Here is description of some of the training tools I use along with links to places to purchase. Note that I do not use all of these tools all of the time, but rotate among tools over time. My collection of training tools has grown over the past decade and a half. You definitely don’t need everything here to train effectively.
For the sake of space, I have not shared very specific tools that are needed for certain feats of strength. Generally, details about those can be found on the specific tools pages. For instance, in card tearing I describe where to get cards. Everything below tends to have at least more than one use.
Your body is the first and foremost tool you ought to train with. Nothing to buy here, just learn how to use it. (Although many of the tools below are for bodyweight training specifically…) For much more on bodyweight training see the whole Bodyweight Mastery section of Legendary Strength.
One of my favorite training tools. Since the first time I swung one around I was hooked. While kettlebells can be used for many things they’re ideal tools for explosive lifts such as the swing, snatch, clean and jerk. Plus, my favorite kettlebell juggling.
I’m a big fan of Dragondoor kettlebells as they’re the ones that introduced me to the world of kettlebells in the first place. Very high quality. That being said I’ve also recently become a fan of Kettlebell Kings as they offer both “regular” and competition kettlebells. Best of all they offer free shipping in the USA!
You can find these just about anywhere. Note that if you are going to push up the boundaries of what you can do with certain exercises like partials and supports you’re going to want to make sure you have a barbell rated for high weights, not some cheap thing that will break on you in a very dangerous way! The Cap Barbell I’ve used is rated up to 1,200 lbs. Want something even better? Then you might look at Ironmind’s S-Cubed Bar, or the Rogue Westside Power Barbell, though you’ll be paying a premium for it.
Those spring collars that are common with barbells and dumbbells tend to be a hassle to get on and off…plus they often fail. Other collars are rock-solid but take time to put on. I’ve found nothing more convenient and long-lasting than the lockjaw collars. This version here is for Olympic sized bells.
You can also find these just about anywhere. Whether fixed weight or adjustable dumbbells can make a mainstay of your training. For adjustable dumbbells I’ve also used the Cap brand. I don’t like the collars these come with, but instead use the Lockjaw’s above. Hex dumbbells are great if you don’t want to be changing plates. Also awesome for turning into block weights.
A power rack is a must if you want to become very strong! Nothing is better for doing some of the main strength exercises, but this is especially useful for doing partials and supports. There are all kinds of power racks. My first power rack I bought used from some people on Craigslist and it has served me well. Soon enough I’ll be upgrading to one from Rogue Fitness that will serve me even better.
Pullups are a must. While this will be covered with a power rack for those that do not have access to one, you’ll need another solution. Even a doorway bar can be a great place to start if you’re training from home.
Various Strongman Implements
Depending on what you want to work with there are all sorts of other tools worth using. Some of my favorites include farmers walk bars, log bars, thick bars and more. Rogue fitness is a great place to find many of these.
One of the original leverage tools. Great design and a wide range of weights available for one or two handed swinging. These really build 3D strength in a way that is hard to replicated with other tools. Get the original, patented clubbells here.
Not to be confused with clubbells, this similar looking tool is more for what could best be termed as weighted mobility. Typically just one or two lbs. each these are great for rehab and building coordination. Grab a pair here.
Other Leverage Tools
There are all manner of other leverage tools including maces. I haven’t done a lot of work with these but they certainly are fun. A great place to buy is Strongergrip, like the maces pictures here.
Sledgehammers are great for swinging at tires as a conditioining exercise. They’re also great for leveraging to build wrist strength and perform as a feat of strength. Easy solution is to acquire them at your local hardward store, but if you want some special hammers check out Strongergrip.
Ab Wheel/Power Wheel
The rollout is a great ab exercise. In truth, it extends far beyond ab strength. You can get an inexpensive ab wheel like this one. Or, if you want to do more than just the rollout’s then check out Lifeline’s Power Wheel. With this amazing unit you can strap your feet in to do all sorts of other exercises to fry your abs.
A weight vest is a great way to increase your “body weight” for many bodyweight exercises including squats, running, jumping, pullups, pushups and more. Can also be used to up the intensity in kettlebell swings and plenty else. I personally use the ZFO Sports 80 lb. adjustable weight vest.
Some type of pushup handles allows for lots of use in pushups, handstand pushups, l-sits and more. Here is Cap’s Pushup Handles.
