Some of the very best workouts I’ve ever done have come from not being in a gym.
In this day and time, way too many people lock themselves indoors in commercialized fitness centers that they actually call “gyms”.
Most of these huge “gyms” are nothing more then a big waste of money.
They contain rows upon rows of the latest and greatest of cardio “fat burning” machines that come attached with HDTV screens and will sooner then later probably come complete with your own personal fan and butler service to make working out that much easier.
The TRUTH – I feel that these types of “gyms” are making us WEAKER.
The environment is way too soft between having most of the people within these boxes not wanting to be there and just going through the motions to the lame ass music they play over the speakers, it doesn’t put you into the right frame of mind to go 110% H.A.M.
I can remember when I used to train at one of these large “gyms” how hard it was to get myself into the right mindset to really get after it. It was a tough struggle, but I managed to get by.
It wasn’t until I started taking my workouts “mobile” that I really started to break new ground.
You see, there was a period in time where I was “in between” still working at a large corporate gym and trying to find my current gym, The Forged Athlete.
I badly needed out so I could truly unleash hell on my workouts. The “gym” I was currently at was holding me back big time. I wasn’t allowed to train with kettlebells, tires, or sandbags. That stuff was frowned upon and was unacceptable.
During this time in between, I started doing most of my training outdoors with NO GYM and let me tell you this, some of my best results and training sessions of all time came from those very days.
This is a major reason why I still make sure to get outside and train away from the gym at least 1x per week as I feel training away from the gym in the outdoors is absolutely essential.
Training without a gym helps you train more focused by ridding yourself of the clutter and distractions of a public gym while also bringing you closer to nature. Even though my gym isn’t open to the public, doesn’t have TV’s, or any other distractions like that, I feel that it’s still essential to get outside.
I feel that training away from the gym in the great outdoors will help get you better connected with the earth. Call me crazy, but there’s nothing like training outside under the hot sun, breathing in the fresh air, and feeling the breeze blow across your face.
Hot or cold, it doesn’t make a difference to me. I just like being outside to train!
There’s just something great about training outside of the gym every now and then.
So, the question has been asked many of times on how I would train if I didn’t have a gym, so this blog post is dedicated to showing you HOW to exactly do just that.
After reading this, you should be well armed with different options on how to train without a gym, so from here on out, any EXCUSE that has to do with you not being able to get in your training should be destroyed.
With that, first things first, WHAT would you need in order to get in the BEST training sessions ever even if you had no access to a gym?
Here’s my list of recommendations starting with THE ESSENTIALS (aka – Must Have’s)
A SOLID Kettlebell – I feel it’s absolutely essential you have yourself a quality kettlebell.
This opens up so many different possibilities for you besides adding in ways to build up more strength, power, and conditioning; you now have a tool that gives you access to 100’s of different movements.
As far a weight goes, I would recommend starting with a single 24kg bell then going up from there. If you’re a complete beginner, I would cut it back to a 16kg bell, but you should get yourself strong enough to handle a 24kg as fast as possible.
At first, you will probably only need one KB, but after you progress and get stronger and more in-tune with how to train effectively with a single kettlebell, you’ll want to buy another KB at the same weight so you can do double KB workouts. This makes KB workouts even more fun 😉
Towel –You should have easy access to a towel. It doesn’t have to be anything special, just a small workout towel.
Towels are great to use for pull ups, farmer walks and not to mention wiping off your face when you’re pouring sweat in the middle of a 110% H.A.M. session.
Tire Sled – This is another essential strength and conditioning tool that is a must have!
The easiest way to obtain an old tire is to go by a tire shop as they will be quick to give these away because it costs them money to get rid of them. A truck tire should be just the right size.
It’s also important to note that all you need is the tire, NOT the rim.
Once you have your tire, it’s easy to make a sled. Simply buy a tow strap or get an anchor rope and wrap it around the end. If you want to make it a little more professional grade, you can drill a hole through the front so you can poke an O ring bolt through it to make it easy to attach a rope to that.
To load your tire with weight, you can either line the inside of the tire with weight via sandbags or kettlebells or what I would recommend doing is putting a few 2 x 4’s inside of the tire across the middle so you can just throw either a kettlebell or sandbag on top of the boards and not have to worry about your weight falling through the middle.
Suspension Trainer – The only issue you may run into when training outdoors is access to a bar or rope to do recline rows on, but as long as you have access to a pull up bar via playground equipment or even a nice tree, you should be fine unless you’re not able to do pull ups.
