Low-Tech Power Training

Low-tech power training

Earlier this year, a magazine editor contacted me hoping that I would contribute to an article by naming my favorite exercise tool. As mentioned before, I responded to the question by describing a pair of homemade wheels that I use for core training. Unfortunately, the magazine wasn’t interested in my homemade tools so my old wheels didn’t get any press.

Six months later, I received an almost identical request from another online magazine. This time I was asked to share some valuable power training exercises. Sticking to form, I replied by describing a few low-tech tools that I’ve had success with over the years. To no surprise, the magazine wasn’t interested in my ideas and requested something that was “more mainstream” for their target audience. I didn’t bother replying as I’ve always prioritized results over popularity. The tools that you’ll see below have always produced results. Therefore, I won’t lose sleep over the fact that they aren’t considered mainstream enough for an online magazine.

Power Training

In the two videos below, you will see four exercises. First, you will see tire flips and throws with what I describe as a throwing bag (115 pounds).

Next, you’ll see me working with a homemade medicine ball (25 pounds) and a homemade tornado ball (27 pounds).

Each of these inexpensive tools have been featured in a previous entry on this blog. The combined cost of the four tools is next to nothing. The tire was free. The throwing bag is just an old Naval sea bag that that is filled and wrapped in duct tape. The medicine ball and tornado ball are both old basketballs that are filled with sand.

Fortunately, the cost of these items is irrelevant when considering their value. Each has proven to be extremely effective and durable throughout several years of repeated use. It’s also nice that these tools can be used in small area. You don’t need a huge facility to develop power and explosiveness.

Final Thoughts

Speaking as a coach, my success depends on my ability to improve my athletes. No one cares about the cost of the tools we use. Whether we train in a state of the art facility or in the middle of the desert, what ultimately matters is whether or not I can produce results. It’s the end product that matters. Not the cost of the tools that were used to create that product.

With that in mind, don’t be fooled by the marketing powers who jack up the prices of certain products to increase their perceived value. I’ve been coaching athletes for longer than most and can say without question that some of the best tools I’ve ever used were free to acquire or construct.

Value entails much more than dollars and cents. The four movements seen above are prime examples of this simple premise. Each exercise is effective, can be performed in tight quarters, and will not require a significant investment. In my eyes, that is true value.

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“It’s not the lack of resources, it’s your lack of resourcefulness that stops you.” – Tony Robbins


  1. Your throwing bag is only 17lb lighter than me!. Don’t think I like the thought of how easily you could launch me through the air. Remind me never to upset you.

  2. I love low cost homemade solutions! gonna have to make a throwing bag! (btw it’s desert not dessert… if you train in the middle of a dessert, you probably won’t see good results 😉 )
    Keep the great articles coming!

      1. thumbs waay up! I have a lot of my gear thanks to you (minus the throw bag and tires — I live in Japan space is tough)

  3. High value information plus high value products!

    The right magazine(s) or media resources will reach out. Or, those same ones that declined your ideas might coming knocking again. It’s funny how things work out sometimes when you stay true to your craft and go about your business.

    I’ve been working really hard and long hours these days on various projects. Last night, I stopped working around 5am. I wasn’t overly tired but figured i should kept some shuteye for productivity the following day.

    I know you often work long hours and engage in work that can excites you, so I wonder is it hard for you to switch off at night. Do you ever feel like just continuing to work and sleep only and if your body forces you do? Or, do you know that you require a certain amount of hours and will stop doing what you’re doing in order to get those hours?

    Also, I wonder if you have any tips or strategies for winding down after a long day of work and possibly also coaching fighters in a big match?

    1. It’s great to be ambitious, but it’s also important to remember that the work will be there the next day. Speaking for myself, I can’t afford to be worn out the next day. Whether I stay up late or not, I still need to be a father when my kids wake up in the morning. With that in mind, I try to get in bed by a reasonable hour. If not, my next day ends up suffering.

      Of course, this ^ doesn’t mean that I don’t wake up in the middle of the night with my mind racing. Some of my best ideas come to me at the strangest times. I keep a notebook next to my bed so I can jot down any ideas that come to me.

  4. Right. Mainstream crap. People are looking more and more to not buy the new thing, but make more of their own stuff as prices and new fads get outrageous.

    I made a pair of those hand wheels you recommended and they work great. My back is feeling it now actually. I was surprised I could even do multiple reps of the roll outs from my knees.

    This is only my first ever comment to you Ross, but thank you for your work and your book “Never Gymless.” That book helped me a lot in understanding more about workout goals and recognizing how to truly define “strength.” I’m not planning on ever being an amazing athlete, just an in-shape father and husband. Thanks again

  5. Thanks Ross, your ideas on using what you have is my view also. The quality of the workout or what you want to achieve is the main point.

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