5 Garage Gym Workouts For Strength, Size & Mental Toughness



I began training in my garage during my 5th year as a teacher. It was the Fall of 2002.

Time was of the essence as I was balancing the following:

  • A new teaching position at the Middle School
  • Middle School Wrestling Coach
  • BJJ Training
  • Finishing my MA in Health Education
  • Commuting 1 hour each way for Graduate School
  • Adjunct Professor at Community College
  • Training (Finding time to Train)

I started my home gym equipment set up by picking up some odds and ends from newspaper classified ads back then as E Bay didn't even exist yet. I would check the newspaper classifieds every day to see what gym equipment was available. There were no photos so you would have to call the person and go from there.

My first gym equipment pick up was in Newark. I recall driving to Newark to meet someone in a storage depot. I knew Newark was not the safest place so I stashed my cash in my pocket, socks and underwear in case I found myself in a predicament ha ha. As you can see, the street smarts stay with you when you've experienced these things before.

I had a basic setup yet I loved it! I loved being able to blast my own music and have my own rules. The only gym I loved was 30 minutes away and coupled with rush hour traffic, that commute was impossible with my schedule.

I had a squat stand, a flat utility bench, a dip bar, a pair of 50 and 100 lb dumbbells and a 300 lb barbell set that I purchased for $99 from Costco!

My garage workouts were awesome to say the least. To this day, they have been some of my best training sessions with minimal equipment. Hence, the reason I started my Online Training Team. I had NO time for excuses, just Results.

It doesn't take much equipment to get stronger and more jacked. My latest home garage gym started even simpler. I had a few Kettlebells, Gymnastics rings, a climbing rope and that's it! Down the road I purchased a barbell and bumper plates and eventually, a squat rack.

In the beginning and for quite some time, I didn't even have a squat rack. All barbell lifts were ground based and this forced me to start every lift with a deadlift or a clean.

The Garage Gym Workouts below are a blend of my current set up & for those who step up their commitment level and invest in a simple squat rack.

Heck, check the photo below that Nik Hawks (Co-Owner, Paleo Treats) shared with me on Twitter.....


Nik scored that sweet squat cage for $160.

Excuses still? Come on!

For the hard charging Garage Gym Lifters, test drive the 5 workouts below.

I would repeat them for 3 weeks and progress during that 3 week period and then deload lighter on week 4.

If you want the direct coaching, hit me up HERE.

Warm up thoroughly before each session, mobility / stretching after each session.

Day 1

  1. Power Cleans x 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Drop 15-25% and hit 3 reps for a 6th set.
  2. RDL + Shrugs 4 x 6 - 8 reps

    3A. Bodyweight Walking Lunges 3 x 20 / 20
    3B. KB hand to hand swings 3 x 10 / 104. Sprints 10 x 100 ft. (walk back to start line, repeat)

    5. V Ups + Band Pull Aparts 3 x 15 each

    Day 2

1A. Floor Press 5 x 3 - 6 reps. 6th set, drop weight & hit MAX reps approx 15 reps is goal.
1B. Double KB Row 5 x 6 reps

2A. Mixed Style Push Ups 3 x MAX Reps
2B. ANY Carry (Keg, Sandbag, KBs, DBs) 3 x 150 ft.

3A. DB Side Raise 3 x 15-20 reps
3B. DB Tricep XTs 3 x 8 - 12
3C. Pull Ups (Slow Motion 3 sec. up / 3 sec down) 3 x MAX reps

4. Any Sleds 4 x 200 ft (Truck Push if No Sleds)

Day 3

  1. Squat 3 x 5 warm up. Gut Check: HARD 20 -25 rep set
  2. Sumo DL 3 x 3 Speed. 2 x 2 slightly heavier Speed.

    3A. Knees to Elbows Abs 3 x 10
    3B. Bodyweight Lateral Lunges 3 x 5 / 5
    3C. Cossack Squats 3 x 5 / 5

Day 4

  1. Turkish Get Ups 5 x 1 / 1 (Add Weight Ea Set as Needed)2A. BB Military Press 4 x 4 reps. Drop weight & hit MAX Rep Set Approx. 15 reps
    2B. Recline Rows aka Supine Row 5 x MAX reps3A. DB or KB Floor Press 4 x 15-20 reps
    3B. Rear Delt Raise w DBs or KBs 4 x 15 - 20 reps

    4A. ANY Heavy Curls 4 x 6 - 8
    4B. Lying Tricep XTs (Use Bar, KBs or DBs) 4 x 8 - 12

    5. Run 800 Meter

    Day 5

1. Power Clean x 1 + Hang Clean x 1 + Front Squat x 2 (5 Sets, Add Weight Ea Set)

2. Snatch Grip Dead + Shrugs 3 x 3, Add Weight 2 x 2, Heaviest for a Single

3. BB Row 4 x 6 - 8 (2 sets underhand / 2 sets overhand)

4. 1 Arm Row 1 x 20, 15, 10, 5 reps each arm.

5. Walking Bodyweight Lunges x 200 Total (100 each leg)

How to Periodize These Garage Gym Workouts?

You can train 3 - 5 x week depending on your lifestyle and your mentality.

Each week you can try to add a small poundage and decrease the reps by 1 or 2.

3 Weeks in a row of high rep squats will make a man out of you 🙂

This training requires you to pay attention to your lifestyle as a whole. Don't expect to feel great unless you're hitting mobility and Soft Tissue Work daily. I know this is no secret but many just want to bang weights and ignore recovery which will lead you to a brick wall quickly.

Get it done and for the hard chargers, I'll see you inside The Gladiator STRONG Team, Details HERE.

Live The Code 365,



2 Responses

  1. Chris Tucker says:

    Zach’s Garage Gym Gladiators programming is top notch. I have been a member since the 3rd week and have LOVED IT! I am 43 years old and continuously getting bigger, faster, stronger, more athletic and improving cardiovascular conditioning.

    Since starting last year I have increased my squat over 50lbs, dead lift has gone up over 75lbs, & bench press 40lbs. Current maxes Squat estimated 1RM 485, Dead Lift 575, and Bench 365, I was far from a beginner with 30 years of lifting under my belt. These gains are from hard work, good nutrition and excellent programming.

    Also with the addition of Olympic Lifts, various carries and lots of sled work my physique has transformed from a muscular looking physique to a powerful physique. My entire yoke is bigger and better from the traps to the size of my delts to the thickness of my upper back. I can run wind sprints, do long jumps and tons of other things I was sure I would injure myself if I tried just last year from being too tight from bodybuilding for years.

    If you want to exercise your inner beast, the one that takes over when things get tough then this will develop your inner beast into a monster. Get in there and check it out you will LOVE the training, and the camaraderie.

  2. Tucker!!! YOU are the MFin’ MAN!!! Thank you, brother! It’s an honor to have you as part of the team!

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