Battle-Tested Workout Equipment You Can Make Yourself

Get creative and learn how to make your own workout equipment from common materials, like soldiers stationed in remote parts of the world must do.

Anybody can get a great workout at a state-of-the-art gym. But when soldiers are stationed overseas in remote and sometimes dangerous areas, they can't exactly take their collection of kettlebells with them. So to keep fit, they have to get creative, making improvised workout equipment out of everyday items.

A weight vests ups the challenge of any workout, so soldiers will pile weights (like sandbags or extra provisions) into their rucksacks and perform bodyweight moves, or just run or hike.

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Basic Training Workout Equipment

Anybody can get a great workout at a state-of-the-art gym. But when soldiers are stationed overseas in remote and sometimes dangerous areas, they can't exactly take their collection of kettlebells with them. So to keep fit, they have to get creative, making improvised workout equipment out of everyday items.

Heavy Backpacks

A weight vests ups the challenge of any workout, so soldiers will pile weights (like sandbags or extra provisions) into their rucksacks and perform bodyweight moves, or just run or hike.

Recommended Exercises

  • Push-Ups
  • Planks

DIY Dumbbells

5-gallon buckets or milk jugs can easily double as a set of dumbbells or kettlebells. Adjust the weight by adding or subtracting sand (which weighs roughly 12.5 pounds per gallon) or water (8.3 pounds/gallon). "Laundry detergent and motor oil jugs are great because they've got big, sturdy handles and they're made of heavy-duty plastic," says former Navy SEAL Lieutenant Stew Smith.

Recommended Exercises

Barbell Bags

For many deployed soldiers, sand is one resource that's never in short supply. Fortunately, many barbell exercises are easy to perform with sandbags. To make your own, all you need is a thick bag (like a canvas laundry bag or an old duffel bag) and lots of duct tape. Keep the sand from leaking out by putting it in thick garbage bags first. "Between exercises, my guys run 100 yards with a sandbag over their shoulder, which forces them to focus on their balance and core," Smith says.

Recommended Exercises

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Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: FOOTBALL | WORKOUTS | WATER | EXERCISE | PRESS | DUMBBELLS | BARBELL | WEIGHTS | EQUIPMENT | KETTLEBELL | BACKPACKS | HANDLES | EXERCISE EQUIPMENT | SANDBAGS