In this case, this is where a Jungle Gym XT comes in the most handy as you’ll definitely want to have yourself a way to progress yourself to being able to crank out pull ups or have a means to do bodyweight rowing. Other then helping you increase your pull up and row strength, the JG XT will give you a ton more in options to choose from in regards to different movements, regressions, and progressions.
I was lucky enough to win a few TRX’s, but if I were to buy more, I would get The Jungle Gym XT or invest into a nice set of Olympic Training Rings.
You can do virtually all of the same stuff with rings that you can do with the Jungle Gym XT other then the feet suspended movements like pikes, knee tucks, hip extensions, atomic push ups, ect.
My recommendation is to just go out and invest into a professionally made suspension trainer or rings as they both will last forever and are quite frankly, a highly valuable investment.
Sandbags (homemade OR professionally made) – The last “must have” piece of strength training equipment would most definitely be a good quality sandbag.
I can remember my first ever sandbag. It was homemade out of an old marine helmet bag, weighted about 75 pounds and was tough as hell to grip. But it worked!
Since then I’ve had many different types of sandbags ranging from smaller 50 lbs bags all the way up to my favorite bag, The Brute Force “Strongman” bag which now weighs 178 lbs and has no handles.
I LOVE that bag!
Now, there are a few different things you can do for sandbags…
A) Buy a professionally made bag – I recommend Brute Force Sandbags.
B) Make your own sandbag.
To make this easy on you, I have a FREE manual that takes you step by step on how to make your own sandbag right HERE.
Besides all of the different movements you can do with sandbags, they make great weights for your tire sled as well.
So, there’s my top gym-less training “must have “essentials!
A trusty kettlebell, towel, tire sled, sandbag, and either a set of rings or a Jungle Gym XT.
You can easily get by with just those tools alone. Hell, you can still get by with NONE of them, but it’s always good to have tools to work with 😉
Now, if you want to crank things up a bit more, here’s a list of extra goodies I would recommend including within your arsenal…
Strength Bands – These are great for reactive power training, assisting in bodyweight movements such as pull ups and push ups, stretching, as well as advanced core training.
To shed some more light on how powerful these strength bands can, be check out the video below…
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The Power Wheel – Another great tool from the company that makes the Jungle Gym XT is the power wheel. This tool will open up your strength training options by allowing you to do more wheel based hand walking and core strengthening movements.
Here’s a few of my favorite workouts with the Power Wheel..
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.As you can see, this is a great tool to take your training to the next level difficulty wise. Plus, if your someone that needs to improve their core strength, this is one of the best tools to use for that.
Weight Vest – If you’re big into bodyweight training then I would recommend you get yourself a solid weight vest if you don’t yet have one.
A weight vest will greatly increase the difficulty of your training even when just using a weight vest that 10 lbs, it will crank up the intensity level well.
I’ve used quite a few different brands in my day and have found Mir Weights Vests to be the best. I have the Mir Short Weighted Vest model which can be loaded with up to 80 lbs or down to as low as 10 lbs.
Weight Vest are a great way to increase your bodyweight training workouts and if you want to improve your strength with push ups, pull ups, and even squats, these are one of the best ways to do it!
I would recommend getting one that is easily adjustable so you can either take weight away or add to it.
Battling Rope / Climbing Rope – I always get asked about training ropes. While being a great tool to add into your training, they are not essential. However, having a nice 50 ft rope laying around that you can use for battling or even climbing is a pretty powerful option to have.
I got my first rope at a local boating store and the price per foot was rather cheap but, the only thing about the first rope I got was that it was a 1005 manilla rope. If you didn’t know, these shed like crazy so if you’re ever going to use it inside, I would recommend against getting one that’s 100% manilla. Instead, I would go with a polyester made rope that doesn’t shed.
My best recommendation for a training rope that can be used both for battling and climbing would be to get an 1.5 inch x 50 ft long rope. Getting it this long and that wide in diameter makes it great for climbing and great for battling. If you want to strictly use a rope for battling, I would then recommend getting yourself a 2 in thick rope. Those are brutal on the grip and tough as hell to battle with. They will only get your stronger…
I found the best deals for ropes over at ContractorRopes.com.
For ideas of what you can do with Battling Ropes besides just climbing them, check out this video I did a while back:
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Prowler / Push Sled – One of the absolute BEST tools you can have in regards to increasing your overall conditioning is by far The Prowler. The only downside to Prowlers is that they’re so damn expensive!
