Tag Archives: gym

Have Fun in the Gym… It’s Important!

chad

Chad Wesley Smith posted a video on YouTube today that really hit home with me, so I wanted to share it with all of you lift bros (and sisters). If you don’t know who he is… he’s one of the strongest powerlifters on the planet, so definitely someone you should listen to when it comes to barbell sports. He also competed in shot put back in the day, where he made it to an Olympic level (globally speaking).

In the video, he describes his training philosophy for his current training, during which he’s just going in the gym and doing things that he enjoys as opposed to training very methodically and specifically for powerlifting. Most of it is beltless work. Squat, bench and deadlift may still be a part of his training, but not as much as you’d expect from a traditional powerlifting program.

From what he explains, he’s mostly doing athletic work (i.e. box jumps and hill sprints), snatches, high bar squats and other things he enjoys. As part of this little project of his, he also competed as RAW as you can get in a powerlifting meet done for fun. No belt, no knee sleeves or other gear… just a singlet and his immense strength.

To dovetail off of this video, I’d just like to say that it’s important to have fun in the gym. If your current training program is wearing you down too much and it’s getting kind of ‘boring’, maybe just doing things in the gym that you enjoy for a month or three will get you back on track and feeling excited about training again. I know this has worked for me a few times…

And… I’m out!

DIY: How to Make a Poverty Post Landmine

landmine-article

If you want to make your own landmine attachment for your home gym (or even to take to the gym with you, if they don’t have a landmine attachment), you’ve come to the right place.

It’s easy to just shove a barbell into a corner, but sometimes this will damage the wall. Depending on where you train, you might not want this to happen. There are two solutions to your problem!

 

Solution 1: Buy A Landmine Attachment

There are a few types you can buy. One (like the one pictured below) attaches to a power rack or bolts to the ground. Click the picture to go buy it on Amazon for $27.95 + shipping.

power-rack-landmine

 

This isn’t a bad option at all. Unfortunately, I live in Germany and the attachment costs me over double that. I also didn’t really want to bolt the attachment to the ground or attach it to my power rack in my garage gym.

 

Another one is called a post landmine, which you can insert into some stacked weight plates. Rogue sells the one below for $65 + shipping here.

rogue-post-landmine

 

This one is pretty badass and looks nice for sure. Rogue products are usually excellent quality, but again getting it shipped to Germany would’ve bumped the price up a good bit and I probably wouldn’t even drop $65 on a post landmine to be honest.

So the next solution was what I went with instead.

 

Solution 2: Make Your Own Post Landmine

Now we’ve arrived at the topic of this article. First, I’ll show you some pictures of the finished poverty post landmine. This way you get a rough idea of what you’ll be putting together.

landmine1

landmine2

A list of materials you’ll need:

One 2″ x 6″ (15cm long for the non-‘Mericans) pipe nipple – This will be the part that holds the barbell.

One 1 1/2″ x 4″ (4″ = approx. 10cm for anyone living outside of the US) pipe nipple – This will be the post that sticks into the weight plates to hold your landmine attachment in place. If you want to stack more than two plates for whatever reason, you might want to go a little longer than 4″.

A threaded rod. Mine was 10mm x 16.5cm long, which is roughly 1/2″ x 6.5″ long. If it’s a little longer, it’s no big deal really. Just don’t get it shorter than that. – This is what will attach the two pipe nipples together.

Three regular nuts that fit your threaded rod (so 10mm or 1/2″) and two lock nuts that fit it as well.

4-5 washers that fit your threaded rod. I used 5, but you can get by with 4 I guess.

Some duct tape. This isn’t needed, but wrapping the 1 1/2″ pipe nipple in duct tape made it fit a little tighter in the holes of the weight plates.

You should be able to get all of these items at a home improvement store. I couldn’t get pipe nipples that wide, so I ordered them online. Everything together was still under 20€ (approximately $28 at the time I’m writing this) and I have a few threaded rods, nuts and washers left over for future projects. Depending on where you live, it’ll be even cheaper I’m sure.

 

Tools You Will Need:

A power drill with a metal drill bit to make a hole large enough for the threaded rod you picked up.

Optional (but very helpful): A drill press. This helped me drill straight holes through the pipe nipples. If you don’t own one (I don’t), see if you know someone that does (I do).

Wrenches to tighten the nuts you bought.

