Archive for the 'Training' Category
One of the obvious themes throughout this site is our ability to exercise with minimal equipment. As I have stated many times before, much of my training is performed with homemade tools or objects that were not initially intended for exercise. I am a firm believer in the simple premise that if you want to exercise, you have everything that you need to get started. It does not matter where you are or what you own, there is always something that can be done.
To convey this point, I naturally use myself to demonstrate the potential of low-tech training. Walking the walk is important to me so I will always practice what I preach. I don’t waste time talking about things that I won’t do or haven’t done. Training with minimal equipment is a way of life for me. There are few things I’d rather do than exercise outdoors and enjoy the fresh air around me.
Fortunately, I am not alone in my quest to spread the potential of outdoor exercise. People from around the world have embraced the concept. For instance, an individual from Slovenia recently passed along the following video of him and a trainer partner. You will see a variety of exercises performed throughout their town. I particularly enjoyed the wooded area that can be seen at the 3 minute mark. That short segment has given me several ideas that I hope to build in the future.
In summary, it is always nice to see people from opposite ends of the world who have embraced the same concept. It doesn’t matter where you live. We are all people. When we learn from each other and share ideas, it doesn’t just benefit us, but also those around us. The downstream effect can be significant.
If more people promoted the potential of outdoor exercise, we’d have more people up and moving. And getting more people to become more active will ultimately benefit everyone. It would be amazing to live in a world where the majority of people were healthy and active. I doubt it will ever happen, but making exercise more cost effective and accessible is certainly a step in the right direction.
Simplicity of life, even the barest, is not a misery, but the very foundation of refinement. – William Morris3 comments
Below is a link to a new training interview that I recently conducted for a German website. Throughout the interview, I answered a variety of questions that some readers may find useful. A few of the topics include dealing with bad days, mental strength, and strength training for fighters.
As always, if you ever have any other questions, you are welcome to message me directly at [email protected]
Small deeds done are better than great deeds planned. – Peter Marshall2 comments
In previous articles, I have discussed several facets of outdoor training in the winter. I have not only highlighted the potential of outdoor exercise, but I’ve also emphasized the significance of dressing appropriately. Extreme temperatures are nothing to take lightly. It is always important to prepare yourself for the elements around you.
For instance, last year I wrote the following:
It’s vital that you keep the hands, head, and feet warm. Personally, I opt for waterproofed boots, gloves, and a winter hat. I also wear a ski mask if the wind is strong and always dress in layers. I prefer to wear three layers. The first layer is for wicking, the second for insulating, and the third for external protection…
Considering that advice, I was not surprised to see some questions after I shared the following pictures to Instagram.
Many people asked if I had a change of heart in regards to winter attire. The reality however is that I still believe it is important to protect and prepare yourself for the elements around you. Over time, I have simply conditioned myself to handle temperatures that may have been too cold for me previously. As a result, there are times when I go outside in a t-shirt or even barefooted as seen above. I don’t stay outside too long, but I am able to perform some exercise without succumbing to the elements.
What’s The Point?
A natural follow up would be to ask what’s the point of conditioning yourself for colder temperatures. Personally, my initial reasons were unique to my situation. During the winter months, my gym becomes quite cold. The temperatures inside the gym are typically lower than outside. Once it gets cold, it stays cold throughout the season.
In previous years, I brought in small heaters to help warm the gym. Heat isn’t cheap though. It gets costly to warm a frigid garage gym. As a result, I eventually decided that I would train without heat. It has now been a few years since I used any heat for myself when training. Early on, I needed much more time to prepare for the cold. Gradually, I was able to improve my tolerance. Now, I am able to train in the frigid winter months without any problems. It isn’t an issue, where in previous years, I couldn’t wait for the summer.
Another reason that I conditioned myself for the cold was to challenge myself mentally. I am always looking for new ways to test mental toughness. Conditioning yourself to perform in extreme temperatures all but guarantees a mental battle. At some point, you will be forced to operate outside of your comfort zone. Training in the cold has improved my ability get comfortable being uncomfortable.
A great video that touches upon this topic can be seen below. Former Olympian Cary Kolat shares a story about a Mongolian wrestler that he encountered during his first trip to the world championships.
There will undoubtedly be readers who question my sanity after reading this entry. Before anyone comments, let me start by saying that I am not urging anyone to train in the cold. It is not necessary for most people to condition themselves for extreme temperatures. It is also worth noting that there are certain environments that can be potentially deadly if you are not dressed appropriately. Extreme heat or cold should never be taken lightly.
