Results don’t come from fancy equipment, they come from consistent hard work and implementing specific demands for your body to overcome.
The most readily available (and cost-effective) piece of resistance equipment at your disposal is your body. Don’t discount the efficacy of a good old-fashion push-up, squat, or flutter kick when it comes to elevating your fitness. The majority of special operations selection courses focus almost entirely on these types of movements to push the limits of some of the most physically fit humans on the planet. Maintaining this mindset means you have a world-class gym everywhere you go.
If you are looking to spend a few bucks, here is what an ideal $100 home gym looks like:
No single piece of equipment provides as much bang for your buck as a kettlebell. Noncompetition kettlebells cost between $1 to $1.50 per pound and range in size from under 10 pounds to over 200 pounds. They are easily found at local sporting goods stores or online, and encompass such a wide array of movements it’s impossible to list them all. Here are two simple kettlebell movements that, when paired, will hit just about every muscle in your body.
See here for more Kettlebell exercises
Gymnast rings are a close second in equipment value and provide the opportunity to pull and push your body weight via an unstable platform. The benefit of rings can easily be seen in the upper body of just about every gymnast on the planet. Rings are quickly mounted using straps, are lightweight, easily packable, and cost around $30. Ring exercise variations range from day-one beginner to advanced athlete.
Make sure you maintain straight line stability from head to heels, with heels firm in the ground. Start with your arms fully extended, and finish with the bottom of the rings touching your ribs.
Difficulty level is increased/decreased by lowering/raising the height of the rings.
The ring pull-up allows for multiple variations of the already highly beneficial bar pull-up. The start position is arms fully extended at a dead hang. The finish position is when the thumbs are touching the collarbone.
Move into the start position with your thumbs touching ribs. The finish position is reached when the elbows are fully extended.
Knee to elbow
You will move from free hanging in the start position, to knees touching elbows at the finish position. Make sure you curl the hips up toward the ribs like a hanging reverse crunch.
Once you’ve mastered this movement, you can increase the difficulty by doing toes-to-rings:
This is a complex movement that you’ll likely have to build up to, but it’s one of the best all around exercises to do on gymnast rings. The grip and position of your hands on the rings is key to mastering this movement.
Leo Jenkins is a contributing editor for Coffee or Die Magazine, and the acclaimed author of Lest We Forget, On Assimilation, First Train Out of Denver, and With a Pen. Since his time as an Army Ranger medic, Leo has traveled through over fifty countries and competed at an elite level in both triathlon and CrossFit, while racking up over 10,000 hours of hands-on coaching experience in Olympic weightlifting, running, swimming, cycling, and cross-training.