An online magazine recently asked me to contribute to an article by naming my favorite training tool. I replied by stating that I don’t have a single favorite, but that my homemade wheels are one of my prized possessions. The magazine then quickly responded by asking me to name a tool that wasn’t homemade. They wanted me to recommend something for those seeking higher quality equipment. In other words, their assumption was that a homemade tool is naturally inferior to one that is commercially produced. Apparently, the magazine did not research who I was before asking the question.
Value vs. Price
One of the biggest marketing cons of all is to jack up the price of a product to increase the perceived value. When certain customers see a high price tag, they automatically assume that the product is high quality. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case, particularly in the world of fitness. Some my most effective and durable training tools were inexpensively made from a few parts at the hardware store.
The homemade wheels below are a prime example.
I first demonstrated these wheels in 2005. I’m sure many readers will recognize them from my Never Gymless book, my core training DVD, or one of my many YouTube videos. The wheels that you see above are same pair that I first demoed many years ago. For over a decade, these wheels have been consistently used and abused by myself and many athletes.
Yet, despite all the use, my wheels are still as good as new. I honestly believe that they will outlive me. They are virtually indestructible. When you read the instructions below, you’ll see that there really isn’t a part that is destined to go bad. The lawnmower tires are also quite rugged so can be used virtually anywhere. I’ve used them on many surfaces (ex. grass, snow, dirt, etc.).
Whenever I demonstrate the wheels, my inbox fills with questions about how to build them. Fortunately, the instructions are quite simple. Each of my wheels consists of the following:
- Two 6-inch lawnmower tires
- One 10-inch hex bolt (1/2 inch thick)
- Three hose clamps
- Duct tape
To put the pieces together, start by securing one tire at each end of the hex bolt. Use the hose clamps to keep the wheels in place. Wrap each handle in duct tape to increase its thickness. A 1/2 inch hex bolt is too thin on its own.
A more visually appealing model could be made with PVC as the handle. This past video shows step by step instructions.
Another variation can be found here (which modifies a commercially bought ab wheel). This version isn’t going to be as durable, but should get the job done.
In summary, I’m not writing this entry to suggest that homemade equipment is always going to be superior to its commercial counterparts. There are instances however when homemade gear is just as good (or better) than anything you will find at the sporting goods store. Don’t be so quick to judge a product’s value based on price tag alone. I encourage everyone to make informed decisions about each individual tool before rushing to purchase.
If you are looking for a durable pair of wheels, you’ll be hard pressed to find anything as rugged as what can be built with a few parts from your local hardware store. These homemade wheels have already withstood years of regular use. They’ve certainly become a favorite of mine, and I plan to keep rolling with them for as long as I can.
“Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.” – Warren Buffett