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One of the most most priced posessions I have is a sandbag I build following Ross Enamait’s sandbag construction kit. As it is my nature to deviate from instructions and basically wing it, I added a few twists in its construction which allowed me to use to use less plastic bags. Ross suggests to use two husky bags, one filled with sand, and another one around it. I followed a different approach, which is the following:First, you put enough sand in a husky bag to get a given weight (I used 15lbs), make a tight bundle, which you secure at one end with duct tape.

Next, you take that bundle and flip it inside the bag

Once you flip it, make sure you pull the ends of the bag until the initial bundle is tightly inside the bag. Next, you begin to wrap that bundle onto itself. Make sure that each fold is tightly packed.

Once done, fold the sides tightly and secure the resulting bundle with duct tape. You can see in the scale that it’s about 15lbs.

Then add more duct tape accross the bundles. Use your judgment in how much you want to use (for me, more==better)

Then, I put the bundles in sea bags I bought in amazon for $15. Using two bags makes it a bitch to grip. So use one or two depending on what you want to train.

And that’s the bag on the right size (next to some other crap I made) and three 15-pounder bundles in front of it. So far I can load that sandbag up to 150lbs at 15lbs increments. I want to make two 10-lbs bundles and more 15lbs ones to get up to 200lbs.

As I continue my trajectory accross the realms of Do-It-Yourself training equipment, I keep finding more and more ways to exploit the home-made crap I already have. Case in point, glute-ham raises.

This is a brutal, yet effective exercise for developing knee flexion strenght. Nothing hits the hamstrings during knee flexion as this one. Furthermore, it trains the hamstrings to generate force from a stretched position. A person who can complete a full rep is one almost impervious to a hamstring injury.

This blog post may not be much useful to anyone beyond presenting this exercise. However, if you have had enough time to build a lifting platform as the one I built (and are retarded enough to actually go through the enterprise of doing so), then a glute-ham raise platform is within your grasp.

All you need to do is set up a loaded barbell to keep the platforms firmly in place, and hold a wooden dowel with clams as in the picture below:

And voila, that’s your glute-ham raise platform. You can use a rubber mat or towel to protect your knees while keeping your heels (just above the achiles’ tendons) on the dowel.

And no, I’m not going to put a picture of me doing glute-ham raises because I suck at them.

OK, some things didn’ t work as planned. One of these were the rings I made (previously discussed here.). Despite the fact these were filled with chains, they bent and lost their shape while doing dips. A partial solution was to fill them up with sand (while sealing the ends with a glue gun.)

But even then, this was not still enough for the tubes to retain their shape, so my cheap-ass solution is to put a piece of pool noodle on each when I do dips on them. This is not necessary for pull/chin ups, though.

I would not call this a failed experiment since I can still use this contraption for dips, pull/chin ups and other exercises. It is, perhaps, the easiest way to make a pair of rings.

However, I do not believe I will build one like this again. The effort is not that much, but the amount of tools you need is a bit too much. You need a glue gun to begin with, and I believe the best material for filling them would be concrete rather than just sand.

I will keep using them since they serve their purpose. In the meantime, however, I’m actually working on an improved version using metal pipes, plumbing elbows and a 3/4 natural-fiber rope with a 600-lbs load capacity.

Alright meat-heads.

Following my last post on the subject, this is the third installment of this crap I’ve been doing for the last couple of weeks. The fact of the matter is that my g/f and I have already signed and mailed our cancellation forms to LA Fitness. Screw them. The only thing we’ll miss from it is the squat stations. And since that’s something I’m not comfortable with, we may end up buying one of these puppies from the New York Barbell Company:

New York Barbell Sumo Rack C92565W

In the meantime, my hammer keeps landing and the drills keep drilling. I haven’t built a WhiteShark Push-Up yet, and I don’t think I will for the time being. Too busy. However, I have a particular update from the original creator of this contraption. He found a very effective way to increase the grip workout in this thing… by using pool noodles.

Be advised that this is a beast completely different from the commercial “Perfect Push Up” – you must work your grip with this beast. If you have girly hands, don’t. Work on your wrist strength first, and then plow ahead with this thing.

So… where was I? Oh yes.

Home Made Rings.

I finally got the time to install the rings I made (previously discussed here).

Holy crap. I don’t know what the fuck is in the wood beam (adamantium maybe), but it took forever to screw those things – killer shoulder workout. And this was after drilling a 9/36″ hole for the screws to go in.

Anyway, this contraption seems rock solid. The rings are about waist level. A tad low, but that’s good for my g/f to do assisted pull ups. Doing dips in these things is hard. Last time I did weighted dips on a station, I did like 10 reps with 95lbs on a dip belt. With these rings, it’s a challenge to get 10 reps body weight.

