One of the biggest challenges in our fitness routine on the farm is strength and conditioning.
Cardio is pretty simple with wide open gravel roads and fields. It’s pretty simple to throw on some running shoes or hope on a bike and ride.
Strength and conditioning on the other hand, often done at a gym, can be difficult.
Investing in a home gym is not only a large financial commitment, but it can also be paralyzing with the amount of options for strength-building apparatuses.
Embracing the physicality of our everyday lives is still far and large the most important way to get a workout on the farm.
In this post and podcast I wanted to provide some simple options for building an outdoor home gym primarily out of things we have around the farm already. I will also discuss what I chose to build my home gym to demonstrate how simple and inexpensive it really can be to get started.
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Now there isn’t a farm that I know that hasn’t invested in in at least one large tow rope, and most have several. In the last few years the flat style ropes are more desirable as they store smaller than the large braided ones, however if you do have a large braided one you are in luck. There are a number of great exercises made popular by the Ultimate Fighter reality TV series. These exercises work core, grip and often are overall multi-muscle group exercises.
Heavy Chain Drag
Chain, especially heavy chain, is an amazing training tool as it’s constantly shifting working not only primary muscle groups but stabilizer groups
Every farm I know has treated railway ties or bridge timbers that are often a left over from the days of wooden bins. These heavy old beasts make amazing replacements for Olympic bar exercises, such as dead lift and by simply installing some handles they can be used for bench press, bent over rows, or any other exercises that require an Olympic bar.
Sledge hammer and old tires
Who would have thought that the good old post pounder and recycled old rubber would become the weapons of choice for cross-fitters around the globe. I have a number of sledge hammers of differing weights and no end to old tires of differing sizes for flipping, lifting and pounding on.
Grain bags, canola seed bags, etc
If you have some old gunny sacks filled with grain or those couple extra bags of canola in a shed (yes, that is a very expensive weight I know) but why not put them to work. Exercises like farmer’s carry, curls, etc can all be done by simply filling a bag 1/4 to completely full.
Front End Loader
Looking for somewhere to pull off some chin ups and knee lifts? Lifting a front end loader and hanging a steel bar found in nearly every farm truck can be a simple way to solve the absence of a pull up bar.
Embracing the physicality of our everyday lives is still far and large the most important way to get a workout on the farm. Have that 50 bushels left in a flat floor bin? Before bringing in the vac take a little time to clean it out the old fashioned way with a shovel for a bit. Before putting those canola bags or chemical boxes on a lift or bucket loader, carry as many as you can. These simple acts might add minutes to your day but could ultimately add years to your life.
Related: Fit Farmer — Ep. 1: Small Steps to Managing Harvest Stress
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