Saturday 23 July 2011

Andy Armstrongs hobo gym

I have been training since the age of 15 when I joined the local gym.  The gym back then is what most people would call oldskool.  The multigym was a chrome universal one and one of the benches was made from wood.  But it had loads of plates, a good squat rack, and a proper olympic bench along with plenty of dumbells.  From then on I was hooked.  With a friendly bunch of regulars from beginner to advanced, the gym had a great vibe to it.  
As time moved on the gym manager in all his wisdom decided to buy a load of new 'equipment'.  Shiney and new this was to be a new era for the gym.  It definately was- the stuff was CRAP!  Along with this shiney equipment came a bunch of muppetts that had no idea of gym ettiquete.  They were rude, arrogant mirror posers.  At the age of 20 when I got my first full time job as a fitness instructor I decided with my first pay check to buy some gym equipment. 

I bought a power rack, bench, 150kg olympic weights set, and some bodysolid dip bars.  This was a fantastic set up that allowed me to quit the gym and head into the garage, from then on I never looked back.

Ten years later and this is where I am now.  I built a gym in my back garden.  Unfortunatly the problem with this is that the ceiling height has to be quite low to comply with permited developement regs.  In order to do overhead lifts or pullups I have to go outside. 

Inside the gym I have a full Ironmind set up, 
Approx 400kgs of olympic weights
a bombproof bench that I had fabricated, 
olympic weights, 
2 x 32kg, a 40kg, and a 45kg kettlebells
Trap bar, 
Loading pins, 
Home made pinch grip blocks,
Home made 2 inch thick olympic bars,

Outside I permenantly have a 2 inch thick bar with up to 90kgs of oly weights.  
The pullup was designed and built by me and a mate of mine who is a fabricator.  
The tire is a solid large forklift tire.  
The hammer is a beast and again is another piece I had fabricated.

In my gym I pick the tunes, I pick the time I want to train, and I pick who enters.  I have been without a gym membership for 10 years now so all this kit has then paid for itself.  If you are thinking about taking the plunge and leaving your globo- DO IT!

Thursday 21 July 2011

Thong Van Cao's Hobo Gym

As some of you may or may not know, I am one of the co-owners of CrossFit Reading (along with some foreign dudes called Paul McCabe and Andy Craig). Anyway, even though I have this 2400sqft box, I still have a hobo.
Why? Several reasons but these are the mains ones:

1) Because its where I started my ' real' training and there's no place like home.
2) I'm married father of two young kids, have a full time at a multinational corporation and some days I just need every spare minute in the day that I can find.
3) I love CFR and the members, but some days, i just want to train by myself and be left the F**k alone to wallow in my own world of personal pain and thoughts.
4) I wanted to be on this web page.
So here's how we hang at my Hobo:


Power cage from powerhouse fitness....I paid £140 for it I think.
Probably one of the most important bits of kit I have for...squat, bench and racking all in relative safety.
Problem is its only got a 140kg capacity....and I aim to surpass that with my squat (which is 122.5kg 1RM at the moment)

York 1 x 20kg 30mm oly bar £120York Hex dumbells with storage rack (2.5kg - 25kg, £500 from Argos several years ago - bargain compared to current prices )
York Bumpers 2 x 20kgs, 2x10kgs
York Change plates 8 x 1.25kgs, 8 x 2.5kgs
Strength shop Bumpers 2 x 20kgs, 2 x 15kgs (Bargain £2 per kg after the UKSPS SE event)
Strength shop 20kgs oly bar (Bargain £50 after the UKSPS SE event)

Jordan 2 x 10kgs, 2 x 5kgs
Powerhouse fitness 2 x 15kgs...TOTAL CRAP
Woody bands, pairs of blue purple, green

Kettlebells, 8,12,14,16,24kgs
(Jordans, London Kettlebells)

Sandbag 20 kg
10KG Weighted vest XL8 (Newitts)
Plyo boxes, 12,18,24,30 inches

Rings x 2

Jump ropes:
Buddy Lee aero speed
Nortech speedster

A Weider flat/incline bence for home (can't take an Oly bar)
A load of bodybuilding style loose bar and plates for barbell curls and stuff like that

And of course the road outside my house for that running thing.

A mish mash of products from different manufacturers...but some I brought over 3 years ago when money was tight and knew a lot less about quality...hence some of the crappy kettlebells...but they do the job.
Cannot fault York gear, but it is more expensive...but its proved its worth so far.

