out of the way at the highest hole position on the power rack until you need them.
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