This requires a lot of stabilization, meaning, it == teh cool.

I did several tests last night and this thing is rock solid. I’m happy with it.

Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LpzFmOTtnic

The Lifting Platform

And while I was working on the rings and other stuff, I was trying to build a lifting platform for quite sometime. The hardest part was to get someone to cut the bloody lumber in Home Depot. If I had a truck, I would have hauled the stuff home and cut it myself. Oh well.

Anyways, I don’t recall exactly where I got the idea for this at this time. If I remember later, I will come back here and give the due credit.

It is not one platform, but pair of stackable lifting platforms made out of a 2″x12″x8′ and a 2″x4″x8′. Each piece is basically a 2-foot long piece of wood, 12″ width with one 1-ft long 2″x4″ at each end. There are four of those.

You can stack them all four and make a deep thing for step ups. It’s not good for jumping but that’s ok. The top 2 have 1×1 pieces on their ends to stop the barbell from rolling.

I wasn’t designing them that way, but they ended up being perfect for me for floor push ups and rack pulls 2/3 up of my shins. Taylor made by accident. I drop stuff on them and so far seem capable of taking a beating.

Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLlwMLBymaM

I’m going to build four more and figure out how to slide a “core”, a pipe or something through them to stabilize them further. You can put them in, take them out, and stack them in a small corner without taking a lot of space.

The only caveat for anyone who wants to build them. Make sure you use a drill bit thick enough to go through them and use a clamp to inmobilize the thing. I couldn’t find my clamp, so I used my feet to hold them. Lo and behold, I moved a bit thus breaking one of my bits (crap!)

One more note. 2×12’s are usually curved through their lenght, just a bit, but never perfectly flat. Use that to your advantage by placing the concave facing up. This acts as a cup to hold the blates IN the platform.

The only question I still have about this thing is whether to use an additional rubber mat under them to protect the floor during deadlifts.

There are times all of us complain and whine about how difficult things are. Life is hard, we are slaves to the grind and such. And if we are not placing our asses on the couch singing our lamentations while munching the last bucket of  Häagen-Dazs, we get bogged down by others who do.

It is at times like those when we forget that no matter how shitty we feel, there are others who are in worse situations. Moreover, it is at times like those when we feel compelled to blame our failures to the inextricable bad karma that keeps shitting on our necks.

It is a time like this when we have to see individuals like Amanda Victoria who not only survived non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, but have the fortitude to get in the best shape possible after such ordeal.

http://forums.musculardevelopment.com/showthread.php?p=457295

pain   sickness 

an example   the come back

the come back   stretching

It’s ok to whine, to complain and cry. Just never forget that there is always someone in a worse situation than yours, and that there are people who come back strong from situations worse than yours.

Suffering is part of being human, but no human ever has monopoly over it.

… or boredom. Whichever it is, I think it momentarily sparkled my artistic creativity…

 …. weeeeeee, I’m a fucking kite, man!!!!

Kosher Munching

One of my favorite places to eat out (read pig out) is Wolfie Cohen’s Rascal House on 17900 Collins Ave (Miami Beach). Awesome little corner of a place with my favorite meal being egg benedicts, potato pancakes and kosher dill pickles, and the coffee, oh the coffee.

If you are visiting South Florida, go there.

If you live in South Florida, but have never gone there, please your palate and go.

Meh, perhaps if you are on a strict diet you may have some reservations, but even then, the menu selection is varied enough to include low-fat, low-sodium meals with egg whites, smoked salmon and stuff.

And speaking of low-fat, low-sodium, what better than a humble dill pickle?!?!? I never really liked sauerkraut, and for some moronically retarded reason, I associated it with other forms of pickle vegetables. I lost my interest in pickled products for years. What a retarded notion.

People struggle to come with ideas on how to eat healthy and lean, on how to intrude healthy snacks and stuff. One quick way is with dill pickles. And no, they are not heavy on sodium. Don’t even go there; do your research. They may be prepared in brine, but the brine allows for acidification and anaerobic fermentation (think yogurt). The brining process does not load them with sodium.

Rant asides, dill pickles are an excellent way to introduce a healthy snack to your daily diet. Two pickles can make a crunchy, refreshing snack to keep your stomach busy between meals. A pickle and a can of tuna can make a perfect meal for the end of the day.

A dill pickle may not have much in terms of calories, carbs, protein, but neither does broccolis. And yet, broccoli is a perfect way to make a snack or a low-carb, low-fat component of a meal. It’s all about what you eat throughout the day and from one day to another. And at $2-3 a jar, they are one of the many sensible, healthy and affordable ways to supplement a healthy diet.

Munch one, munch it like a cow, and be happy. 🙂