Bodybuilding in close quarters

Regina Cano


He had already tried out all the gyms close to his house, and in each one he had found something lacking he was looking for.

Some asked for too much money. Others tried to make it seem they could provide more knowledge about bodybuilding than they really could. Then too there were those that simply didn’t have all the equipment he needed.

So like this, caught between his mother’s protests and his body’s need to maintain its edge, he decided that his only way out was to create his own gym.

The site for the training facility would be his 9 x12 foot bedroom, in his family’s micro-brigade apartment** in Alamar – clearly too small for that purpose. Plus, this would have to include his bed and another piece of furniture, but it was the closest thing he had to property and the only thing he could transform according to his desires.

With this being his own personal space, modifying it wouldn’t bother anyone else, and probably two or three friends would surely help him make the changes.

Toward this objective, he took his old bicycle and made a stationary peddling machine so that he could travel the equivalent of several miles while resting on five tiles.

Between his closet and a wall, he placed a fixed traction bar made of construction rebar to work his upper back, biceps and arms, along with a pulley with weights for that same end.

A “prom bench”* was added for his pectorals and deltoids, along with a “hack squat”*** for his legs and a Roman seat for his abdomen and lower back, in addition to some other minor accessories.

Uff! It seems that it’s plenty of equipment, and I hope it all works for him.

And a little like the proverbial “little old lady” who planted a ceiba tree**** in a small blue flowerpot on her balcony in Old Havana — almost unable to sustain itself — it seems this guy is delighted with having his own gym, even if it means him sleeping in a corner of his own bedroom.


* Micro-brigade building: A Soviet construction style that was imported to Cuba and gave Alamar the same appearance in all directions. “Micro-brigades” was also the name of the movement that began with the Cuban Revolution to build housing on a mass scale.
** Prom: Bench where a bar loaded with weights is for working out from a prone position.
*** Hack squat: A frame that allows one to lie down on rails and work out by pushing weights.
**** Ceiba: A tree native of the Americas, characterized by its thick trunk and extensive crown.