Exercise and Working Out True Lifesavers

Exericse Really can Save Lives

I love a good story of inspiration, especially when it involves someone overcoming incredible odds to reclaim their life and their health. 
Take the story I found on Science Daily about Tom Hoppensteadt, who weighted over 300 pounds, and as expected, faced real threats of diabetes and heart attacks. As Tom said, “He (the doctor) was pretty straight wth me, ‘drop the weight or you’ll die of a heart attack.'” 
Tom’s wake up call was a cancer diagnosis, but the doctors told him that the more immediate and pressing threat was his obesity! He ended up losing over 120 pounds and dropping 10 waist sizes, not with drugs or surgery. Just hard work and dedication to a healthy lifestyle.
Tom attributed his weight loss to the following:
-Using the MyFitnessPal app to monitor diet and record exercise results
-Spin classes 3-4 times a week (45 minute class)
-Running and swimming 2-3 times a week
Tom even completed a triathlon, and hopefully he’ll discover the benefits of some functional resistance training for his new lifestyle as well. 
Cheers Tom! Nicely done. 
To read the full article, click on this link:

Brutal Interval Workouts with Fat Shredding Results

Shred it Like Spartacus

From Men’s Health: my.menshealth.com

I’m a huge fan of interval workouts. I’ve designed dozens myself, borrowed from places like
GymJones, any number of Crossfit WOD’s and even, dare I say it, Men’s Health.

I tend to take a look at everyone’s workout ideas and adjust them to an appropriate level and using equipment that I have or prefer. One of my favorite authors of interval workouts is Istvan Javorek. He has been coaching athletes for decades and has some excellent dumbbell and barbell workout routines. But like I said, I like to mix things up, which is why I was intrigued by the Spartacus workout from Men’s Health.

From Men’s Health: my.menshealth.com

I like this workout for several reasons: Simple equipment (dumbbells,) emulates lifting in real life situations, and is seriously challenging.

The Spartacus includes exercises like the “Dumbbell Chop” shown above and the “Rotational Dumbbell Straight-Leg Deadlift” below:

From Men’s Health: my.menshealth.com

There are also bodyweight exercises included, which are vital for developing great body awareness and what academics call “proprioception,” (spatial awareness.)

You can check out the full Spartacus workout here:  http://my.menshealth.com/workout/The-Spartacus-Workout-2.0/workout-a?page=1

If you like to beef up your workout library with muscle ripping, fat shredding interval workouts, be sure to take a look at the Thor Workout as well.

Special Ops Elite Fitness Training for Everyday People

Special Ops Elite Fitness Training for Everyday People

For an interesting look into the day-to-day training of special ops in the U.S. Military, click on the link above. With an emphasis on mission readiness, these workouts are designed to get elite soldiers ready for combat and intense training exercises, imagine what it can do for the everyday athlete!

The Home Gym/Outdoor Gym Workout Videos

I have finally started posting videos! So if you are interested in seeing what a stone throwing workout looks like or want to check out some other homemade gym equipment in action, bookmark this page. I plan to post every workout, unless it is redundant, so stay tuned.

These workouts are just a record of my progress, and sometimes they will illustrate something I have written about. As of today I am about a week into a new effort to build up my strength, so this is an ideal time to begin this video training log; at the beginning. Have mercy, I’m in the video learning process!

Today’s workout:


– Joint rotations, running.
-Hindu pushups, side planks, isometric pushup holds (x2 sets)


-Dips (between sawhorses) 3 x 6


3 rounds of:

-Turkish get-ups w/ 53# dumbbell x 3 (goal.)
-Ring Pushups x 10 (goal.)
-Jumping Burpees

The dips weren’t recorded, sorry, maybe next time.

Here is are the clips of the workout:

For a quick tutorial on putting together the rings in the video, click on the link below:

how to make homemade gymnastics rings

Heavy Stones and Homemade Macebell Swinging:

Heavy Stones – Interval Training Workout for Stren…

Circus Dumbbells for the Home Gym Made Cheap and Easy

About 22″ long and 15 pounds as shown.

The circus dumbbell. A challenge modern strength trainees have rediscovered in recent years, and one the old time strongmen implemented regularly in their workouts.

If you aren’t familiar with the circus dumbbell, this is a long, thick (and thin) -handled dumbbell with large balls on either end. The balls have removable plugs covering holes which were used to fill them with lead shot. Resistance could be increased fractionally, and fully loaded they were serious weights. The circus dumbbell was often longer than today’s dumbbells, but shorter than a barbell.

With any luck we’ll soon have a commercial version or two to choose from, but for now one usually has to create a design and fabricate some parts. This can be costly, especially if you want an exact historical replica, so I came up with a simple, no-brainer homemade circus dumbbell anyone can make-as long as they have the parts.

You will need:

-Standard sized weight plates
-1″ x 10-12″ galvanized steel nipple
-Two 1″-3/4″ coupling reducers
-Two 3/4″x 4″galvanized steel nipples
-Two 3/4″ end caps.

(About $23 dollars without the weight plates.)

-Assemble the reducers to either end of the 10″ steel nipple.
-Screw the 3/4″ nipples to the reducer ends
-Slide on the desired amount of weight, followed by a 3/4″ end cap. Do one side at a time to prevent slippage.

A couple of notes:

-Be sure to wipe these parts down before you use them, unless you like having dirty hands.
-Adjust the size of the bars to your preference. I wanted to go thicker, but my Home Depot didn’t have the parts at the  time.

