Matt Chan is many things–a firefighter, a CrossFit legend, a Rogue journeyman, and a Titan Games champion, just to name a few. There are few mental or physical challenges he’s ever backed away from, but trying to outfit a brand new home gym without a game plan was understandably one of them. “We decided to use the Rogue ZEUS program this time,” Matt says, referring to Rogue’s comprehensive online gym builder tool. “We didn’t do that with our last garage gym, and . . . I bought everything. The gym was packed to the gills!”
Having learned their lesson, Chan and his wife Cherie decided to avoid the piecemeal approach this time around and build out their new Colorado garage gym as efficiently as possible from the outset, identifying the best selection and arrangement of equipment to maximize the space’s potential.
“As you can imagine,” Matt says, “when you’re setting up a home gym, you go through waves of things that you think are important and have to have, then all of the sudden, three days pass and you completely change your mind. Do we want to do two foldback racks and have more room in the garage gym, or do we want one ultimate rack that has what we really want on it? . . . And this is where ZEUS comes in and really proves to be a great application. Because with ZEUS, if you have a new idea, you can lay it out [virtually] and see what it looks like.”
As Cherie points out, having a layout tool is also a great way to avoid overloading a space, especially for someone like Matt, who “wants everything!”
After carefully measuring the full dimensions of their new garage, Matt and Cherie were able to use the ZEUS tool to start plugging in the best configuration of their must-have, large-scale pieces, including two customized Mass Storage Systems and a pair of Fold Back Racks with stringers. The only problem? Their garage floor featured an incline designed for water runoff, meaning the uprights of the power racks wouldn’t be level on the ground. Matt also felt the floor slope could have negative consequences on his own physical well being, forcing him to favor one side over another, leading to possible back and knee issues. The DIY solution? Matt opted to purchase $700 worth of lumber and construct 16-feet of subfloor, with rubber matting screwed into the top of the wood, creating a level training surface.
Once that undertaking was complete, the fun part could begin, turning the ZEUS gym blueprint into reality.
In the end, even after adding all the equipment he and his wife wanted, there was still room leftover for storage of other household and outdoor gear: tools, bikes, rucksacks, etc., and even a personal sauna and ice bath.
Here are some of the highlights of the Chan family gym once their full plan was realized.
As predicted in the ZEUS layout tool, a pair of Fold Back Racks fit perfectly along one wall of the garage, easily mounted with stringers at a custom height suited to the ceiling. These units deliver all the training benefits of a full Monster power rack with unmatched space efficiency. “It’s awesome,” Matt says, “In a stored position, they’re only about 8 to 12 inches off the wall.”
“I think storage is one of the biggest overlooked items for a garage gym,” Chan says, “because things end up all over the floor if you don’t have it. . . . We went with a 43” three-tier Mass Storage; and you can notice we’ve got four tiers on it . . . we actually added one additional one. This is enough to hold all of our kettlebells, along with some space for shoes and stuff like that. We’ve got a 70” unit on the other side (for dumbbells and medballs); again we’ve got four tiers on it. And joining the two mass storage shelving systems are three corner shelves, which are good for storing your mobility tools or maybe a stereo.”
Matt brought his versatile weight bench over from his previous gym, and it proved easy to incorporate into the new set-up. Made from 2 x 2″ and 3 x 3″ 11-gauge steel, the AB-2 includes 6 adjustable seat settings and 9 adjustable back pad settings, from flat to 85 degrees upright.
This bolt-together design features a reinforced triangle-plate base, optional wheels for mobility, and re-positioned posts that enable full-size Oly plate storage on all three tiers. It is equipped with six 12” long storage posts (three on each side) constructed from 1.5” Schedule 40 pipe. Each of the posts on the roughly four-foot tall tree are evenly spaced at 18.275″ on center to offer a good mix of versatility and storage capacity.
As an alternative to a typical gun rack style design, this vertical barbell storage unit features nine DOM steel tubes (drawn over mandrel) secured within two laser-cut sheets of 7-gauge steel. Because DOM tubing is noted for a smooth internal finish free from burrs and weld spatter, they’re ideal for protecting the sleeves of your barbells from unnecessary scratches. “This is also a great option for us because it has a small footprint [18” x 18”],” Chan explains.
Developed by powerlifting legend Louie Simmons, this uniquely lightweight and mobile design features hinging legs that lock into place with pop pins. “It’s perfect for our use,” Matt says, “and the great part is that it folds back and folds away just like the two racks do.” The total depth of the Scout, when folded, is just 13 inches.
These American-made jump boxes are manufactured from recycled plastic, which is compression-molded into shape. The top portion (19” x 19”) is reinforced underneath using an arched rib pattern, and the surface features a textured grid pattern for superior traction.“These were new to us,” Matt says. “We got a 20” and a 24”. These guys were pretty easy to put together, and the cool part is, they can take a beating.”
“We have all three of the Concept 2 cardio pieces of equipment [SkiErg, RowErg, and BikeErg], which get used here at our house more than anything, honestly.”
And what would a Matt Chan gym be without the barbell that bears his name. The latest version of the Rogue Chan Bar features a new stainless steel 200,000 PSI shaft, an ultra-durable Cerakote color shaft finish with photo-negative style Rogue and Chan logos, and Rogue’s new Proprietary Matte Black sleeve finish.
If you want to find out more about how Matt and Cherie used ZEUS to equip their gym, you can watch our complete Matt Chan video gym tour or follow Matt Chan on Instagram for regular updates from his home gym and other adventures.