That said I picked up some Strength Shop bumpers from the South East qualifier at CFR of the UKSPS. As value goes,, these are the best value bumpers I've picked up and they are loverrrly. Only had them a short while and..test of time will tell how good they are. But, these I know are going to last me years. Very similar look and feel to the York ones...but nicer colors...highly recommended so far.

Jordan...these bumpers have a bad rap, but they are the cheapest I have and if I was on a very tight budget, would probably still pick these up if they are cheaper then SS bumpers (not checked price since 3 years agao)...because I respect my equipment and look after it more then the average gym member. Jordans will not survive high volume of crossfit gym style abuse.

I have nothing more to say about the yellow weights from Powerhouse beyond what's said above.

And that's it. Small space, but adequate and still where some PBs get smashed, be me myself and I.

Saturday 12 March 2011

Jones Jym -

My Hobo gym , dubbed Jones Jym, is in my garage in San Antonio, Texas.
 I love CrossFit and my wife Gloria recently took up Zumba. No way were we to pay the outrageous cost of a gym, so we built our gym for us and our daughters Taja and Jaedan who use the area for Zumba and Pilates. The gym consists of:
Standard Bar with 170 lbs , 7’ Olympic Bar with 300 lbs , adjustable dumbbells, plate storage rack, Power Rack, homemade medicine balls at 7, 10, 15 and 20 lbs, homemade parallettes, homemade and commercial kettlebells, Power Tower , Gazelle, AbLounge and AbDoer Plus, jump ropes, 40 lbs Weight Vest, 20” storage box and 2x4s for box jumps, milk crates, fitness ball, Shake Weight, strength bands, bricks for all purpose use, cones for plyo drills and exercise mats.
I am mostly proud of the DIY med balls and parallettes.
Upcoming projects include homemade slosh tube, Bulgarian sandbag, and Farmer’s Walk Bars.
Very Respectfully,
Michael Jones and Family

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Sunday 16 January 2011

Guest post - Slosh Cans

Slosh Can

The cheap alternative to keg lifting.


As a Hobo Gym owner I’m quite partial to cheap and effective equipment, I have always wanted to pick up keg for some conditioning work but I have never managed to get one, I was also put off at the time because I didn’t know how to open one and fill it.

A friend of a friend donated the above items to me for free and I think they are a worthy keg substitute, the ones above are filled with 15kg of water, like I said in the video below it’s a decent weight for beginners, I reckon I can get up to the 20kg mark quiet easily on these, I use the duct tape as an easy reference for how much weight there is, this makes it nice and easy to adjust up and down as you see fit, another larger standard bucket is a good idea for quick weight additions/detractions if you need to. The only downside to these cans are the lids aren’t 100% watertight so you need to make sure the positioning is right on some exercises, you could give yourself a good dousing after a hard workout if you so wish.

Below I will discuss some exercises I like with the Slosh Cans, they are featured in the video.

Double Swings – I prefer swinging the cans on the outside of the legs, the towels also add a nice grip element to it, the grips are actually o.k on these I just prefer the towels. If you can’t afford kettlebells at least you could get some swings in with these. Swinging the cans inside the legs feels awkward to me but feel free to give it a bash if you wish.

Single arm rows/Bent over rows/High pulls – I won’t insult you guys here with exercise descriptions, I still like to use towels with these.

Farmers walks/Suitcase walks –The sloshing water and towel grip make these rather fun.

Bearhug walk/Zercher carry – Again the sloshing of the water make this fun, try to go as fast as possible to make it slosh harder.

Overhead Press – This is where the sloshing really kicks in, the more tired you get the more it sloshes as well, not in the video how I turned the can before pressing, this is avoid being dribbled upon.

There’s a load more you can do with these.

Loading – I have a makeshift loading platform made up of sawhorses and planks of wood, I have used to load a sandbag for time before and it was a puker, I’m looking forward to trying it with the cans. Loading races against a training partner would also be a good way to up the ante.

Overhead carry – This should be fun, it might give me a concave head but it’s worth a try.

I’m sure a lot of the sandbag exercises transfer over to the cans, have a play around and let me know how you get on.


Saturday 4 December 2010

Simbo-gym - Carrickmines, Dublin.

Simon form Dublin sent me these photos of his Hobo GYm set up - the Simbo - gym
Aluminium free standing pull up bar, garden post DIY base!, Garage Gym bumpers.

 Myself and my wife have decided that if we cant get done to our beloved Crossfit Ireland that we would rather work out on our own in the back garden then go to a soul less standard run of the mill gym... So we started to buy a few bits and pieces....and so Simbogym was born....

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