Many within the fitness industry are familiar with the Powerhouse Gym name. With many gyms worldwide, the PHG brand is a well-known leader in providing high-quality facilities that cater to bodybuilders, athletes, and general fitness enthusiasts. However, many people don’t know the humble beginnings of the brand that continues to build upon its success in the fitness world.


The original Powerhouse was founded by brothers Will and Norm Dabish in1974. Prior to opening the gym, they ran a martial arts store named Detroit Karate & Judo Supply Co. When the brothers moved the store to Detroit, in a building that was once the first Ford dealership in the country, the Dabish brothers had a gut instinct the location would make an extreme impact on the public. The business plan for Powerhouse was simple.
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“We’ll open the best gym we can and invite all our friends to train,” said Will Dabish. “Powerhouse will either take off as a success or we’ll just have our own private place to train."

The initial group of PHG members reads as a Who’s Who in competitive bodybuilding. The late Don Ross, Tom Platz, Ron Love, John Simmons, and former Olympia winners Samir Bannout, and Lenda Murray were all members. The gym went on a winning streak in Michigan, producing several state champions, as well as grooming competitors for regional and national-level shows. Many other athletes also called PHG home. Notable boxers such as Leon Spinks, Thomas “Hitman” Hearns, and Hilmer Kenty trained at PHG during their heyday in the ring.


The original Powerhouse Gym still stands and keeps the vision the Dabish brothers had: a gym that can service men, women, teens, and the elderly, while keeping a serious training environment. Currently Victor Dabish, Will Dabish’s son, operates the original gym.

“He continues to carry on the tradition, not only by making the gym better but taking it to the next level.” Dabish said. – FLEX