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story.lead_photo.caption Jerrod Pinkston and his daughter, Meredith, compete in the Garage Sale Race, a three-part workout from Matt Parrott's Master Class. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Celia Storey)

Over the past few months, we've seen people using their garages as extensions of their homes. Some use the space to work on projects while others have started new businesses in this multipurpose space.

Looking into the future, I suspect people will continue using their garages differently. This could mean creating a home gym that can facilitate a great workout without interfering with the primary purpose of a garage — parking the cars.

This week, I'll present a few tips for transforming your garage into a home gym and an exercise to get you started down that path.

The two most critical considerations for garage gym development are 1) budget and 2) space available. All other variables can be manipulated easily based on one's fitness goals, preferred modes of exercise, etc. So, my advice is to determine these two parameters before developing a plan of attack. Once that's done, it's time to begin planning.

The cardiovascular solution to working out from home is often the priority — but treadmills and ellipticals require a huge amount of space and reliable ones can be expensive. For a cardio workstation that won't hog space, I recommend a spin bike. These compact units have a small footprint and can be moved easily. Most models have platform wheels. So, you can move it from the corner of the garage to front and center in a matter of a few seconds.

Strength training is a little more complicated and reasonable accommodations will vary based on one's expectations and needs.

Those with complex programs involving barbells will need to explore a wall-mounted rack system. Rogue fitness has some great wall-mounted rack options starting at $200 that can provide the serious lifter with the stability and durability necessary to maintain a gym-quality workout.

For those who want a place to store dumbbells, kettlebells, and a few ancillary pieces, I like Gymrax. This company builds compact wall mounted storage units to keep equipment organized and off the floor. There are countless configurations, and they also allow for customization of your own unit. I love the look of Gymrax Free Anchor units, especially if aesthetics are an important consideration.

Of course, those with especially advanced expectations will want to consider flooring, entertainment options and other creature comforts that can help to transform the oil-stained garage space into a daily workout space. Those can be added over time, but I do recommend an adjustable bench. This can be used for all kinds of exercises, from step-ups to the overhead press.

It's the one piece of equipment that will get used every day.

Once you're ready to get moving on the home gym project, it's time to clean out the garage. This week's exercise is designed to provide a head start while tying in some fitness along the way. The Garage Sale Race is fun.

1. Determine all the loose items you want to take out in order to clean the floor. Once that list has been determined, divide them in half and assign half to a family member and half to yourself.

2. On "go," sprint to grab each item and place it beyond a predetermined line in the driveway (needs to be far enough out so you can clean the garage).

3. Continue until everything on your list is completed. First one to finish is the winner.

4. Clean the garage floor together and complete the race again to put everything back — carefully!

This is a great way to get the garage prepped and ready for the gym conversion project. It's a great excuse to get rid of all the paint, weed killer, gasoline, propane and other things that tend to clutter up the garage space. Just remember not to run with sharp objects. Ha! Enjoy!

Matt Parrott has a doctorate in education (sport studies) and a master's in kinesiology and is certified by the American College of Sports Medicine.

vballtop@aol.com

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