It's kind of bitter-sweet when I
pull the visitor stats for my website each month. I
like to write or find articles for my newsletter that are
interesting and answer questions that people are asking.
Some end up being trendy topics, while others are just
bringing up content that has been around for a while that I
re-circulate for awareness.
However, it still amazes me that
the biggest draw that I get to my website comes from the
"do-it-yourself" fitness equipment ideas! When I look
at the search strings used, it's always "how to make a
kettlebell", "how to make a chinup bar", "how to make a
slide board", etc... at the top of the list! I guess I
just didn't realize how many "do-it-yourselfers" like myself
are out there J
That's fine by me... hey, based
upon some emails that I've received, or comments on my YouTube videos, I guess that means that I'm helping some
people to stay motivated, or at least save some money!
So for my do-it-yourself brethren out there, here are my top
10 tips on useful DIY materials...
noodles - I've used them for a variety of padding
needs. They are very cheap, yet functional just the same.
I'll cut a couple of 8 inch pieces, slice them down the
middle, and then put them on the back of a few folding
chairs to do dips. I've used them for some quick
padding on a bar for squats. I've even used them as
padding for some of my DIY equipment like this shin blaster.
Quick and easy to work with.
- threaded metal plumber pipe or plastic PVC pipe... there
are limitless possibilities that I've used pipe for!
The steel threaded plumber's pipe is great for equipment
where you need to support some weight (like the
shinblaster above). I've used it for kettlebells,
dip bars, clubbells, chinup bars... with the various
elbows and endcaps, they make some sturdy alternatives to
store bought equipment. PVC pipe is cheap and
extremely easy to work with. It's easy to cut into
sections and fit in limitless configurations. With
PVC pipe I've made agility hurdles, and agility ladder,
rope handles, body bars, slosh pipe, parallelettes... it's
not as strong as the steel pipe, but much easier to fit
into the application that you're working on.
- most store bought weight plates are about $1 per pound.
A 50 pound bag of play sand will cost you about $3.50.
I LOVE to look for sand options for my workout equipment!
I have half a dozen sandbags in my gym at any given point
in time. I've also used sand in medicine balls,
jugbells and body bars. Sandbags themselves are
probably one of my favorite pieces of gym equipment!
- nothing fancy about a $4 rubber basketball at your local
Walmart, but there are a ton of pushup variations that you
can do on them! Outside of that, I like to fill them
with sand for a cheap medicine ball. A full ball is
about 25 pounds and costs a total of maybe $6 in
materials...versus $60-ish at a store.
plasti dip - I've tried baseball grip tape,
medical tape, lacrosse stick tape... eventually all of
these tapes get gunked up, out of place, or start rolling
on me. Finally I came across this "plasti dip" stuff
at Home Depot and it worked perfectly! It has a nice
rubberized feel to it and the durability is unmatched.
I think a tube of it runs about $6 and it makes for a
great grip feel for that metal pipe that you're using.
- never underestimate the ability to build something out
of wood! Between my plyo jump boxes, outdoor
multi-tower, slideboard, deadlift platform... if you have
some basic ability around the work shop, you can certainly
make some use of it in your gym.
- fill a gallon jug with sand, water, lead shot, whatever,
and you have no excuses why you can't start doing
dumbbell/kettlebell type exercises.
- flip them, pull them, throw them, drag them, beat on
them... used tires are typically FREE and offer endless
ways to change up your outdoor workouts.
rope - battling ropes, rope pulls, climbing
ropes... all great exercises with large ropes. But
there are plenty of applications for small rope as well.
Cheap PVC handles, agility ladders, with a little
creativity I'm sure that you can find something to do with
- furniture sliders
- a 4 pack of "super sliders" will only run you about $10
but there are dozens of exercises that you can do with
these simple tools. Slider pushups, crunches,
lunges, hamstring curls... a total body workout could
easily be accomplished with a set of these.
I know, I know... there are
plenty of other things that I could add to this list (towels
for grip, floor wax on slideboards, etc...) but I did say
"top 10" J
Just a quick list of things to chew on if you're someone
that likes to make stuff, or if you're looking to save a few
bucks. You can view a full list of the plans that I
have posted at my
budgetbody equipment link.
Bodyweight Exercise of the Month!
Stability training goes in and out
of popularity at times. Equipment like wobble boards and
BOSU balls were extremely popular last year, and still retain
a decent following. This suspended exercise is an
example of a challenging forward lunge that can work all of
your leg muscles with an emphasis on the hip flexors.
You can start by using your hands to stabilize yourself with
the exercise and eventually work up to the "look Mom, no
hands" version ; )
Target: legs and butt (quadriceps,
hamstrings, and gluteals)
Description: Start in
a standing position with one foot firmly planted on the
ground, and the other on a loop or wrung of the suspension
strap. Slowly slide your front foot forward while
keeping your back leg straight. Getting your front knee
to a 90 degree angle is a good target, before tightening up
and returning back to the starting position. Repeat for
There's an App
I was interested in human
anatomy and the muscle system even before I started studying
for my personal training certification. I sure wish
that I had this app back then! It is an extremely easy
to use and informative app that really provides a solid
reference with perfect visuals for all the major muscles and
Learn Muscles: Anatomy Quiz and
reference, testing and education tool. Includes 141
beautiful muscle images with name, action, origin, insertion
and comments, plus audio pronunciation guide, a quiz maker,
an action viewer and 6 short videos to create a rich
Muscle Images: Major muscles, both deep and superficial with all important
information and comments, plus the ability to add your own
guide for each muscle.
Quiz Maker: Create your
own multiple choice quiz on the name, action, origin, or
insertion. Focus on the leg, arm, torso, or head.
480 total questions. If you get it wrong, the app
shows the correct muscle image and speaks the name.
Action Viewer: 37 joint
action animations with the muscles that do the action, plus
comments on the mechanics of each joint.
Videos: 6 embedded
videos explaining the function of the hip, shoulder, back
and face muscles, as well as fascia and the nervous system
(20 minutes total)
Expand the app with .99
in-app purchase (which I did) that adds seven 3D models that you control,
with the ability to move down through the layers as you spin
This is a robust application that is a
great teaching and learning tool for students, educators and
healthcare practitioners wanting to study or teach the
muscular system. The iTunes Store price is currently $2.99
(plus the .99 optional 3D model pack).
It's Go Time!
I'm like a big kid. Not because I like
my toys (which I do) but because Halloween is my favorite
holiday to decorate and prepare for. I had the yard all
done and ready to go and then we get this Frankenstorm named
Sandy that has to crash the party and ruin everything!
No major damage here, but it certainly took all the fun out of
the trick-or-treating and the decor
L. Still, we were
lucky... my thoughts and prayers go out to all those thousands
of people that lost so much.
Having said that, we still have a bucket of
candy here if anybody wants some! My daughter loves
dressing up and trick-or-treating and usually comes home with
quite a stash. However, the funny thing is that we still
have Halloween candy left over from last year! We might
have a piece or 2 once in a while, but I can honestly say that
we don't over indulge in a candy binge. It's just not
worth it... well, sometimes it is
Keep in mind all... we just started the
dangerous time of the year... the eating/drinking holiday
trifecta that is Halloween-Thanksgiving-Christmas... 4 of them
if you count New Years Eve! It's ok to cheat a little
here and there, but try to limit it to family gatherings and
special events. Don't start (or continue) any bad habits
that you'll regret come June!
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always too early to quit."
- Norman Vincent Peale
youtube of the month -->
Road Bike Party
would have thought that a video about a guy on a road bike
would be so AMAZING?!