Let's be honest here, my home gym is not a better gym than the S4 Compound. I do not think there is a gym in the world that is better than the Elitefts S4 Compound in London, Ohio, owned by Dave and Traci Tate.

The S4 Compound is filled wall-to-wall with steel plates, monolifts, competition benches, power racks, bars, and any other imaginable piece of equipment known to man. It is considered by many to be the Mecca of “hardcore” gyms.

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So why do I consider my little home gym to be better than the world famous S4 Compound? Simple: it makes life easier. You see, I am a 40-year-old husband, father, son, employee, coach, fundraiser and friend. I have many responsibilities and commitments that take up most of my free time, and I would not change any of it for the world. This is why my home gym matters. The convenience of a home gym has been invaluable for my family and me. My home gym—I call it the G3 Compound (three of us live here, my wife, son, and myself)—has been one of the best investments we have ever made. Let me explain how I got here.

S4 Compound

I started working at elitefts back in September of 2010. I was unfamiliar with the culture and cult-like following Dave Tate had built here in London, Ohio. I was always a guy that lifted, not trained, and thought I knew my way around the weight room. That is, until the second interview I had with elitefts that just happened to take place at the S4 compound. I was told to meet Dave Tate at the weight room at 1 PM — "just come in, the door will be open."

I walked in and was in awe at first site. I could not believe what I was looking at, what I smelled, and most of all what I was hearing. It was the first time I ever laid eyes on a monolift, the first time I smelled the years of sweat in the compound, and the first time I heard a grunt that sent chills down my spine. That grunt was a large man in a hoodie with headphones on, pounding out reps on a Power Squat.

I could hear the music blasting through his Beats headphones and knew he did not hear me come in the door. I walked up behind him and waited for him to turn around. Finally he looked over and I believe his exact words were, “Who the f$%k are you?” Great, this guy doesn’t even know who I am or why I am here. After our awkward introduction, he took me around the gym showing me different pieces of equipment, bars, and many other items I had never seen before. I was hooked. I wanted the job and I desperately wanted to be able to workout in what my mother would later say looked like a torture chamber. I went home and told my wife that if I got an offer that I would accept the job. I was offered and I accepted.


Imagine the situation I was in at this point: I am now the newly appointed Director of Sales at elitefts.com. I have no clue what I am doing but know this place is something special and I want to be a part of the culture. I get thrown into the fire my first day and am told that I will spend some time with Jim, who will show me the ropes. Well, Jim turns out to be Jim Wendler. After our first day at the office, I change into my gym clothes and hit the awesome facility across the parking lot. I am getting my pump on and sharing the gym with some guy with lots of tattoos, having no idea who Jim Wendler is.

Friday comes and I am told there is a group of guys that train on the weekend and maybe I should come and check it out. Sounds great, I will be there. I get to the S4 Compound and walk in to see some of the largest, strongest men I have ever seen, including Matt Wenning and Christian Mello, two of the biggest freaks I've ever met. This powerlifting thing is all new to me but I'm intrigued.

A month later Dave tells me we are going to do a UGSS. "Great", I said, even though I had no idea what he was talking about. Saturday comes, I get to the S4 Compound early and have the pleasure of watching the likes of Matt Kroc, JL Holdsworth, Jo Jordan, Brian Carroll, Josh McMillan, Wenning, Mello, Al Caslow, Molly Edwards, Ted Toalston, Jeremy Frey, Jason Pegg, and many more lift an insane amount of weight all weekend long. I was hooked.

This is when I joined the weekenders with Ted, Molly, Steve, Todd, Stevie, and Tim. We got to the Compound around 9 AM and usually finished up around 1 PM. Awesome times and friendships were made. We did lower on Saturdays and upper on Sundays. I was getting stronger, learning about training, learning about the product that I was selling, and having a blast. I was talked into doing a meet. Well, sort of — a push/pull meet. We trained for the meet for what felt like an eternity. I spent hours upon hours at the S4 Compound.


I competed at 198 and benched 501 and pulled 535 at Relentless. I loved it so much I decided to do a bench meet the following August and again competed at 198 and benched 505. I was having the time of my life and thought I found my calling. One problem: I had a young son and wife at home that were becoming very aggravated with the time I was spending away from them at the gym. This became a fight every weekend. My family means the world to me and is a much higher priority than a PR.

I loved lifting but loved my family more. I had only one choice: give up the gym. I slowly just started to pull out of the group. I was spending more time at home and everyone was happy, except I still wanted to lift. Well genius, you sell the best equipment in the world, you help people set up home gyms on a daily basis, BUY YOUR OWN HOME GYM!

Yes, buy. I do not get anything for free, so let’s get that straight. I talked to the boss, my wife, and she agreed. We were buying a home gym. So this is the sales pitch. You saw who the author was when you started reading this, so don’t act surprised. If you are a person that has a family, who has very few hours to spare, who has a hard time getting away, you should own your own home gym.

matt goodwin home gym

So what did I buy? I struggled with this and there is no correct answer. I suggest getting what you need to accomplish what you want to do as a lifter. I knew I wanted to squat, bench, and deadlift. I decided to go with the basics: Scholastic Full Power Rack, Dumbbell Flat Bench, Texas Power Bar, Troy Standard Plates, Prowler, Blast Straps, Spud Econo Triceps/Lat Pulley, and a few accessories.

We have had the G3 Compound up and running for almost two years and my wife and son use it as much if not more than I do. My wife loves doing hanging leg raises for abs, band pull downs for triceps off the pull up bar, dips, and much more. My son, a three-sport athlete, gets lifts in whenever he gets a free moment. Most of all, we love pushing the Prowler up and down our street with our neighbors looking at us like we are nuts.

bars matt goodwin

So I have my own gym that I can share with my family and does not take me away from them for hours at end. I can lift any time that I want. I get to control the music. I do not have to worry if the last guy wiped down the bench. If the plates weren’t racked it was my fault. I rarely have to adjust the J-Cups. I don’t have to ask if I can work in. I do not have to drive anywhere. I can lift late at night, early in the morning, weekdays, weekends, holidays, birthdays, and any other day or moment that was previously off limits. So yes, the S4 Compound at elitefts is the greatest gym in the world and no, my home gym isn’t a better gym. However, in the eyes of the ones that I love the most, the G3 Compound is better than the S4 Compound and that is all that matters to me.

If you are a father, husband, son, employee, friend, or anyone else who is taking shit for spending too much time at the gym call 888.854.8806 and let’s talk about resolving your problem.

Live, Learn, Pass on.

Some items in the G3 Compound: