Over the years, I have played with a variety of toys, some of which have evolved and improved, some of which remain staples everyone should lift by. (Get the joke/pun, btw? “To live by”/”to lift by”? Yes? No? OK, I’ll get back to my point now). I am sure you can guess what toys/tools I will mention, but some may actually surprise you too, proving that all roads lead to Rome. I’ll break it down by budget.
BROKE MAN GYM
Body weight. Gallon jugs filled with water, or sand.
AROUND $250 OR LESS
Easy to carry with you: TRX or War Machine suspension training systems. I’ve had a TRX for about 5-6 years and its manufacturers have broken ground with that tool and are becoming increasingly popular. Tapping into the suspension training market inspired by gymnastics rings, they are the pioneer. Alas, the tool hasn’t changed since its inception and has spawned some knock-offs, like all good devices, one of which is my new favorite: the War Machine, from Cross-Core. Like a TRX but with a pulley system and a pin you can unlock to create even more instability and greater demand on the core. Heavier than the TRX because of its metal pulley, it still travels easily, though if going on a trip, it’ll take more weight out of your allowance than the TRX. My advice: lose a pair of shoes or two. You’re on vacation, who cares what you wear!
Of course, you can get a pair of kettlebells, matching or better yet, mismatched, like a 16kg and a 24kg for men, 18lb and 12kg for women (or 12kg and 16kg if you are a fit woman).
BUILDING THE GYM FOR UNDER $500.
You can of course get all of the above, a suspension system and a couple kettlebells. I recommend adding a pull-up bar. You can get something that installs in your door frame for about $20. Forget bands, mini dumbbells, steps or other. Want cardio? Swing some kettlebells (after receiving proper instruction) or get a jump rope (under $10). The pull-up bar can be used for many things, including straight or bent knee raises, something to anchor your suspension system (better than a door frame or door hinge). All of this for LESS than the yearly cost of a gym membership, except you get to keep it longer, with tools that need little to no maintenance, who have sustained the test of time and help us move in our natural movement patterns, or “Origin Motions” as I like to call them.
Brett Jones, Master RKC (among many other titles) was quoted saying “lock me in a room with a 16kg kettlebell and I will come out stronger”. If you are knowledgeable and creative, you can learn to increase the demand on your muscles with leverage and challenge your sense of balance. However, yes, you may not be able to achieve a very bench pressing goal or super heavy deadlift without actually working with the equipment. But if you are the average person, and I mean that from a statistical standpoint rather than calling you “not exceptional”, who wishes to stay fit, strong and healthy, you can achieve your desired look and expand your abilities with all and only the tools listed above, even if you get only a couple of them. Ask yourself what are truly your individual needs and goals and work towards them by reverse engineering your equipment’s uses and possibilities. That means modifying your lifts angles, your stance, your base, your volume, tempo, repetitions etc.
The world is your oyster. Not sure how to achieve that and where and how to organize that gym? Email me for a consultation:)