With the winter months falling behind us and the nights getting brighter, folks are starting to think about the beach-body look. It's also the time for fighters to get outside, enjoy the fresh air, and do a little al fresco strength and conditioning work.
The problem with modern gym culture is the misconception that you need state-of-the-art-equipment and machines to get strong and fit. Well, enough of that garbage. Here's how you can get ripped for summer on a backyard budget.
Your junkyard gym can be set up with little more than pocket change. Yes, you too can look like a shredded UFC star for a total of less than $50.
I started my gym with two 20-liter water cooler bottles, the type that offices have on every floor to keep staff hydrated. When filled with sand, these bad boys weigh 70 pounds. You could half fill them with water—a la Kevin Kearns—if you like to get the slosh pipe effect. You can get a decent weight if you fill them to the brim. Pick these up from an office block where they have empties.
If you speak to the vendor when he comes to collect, chances are he'll let you have a couple for free. Bear in mind, if using these bottles outside, set them down gently. You don't want them splitting and spilling the contents.
I have tires, lots of tires: car tires, van tires, tractor tires, earth mover tires, all different sizes and shapes. Some are used for flipping, some for overhead throwing, some for beating with a sledgehammer, some for farmers walks (by standing in the middle and lifting). The beauty about tires is that the people who deal with them, i.e., tire fitters and garage owners all have to pay to get rid of them and, depending on size, they can be costly to dispose.
Hit up a tire yard and make friends with the bosses; they'll be more than happy to let you take some off their hands—they may even give you a quiet, albeit slightly alarmed respect as the local, strange strongman!
Junkyards need a sledgehammer and sand. I group these together, because these are the items that can cost. The hammer can be found anywhere between $25 and $50 from your local DIY store. If, like me, you are not lucky enough to live close to the beach, you'll have to pay for sand. Expect to pay around $5-$8 per 55 pounds. I picked up 220 pounds for just $20 recently. Most DIY stores have both tools, so one trip will do.
To make sandbags, you need heavy-duty sacks, tape, and an old duffle bag. Double bag the sand into smaller bags, fill the main bag up, and then seal with tape. This way, should one of the inner bags split, you won't start a sandstorm.
Now that you've got your junkyard training tools, you're pretty much good to go. Try one of these three hardcore workouts when you need to kick your conditioning into high gear.
As many rounds as possible in 5 minutes. Rest 60 seconds. Repeat 3-5 times.
Circuit: 5-10 rounds, rest 60 seconds or less
Circuit: As many rounds as you can; minimal rest
Note: Drop your tire at the top of a hill and rest your sledgehammer next to it.
These three workouts give you a massive increase in overall work capacity and provide a much-needed change from the usual routines stuffy gym environments. The last workout is taxing and there is enough variation and level changes in it to mimic a fight.
Add these into your program for a few weeks and see how far you can take your conditioning on a budget with equipment you can source from your local junkyard!