SuperSet Gym

SuperSet Gym

Since you're reading this post, we assume you can relate to the devastating impact to our day-to-day lifestyle the lock-down had, specifically when the gyms were mandated to close their doors.

By reading this article, we hope you will be inspired to further incorporate fitness into your family’s everyday lifestyle and understand the purpose behind starting SuperSet Gym.

 Front Squats with the Rhinoflex barbell and homemade weight tire bumper plates.    Single arm Jefferson Deadlifts on our homemade deadlift platform.

Our gym is fully-equipped with everything a bodybuilder needs for a complete contest prep:

  • Power cage
    • Squats
    • Bench & incline presses
    • Shoulder presses
    • Dips
  • Deadlift platform
    • Deadlifts
    • Bent-over rows
    • Cleans
    • Upright rows
    • Calf raises
  • Cables & pulleys
    • Lat pull-downs
    • Seated cable rows
    • Tricep push-downs
    • Abdominal cable crunches
    • Chest flyes & pullovers
    • Cable upright rows
  • Chin-up bars
    • Chin-ups
    • Reverse push-ups (also called inverted rows)
  • Assorted dumbbells
    • All standard dumbbell exercises
    • Skullbellz™ dumbbells feature unique weight distribution for enhanced training benefits
  • Specialty equipment not found in most gyms
    • Chains (personal favorite and my staple for every power move)
    • Bandbell® RhinoFlex® HD barbell, made from bamboo to incorporate benefits of kinetic energy1
    • MAG® Maximum Advantage Grip® cable attachments
    • Unique handmade equipment such as skull-shaped barbells and dumbbells, and bumper plates made with tires!
  • Much more
    • Treadmill
    • Bands & exercise balls
    • Lifting belts and other powerlifting gear
    • Flat and incline benches

The only machine most would consider to be missing is a leg extension machine. This is unnecessary because any variation of a squat will provide greater benefits to leg extensions. Additionally, many old-school bodybuilders such as the legendary Steve Reeves (Mr. Universe and role model to Arnold Schwarzenegger) rarely performed leg extensions and achieved exceptional development of the quadriceps.2 Personally, quadricep size is one of my strengths. I haven’t touched a leg extension machine in months and my quads have continued to increase in size without them.

Abdominal exercises, leg curls, and glute extensions can be performed with an inflated exercise ball and body weight, and are arguably more effective than with commercial gym machines. In fact, a resourceful athlete could develop all parts of the body with even a fraction of what we have in our garage. 

High-bar squats in our driveway.

Having not missed a workout in years, I could only do so many push-ups, chin-ups, and body-weight squats before enough was enough and we needed a solution! If I didn't have a place to get a pump, sweat, flex, and be the animal I am, I was headed for the insane asylum.

Taylor and I agreed to park our cars outside and to build a garage gym. Having noticed a 600% increase in the price of gym equipment, we began frequenting trips to Home Depot and Lowe's to make most of our equipment from scratch.

Our first priority was the construction of a platform for perhaps the most beneficial weight lifting exercise known to man: THE DEADLIFT. We documented how to build the platform in this video:

We then purchased a power cage, a couple specialty barbells, some weight plates, a curl bar and a set of weight plates. The cost of weight plates quickly rose too high for us to justify purchasing any more so we began making our own bumper plates by casting cement into 16.5" (Olympic 45-lb plate size) tires, with 2" holes in the middle for an Olympic barbell--a very, very, time-consuming and complicated process, but well worth the unique shape and functionality of these plates!

Bumper plates made with cement and tires      35-lb weight plates made from cement and tires

Unable to find dumbbells online or at any retail stores, we became resourceful and made a set of skull-shaped dumbbells we called Skullbellz. We posted them on Facebook Marketplace to see if they would actually sell, and to our surprise they were sold immediately. Seeing a business opportunity and an opportunity to help the community, we urgently began networking with business-minded peers, including a gentleman who specializes in making custom cement molds and a highly-educated and experienced marketing expert. We brainstormed visions for what to do with these products, and the brand Skullbellz™ was born.

Skullbellz dumbbells and curl bars

Now that we had the ability to perform any power lifting move, we decided a cable machine was essential. We built our very own cable-pulley system which allowed us to perform exercises such as lat pull-downs, seated cable-rows, triceps push-downs, face-pulls for rear delts, chest flyes, and many more. 

It was at this point Taylor and I realized how convenient and practical having a garage gym really is. Had we known what we know now, we would have never purchased memberships at commercial big-box gyms. When Taylor and I met, we were both playing club hockey for Eastern Washington University. She had been playing for 13 years before we met! That’s why I don’t mess with her. Well, I messed with her a little bit because we have a couple kids to show for it…. At any rate, we had a passion for sports, exercise, healthy living, and self-improvement from the moment we met.

After we hung up our ice skates, we made working out at the gym a non-negotiable ritual. It’s what we did together. Some of my best memories with Taylor are us making long business trips together and planning what gym we would find to work out at. Every week we would see improvements in our bench presses, squats, and other lifts.

Becoming parents presented the inevitable challenge of being able to train together. At this point I had become a competitive bodybuilder, but among breastfeeding, two C-sections, and strict orders from doctors to avoid intense exercise, Taylor had unintentionally become sedentary and discouraged about her fitness goals.

When COVID-19 hit, it was a tragedy followed by a truly incredible breakthrough and an answer to our suboptimal current lifestyle. We built our garage gym and created daily rituals around the activities that were a foundational part of our life from the beginning. My years competing were exhilarating. I have been blessed with more friendships as a result than I can count. I learned the importance of having a quality coach. I pushed myself to extremes I thought were never possible, and Taylor enthusiastically supported me through it all. As a matter in fact, she flew with my coach Alfred and me all the way to Edmonton, AB and personally applied my spray tan to give me the best chance possible of earning a pro-card (my life will still not be complete until I get it), all while 9 months pregnant with our daughter. But there was one vital thing that was missing, and that was her.

Taylor has regained the same joy and enthusiasm for living that captivated me when I met her. We now feel a responsibility to not only share our gym with our clients, but happily share what has worked for us so that families everywhere can enjoy the rewards of a sustainable, healthy, active lifestyle.

We decided to name our gym SuperSet Gym to be in alignment with our mission statement. This is not a temporary solution until the commercial gyms re-open. This is a permanent shift in a positive direction for our family as well as many other athletes who have been forced to find alternate ways to train.

Some of my clients I had been coaching for contest prep, muscle gain, and fat loss asked if they could train at our garage gym. We then began offering this as a personal training option, where I coach an hour-long, in-person, full-body weight-lifting workout, with additional personalized workout programs for the client to perform at home with whatever equipment they have access to.

“How much did all this cost?” First of all, we are fortunate enough that the cost of all the equipment and materials has already paid for itself from the profits of personal training and the sales of Skullbellz™ equipment we have been making. Second of all, the years of commercial gym membership fees we have paid prior to creating SuperSet Gym would have paid for what we have now. So even if we had to take out a loan, it would be paid off in a couple years with less than what commercial gym memberships would cost—and now we have an asset! Finally, these changes have allowed us to pursue our individual fitness goals more effectively. We don’t cut corners or put a price tag on our health. And neither should you.

Behind-the-neck presses in our power rack

To summarize, turning our garage into a gym was done out of necessity but has blessed our family with the ability to exercise together more effectively and with a more realistic and sustainable approach. We hope to have offered some ideas and practical methods you can incorporate into your lifestyle.

If you would like to speak with us regarding building your own home gym, have any questions, or would like more information regarding coaching services or training at SuperSet Gym, please see the “Coaching” page or contact us with one of the links at the bottom of this web page.