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Top 5 Unconventional Training Tools For Your Home Gym

Top 5 Unconventional Training Tools for Your Home Gym

Written by
February 27, 2015
Updated May 18, 2016

When I started my home gym I wasn’t interested in lugging around heavy cardio equipment or cable machines. I wanted the most effective training tools my money could buy.

There are certain training tools that will save you money, space, and time when training yourself or running your own training business. No need to go out and buy those bulky weight and cardio machines that take up so much room at such a costly price to boot.

With unconventional training tools you don’t even have to own a garage; your home gym can be anywhere you want to train, like the beach, parks, playgrounds, backyards, or even an empty room. It’s crazy to mention this, but I’ve done an entire kettlebell and sandbag workout in the parking lot of a grocery store.

I’ve converted my garage into a home gym where I run my training business and train myself. Here are the top five unconventional training tools for developing functional strength when starting your unconventional home gym.

Home Gym Training Tool #1: Sandbags

Home Gym Training Tool #1: Sandbags

Sandbags are the most efficient training tool you can add to your home gym for all around functional strength. With sandbags, you can train your entire body with just a handful of exercises. Sandbags are a great replacement for the barbell in your home gym when performing compound lifts such as, deadlifts and squats. Do to the sand shifting within the bag, your balance and core are constantly engaged.

Many athletes are starting to train with sandbags, because of the functional strength benefits it provides. Sandbags force you to maneuver and adjust to the awkward weight, which causes the body to use more muscles and expend greater energy since it is harder to get into a consistent groove. Increased grip strength, is another amazing benefit from using sandbags, since you are engaging grip strength with every exercise performed.

Unlike the barbell, there is no convenient place to grab a sandbag, you have to constantly search for an open spot to grab the bag. If you are on a budget when building your home gym,  you can make a sandbag yourself.

Home Gym Training Tool #2: Kettlebells

Home Gym Training Tool #2: Kettlebells

Kettlebells, have been around for decades and you can see them popping up in commercial and home gyms all across the world. Kettlebells are perfect for your home gym, because it gets you back to basic training that requires functional total body strength while dynamically developing power, stabilization, and agility,

Kettlebells require you to focus on whole-body conditioning, because lifting and controlling a kettlebell forces the entire body, specifically your grip and core, to contract as a group. Kettlebell workouts engage multiple muscles to work together causing the entire body to achieve an amazing workout in a short period of time. Kettlebell training is one of the most intense workouts you will ever perform and it can greatly increase your functional strength.

Home Gym Training Tool #3: Steel Mace

Home Gym Training Tool #3: Steel Mace

This is the most brutal training tool you can train with in your home gym. The steel mace is incredible for improving your strength, endurance, flexibility, and explosive power. Steel mace strength training uses full range, mulitple-joint movements focusing on acceleration, agility, coordination, speed, and mental toughness.

You can use the steel mace for full body strength movements or for warming up before a separate workout. The steel mace will strengthen muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the wrist, elbows, and shoulder girdle. This is the perfect tool for all MMA fighters, along with any other athlete looking to strengthen those areas and increase explosive power.

It is perfect for grip strength and shoulder stability, all while giving you a challenging conditioning workout. It allows for circular weight training exercises not possible with other conventional equipment.

The steel mace helps maintain joint flexibility and improves range of motion. You will also notice, when training with a steel mace, that your hand-eye coordination will improve. Your core and grip are constantly receiving work when performing steel mace exercises.

Home Gym Training Tool #4: Tires

Tires are a great tool for building explosive power, improving conditioning, increasing muscle mass, and attaining speed. Pulling, draging, throwing, fliping, and pushing are just a few movements you can perform with these diverse impements. Tires come in all shapes & sizes, so pick one that will work best for you and your home gym.

For example, I have car tires in my home gym that I use for various throwing exercises. On top of that, I have larger truck tires I use for dragging, pulling, and rowing. Just add a chain or rope to the tire, and you can get a killer workout.

Last, but not least, I have the big boys. I have several larger sized tractor tires that range from 200 to 700 pounds. We use these tires for flipping, steel mace work, and also plyo jumps.  Tires are also FREE, so you pretty much have to include them in your home gym.

Home Gym Training Tool #5: Battle Ropes

Home Gym Training Tool #5: Battle Ropes

Battle ropes are a great tool for increasing your conditioning, strength, and even generating power. Battle ropes offer a full body workout increasing your aerobic and anaerobic capacity. This is one of the top metabolic tools the industry has to offer.

Battle ropes are perfect for keeping your conditioning up if you are recovering from an injury, and depending on the thickness of the rope, your grip is also challenged when training with battle ropes.

Although you can use battle ropes for a variety of exercises, I like to use mine for pulling, slamming, and climbing. Some examples of this are: attaching your rope to a car or sled and pulling it towards you. Tying it to a rafter, tree, or steel beam and using it as a climbing rope. These are just some ways that make the battle rope a key tool for improving your conditioning and performance level.

Trent Bender is the owner of the Underground Strength Gym, The Pit in Venice Beach, California. At The Psychology of Strength, our main emphasis is on the mental aspect of training. We believe that perseverance is a skill that can be learned. Our main focus is developing the ability to overcome adversity. This is true strength. We care less about how much our clients can bench press and more about how people can use the skills we teach to handle obstacles in their lives. Mental toughness is our primary goal. Find out more at
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