Improvise and Excel


I’ll begin this entry by discussing how I once performed landmine barbell exercises without a landmine station. That’s not what the article is about though. I’m only using my old makeshift setup as an example for a much greater premise. To put it bluntly, make the most of what you have rather than worrying about what you don’t. Because if you work hard enough, you’ll never feel as though you’re missing out on anything.

Low-Tech Landmine Training

The video below was filmed around fifteen years ago. At the time, my landmine station consisted of nothing but an old sweatshirt wrapped around the bottom of a barbell. I then butted the barbell up against a cement wall. If I was performing landmine rows, I would weigh the barbell down with a heavy dumbbell (ex. see here). It was crude and archaic, but it got the job done.

Upgrading Without Upgrading

As the years passed, landmine attachments became quite popular and affordable. I eventually purchased a portable landmine device on Amazon (see here).

Although it’s been cropped from the next video, I’m using the portable landmine attachment at the start of the following clip.

It’s a short clip, but you can see that the barbell moves fluidly in the landmine station. Yet, despite it working well, it’s not as if I’m suddenly working harder today than I was fifteen years ago when I was using an old sweatshirt. And while that may seem trivial, I believe there’s a lesson worth sharing.

Over the years, I’ve trained in some low-tech environments, but I never felt deprived no matter how crude the setup. I never believed that the tool or my surroundings made or defined me. I make myself by giving 100 percent regardless of where I am or what I’m using.

In other words, I’m not suddenly making superior gains because I’m using an official landmine station. The exercises were always effective, not because of the tool (or lack of), but rather the effort that I put behind each rep. That was true fifteen years ago when I was using an old sweatshirt, just as it’s true today when I’m using an actual landmine station.

Do What You Can

Unfortunately, I continue to hear from athletes who’ve been fooled to believe that they don’t have the equipment necessary to excel. Pardon my language, but that’s bullshit. You can always find a way to improvise and do something. And no one will ever stop you from giving 100 percent. That’s on you.

Don’t just take my word for it though. Throughout this blog’s history, I’ve shared countless examples. One of my personal favorites comes from Olympic gold medalist Dan Gable. Look at the short clip below if you still think you need fancy facilities to excel.

Final Thoughts

Although I may sound like a broken record, it’s a record that more people need to hear. Never let your inability to do everything stop you from doing anything. There are always ways to improvise with whatever you have in your possession.

So, stop complaining about what you can’t do, and embrace what you can.


“You improvise. You adapt. You overcome.”


  1. As always Ross, right on the money.I have trained in many countries around the world mostly in makeshift gyms.What was lacking in equipment was more than made up for in camaraderie and willingness to work hard and sweat.Had some terrific sessions i can still remember to this day. To be honest i will take those place over the super duper, high tech health clubs any day.By the way i am still using the sweatshirt and bar.

  2. i am totally with you on the diy exercise equipment….. i have improvised kettlebells before i bought my first one ….created indian clubs, dragging sleds out of tires,suspension systems out of thrown away strapping and scrap pvc….battle ropes are a 2 sectioned length of heavy duty house i found sitting next to a dumpster. my mace is an old school bowling ball with an iron rod set into it and last but not least the military surplus store furnished a great duffle/sandbag and 2 large ammo cans that i filled with sand and junk railroad metal scraps for farmers walk implements. when my wife insisted that wood flooring be placed in the kitchen of our apartment ..2 paper plates became sliders for mountain climbers and other slider stuff! all this and bodyweight and band movements give this old man all he can handle and more….improvise, adapt and always keep moving forward!! thanks for the information and motivation………………..

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