Jim Schmitz on the Lifts

IronMind Home Sweat Home

IronMind Brings You Tools for Transformation

Combining U.S.-sourced steel and fabrication with the creativity of a California company known from one end of the strength world to the other, IronMind elevates the basics to new heights. We don’t go offshore to mass product lawn furniture masquerading as lifting equipment: Instead, IronMind crafts human-transformation tools camouflaged as Vulcan Racks III™, Pillars of Power II+  Spotter Racks, and a Five-Star Flat Bench II™.

Along the way we made significant improvements to many of our tried-and-true pieces of equipment, adding to their already sterling credentials and boosting their capabilities another notch. This year there's a new pallette for PRs.  Whether you call it upscale industrial or battleship gray, IronMind's large equipment has a new color scheme.

bench
Five Star Flat Bench II

Strong enough that it can support tons, it is perfect for leg raises, neck work, presses and curls, pull-overs, bentover rows, laterals, flyes, bench presses, step-ups, deadlifts, and more!  

vulcan-racks
Vulcan Racks III Squat Racks

More than strong enough for 1,000-lb. squats, yet light enough to move around.  The base unit's versatility has optional add-ons that allow you to dip, chin, and do wrist roller work, all in a footprint that's about 4' x 2'.  And you thought you didn't have enough room for serious workouts at home?

pop
Pillars of Power II+ Spotter Racks

A way to keep from getting squashed if a bench press or squat goes awry, plus flexibility that allows you to change its width and height or knock it down for compact storage. 

Tools of Transformation
sdc
IronMind SDC Center:  Squat, Dip, Chin!

Squat like super heavyweight IPF world record holder Shane Hamman, chin like you're a CrossFit champ, and dip with however many hundreds of pounds around your waist you can handle.  The SDC center combines the Command Chinning Bar and the Vulcan Racks System III Squat Racks by having them share the same crosstube for a stable base.

sweathomehorse
Specialty Training Equipment
including our Draft Horse Pulling Harness™, at World's Strongest Man—again in 2011!

Setting Up a Home Gym

Read a high-end magazine and it’s easy to get advice on setting up a home gym: minimum requirements usually start with about 1,000 square feet of dedicated space, and a budget that is solidly into five figures or beyond.

Ask us, though, and we have a different take. We say that the standard size for a home gym lifting platform* is about 8 feet by 8 feet, and if you’ve got that, a barbell set and squat racks, as far as a gym goes, you’re set to become an Olympic champion or a world record holder. That’s actually the fat-city approach in our book, because we know of guys who don’t have any dedicated space— nada, zip, zero—but that doesn’t stop them because they stash their equipment in a corner or under the bed, and when it’s time to train, the living room or kitchen or bedroom might become a gym, or the car comes out of the garage and— voila!—now they’re even lifting with concrete under their feet, for nice, solid, smooth and level footing. Of course, those are just some of the indoor options, because other guys lift outside, braving heat, cold, mosquitoes, and sometimes much harsher elements than even these, as many soldiers, medics, journalists and chaplains working in war zones around the world can tell you. Be creative, and if you’re motivated, you can figure out a way to train—it might not be perfect, but it will be a whale of a lot better than sitting around being skinny or fat, and out-of-condition and weak.

* Randall J. Strossen’s article, “ Building a Lifting Platform,” will tell you how to do just that.

Warning!

For safety’s sake, there are a number of exercises that should never be performed without a foolproof spotting system, but there is one that stands out above all others. For all the hand-wringing about this or that dangerous exercise, the only thing we know of that kills and maims people with any regularity is the garden-variety bench press, so if we were to give you only one piece of safety advice, it is to never, ever bench press without a proven spotting system. Never. Ever.

For more information on Olympic-style weightlifting, weight training, lifter profiles, and competition reports, visit our Weightlifting Resource Pages.

Jim Schmitz’s gold-medal articles on weightlifting and weight training are regularly featured in MILO: A Journal for Serious Strength Athletes.

Take advantage of what Jim Schmitz, absolutely one of the best American coaches in the sport, can teach you in his
Olympic-style Weightlifting for the Beginner & Intermediate Weightlifters Manual and DVD.