Garage “Gym”

It’s not that I’m averse to gyms or fitness centers. I worked in association with three for the last six and half years and know that in the right frame of mind you can get the right type of workout just about anywhere–even in the sterile world of a high-class fitness facility.

While gym-based training has been the focus of my strength training for years, in the last year or so I’ve explored other options outside the gym. As I mentioned in my “Primal Workout” post, there have been some websites that have been helpful for me as an athlete looking for new ways to get stronger. Some I recommend:

These are just a couple (along with a couple of the more “enlightened” trainers where I used to work, that have helped re-mold my ideas about strength training–what to do, where and when to do it, etc. While I don’t think any of them (no matter what they might say) are the end-all or be-all of strength training, I do think they have unique perspectives to contribute.

One of the things they’ve inspired me to do is to look at what I have lying around the house and yard that I might be able to transform into equipment for strength training in my garage gym (or less PC “ghetto gym” as I like to really call it).

One of my greatest discoveries were some three-foot by one foot “telephone pole” logs that the previous owner had used for some landscaping and that I had been slowly pulling out of the ground. Well, low and behold they are great for flipping end over end in a sort of traveling sumo dead lift–great quad, glute and inner thigh burner (just keep your head up and back straight–good posture). I’ve also used them for overhead presses. I attached a big eye-hook and a thick rope to one to use for pulling and dragging (almost as good as a sled). They are also a great height for doing a variety of hops (ski hops side-to-side, two-foot front-to-back hops, single foot, etc.). Also (one of my clients’ favorites) great for repeating toe touches–a quick-foot drill we used to do with a soccer ball (alternate touching the top with either foot as fast as you can–start with 30 seconds–great for foot speed and agility for off-road running).

My other great discovery were the dozen dry bags of varying sizes that I’ve collected for paddling and adventure racing. Most of the time they sit empty in a drawer. No more! Now they are filled with sand/dirt and pine needles (some filler) and they function very much like kettlebells if you grab the clasped handles–great for almost anything you would use a dumbbell or kettlebell for. I didn’t invest anything (but the time to fill them) and I have an incredibly versatile strength training tool.

So, look around your garage, basement or backyard and see what you can create for a great workout. I’d love to hear about what you come up with and I’ll add more about my “home gym” over time.

Enjoy and hit it hard–no matter what you have to work with or where you are!

~ by kipwkoelsch on April 1, 2009.

One Response to “Garage “Gym””

  1. Nice post! I suppose that’s why CrossFit’s methods are deemed functional fitness. Anywhere you are, there is something that needs to lifted, moved, and set down.

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