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Your Own Workout Equipment


“I don’t have enough money to buy my own weights or for the gym, how can I work out?” A problem that a lot of people have is that they don’t have the money to build up their home gym, nor do they have access to a gym membership. These are often (but not always) younger people who don’t make enough money or are perhaps not even allowed to work out by their parents. There is one solution for all of these problems and that is: be creative! In other words, create your own workout equipment.

What does this have to do with working out you might ask? Well, here’s the deal. When I was just 15 years old I wanted to start working out. The problem being that I didn’t really want everyone to know about it. I’m kind of a loner and I tend to hide things from my parents, just to avoid annoying questions.  So I used my creativity and figured out some ways to work out. Firstly and probably the mostly easy way to work out without spending money or people knowing you work out, is to use body weight exercises or calisthenics. Push ups, pull ups, squats, lunges, chin ups, various abdominal exercises, etc. You can find plenty of workout routines with body weight only exercises, for example on my YouTube channel. I managed to build up a decent workout plan to get a stronger just by those exercises. You might ask yourself: how did you do pull ups if you didn’t have a pull up bar? Again, the answer is by using my imagination. We have this ‘open staircase’ which allows you to grab the steps from behind. I would perform pull ups on the staircase when nobody was home for instance. This definitely counts as improvised workout equipment.

Now this is not the end of my story about creativity. The things I could train with body weight exercises were my chest, upper back, legs, lower back and abdominals. But what about my trapezius muscle (the one that gives you a thicker neck), shoulders and biceps. You can’t easily train those by doing body weight training (apart from chin ups for your biceps with a bar). As a middle school student you might have experienced wearing a big backpack filled with heavy books. In the Netherlands it is normal to see little kids – that just finished primary school – wearing a backpack that basically tries to pull them down to the ground. That gave me the idea to start using the backpack as a weight. I found the straps of the backpack a good replacement for the handles of a dumbbell or barbell. So I grabbed the straps and started to lift and lower the backpack filled with books. For the shoulders I would grab the straps again, but this time have the backpack behind me. Then I would simply push up the straps and with it, the books (hitting my head each time I finished the lift, but who cares). For my forearms I would either use the backpack to do overhand and underhand curls or I would use a chair for the same movements. There you have it, a complete work out for your entire body with improvised workout equipment and body weight exercises.

Later it became easier for me, because I started running. Outside you can find a lot of things you can use to work out. Think of monkey bars at the playground, tree branches, fences and benches. These all serve the purpose of working out (besides the obvious purposes they have apart from an improvised gym). If you can’t find any of these things you should move cities, because nearly every place has got those objects if you carefully look for them. To go back to my story, I went for a run and tried to find a monkey bar at a playground that wasn’t taken yet. Not that there were a lot of people like me that took the bars, but it was rather the fact that I didn’t want to bother children that were hanging upside down on a monkey bar. Again, this had to do with me trying to avoid annoying questions.

If you are creative you can turn a chair, backpack or towel in a great substitute for barbells, machines and dumbbells. Your only limitation is your creativity and will to achieve something. Start looking around you and look for objects that can help you to build bigger, stronger muscles and a lean body. Working out outside has many benefits of which the most important ones are probably its accessibility and the fact that it’s free. You can achieve an amazing body with just body weight only training. If you only want to lose some weight then it is probably not even worth spending a lot of money on gym memberships or a home gym.

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