Belt for Attaching Weight
Ironmind provides the best belt for attaching weights to yourself. Use it with kettlebells or a loading pin with added weights. Ideal for adding weight to pullups. You can use a conventional belt, as I have in the past, but it won’t last too long.
The loading pin itself, with weights added, can be used for vertical bar lifting which is another fun way to build hand strength. Also a great way to add weight to exercises such as pullups mentioned above. Grab Ironmind’s loading pin here.
Thick barbells and dumbbells are amazing tools. And they’re quite expensive too. Fat Gripz offer an easy and inexpensive solution to this problem, allowing you to convert any normal sized barbell, dumbbell or other tools into a thick bar. Fat Gripz offer an easy way to increase the amount of grip work in your training. Get Fat Gripz here.
One of the classic texts of grip strength is a heavy duty gripper. And if you’ve never done anything more than the oh-so-easy sporting goods store gripper, you’re in for a treat. While there are other brands, Ironmind is the gold standard available.
I am not big on support gear. I never even wear a weightlifting belt for deadlifts. But I do find it necessary to use wrist wraps for partials such as rack pulls. I really like the wrist wraps from Ironmind.
Unique Grip Tools
The fingers, hands and wrists can move in a multitude of ways. As such there are many unique ways to train them. Lots of specialized grip tools can be found at Ironmind, Strongergrip, Rogue Fitness and others.
Cables allow a completely different strength curve of work done than most other tools. The pull of gravity is consisently downward with any weight. With cables the longer your stretch it the harder it becomes. You can also train angles that can’t be matched in any other way. Over the years I’ve used Lifeline’s Portable Power Jumper, Chest Expanders and Power Pushup. A simpler set of multi-purpose bands can also be found here.
The amazing conditioning exercise first developed by John Brookfield, Battling Ropes are a unique training method. There are several brands available here.
In speaking about ropes, we can’t foget about climbing them! It is well worth figuring out the setup for a climbing rope if you can. Few things will build grip, upper body and ab strength like rope climbing can. Which kind of rope to get depends on indoor vs. outdoor, height and other factors. Some climbing rope options are here.
Gymnastic rings allow for much more variation than just a pullup bar. With an adjustable height you can make pushups harder and of course do classics like pullups, muscle ups or the iron cross. Wood rings have a great feel, though there are other options too.
A classic conditioning tool. There are many variations available including speed ropes and weighted ropes.
As far as I’m concerned these are almost a necessity for bodyweight training. They can be used to decrease or increase range of motion in squats, pistol squats, pushups, handstand pushups, pullups, and more. They can be used for box jumps and other explosive movements. Get the same set I use right here.
A standard of any well-equipped gymnastic center. The design allows for greater active flexibility to be build with leg lifts. Can also be used for human flags and much else. My stall bars are from VitaVibe.
Horse Stall Mats
If you’re going to have a gym (your own personal one or commercial) and iron weights are involved then the best flooring is horse stall mats. This thick rubber is almost impervious to damage. Best if you can obtain them locally but can also be found online at Tractor Supply Co. Warning: they’re a working in and of themselves to move! Half of my personal gym is covered in these and the other half is covered in…
If you want to do training, especially in bodyweight, that involves being on the ground a nice padded surface is a must. Of course, this is also useful for martial arts that involve any sort of grappling. I acquired mine from EZFlexMats but you can sometimes also find good deals on Amazon here.
When appropriate I use affiliate links to help support my my work, the time and effort that goes into running Legendary Strength. But rest assured I wouldn’t recommend an inferior tool just because of a commission. I’m sharing the best of the best here whether or not I get a small cut for making a sale.
These tools are very good, but i would exclude the cables and i would put a swiss ball instead of them. Swiss ball must be , a basic strength tool . Nobody should exercise without a swiss ball
@Marios Stampoulopoulos: sorry dude… i’d keep cables because cables are unique… the resistance increases with more success at extending them. this results in more muscle activation because for every inch of success you get more resistance. a swiss ball is an excellent tool but all tools have a weakness and a strength.
Just to say your site is great and full of very usefull and informative training ideas….10/10 in my humble opinion,with regards to the previous post regarding the swiss ball being more usefull than the cables (not sure if its a joke or not!)i am sorry but cannot agree on that one,until guys like bud jeffries and mike bruce etc strarts doing articles and vids on them i think i’ll give them a miss myself! l.o.l.