When I first started gathering up strength equipment, my dad was kind enough to build me a homemade sled…
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This thing was an absolute BEAST!
It was great for when you used it, but storage wise, it took up a ton of space and was a bitch to transport. After a few years of using that, it actually got stolen from my gym by a scrapper. I was actually pull up to my gym one day as a truck was pulling out. I noticed something in the back of his truck, but really didn’t pay much attention to what it was, but low and behold, it was my homemade prowler! The SOB stole it! It was time to upgrade anyways so I went ahead and bought myself a few news ones.
But, to tell you the truth, I don’t have a real prowler. I have two prowler knock-off’s that still get the job done great. I got them both a few years ago and for a fraction of the cost of what the real thing goes for.
Bottom Line, most of the different types of prowlers you can get out there are easily loadable into the trunk of your car which makes them an easy decision to bring with you to where ever you may go to train.
If you don’t have the cash to get a real prowler or even a knock off, you’ve always got your tire sled 😉
So, now that we have a list of essential and non-essential strength tools, I wanted to share with you 3 of my favorite “gym-less” workouts.
I can remember when and where I was when I did these sessions. What I remember most about the 3 workouts I’m about to share with you is how damn tough they were.
Always know that even though you’re not in a gym, it doesn’t mean your workout isn’t going to be hard!
These workouts prove just that…
Workout #1 – Taken From Bags, Bells, and Bodyweight – Phase 4 – Day 3
1A) Power Skips 4 rounds x 25 yards x 2 for all out height and 2 sets for all out distance
2A) KB or SB Squat 5 x 5
3A) Density Set – AMRAP x 20 mins
a) KB Swing x 10
b) Push Up Variation x 10
c) Bear Crawl x 10 yards and back
d) Pull Up variation x 6
e) 20 yard Sprint and Back x 1
4A) Tire Sled Drags – Heavy Weight 5 x 20 yards Forward/ 20 yards Back OR 40 Yard Sprints x 6 if no sled
Workout #2 – Taken From PROJECT: Mobile and Hostile – Week 4, Day 3
1A) Power Skips 4 sets of 5 per leg into 20 yard sprint ***Rest 30 secs before you go to 1B)
1B) Broad Jumps 4 x 5 into 20 yard sprint
2A) 40 yard Sprint w/ Game Recovery
***Sprint ALL OUT 40 yards. Rest 30-40 secs and repeat 4 times = 1 set
Rest 2 mins and repeat for 3 total sets
3A) Density Strength Circuit – AMRAP in 10 mins
a) Bear Crawl 40 yards and back
b) Squats x 15
c) Crab Walk 40 yards and back
d) Drop Lunge x 12/Leg
4A) Ab Circuit – Perform 3 rounds x 10-15 reps each
a) Full V- Seat
b) Knee Tucks
c) V- Seat Reach
d) Cross Body Knee Tucks
Workout #3 – Taken From Last night’s Track Workout (BRUTAL)…
1A) Single Arm Alternating Power Snatch 5 x 5/arm
2A) 200m Sprint
2B) Double Squat Clean and Press x 5
***Rest x 2 mins and repeat
3A) E.M.O.T.M. x 10 Mins
a) Kettlebell Swing x 15
b) Burpee x 5
***If you fail to get in the alotted amount of reps within the minute, you are done.
So there you have it!
That’s how to be a “gym-less” Badass. If you get kicked out of your current gym or you’re just fed up with the lousy environment, it’s time to go “mobile” and get outside to train.
I bet your results will actually increase.
Bottom Line – Make sure to get yourself outside away from the comfort of the indoor gym. Make it a point to get yourself outside into the elements at least once a week to shake things up a bit. I know you’ll see some benefits.
I would like to hear your feedback and thoughts! Let’s hear about YOUR favorite outdoor “gym-less” workouts. If we can get 30+ comments and 75+ LIKES, I’ll share some more of my favorite outdoor workouts.
Live and Train Aggressive!
PS – The LIVE and TRAIN Aggressive Weekend kicks off the FRIDAY and the amount of information I’m going to unleash it going to be unreal.
There are still a few spots left.
One of the things I’ll be digging into deeply will be program design. Designing “gym-less” workouts and training programs based around minimal equipment will be one of the major topics I discuss. This along is worth the investment.
Only a few spots left!