I figured I would do something special for the end of the year and that would be to list my top 5 training tools of 2009. It was hard to pull from all the things I use and do but I believe this is a fair list, when I look at what has been my focus in training, what have I seen results in, and what I believe has benefited me in ways that aren’t as simple as pounds and reps.
#5. Indian Clubs
I picked up a pair of 1 lb. wooden clubs from John Wood over a year ago and I’m glad I did. I’ve used them steadily in the past year usually for sets done between presses and pullups. I find this helps to keep the shoulder girdle and elbows healthy especially when you’re lifting heavy.
You’ll also be amazed at the coordination you develop from swinging these light clubs. For me it seems like the swinging patterns I do are easy but I’m always reminded that that’s not necessarily so when my friends give them a try. I’d rank Indian Clubs as essential for working on some of the smaller muscles and attributes of fitness.
I’ve also worked some this year off and on with heavier clubbells which I enjoy too, but that’s quite different from the light wooden clubs.
#4. Gymnastic Rings
I would list bodyweight as a tool but some might construe that as cheating so I’m selecting a tool that is used for bodyweight training, and that’s the gymnastic rings. I haven’t delved into doing an Iron Cross or Maltese or anything that major yet, I just love them for pullups.
The natural groove of being able to rotate the hands and arms as you pull makes this exercise better then on a straight bar. You can lift more and its also better for your joints as you’re not locked into one path. This is important when you do heavy weighted pullups as I do.
#3. Trap Bar
Some people love squats. Some people love deadlifts. Using a trapbar is more like a combination of the two. And I find it suits my body and long limbs better than squats or deadlifts with a barbell. I have never hurt my back on the trapbar, which I can’t say the same for barbells.
I only really use it for two exercises, the deadlift and shrugs. Even if it was just for the first exercise it’s a must own piece of equipment for me. I was able to pull 200 kg. or 440 lbs. on it this year which is good progress for me.
I love short bending. Other bending like horseshoes, scrolling and braced bending is great too but I’ve stuck with short bending the longest and gotten the most out of it. In 2009 I went from barely bending Grade 5 bolts occasionally to killing them with a fair amount of ease. My best so far is to bend 15 in a workout. I also did 50 60D nails in half an hour this year.
If you’re familiar with bending you can probably guess my goal is to bend the red nail and I’m working up to it. I just got Grade 8 bolts and while my first attempt stopped me, I know I’ll get it soon.
Bending is great for not only hand and wrist strength but developing whole body strength that you can channel towards one single thing. It’s an addictive training and it can be over-done so know what you’re doing. I recommend the Diesel Crew’s Bending eBook to get started.
Considering my main goal has centered around completing the Beast Challenge I’ve been using kettlebells steadily in presses, pullups and pistols throughout the year and am continuing to do so. These same moves could be done the same or similarly with dumbbells but I find that kettlebells are just plain fun. I own a lot of them so I might as well put them to good use.
However the real beauty of kettlebells comes in the ballistic exercises. Obviously I’m a big fan of kettlebell juggling but I’ve been concentrating on the 10 minute snatch test recently and just hit a big goal. More on that later. This is a place where dumbbells can’t come close to matching kettlebells.
I hope you gained something out of reading this list. If you’re inspired to go out and get one or more of these training tools all the better.
You don’t have to go into as much details but comment below and list your top five of 2009. I’d love to hear from you. Plus it may have to be something I go out and try.
My top 5 in no particular order.
1. My mace & club collection I got from strongergrip.com
2. 2 dump truck tires
3. Chains found so many uses from adding lb’s to fixed weights
to pulling, chains & caribiners are priceless
4. Stainless Steele & crs nails. Bending is fun powerful & not alot of people
have what it takes to do it so i made it a staple of my 09 trainning year
5. Fbbc grippers there smooth steel, heavy & hard to close got to love em’
Hi Chris, kudos on your site and all you make available for the masses. I too continue to train with the same tools, with the addition of resistance bands. May I ask, about the weight you listed for the Clubells? 15lbs is generally the weight used to begin, with the 45,s being the ultimate challenge. Would the 1lb club not be too light? Thanks for your time, continue with your efforts.
-I too love kettlebells, I slowed down on them some when I got back into a designed freeweight program, but I at least want to get back into swings, presses and get-ups.
-I also like grip training with a sledge hammer and a two-hand leverage bar.
-I poured a 175-lb. stone as a “goal” but can’t even get the thing off the ground yet. I’m trying to get my deadlifts and grip stronger to work toward this beast.
-Nail bending…I got the book, but this year I want to DO some nails!
One question, if you have a chance to answer…what do you think of P90x? I know that’s not Strongman-related, really, but would it be a good ‘change-up’ program to get jump-started? thanks for any advice!
#1Homemade maces both 2 and 1 arm #2-chains of all lengths-#3-kettlebells #4-trx style straps-#5 cage for static contraction training
great choices. if you could add in springs. they make you really fast!
Obivously, you prefer Clubbells over Chest Expanders to keep the shoulders healthy.
I’m trying to decide which to get. Have you worked with Chest Expanders? What do you think?
Matt Furey says good things about chest expanders. And apparently, they were important to physical culturalists long ago. I don’t know anything about clubbells.
Your input will be greatly appreciated.
Michael George, RKC
hei guyz 😉
my faves r
in that order.
kbs are great for ballistics. provided u have a few of different sizes, their scalability according to individual ability / how u feel on any given day is unequalled.
sandbags provide that “real world” element in strength training that is difficult to find in a gym. plus they teach important skills that have carryover to more mundane real life activities like moving furniture. being able to carry a wounded buddy over distance is a consideration az well
still getting used to the sledgehammer for levering and figuring out its other, optimal uses. but so far it provides access to working a range of wrist movements difficult to replicate using any other one tool *in my limited experience*
am trying to do fewer exercises that work more muscle groups in order to cover as much ground as possible while staying fresh. once u get older, leaving the gym feeling like a ragdoll each time doesnt feel so fun anymore..