Mike Brown's Build-A-Gym (patent pending)
For over a century bodybuilders have known that cables (often called chest expanders) were, in many exercises, capable of producing greater increase in muscular size than weights. The biggest drawback to a set of chest expanders, or a cable set, is that they were pretty much limited to exercises you could do with a dumbbell in one hand-one arm presses, curls, and the like.
Our Build-A-Gym changes all that. Now, any exercise you can do with a barbell, you can do with a Build-A-Gym: squats, deadlifts, bench presses, military presses, you-name-it.
The Build-A-Gym consists of a wooden board you stand, sit, or lie on, with attachments for cable strands. You can use chains to attach to the wooden platform to lengthen the travel of the wooden bar.
You may ask, why a wooden bar?
First, don't let the fact that the bar is wooden fool you. Three grown men stood on it while it was suspended over two chairs and couldn't break it. We doubt you can either.
Second, the wooden bar is much lighter than a steel bar. For weightlifters, a 20- to 45-pound steel bar makes little difference. For someone pulling or pushing against a cable, it makes all the difference.
When you get your Build-A-Gym, try this as an experiment and you'll understand. Lie down on the platform and position yourself for a cable bench press. Press the bar straight up. Now press the bar at different angles-straight up, 45 degrees to your front, 45 degrees over your head, 30 degrees, 15 degrees, etc. Unlike a conventional bench press with a barbell-in which the bar goes almost straight up or you have a problem-the number of angles you can "bench press," the cable bar is almost infinite.
Try the same move with a steel bar and you will soon see how impractical those angles are with 25 to 45 pounds pulling against gravity.
What you will find with just this one exercise--the Build-A-Gym bench press--you can work the arms, shoulders, and chest from dozens of different angles, all in the same minute or two of exercise. The more angles you work, the more muscle fibers you reach. The more muscle fibers you reach, the larger your muscles grow.
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This page was updated on April 15, 2013