Building Your Own Durable Pulling Blocks - GGP
Garage Gym DIY

Garage Gym DIY – Building Your Own Durable Pulling Blocks

Though it is not a staple with expert lifters, a pulling block helps keep weights off the ground a bit for beginner lifters. This is especially useful for getting used to advanced movements. Like for example, a warm up drill practicing the clean and jerk.

Why Train with Pulling Blocks?

A lot of people don’t use or are plain unaware of the advantages that pulling blocks have, even for experienced lifters sometimes. This is especially useful for when you have to start exercise from the hang position.

While there are alternatives you can buy from stores, you’d be much better of building your own set of it from scratch. You can accomplish this with very few things. Let’s find out how.

Using plates as alternatives

Piling bumpers is alright and you can easily make height adjustments with it. But it is not ideal as the bar won’t stay still while you are sitting on the bunch of plates. So, recently, I made up my mind to try using real pulling blocks. However, I was not happy with the idea of purchasing the steel pulling blocks available online. They are bulky and weigh in tons than what they really need to be if one or two people are using them.

In addition, they are difficult to move around and frankly, storing it in the garage is not possible.  So, the only solution I had was to design my own pulling block. Since it won’t take more than a day to complete the work, I decided to go for it.

Surprisingly, designing pulling blocks are one of the easiest things in the world. Minimum measuring is required and some straight cuts. In addition, you need to have some tools, which most of the adults will be having like drill and saw. If you don’t have, Home Depot will assist you in cutting the lumber for a nominal charge.

Furthermore, if you go on with this project, you get access to robust pulling blocks and have a concrete platform for box jumps, Bulgarian split squats, partial deads, step-ups, floor presses and more. And these are some of the versatile additions for your garage gym.

Item list

  • 2x4 Lumber – It is recommended to go for pine instead of fir. Depending on how high you want the blocks and the dimensions of the top, you need to estimate the requirement of lumber. A simple math can give you the result.
  • 3/4“Plywood – How many plywood you want just depends on the dimensions you want the blocks to be. Also you need to consider whether or not you plan to double-up.
  • Wood Screws – The perfect screws are #8 2½”. Of course, you can use the 3” for getting a bit more holding power as long as you can take control of the drill and avoid pushing the screw heads on top of the first layers.
  • Stall Mat – You require just one.
  • Wood Stain – This is optional
  • Liquid Nails – This is especially for plywood pieces

Tool List

  • Tape Measure
  • Power Driver or Drill
  • Safety Goggles
  • Appropriate saw for cutting 2x4’s and plywood sheets (i.e. chop or miter, table, circular, etc)
  • Sander (this is optional)

Assembling Pulling Blocks

Pulling Block Layers

Pulling blocks are quite easy to create. As long as you have the required tools for doing this project, you simply need to check out the below picture to figure it out. This project is simple and does not need any kind of super-detailed and step-by-step instructions. So, rather than going into the detail descriptions of the procedure, you can check out the pointers that are explained in this article to make the project simpler. Sometimes these pointers can make you aware of the things that you might have not considered for yourself.

Now if you are fine with the pulling blocks being 24½” long and 17½” wide, then go ahead with this size. This is not only the best size functionally, but one of the easiest size to create as it is the same dimensions of the 7 side-by-side 2x4’s (24½”) and 5 side-by-side 2x4’s (17½”). Also you don’t need to do any measuring at the time of assembling (obviously, not taking into account of the cuts), as a 2x4 scrap is all that is needed to perfectly space each of the attached 2x4 (as shown in the above image) .

Obviously, you have to correctly keep the first 2x4 in each of the layer, and once that is done, the remaining piece of the layers would be easy. Frankly, whatever size you select, 17½ x 24½” can be easier. Also you can go with other sizes and space the alternative 2x4’s with easy by using a tape measure.

In terms of how many layers to create or how high the blocks have to be, it entirely depends upon your choice. The top-most layer along with the stall mat can be 2¼” high. Each of the layer of 2x4’s can add another 1½” inches. Select the blocks based on your height. You can have four to five layers and if you are over six feet, six layers can be great. And if you are simply clever enough, it is easy to make adjustments just like jerk blocks.

Now when you are going to assemble, it is better if you start from the top of the block. Then you can slowly work down instead of creating from the bottom layer. Frankly, more or less this guarantees that the first layer is easily aligned with the plywood. After that you have to keep the plywood piece (doubled up) on the ground and ensure that the bottom side is facing up. Once that is done, you need to attach the layer of 2x4 to the plywood. Check out the sequence of the picture given below to see what it means.

It is up to you to decide on how many screws you would use for each of the overlapping pieces. If you want you can use two a piece of 2x4 which ends up on the top of another 2x4. This comes to about 24 screws per each layer. Of course, this might sound a lot and using a single screw cannot seem to be enough. Screws are not expensive and you won’t want the boards to rattle continuously when each time your bumper touches the ground.

Just take a look at the image below. Whenever a new layer is started, it is marked with a symbol ‘X’ where the screws have to be placed. This is done to avoid the screws of the new layer from going into the screws of the layer below. You can use pilot holes for each of the screws. Seriously, it can be irritating as you drive the screws into the board and it splits.

Now you might think of using screws and wood glue. I tried it and found it to be pointless as I had about 24 screws for each layer. So, I avoided using glue. The only glue you need is the liquid nail among the two huge pieces of plywood.

Here you need to find a way to ensure that the boards are all lined up just like how they need to be, just like how it was before attaching each of the pieces permanently. Just check out the placement of each of the 2x4 and you might get uneven pulling blocks which might be funny.

Personally, I propped scrap woods on the frame of the pulling blocks and the new piece was butted up against the given scraps so that everything is flush. So, now as everything is put together, you have to flip each of the blocks over, cut the stall mat into pieces of similar dimensions like the top of the blocks and then attach the mats.

At last, it is completed and you can go ahead and lift.

Buying Pulling Blocks Rather Than Building One


Rogue Pulling Blocks

If you check out, this project won’t take much of your time as well as efforts. These DIY are the perfect means of getting the right kind of pulling blocks that you want. Not only they are cheap, but strong and can be really attractive.

But if you are bad with power tools and projects, and feel that building such blocks can be hazardous for your health, then you can purchase pulling blocks. Retailers sell pulling blocks which are in steel and they can on the expensive side.

You can try the Metal Pulling Blocks of Rogue. It comes in two models and has multiple features which make them the best choice rather than DIY method. However, you might end up paying more based on the size you want. That’s too much cash to spend on getting a bar few inches above the ground.

If you want to make some economical savings, then it is better if you purchase sections of the Rogue Jerk Blocks. You have the option to purchase 12” or 6” blocks and the 2¼” top. This gives you either 14” blocks or 8” blocks. With regard to the height, it doesn’t have the required variety like metal blocks, but the best part is that it is very much cheaper. The 8” blocks will cost you lesser than the 14” blocks.

Now the best part is that you can purchase the entire set of the jerk block. So, with that you are back to the steel block prices and you can access both the jerk as well as pulling blocks. What a treat it would be! One thing to keep in mind is that Rogue is not the only company that sells wood jerk blocks, however they are the best in it. You have another alternative which is the Rhode Blocks, and that is quite decent too. They have the same concept where the top piece always goes on top of the stackable pieces, but they have a long lead time.

Finally, there is the indestructible option that you can check out - DC Blocks. They are 15½” wide, 19″ long and 2″ best recycled and stackable blocks made from plastic. So with this twelve block set you can adjust anywhere (i.e. from the ground to 12” in 2” increments. But the sad part is that these 12 blocks might cost you a lot and that too for plastic.

Conclusion

If you are too much into budget-saving procedures and buying resourceful products, then building your own durable pulling blocks might sound to be a good idea. But it is better if you do a lot of research and read various articles available online on how much time you need to spend on this project, where to get the best wood, the required tools, and more. Unless you are familiar with such information, you must not indulge in building the pulling blocks.