Setting up an at-home gym can be expensive, but there are plenty of DIY strength training alternatives.
If you look back at the history books, strength and muscle-building competitions existed long before the invention of commercial exercise equipment and expensive gyms. Strong and fit men and women used logs, stones, water containers and heavy farming equipment to test their strength and enhance their physical skills. They simply improvised with the items that they had at hand. If you want to avoid the glam and cost of joining a gym, but still want to do tough muscle-building workouts, then you, too, can improvise.
Getting fit and active should be fun. The activity that you choose should keep you engaged so that you progress and stay dedicated to being healthy. You shouldn’t use the excuse that you don’t have access to a gym or equipment, because you can use children’s equipment at a local park, items found in your garage and many other DIY methods to get a good workout.
Cross training style gyms and many boot camp style classes have gone back to using the basics to ensure that all people, regardless of their economic status, can have fun with training in a more natural at-home environment.
Here are some ways to add organic at-home strength training to your fitness routine.
Use water containers
Water containers, large and small, can be used to perform many traditional gym-based exercises, such as bicep curls, squats, dead lifts and chest presses. If you live in an area where there’s a drought, don’t use water that you’ll dispose. Use drinking water containers and then drink the water once you’re done.
Fancy gyms have started using what they call “battle ropes” as part of their core training programs. However, you don’t need to use a sports-specific rope to reap the benefits of exercising with ropes. A heavy rope secured to a post can provide hours of workout fun. Place a rope in each hand and perform jumping jacks. Lift and slam the ropes to the ground for a challenging upper body and abdominal blast. Secure a rope that you can climb to get a strong upper body. Small jump ropes are fantastic for working up a sweat or helping you to increase your range of motion while stretching. Ropes are one of my personal favorite training tools.
Using an axe on a large log is great for toning your upper body and oblique muscles. It’s, however, a little too dangerous for most people to manage. Using a weighted bar in an open area and mimicking the wood-chopping motion will give you all of the benefits of chopping wood, without the danger factor.
Car and truck tires are very difficult to dispose of and have become quite an environmental nuisance. But used tires can make a great training tool, especially if you have a good amount of outdoor space to work with. You can flip over large tractor tires to gain strength in your legs, upper body and core. Drag tires using a rope to work on the posterior chain muscles, glutes and hamstrings. Use them for stability training, such as push-ups and step-ups, or create an obstacle course using smaller tires for cardiovascular fitness and agility. There are so many ways you can make use of tires to get fit and strong. Often, you can get them for free from used car lots.
As a former athlete, I believe that following a well-balanced and structured training program is essential if you have specific goals in mind. But if your goal is to simply get strong and fit, you can have fun being creative with your workouts in a way that suits you. Moving your body, lifting, jumping and throwing are all pretty natural human movements. So, just let your workout be organic and go with the flow every once in a while.
Always remember to be safe and only perform movements that feel natural and pain-free.
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