Hail to the Dinosaurs!
I thought I’d start the day by giving you a tour of the Dino Dungeon.
But before I tell you about where I train, I want you to remember that:
1. Over the years I’ve done a wide-variety of different things in my training, but right now I do pretty much nothing but Olympic lifting.
2. You don’t need very much equipment for Olympic lifting.
3. Less is more and simple is better.
So let’s start the tour.
We’ll begin by going out to the garage.
Wait here for a minute while I open the door – flip the switch – and turn on the single overhead bulb that illuminates the place.
Okay – watch your step – and come on in.
The first thing you’ll see is my lifting platform. It’s where I spend all my training time. It’s my own little six foot by eight foot world.
The platform is made out of three layers of ¾ inch plywood over ¾ inch heavy rubber mats. There’s an extra length of ¾ rubber mat along each side of the platform, where the plates hit.
I use bumper plates, so I can drop the bar if need be, but I rarely do. It’s easier on the bar, the plates and the platform.
So far, the platform is holding up pretty well. It’s eight or nine years old and still going strong.
An Eleiko barbell lay on the platform. I always unload the bar and lay it on the platform after I’ve finished lifting.
The bumper plates were lined up along the south and east walls of the garage. I have Eleiko, Ivanko and York bumpers. A little over 600 pounds of bumpers.
The York bumpers were super cheap. I got two 20-kilo and two 15-kilo plates from a local equipment company that had been keeping them in the back of the store for several years. The price had dropped and dropped, but no one bought them.
“Are those for sale?” I asked.
“Yeah, but no one wants them,” said the kid who worked at the place.
“I dunno,” he replied. “I think they’re too thick and too heavy. Everyone wants selectorized equipment, anyway.”
“I’ll give you fifty bucks for all four of the plates.”
“No way! The list price is ten times that.”
“Yeah, but you’ve had them for years now, and no one has bought them. I’m the only guy in town who wants them. And fifty is better than nothing.”
We negotiated, and I may have paid a bit more for them. The closer was when I said I’d carry them out to the car by myself. The kid brightened, we shook hands, and I scored the plates.
I also have a set of high quality freestanding squat stands. I move them onto the platform when I do squats or presses/push presses/jerks from the stands. When I’m finished, I move them off the platform and over to the sides.
At the other side of the garage, Trudi has a hyperextension bench. I keep a box of chalk on top of it. It’s literally a cardboard box. I taped the bottom to keep the chalk from leaking.
On the back wall, there’s a small wooden shelf with a CD player and my “Rocky Balboa” CD. On the wall above the shelf are photos of Steve Stanko, John Davis, John Grimek, Doug Hepburn and the cover to Legacy of Iron.
There are several tons (literally) of other equipment – iron plates, dumbbells, power rack, steel suitcases, chains, etc.) in a storage area to the side of the garage. Things I’ve used before, and things I’ll doubtless use again.
But for right now, I like to keep things simple. Barbell, platform and squat stands is simple. It feels good. And it gives me all I need for some really terrific workouts.
Anyhow, that’s what things look like in the Dino Dungeon. Thanks for taking the tour!
Yours in strength,
P.S. Getting bigger, stronger and better conditioned doesn’t require fancy equipment. It’s knowing how to make the most of your equipment -- and my books, courses and newsletters will teach you how to do precisely that! You can find them right here: