What Do You Need?

In my last entry, I touched upon a topic that I have discussed many times before. An abbreviated version is that you can essentially train anywhere with almost anything and still receive a quality workout. No particular tool is required to consistently and diligently apply yourself. Yet rather than assert this opinion through text alone, I provided a video demonstration to further illustrate the point. If you missed the original entry, you can see that video below.

Unfortunately, some of the feedback I saw in regards to this video suggested that I was deceptive in highlighting the potential that exists outdoors. For example, one viewer said it was false advertising to state that nature provides a quality workout. His argument centered around the pull-up station I created from pipe. His thought process was that if nature is so effective, why did I construct a pull-up bar between trees? Another person joked that he has never come across a half-buried tire in the jungle before. He questioned what swinging a sledgehammer in the woods had to do with training amidst nature.

Apparently, certain viewers cannot see the forest for the trees. They are so focused on individual details that they have overlooked the big picture. My creation of a pull-up bar and sledgehammer station is not an argument against the potential of nature. Instead, I have simply demonstrated additional options that were inexpensive and easy to construct. The pull-up bar is nothing but a piece of galvanized iron pipe that is attached to the trees through eye-bolts. The tire that is used to rebound the sledgehammer was free. A local tire shop was about to throw it away so I gladly took it off their hands. I have owned it for over 10 years now. It is perhaps the best free investment I have ever made.

With that said, I could certainly train effectively without the pull-up bar or tire. To suggest that I need either tool could not be further from the truth. Unfortunately, need is a grossly overused word amongst fitness professionals. It seems like each year brings about a new product, concept, and supplement that is marketed as a necessity to aspiring athletes and coaches. The customer is fooled to believe that he is depriving himself if he does not purchase the new product, apply the new concept, and consume the new supplement.

One of the myths that I hope to dispel through this site is that you can in fact excel with almost anything. My own success is not based on any particular exercise or tool. It comes from the consistent effort that I have applied year after year. I strongly believe that I could train effectively anywhere in the world. This ability is not limited to me however. We are all capable of training effectively regardless of where our journey takes us. And it is this idea that I hope to highlight and share with examples such as the video above.

For instance, you may not have a stone to lift, but I’m sure that you can find something that is heavy and awkward. You may not have a hill to run, but perhaps you have a long set of stairs or an open strip of land to sprint. And we can all find somewhere to perform exercises such as pushups and burpees. Once again, as long as you have effort and creativity in terms of how that effort is applied, you can do very well. Whether you are in a basement, a garage, an office, or out in the woods, there will always be some way that you can apply yourself diligently.

In summary, stop thinking about what you need and instead think about what you can do with what you already have. You’ll be amazed at how many exercise tools are disguised as ordinary objects that the average person would never dream of using.

Related Entry:

Thinking Outside The Box


“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed.” – Mahatma Gandhi

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  1. Great article Ross. How is your planning these days? Do you follow any kind of template when you work out do you just go where you heart and mood takes you that given day?

    Thanks for a great blog!

  2. Sheesh, how anal can people get by pointing out your usage of a sledgehammer and a tire. Well, you could use the sledgehammer on one those big rocks you’re carrying, but then they would point out you’re still using a sledgehammer. Other than huge rocks, there is plenty of fallen timber or logs to pick up and do presses, front or zercher squats or try to deadlift the end of a fallen tree. While in the woods, why not try out some of those animal movements like bear crawls, alligator/lizard crawls, crab walks, duck walks, panther crawls, etc. those animal movements work every muscle in your body.

  3. I used not to like your idea before I actually looked at what you stood for. Your not about going into the forest and working out, even though that is what you do. Your about using whatever you have around in a way to challenge yourself. To get a physique like yours in the peace of the woods is an amazing feat that anyone can achieve with diligence

  4. Pull-ups on a tree branch take care of the upper body pulling muscles, plus you can even do isometric pulls by grabbing tree trunks and pulling for a count of 10. Tons of various bodyweight pushups take care of the pushing upper body muscles, and some advanced pushups or movements like 8-count body builders work the whole body. No equipment needed. Situps and bridging work the core. No equipment needed. Lunges, squats, burpees, squat thrusts, duck walks, hill running backwards and forwards, etc., etc., work the legs. No equipment needed.

  5. Hi Ross,
    Awesome Blog like always. I really love your website and your way of thinking. Don’t worry bout those idiots they are the type that would riddicule a solid piece of gold found in the forest.

  6. Awesome post, Ross! Love your approach to embrace simplicity in training and life.
    Barbells and gym equipment are great – but picking up a big rock and heaving it around transfers directly to life. Just the pureness of it develops skills of a whole different level.

    Just think of it – where in life does a 220lbs weight have a 1″ diameter?

    I always have to laugh when I see muscled guys not being able to transfer their potential into movement (50cent throwing that ball for first pitch is a prime example – chek out the arm when he throws that thing!Uff!)

  7. Sven…That throw was gawd awful. Possibly the worst ever. It was so bad, I’m even wondering if he did it on purpose as a dare, some kind of bet, or private joke. I used to play baseball in high school but probably about a year ago while jogging past a field, a foul ball went over the backstop. I picked up the ball, all self assured that I still had a decent arm and made a weak throw back to the guys playing. Not as bad as Fitty Cent or some of those other guys attempting to throw, however, but pretty pathetic. Probably had been a good twenty-five years since I had thrown a baseball, and I used to have a nice arm. Use it or lose it. I do think that overly developed chest and arms muscles inhibit throwing a baseball to a degree.

  8. Some great points, Ross. People would be a lot better off spending time focusing on what they have, rather than what they need. That applies to fitness, as well as almost any aspect of life IMHO.
    Reminds me of a great little poem:

    Shame on you Shakyamuni for setting
    the precedent
    of leaving home.
    Did you think it was not there
    in your wife’s lovely face
    in your baby’s laughter?
    Did you think you had to go
    to find it?
    – Judyth Collin, The Layman’s Lament

    Appreciation of what IS, whether that be a nice tree branch for pullups or a hill for running, rather than what COULD be…I think that’s the key. We have all of the necessities right in front of us, if we are able to see them for what they are.

  9. I love your concept of using nature and just about anything for that matter as a tool for exercise. Keep up the creative work.

  10. Ross great work again. Also to the uninformed in place of the tire you could find long fallen limbs and hold them by the end and slam them to the ground while squatting and holding on to the end. Ross most of us get your point fully!

  11. Great stuff, as always, Ross. I improvise all the time, make my own equipment, have a big rock & some semi tires I got for free, also. I train in my garage as well. Love seeing others dispelling the lie that fancy equipment is needed to achieve a great physique. Keep speaking the truth, you rock, brother.

  12. Very Inspirational & Hardcore as ever, thanks for that Ross!
    I especially like the Rock Lifting/throwing, but find it extremely hard to do the Standing wheel rollout.
    Keep your head up!

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