The SCBC Home Gym

If you go to Planet Fitness I have a deep seeded hatred for you.  I hate you.

You don’t need a gym membership to get strong.  Not at all.  Years ago Crossfit published a pretty good tutorial on creating a home gym and today Talk to me Johnnie (John Wellbourne, Crossfit Football) did as well.  I’d like to lay out a plan for the SCBC home gym.  Following is a list of materials you will need to create a world class fitness facility in your own home on the cheap.  Are you ready?
1.  A bar and weights.
2.  See #1
That’s it.  Really, that is all you need.  But you may ask, “how do I get strong with this?”
I answer, “pick it up and put it overhead.”
Your goal is to pick up a bar that is equivalent to your bodyweight and press it overhead.  If you can do that, you are strong.  Congratulations.
This is old school lifting.  Lifting in its simplest and most effective form.
I remember my first days of lifting.  Back in middle school.  I had a crappy bar, a motley set of cement weights and a solid program.  What was it?  Pick the bar up and press it overhead.  For conditioning I would put all my weights in a milk crate with a rope tied to it and pull it down the road.
Where can you attain these materials?  I looked at Sears and this is what I found:
You can also look around on Craigslist.  If you are diligent, you can score some pretty good deals.
So what’s the program?  (I modified this from a program in Dan John’s free e-book, From the Ground Up!)
Power Clean x 3 x 3
Overhead Press x 5 x 3
Front Squat x 5 x 3
Deadlift x 5
That is about as simple and straight forward a program as you can get.  Do it 2 or 3 times a week.  The goal is to clean and press bodyweight.  Do it.
I also found a spectacular program at Tom Gorman’s site a few years ago and posted it here.  The site is no longer up and I don’t know why.  I think the guy may have died.  Tom cited the program from some muscle magazine back in the 60’s.  It goes like this:

Warm-up with light Clean and Press
Clean and Press x 1 + 5 (Clean once, Press 5 times)
Add weight each set until you cannot get 2 presses. Add 5 to 10 lbs. and proceed to next exercise.
Power Clean and Power Jerk x 2 + 2
Add weight each set until you cannot get 2 jerks. Add 5 to 10 lbs. and proceed to next exercise.
Clean grip Hi-Pulls x 2
Add weight each set until you cannot get 2 reps. Add 5 to 10 lbs. and proceed to next exercise.
Deadlift x 2
Add weight each set until you cannot get 2 reps.

But that’s not all.
You could also do complexes.  I like this one by Justin Lascek of 70’s Big. Dan John also has a few.

So there are a few programs to use with your bar and weights.

If you want to get all fancy, here are a couple other things you can get for pretty cheap.

Get one of those doorway pullup bars.  I got one at Ross for under $20.  This looks good.  Put it in a doorway you pass through often.  Every time you go through that door, bust out a couple pullups.  Some of these bars can be placed on the ground for pushups and dips and put at the bottom of a doorway for situps.  You could do pullups, pushups, dips, squats and situps as a standalone workout or as a metcon at the end of your main workout.

Perform Better Competition Kettlebells

You can also get a decent kettlebell for really cheap from Wal-mart.  A 30lb to 45lb kettlebell will run you $40 to $55 with free site to store shipping.  I suggest and prefer competition kettlebells but this is the best deal on kettlebells you will find anywhere.  And when it comes down to it, weight is weight.  Read this for kettlebell training ideas.  If you wanted, you could do well with kettlebell training only.  Swings, presses, snatches and cleans.  Start with a 30 pounder and work your way up to about a 70 pounder.  Once you master the 70lbs., buy another 30lbs. and start working double kettlebell movements.

That is the bare bones list.  Of course there are other things you could get.  It would be great if you had a squat rack but you don’t really need one.  They are pretty expensive and take up a lot of space.  You can get a tractor tire for free at a tire shop.  It costs money to dispose of them so they will be happy to give it to you.  Be sure to tell them you are aware of this if they do try to sell it to you.  You could make parallette bars for cheap, too.  Actually, you can make or find all kinds of strength training implements really cheap.  But the point of this post is to create the simplest, cheapest and most effective garage gym possible.  And this is simply a bar and weights.

