Getting your body into super-fit shape can mean making some investments that might seem impossible to pull off, such as buying new workout equipment or signing up for a gym membership, on top of putting in the time for working out throughout the week. But getting into great shape doesn’t have to take a lot of equipment, or a lot of money.
What it does take, however, is a little creativity and some serious self-discipline. Guys have been getting and staying in shape for a very long time without needing huge gyms full of contraptions and aerobics and CrossFit classes (although those are effective as well), and the good news is, once you break out of the old mode of thinking about physical training, there’s a whole new world of options out there.
Jungle gyms can keep kids busy for hours, but when you set some adults loose on the local park, there’s the potential for a whole lotta muscle building. Sometimes called the prison workout or extreme calisthenics, they vaguely resemble the classic gym class exercises. but imagine those on Miracle-Gro. The modern extreme calisthenics movement is taking those basics and turning them on their head with incredibly difficult progressions of each exercise, until many of the moves become as tough as any seen in high-level gymnastics routines. But the basics of pushups, pullups, bear crawls and mountain climbers, rope climbs, lunges and squats will keep most of us busy for a long time, so don’t sweat it if you can’t do a planche on the parallel bars anytime soon.
Bruce Lee, The Amazing Samson, and Charles Atlas are just two examples of the types of people who’ve used isometric training to increase their strength, build muscle, and gain an edge in fitness. The name of the game in isometrics is static contractions — keeping a muscle or group of muscles in tension without actually moving anything, as in pressing outward on a door frame as hard as you can — and with a little creativity can be performed just about anywhere.
Sprinting, jumping, climbing, and swinging through the city takes a certain level of skill, but it also takes a high level of fitness, so if you’re up for some adventurous and serious exhausting workouts, take a look at some of the American Parkour WOD (workout of the day) routines for some ideas on how to use the urban environment as your gym.
When is a rock not a rock and a log not a log? When it’s a training tool. Heavy stuff is everywhere, just waiting for you to lift it, push it, throw it, and pull it. There’s also a huge variety of homemade and improvised fitness equipment out there, with people using everything from the Shovelglove to sandbags to huge tractor tires to get as fit as they can.
To build explosive power, dynamic movement is needed, and plyometric exercises are where it’s at.
Once only found in sports-specific training, plyometrics can be applied to just about every exercise, increasing explosive power across a range of movement. From box jumps to pullups and pushups, with plyometrics the number of options for equipment-less workouts just increased.
Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee with a mix of speed rope workouts in your routines. While a speed rope is nice, you can spin with just a length of clothesline, and if you’re looking for more strength work from it, a steel cable or chain can be substituted for the rope. Whether you spin for time, for intensity, or for difficulty, a good rope session will wear you out and kick your cardio up a notch.
These are just a few of the ways people are getting and staying super fit without having to buy and use any special equipment, pay monthly dues, or make a trip to the gym. How are you staying fit?