 

How to Assemble Your Poverty Post Landmine:

Drill holes through the pipe nipples as seen in the pictures. The holes should obviously be big enough to fit your threaded rod as mentioned. Use a drill press for accuracy and wear safety goggles would be my recommendations. Stay safe!

Put it together as shown in the pictures above. The lock nuts go on the outside, the rest should be self explanatory.

Optional: Wrap the small pipe nipple in duct tape until it fits tightly into the holes of your weight plates. It will work without this step too though.

 

And that’s it. That is how you make your own post landmine. Enjoy! Below are some exercises you can use it for!

 

Meadows Row (One Arm Barbell Row)

 

Landmine Press

 

One Arm Landmine Press

Obviously you can do these standing as well.

 

Landmine Twist

 

There are many more exercises that can be done with your poverty (or non-poverty) landmine. Just look up something like “landmine exercises” on YouTube and you’ll find a ton of tutorial videos.

The Beginning of My Garage Gym

homegym

I decided to cancel my commercial gym membership and begin building a home gym in the garage. Below is what I have so far.

A power rack.

It’s a PowerMark 475R, which is basically a rebrand of one of the Body Solid racks. I also got a plate loaded lat pulldown & low row combo to attach to the rack.

rack

The type of rack you want/need will depend on a lot of factors. Personally, I wanted a relatively cheap full rack with good reviews and the ability to attach a lat pulldown for some assistance movements I enjoy doing. I also wanted a pull up bar, which is actually attached to most power racks at this point. This particular rack fulfilled all those requirements and is also rated up to 360kg/794lbs, which I won’t be squatting any time soon (if ever haha).

 

A barbell and mats for deadlift.

I got the regular barbell from strengthshop.de to get me started. It’s a nice barbell with a price I can easily live with. If I lived in the US, I’d probably start off with this barbell. (Not if I was into Oly lifting.) Rogue has a variety of nice barbells too.

In the future, I will also be getting a power bar most likely and some specialty bars (i.e. hex bar, football bar, swiss bar, log, safety squat bar, etc.) … SOON.

I went with cheap spring collars too, but I think I’ll also pick up some lock jaw collars for convenience.

dl

The 12mm mats I got aren’t going to hold up very long, so I’ll be buying some plywood for deadlift. Depending on what kind of lifting you do, you’ll need anything from plywood to thick mats (horse stall mats are supposedly a great option), or even an Olympic lifting platform. That is if you want to protect your floor. I’ll be buying some plywood most likely.

Pictured below is the deadlift jack I made myself out of pipe. I’ll do a separate article on how to make it in the future.

dljack

 

 

Other misc items.

What I already owned: Oly lifting shoes, some bands, a lifting belt, lacrosse balls, PVC pipe and an ab wheel.

What I bought: Plate tree, weights (obviously), some extra attachments for the lat pulldown and an adjustable bench. Also a small space heater.

 

 

Future plans.

Hopefully sometime this year an actual room will be built within the garage for the equipment. I will continue to invest in the home gym with other ‘toys’ (i.e. dumbbells, chains, more bands, etc.) until I have everything I want or run out of space.

 

Overall costs so far.

Everything combined cost around 1500€ (slightly over $2k). With my gym membership costing 40€ / $55 per month, plus another 40€ / $55 for gas per month, I’m at 80€ / $110 spent each month to attend a commercial gym (where I have to share, and sometimes wait for, equipment). That means in less than two years my gym will have been a good investment. I intend to train much longer than that.

The costs will continue to go up I’m sure as I buy more equipment (a lot of which was not available to me at the commercial gym), so I will be obligated to train until I die!

 

 

Where to buy equipment…

There are quite a few decent racks available on Amazon.com, if you live in the United States. If you want excellent quality, go with Rogue (available in the US, Canada and Europe) or EliteFTS (US only as far as I know).

Strengthshop.co.uk is excellent if you live in the UK. Strengthshop.de is excellent if you live in Germany (I bought my barbell, bench and weight plate tree there). They also just opened a US store at StrengthshopUSA.com, which looks pretty good.

HeliSports.com (I believe they cover most of Europe) is where I got most of my stuff. They have good quality items for low prices.

Obviously there are many other stores with great reputations you could buy from.