So that’s it.  Find a bar and some weights.  Throw in a pullup bar and a kettlebell if you wish.  Add whatever else space and money will permit if you are so inclined.

Lift hard, eat beef, plunder villages.


Misty Mountain Hop: Olympic Weightlifting Workshop at CrossFit Santa Fe

Over Labor Day I took the family out to Santa Fe, New Mexico to escape the grind. Actually, the grind’s not that bad; we were fleeing the heat. Being this close to the Copperhead Open, it was vital to find a good spot to lift while there. I put in a call to Tait Fletcher of TUF 3 fame, who now operates Undisputed Fitness and CrossFit Santa Fe (CFSF). One thing led to another; ideas got thrown around, and the next thing you know I’m running an Olympic weightlifting workshop at CFSF on Monday. Never underestimate the lengths I’ll go to avoid paying the drop-in fee.

Santa Fe is a city that defies description. I’ve been half-a-dozen times and I still can’t put the right words on it: hippies, hikers, actors, artists, natives, and a rotating crop of wealthy retirees sitting in coffee shops half asleep while their wives browse storefronts along the square.  It’s an odd concoction that you never quite get used to – a little like Berkeley.  The whole town is adobe and sage. It’s over 7,000’ in altitude with desert and snow-capped mountains and a pretty lax attitude toward dogs in restaurants. But if you dig art (real art), wilderness, and good food, it’s definitely worth a look. This time, however, I had an agenda.

I scouted CFSF the night before to plot out a route and size the place up. I also scouted the local Whole Foods and dropped a car payment on grass-fed rib-eye, organic veggies, and some active culture, root mother, herbal drink that I’m still gagging over. On Monday morning I got a rough game plan together, threw my Romaleos in a bag, and headed down to the gym. I find that scripts or anything rigid are poor ideas when working with groups. You want to have a general direction in mind; a heading with certain land marks to guide you, but leave much of the process up to the natural interactions between you and the athletes. I even winged the speech at my best friend’s wedding, and guess what? Nailed it.

CFSF coaches Crow and Nate got me set up showed me around. These guys are first-class trainers and extremely hospitable. CFSF is a nice box with a heavy MMA slant. They have a large “octagon” area for yoga and jits and heavy bags. As per usual, I hone in on the white board to scout out the top dogs. If someone can snatch more than me or do Fran in 2:00, I want to know about it. I also want to know what kind of gear they’re holding. Wooden platforms, rubber floors, good Rogue bars, and plenty of bumpers and PVC: what more could you ask for? Chalk. But, they had lots of that, too.

Considering the holiday and only giving them 48hrs notice, I was pleased with the turnout. I used a Bergener/Tom Woods hybrid format for the workshop, and drew heavily upon Greg Everett for technical instruction.  The whole thing went extremely well and we covered a lot of ground. We even had time for a mock meet at the end where everybody got a few turns on the platform in front of the group. All did well.

After the workshop I set up a time to come in the next day and lift. One of the athletes there mentioned he was an amateur film maker and offered to bring some equipment in to film the session. We agreed. When I came back on Tuesday he was setting up a full-blown film studio in there: tripods, multiple angles, a dozen lenses, 1080i slo-mo functionality. It was on.

I worked through a mini-session at 85% for five singles each lift while Seth ran the A/V. The result was this:

Jeremy Rutledge @Crossfit Santa Fe from seth iliff on Vimeo.

Seth knows what he’s doing, huh?

I’ve already gleaned valuable observations from the video, not the least of which is how unflattering slo-motion jumping in high def is on your body fat %. More importantly, I’ve noted excessive jumping back and swinging on my snatch, and a lack of speed on my jerk. I’ve spent the last few days addressing these issues and I’ll be lifting with Steve Miller tomorrow for a max effort workout.

Santa Fe is a fun spot and I’d love to work with these guys in the future. I couldn’t be happier with the way the workshop went and the video analysis I gained from this study has already made me a better lifter and helped me optimize my preparation for the Copperhead Open.

Thank you CFSF.