Are you tired of going to the gym everyday and doing the same thing without getting results? Well, it is Summer time, a great time of year to get outside and do something a little different. In our society too many people think that they can only train using a weight set, but barbells and dumbbells are only one tool in your arsenal.
One cheap way to do an outdoor workout is to make your own sandbag. There are a ton of different exercises you can do with a sandbag. First, I will tell you how to make a sandbag for a cheap price. Go to a army surplus store and purchase a canvas duffel bag, usually 15 to 20 dollars. Next, stop by a hardware store and purchase some 50 pound bags of sand, or bring it home from the beach. I would also suggest putting the sand into heavy duty trash bags in 25-30 pound increments. This makes your sandbag adjustable and still effective. Put a few of the trash bags full of sand into the canvas bag and you have your new training tool.
My favorite exercises to do with this sandbag are the power clean and press, it will be much more difficult since the sand will move around. Another good exercise is shouldering the sandbag, simply take the bag from the ground and sling it over your shoulder. I also like to do front squats and lunges for distance. Get creative, put a few exercises together and a sandbag can be used for an entire workout.
I first want to warn everyone that this can be very dangerous and to be careful when using a sledgehammer. You can stop by a local auto shop and ask if they have any old tires lying around, they are usually very happy to give you one. Next, find a sledgehammer in your house or purchase one from a hardware store. A 12 pound sledgehammer is ideal for 2 hand swings and a smaller hammer can be used for unilateral work. There are different ways to workout with the sledgehammer but this is how I do it.
Lay the tire on the ground and do sets of 10 reps followed by 10 seconds of rest. I first do a right handed overhead swing, and then I do the same thing over my left side after a ten second rest. Next, I go straight up and down for another 10 reps. After these I do single arm swings with the smaller sledgehammer, 10 with the right and 10 with the left. This workout is a killer cardio workout and also works a ton of muscles. I like to focus on getting the longest range of motion I can, and really pulling the hammer down with my abs.
A rock is a very good tool to use, and can be used for many different things depending how much it weighs. Rocks can be very effective in building overall power and using a ton of different muscles.
First if you have a very heavy rock anywhere from 80 to 200 pounds depending on your strength levels you can do a few things. One thing would be a clean and press, this will not look like a clean and press done with a bar it will be much uglier. The goal of this is to get the rock to your chest in any way possible, then somehow get your hands around it and press it overhead. You can do this for reps or do one rep and multiple presses. Also, you could just bring it to your chest and then start over. Another thing you can do once the rock is at your chest is walk with it for a distance. This will work your grip strength along with your back since you will have to squeeze the rock. Also, it will work your legs by walking with the weight. And do not forget that this is going to be a great cardio activity since you will be terribly out of breath when you drop this rock.
If you can only find a smaller rock, you can still do a lot of things with it. I like to throw smaller rocks in many different ways. One way to throw it is like a basketball chest press, then sprint after the rock and throw it again. Another way is to throw it across your body in a twisting motion, then run over and throw it back to work the other side of your body. You can also do swings with this like you would a dumbbell, start with the rock between your legs and swing it up to shoulder height, then repeat.
I have described here many ways to get a good workout with tools you would not find in the gym. I suggest trying these when you need some variety in your workouts or when you would like to spend some extra time outside. The economy can be tough right now and many people cannot afford to pay a gym membership each month, you can still build muscle with these simple tools. Back in the day, not everyone went to a gym but old time strongmen found a way to get bigger and stronger than most people today.