Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Iron Addiction III : What happens when you rough it?

One thing that I always get a chuckle out of is listening to guys far too used to being in a fully-equipped gym describing what they'd need if they were forced to train in an environment that wasn't fully equipped.  The list normally starts out simply.  They'd need a barbell.  and a squat cage.  and only 500 lbs (or less, sometimes) of weights.  and maybe some matting.  and some dumbbell handles.  And some chalk.  and make sure the bar is ___ brand.  and a sandbag to be functional.  and a TRX.  And maybe a three kettlebells, just like Pavel recommends. 

Any pic with KK is worth posting.  Awesome for sure but I typed in, "minimalist strength training", to find this.  This isn't...
What's also amusing is how many of these guys are actually pretty respected and have a decent following.  It just goes to show how little experience in the improv-department some people really have.  Welcome to an area where I might actually proclaim myself an actual novice when it comes to strength training.  Having my training environment altered on a regular basis, my equipment access mitigated, modified, and messed with regularly, is what I've dealt with over the years when I travel for work. 

If there is a rule number one to minimalist training, it has to be that you've got to happily embrace BW training.  If your access to a gym is spotty, at best, and your ability to lay your hands on stuff to train with changes, then you've got to have a decent plan on how to make your body your equipment.  There is simply no way around it.  Even as you get very advanced, you can still make a hard workout out of BW alone. 
Luxury!  The possibilities are endless!
Another reason for working with BW is that it does change your outlook about training in an efficient way.  The rest of the strength training universe looks at one movement.  Then, they take the movement and add more weight to it.  The end.    When the stuff (iron)  runs out to make progression, then training suffers.  BW doesn't stick to one movement and one way to do it.  the form changes, usually pretty dramatically as progression becomes necessary.  Why this doesn't happen with weights more often confuses my BW-conditioned brain.  When I see a weighted object, I look for movements to make the weight harder, not more weight to make the same move harder.  It's a mentality switch that guarantees you'll find a workout in compromised environments.

Over the past 10 years of training, I've come to realize that while the challenge to the upper body posed by BW training is nearly limitless, the lower body work isn't quite at open-ended.  So, if those options are exhausted, or some weight is wanted, then you've just got to learn to look around.   This world is full of heavy, awkward stuff you can lift and move.   One thing that I've come to love moving for training is the vehicle I'm driving when I travel.  If you're a training minimalist, you'd better learn to love the sight of random junk piles.  There's an 86% chance that a great workout is in there, waiting for you. 
SON-OFA-BITCH!!  Get my tetanus shot current and let's lift!
Then there's the gear that you can either buy or bring with you.  It's kind of weird how poverty, travel, and time crunch all have the similar solutions when you're trying to train minimally.  When you sense the urge to have some equipment that you planned specifically for your workout, then you should keep a few things in mind.  First, don't bring something that can't be used for many different things.  Subsequently, that's a good rule for buying things.  Finally, make damn sure it doesn't take up a lot of space either.  If there are two such training tools that I find positively indispensable, it's some sort of suspension rig and a sandbag.  These two don't take up a lot of room and don't weigh a whole lot either (empty sandbag and fill it when you get to where you're going.  Duh!).   There is a lot of work that can be done with these two implements.  I can't think of two better items to invest some money in when you've to got to work out while traveling. 
I have this.  It goes everywhere with me.  Get it here

This is just another sign of iron addiction.  When you limit yourself to such a narrow means of training that you can't come up with a workout unless you're standing in a fully-equipped gym, then you're doing it wrong.  There's always a good workout nearby, no matter were you happen to be standing and what your circumstances are.  You've just got to find it.  If you can't find it, then there's a problem.  It's in your head.  

Oh, and this blog entry is too good not to link to, and relevant to what I'm talking about here


AIC69 said...

That's a great blog! Thanks for the link. Hope you get better.Ive been there with the knee injury and I know it sucks. Kudos to your tenacity.Ive been reading your blog for several years,now and you have definitely been an inspiration for my physical exercise philosophy.

franz said...

I'm currently training on an olive tree, as I'm on holiday. Two branches form perfect dipping bars, two for chinups etc. - and trying to pull the tree from the ground makes a good deadlift! I have a pet rock I take for walks too. Good stuff. Cheers mate