Most lifters who train at home and own their own barbell have a cheap barbell. I've already written about a good quality but affordable barbell for home workouts. But, many are justifiably confused about what to look for in a barbell and are concerned that a less expensive bar will not be able to hold enough weight.
A cheap barbell will usually work quite well for an individual lifter. It doesn't need to stand up to multiple users and it can still last many years. Besides chrome coatings peeling off, which creates a hazard for your hands, the question most often asked is how much weight can an inexpensive barbell handle? Am I going to reach the limit of my bar and have it permanently bend or something?
Continue Reading » How Much Weight Can a Cheap Barbell Handle?
The trap bar really is good for shrugs, so it's a great way to train your traps. But, was the bar designed in the first place just for shrugs and trap training? Many sources say yes, the trap bar was meant to train the traps, and later on lifters accidentally discovered its use for deadlifts and other lifts.
Continue Reading » Was the Trap Bar Originally Designed Just for Training Traps?
If you are in the market for an Olympic barbell at a price you can afford, a great quality choice is the Body Solid 7 foot Olympic barbell.
I have always found Body Solid products to be well-made and very sturdy for home use.
Continue Reading » What is a Good Quality Affordable Barbell for Home Workouts?
Why should you use a squat rack, or "power rack", or cage to perform squats? There are two main reasons: First, squat racks and cages comes with safety pins or cross bars that are adjustable to heights in order to catch the bar when you fail during a lift. With these safety catches, sometimes called "spotters", you can safely discard the bar and not without getting stuck underneath it because you cannot lift it off of your shoulders; an extremely dangerous situation.
Continue Reading » Can I Squat without a Squat Rack?
What is a blob?
A blob is a mass of steel or concrete (hence the name blob), typically weighing 10-50 lbs or more. The rough dimensions of a 50 lb blob are 5-1/2” (thickness) by 7-1/2” (diameter), with the original 50 lb York blobs simply being one of the bells of a 100 lb York dumbbell. The video below should be enough to make you realize why they don’t get much heavier than 50 lbs, unless you’re Wade Gillingham, in that case you can lift an 81.5 lb blob.
Continue Reading » Grip Strength Training Equipment: Using A Blob For Pinch Strength
By now you probably know that med balls are a great tool to use in your workouts. You can do complex training, make bodyweight calisthenics harder, complete intense cardio workouts, and even build awesome athletes with them. So time to get a med ball, right?
Holy cow they can be expensive. And there's a ton to choose from. Regular sized ones (like a basketball). Big ones (like a beach ball). Little ones (like a softball). Ones that bounce. Ones that don't bounce. Light ones (2-3 pounds). Regular weight ones (~10 pounds). Super heavy ones (40-60+ pounds).
Continue Reading » How to Build Your Own Medicine Ball Out of Scraps, Sand, and Duct Tape
When I first read about the slosh pipe, I was not that impressed. I figured, how hard can it be to hold 30 or so lbs above my head? Well it turns out it is extremely hard! After making the pipe, I learned that the athletes I train generally have weak stability in their shoulders. The pipe is one of many ways to address and correct this weakness.
Continue Reading » Homemade Equipment - How to Make an Adjustable Slosh Pipe
Deadlift with Small Plates
You want to deadlift using small standard plates but the small plates mean the bar is too low to the floor. What do you do? You simply place the weights on blocks to bring the bar up to a more standard deadlift height which is one that matches where the bar would be with Olympic plates.
Continue Reading » How to Deadlift with Standard Plates
The original Gripper Guide focused on the beginnings of gripper training. In that post I used CoC grippers as my standard gripper (hence the table is based on CoC resistances only) and laid out some suggestions for picking resistances and how to train. The reason I use CoC is simple. They were among the first to take grippers to the next level and they have a very good product. This part of my guide is centered around the very first thing you will do in your grip training. Buying a gripper! I've also got some other training tidbits and advice thrown into the mix.
Continue Reading » Gripper Guide Continued
Recently I've been getting involved in more and more aspects of grip training and strongman training however, these endeavors require specialty equipment at times. Anyone that has ever looked at buying training equipment knows that it can get expensive in a hurry, even for a couple of seemingly small things. The shear cost of equipment, combined with the fact that shipping to Canada can be just as much money as the item you're buying, has sent me into the workshop to build my own equipment. This series of articles will serve as a general overview to building your own equipment. I'll include a basic outline of how to come up with ideas, how to build, tools that you may need, building materials, etc. and I will do my best to make it as comprehensive as possible.
Continue Reading » DIY Training Equipment Guide: Part 1 - Planning and Material Selection
Injuries and tweaks happen during dumbell bench press at two common instances. Picking the dumbells off the floor or a low rack. And during the setup.
If you get injured just picking up a heavy dumbell in preparation for a bench press then you need more than a short explanation on proper lifting. You need to get back to basics, and if I am to venture a guess, get off the machines. Strong strength trainees don't get bad injuries picking up dumbells. Strength training is supposed to prepare you to pick up heavy things.
Continue Reading » How To Set Up the Dumbell Bench Press
When talking about lower arm and hand strength we here at GUS have referred to an exercise known as the "crosswise brick exercise". This is a fantastic exercise for strengthening the wrist and the fingers, the best part being it can be performed with a few bricks!
Continue Reading » The Crosswise Brick Exercise
As a follow up to my last blog post, and to satisfy my obsession with crushing grip strength, I'm going to lay out a guide for torsion spring grippers. I'll make it as comprehensive as I can and it will contain information for people with and without experience with grippers. See also part two of this post, The Gripper Guide Continued.
Continue Reading » The Gripper Guide
Medicine Ball DIY
Here are some do-it-yourself videos showing how to make your own homemade medicine balls.
This works. I have made medicine balls using methods similar to these and I use them all the time.
These homemade balls, of course, will not bounce, which is a useful function of a medicine ball as well so if you want bouncy ones you will need to buy them. But no need to wait. If you have an old basketball or any other balls of various sizes lying around then it's fairly simple.
Continue Reading » Homemade Medicine Ball Videos