YOLO

The true meaning of YOLO is You Only Lifted Once. Maybe.

yolo-kids

Do You Even Lift? Video Prank

Vitaly from VITALYZDTV is probably my favorite YouTube prankster. He recently did some funny lifting related prank videos.

 

“Do You Even Lift?” prank video:

 

“Do You Even Lift?” (Gym Edition) prank video:

 

“Do You Even Squat?” (Ladies Edition) prank video:

 

He’s a wild and crazy guy, that Vitaly.

Essentials for Lifting

When you decide you want to start lifting weights, there are a few essential items you should have. I will cover the physical preparedness you should bring to the table in another article, but this is a list of actual things you should own or have access to.

 

Proper Gym Attire

This will differ from person to person, but generally speaking you should have:

1. Some sweatpants or gym shorts. I prefer basketball shorts with pockets for convenience. As long as you don’t show up in dress pants or jeans, you’ll be fine.

2. A t-shirt of some sort. I like Under Armour t-shirts, because they absorb sweat a little better than regular cotton t-shirts. Most t-shirts will work, but some gyms may not allow muscle t-shirts. Try not to be the weird person working out in a polo shirt, if you can avoid it.

3. Proper underwear is a big one. I’ve ripped a few pairs of regular boxers trying to squat in them. For men, I can recommend Under Armour boxer briefs.

4. High socks for deadlifts. These will prevent you from brutalizing your shins. Alternatively you can wear pants to deadlift. Personally, I sweat way too much to wear pants at the gym.

 

Shoes

Proper lifting shoes are nice to have, but you can also go barefoot. You’ll want to avoid cushioned sneakers. You don’t want a lot of padding. A basic option is a pair of Converse All Stars (Chucks). For squatting with a more narrow stance (usually high bar Olympic style back squats or front squats) and Olympic lifts, it might be worth considering getting a pair of Oly shoes with raised heels.

 

Notebook and Pen

This is going to allow you to keep track of your workouts and also commit you to actually doing them. If your workout is handwritten out by you (not on a computer or phone) before you even step in the gym, you are more likely to complete it. Write out your workouts ahead of time, keep track of goals and personal records. It won’t take a lot of extra time, but it will be very good for keeping yourself accountable. This is the pen I use. I couldn’t find the notebook I use, but it’s similar to this one.

 

Towel

Most gyms will require that you bring a towel with you to put on equipment, so you don’t soak it in sweat.

 

Water Bottle

So you don’t pass out and die from dehydration. An aluminum water bottle is awesome. It keeps your water cool for a long time.

 

Optional: Jump Stretch Band

These are awesome for stretching and also to add resistance/assistance to certain movements.

 

Optional: Self Myofascial Release Tools

I’ll cover Self Myofascial Release (SMR) in another article, but basically it’s giving yourself a massage to relieve muscle tension, manage soreness and improve range of motion with certain movements. Useful tools: Foam roller (the Rumble Roller is awesome), PVC pipe (cheaper than a foam roller, but more painful for beginners), tennis ball (beginners), and a lacrosse ball or field hockey ball (after a few weeks of using a tennis ball). Get 3 balls minimum. Taping two together will turn them into a great tool to loosen up your upper back.

 

Optional: Powerlifting Belt

A belt can be nice, but it’s not required. If you do decide to belt up, make sure you buy a good one. You’ll be using it for a while (read: a LONG time) and it’s going to take some time to break in. You’ll want to get a good leather belt.

 

Optional: Chalk and Straps

Using chalk when weights get heavy will improve your grip on the bar and reduce callus formation. There are liquid chalks and also chalk alternatives like an eco ball (I personally use this), if you can’t use chalk because it leaves a mess.

Straps are the next step after chalk. They should not be used on everything (because you do want to strengthen your grip over time), but they can be great if you’re doing a lot of heavy pulling or high repetition sets where your grip would give out before your posterior chain. If straps are utilized a lot, it is wise to train grip strength separately (i.e. with Farmer’s Walk, Static Holds with heavy dumbbells or a heavy barbell, or Kroc Rows).

I won’t go into details here, because this is more of a summary article, but a good rule of thumb is to use the following grips until they give out and then move to the next: Overhand (possibly underhand), overhand with chalk, hook grip (for heavy singles mostly), mixed grip (be aware of this), and finally overhand with straps. If you can’t hold it with straps, it’s way too heavy for you.

 

As always, this is just my take on things.