I am only writing this entry to share what has worked for me. My decision to train in the cold began as a money savings idea to reduce my heating bill. To my surprise, I was able to condition myself for colder temperatures than I would have ever imagined. I am quite pleased with the results as my outdoor sessions continue to improve from year to year.
Mental toughness is to physical as four is to one. – Bobby Knight12 comments
In previous years, I have written several articles about exercising in the cold. And whenever I do, my inbox fills with comments from people who question my sanity. For some reason, I am considered crazy for exercising in the snow. Ironically, it must be normal to email strangers about how they stay healthy and fit in the winter. That’s an entirely different issue however, so I will limit this entry to outdoor training.
For starters, I am not suggesting that you must venture outside to exercise. It is entirely possible to train indoors. It doesn’t matter to me where you train. I just want to see more people living healthy and active lives. Therefore, I will continue to highlight the potential of winter training to hopefully silence some of the excuses that are common this time of year.
Exercising in the snow is not nearly as crazy as many people believe. I am regularly reminded of this simple fact whenever I watch my children. During the winter months, my kids can’t wait to get home from school so they can play in the snow. They will literally run up a sledding hill all day long if I let them. It isn’t exercise to them. It’s just what you do if you want to go sledding. You run up with your sled and then race down the hill.
As a kid, I did the same thing. I loved playing in the snow. Unfortunately, it seems like most adults have a change of heart as the years pass. Personally, I’d rather stay a big kid at heart. Just because I’m older doesn’t mean I can’t get outside and enjoy nature. Many of my best workouts take place outdoors. The fresh air is invigorating. So while some people might think I am crazy, I’m probably thinking the same thing about those who stay cooped up inside. I couldn’t imagine missing out on an entire season of outdoor activity.
I’m Not Alone
Fortunately, I’m not the only person who doesn’t mind battling Old Man Winter. Below are a few videos that will counter just about any excuse that you have about outdoor training. Whether you prefer bodyweight exercise, kettlebells, barbells, or a little of each, there’s an example for you.
Here’s one man lifting his kettlebell in the snow. He obviously doesn’t mind the cold.
Here’s another man lifting some serious weight in the snow.
Here’s another example, this time from the arctic lands of Greenland.
And lastly, here I am on a typical winter day.
In summary, if you’d like to exercise in the snow, take comfort knowing that you are not alone. There are plenty of us who also enjoy the fresh air. I am actually looking forward to getting out in the snow today. I wrote this entry in the middle of a winter storm. I will be outside running hills tonight. Hill running in the snow has long been one of my favorite conditioners. The snow cushions each step, while also providing a unique form of resistance. My legs always feel strongest during this time of year.
It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one. – George Washington8 comments
Following my recent sledgehammer training update, I received a few inquiries from individuals who were interested in possible alternatives. They liked the idea of swinging a sledgehammer but didn’t have a hammer or a place to swing it. Fortunately, it is not difficult to create an inexpensive work-around.
Below you can see the same homemade tornado ball that I first demonstrated on this site several years ago. It weighs 27 pounds and has been beaten over and over again. It is still holding up well.
The tornado ball started as a homemade medicine ball. The medicine ball consists of a basketball filled with sand. After filling the ball with sand, it was sealed with a flat tire repair kit. The basketball was then wrapped thoroughly in tape to strengthen the outer layer.
Next, the medicine ball was enclosed within a basketball net. The basketball net was then wrapped in strong gorilla duct tape. Lastly, I attached a handle to the end of the basketball net. The handle is simply an old pant leg that was thickened at the end with pipe insulation.
Don’t Knock It Before You’ve Tried It
There is no denying that my tornado ball is as low-tech as anything I have ever built. It looks crazy and when I explain that the handle started as an old pair of pants, it sounds crazy as well. Most athletes who first see the tornado ball are probably wondering if I have a few screws loose in my head. Perhaps I do, but that doesn’t take away from the effectiveness of this low-tech tool. A heavy tornado ball is excellent for explosiveness and conditioning.
A brief demonstration can be seen below.
As you can see, the tornado ball works well indoors or outdoors. When swinging the ball inside, I use a small piece of foam to absorb some of the impact. When using the ball outdoors, I swing it into a small hole that was formed by repeatedly pounding the ground with the ball.
For additional homemade equipment ideas, please refer to the following link:
The value of an idea lies in the using of it. – Thomas A. Edison5 comments