So for example, for a circus dumbbell with a 2″ handle:

-Olympic sized weight plates
-2″ x 10-12″ galvanized steel nipple
-Two 2″x 1 1/2″ coupling reducers
-Two 1 1/2″ x 6″ galvanized steel nipples
-Two 1 1/2″ end caps.
This would make for a more substantial weight, both in terms of the weight it can hold, the length and the increased grip challenge. It would also cost a few bucks more. But then again, you can put it together and be lifting within 2 or 3 minutes.
Keep in mind that if the plates don’t fill up the exposed steel nipple space, there will be some shifting. Be sure to tighten all parts down well, just to be safe. If the slipping gets annoying, try putting a short piece of pvc pipe over the steel nipple (leaving room for the plates of course.) 
So there it is. If you can buy the parts, you can make a circus dumbbell as fast as you please. Is it worth it? Consider the exercises you can do with it:
-Bent Press
-One arm snatch, clean and jerk
-One arm overhead press
-Turkish Get-Up
…and so on.
Go ahead, make yourself a circus dumbbell. This is going to be fun. 

Sandbag Training – A Super Cheap and Easy to Make Sandbag

Sandbag training can build serious strength and muscle. This is probably why major strongman competitions love to load up giant bags to over 260 lbs. and have their athletes go sloshing through the water with them. But you don’t have to spend a lot of money on this training tool, and it is very easy to make. In fact you can make this sandbag very quickly once you have the materials. It doesn’t have to be filled with sand, either.

Here are three examples of different ‘recipes’ for a making a quick ‘sandbag’ to train with:

-Traditional Sandbag:  Buy sand from the home improvement store, usually 5 bucks a bag for 50 lbs. Buy as many as you need and can fit in your bag. Stuff as many of these as you can into a polyester laundry bag (usually two) Cinch it up tight and start lifting. For added security against sand leakage, wrap the bags in a plastic trash bag first.

-Salt Sandbag: Same as above but using water softener salt bags instead of sand. These are usually sold in 40 lb. bags, so if 50 or 100 lbs. is too much, here is your answer. Cost is about the same as a 50 lb. bag of sand.

Advantage: Less likely to leak.
Disadvantage: Doesn’t yield its shape as well as sand; therefore it can be harder to stuff inside a bag.

-Dump it and fill it: Use rocks, dirt, gravel or another material that won’t hold it’s shape. Dump it into a plastic  bag and then into a duffel, or a laundry bag as above. Seal it up tight and you’re done. You can also do this with sand and salt, which may allow you to fill the bag with more material and consequently, more weight.

The last option is to mix and match any of the methods above. The key is to make sure that whatever material you use to fill the bag is sealed up tight. Leakage is not fun. So go get a good bag and fill it with something, you’ll have fun and get a great workout!

For a sample workout, go here:  http://mosladder.hubpages.com/hub/A-Great-Functional-and-Fight-Workout-To-Build-Whole-Body-Strength

Home Workout Equipment for Fat Loss and Muscle Gain-My Top Six

When it comes to exercise equipment for the home gym, there is no shortage of choices. No matter what your goal, how much space, time or money you have, there are always dozens of goodies for your home workout space. But what do you really need and what works?

The answer is that a lot of home gym equipment would work a lot better if the person using it put more effort into it! Seriously, though, there are some things more deserving of your precious time and money. Here are Mo’s top choices. They were chosen for price, space efficiency and effectiveness, but if you really want a big power rack capable of spotting your 500 pound squat, go for it. You certainly get a lot of value for your money.

1. Homemade Suspension Trainer: There are dozens of ways to make a homemade suspension trainer, but the easiest, and cheapest is rope and pvc pipe. If you don’t know how to make this, you can read how here: Functional Suspension Training Tools

2. Homemade Suspension Trainer, Chains: As with the rope and pvc pipe version, the chain you need for this is pretty cheap. You will need eyehooks for the ceiling joists, about 20 feet of chain, and four carabiners. So this is a little more expensive than #1, but still a bargain and with the added advantage of quick and easy adjustment.

3. The Real Suspension Trainers: Read: TRX or Jungle Gym XT. A lot of people love the Jungle Gym XT for the split design and comfortable handles and foot cradles. But they are both comfortable, and TRX is built like a tank. Check it out:

4. Dumbbells: You can get as fancy or cheap as you want with these. You might be thinking BowFlex Selecttech right? Well, sure, those are nice, they have some that go up to 90 lbs. and they take up little space. They fail in the price category, however. Several hundred dollars per pair.

Advantages: Multiple dumbbells in one, quick adjustment, ergonomic handles you will love, and a handy stand for setting them on.
Disadvantages: Expensive, big. The dumbbells are BIG.

You can get a lot of bang for the buck by spending less than $100 on an adjustable pair. You know, the ones with the spinning collars? With some imagination, this a complete gym, and buying extra plates is cheap and easy.

5. Medicine Balls or Sandbags: Both of these can be improvised, but I suggest popping for good medicine balls. They are well worth the money. Notice I used the plural? Buy a set with a minimum weight of 4 or 5 pounds and a mazimum weight of 10 or 12. Alone, these can be a great workout (see: Medicine Ball Workouts  )

Combined with bodyweight exercises and plyometrics, medicine balls will kick, your, butt.

On the other hand, sandbags can be improvised for a few bucks. Buy sand or salt (like the kind used in a water softener,) tape the ends, secure in plastic trash bags, and stuff inside a duffle or quick-tie sack. You will want three: One light, one moderate, and one brutally heavy.

Have other ideas? Looking for cardo equipment? Sorry if it didn’t make this list, but if cardio is what you really want, hit the road. On your feet that is. If you want to build some lean, fat-burning muscle, however, the equipment listed above will provide hours of gut-grinding, muscle pumping entertainment. Check out the articles below for some on ideas on getting started:





Looking for rope, chain, or sandbags?